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What are people looking for in a foot controller?

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polyexpressive
Joined: Nov 23 2017
Posts: 2

What are people looking for in a foot controller?

polyexpressive
November 23, 2017 - 07:25 am

I'm making a MIDI foot controller (Poly Expressive, currently on Kickstarter) and I'm wondering what people think is missing with existing controllers and what features you'd want in a MIDI controller. Our big difference is it's position and pressure sensitive so you can control multiple parameters at once.

gkellum's picture
gkellum
Joined: Mar 2 2011
Posts: 2280
gkellum
November 23, 2017 - 07:38 am

That's a neat project. It's an interesting idea.

The only thing I'd note is that few of our users are using that many expression pedals. If they're using MIDI, the vast majority of our users are commonly using MIDI footswitches to step up and down in a set list to send out program change messages to change all of their pedals to the same patch. Or they're using CC messages (or program change messages) to activate or bypass something, to launch special modes like the tuner, or to tap in the tempo.  

brock's picture
brock
Joined: Jan 3 2010
Posts: 990
brock
November 23, 2017 - 08:57 am

polyexpressive wrote:

I'm making a MIDI foot controller (Poly Expressive, currently on Kickstarter) ...

What a killer concept.  Not unlike a ROLI, or LinnStrument, for your feet.  Maintaining all of those templates is going to be a challenge.  There will a route for creating from a generic programming template, I'm guessing.

polyexpressive wrote:

... and I'm wondering what people think is missing with existing controllers and what features you'd want in a MIDI controller. Our big difference is it's position and pressure sensitive so you can control multiple parameters at once.

Triggered events.  A momentary tap, that will trigger a macro series of control values.  Extending the taper / curve features.  Here & there, you'll find LFOs, step sequencers, or ramping control featured in a device; usually with limited options.  They're all really the same thing:  variable amounts of smoothing, waveform shape, plus the length & number of cycles.  A universal triggered event series, with variable curvature, and a "repeat" count, 0 - INF.  I think it'd be a unique & useful addition, and not as esoteric as it might seem to be.

polyexpressive
Joined: Nov 23 2017
Posts: 2
polyexpressive
November 23, 2017 - 06:20 pm

gkellum wrote:

That's a neat project. It's an interesting idea.

The only thing I'd note is that few of our users are using that many expression pedals. If they're using MIDI, the vast majority of our users are commonly using MIDI footswitches to step up and down in a set list to send out program change messages to change all of their pedals to the same patch. Or they're using CC messages (or program change messages) to activate or bypass something, to launch special modes like the tuner, or to tap in the tempo.  

 

Poly does all that stuff too if you want more traditional control. Over Bluetooth and WiFi too, which can  be handy for having controllers at different parts of the stage. You can setup the board to be as many square as you want, so if you want 20 squares to easily jump between songs that's fine, or bigger buttons for up and own.