A lot of people seem to have problems after plugging in volume/expression pedals into
various keyboards, and resort to sending them back, buying a different model, sending it
back, buying a different model. Given that the vast majority of such pedals simply house a
potentiometer with a rack/pinion gearing system that rotates it over its full 270 degree
travel as you push the pedal from 'full on' to 'full off' position, there really can't be
much wrong with any pedal, and there isn't.
Here's one to show how
little you normally find inside:
Most modern keyboards convert this pot
movement into MIDI data rather than sending audio data through the pedal, which makes it
easier to identify the cause of the problem. When I reviewed CME's UF8 keyboard for SOS
August 2005 I plugged in my existing pedal and found it only generated MIDI outputs data
between #127 ($7F) in the full 'on' position and #70 ($46) when I pulled it right back to
the full 'off' position. However, it generated the full #127 ($7F) to #0 ($0) swing when
plugged into other devices including my Kenton Control Freak.
Unless your pedal features some sort of separate range adjustment knob, the only reason to
explain this is that the wires connected to the wiper (moving connection) and 'high' end
of the pot are wired the wrong way round for your particular keyboard (sadly,
manufacturers haven't adopted any standard, so apart from buying the pedal they recommend
you normally only find out the hard way). There do seem to be a few such pedals that don't
have captive leads, in which case remember that you need a stereo TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve)
jack to jack cable.
Most pedals contain a 10K ohm or similar value pot, with
the bottom end of the pot connected to the screen of the cable, and the top and slider
either connected to the tip and ring of its captive TRS-wired jack lead or the other way
round (top to wiper and slider to tip).
So, all you have to do to get an
expression pedal working with any keyboard is to swap these two wires over. You can either
do this at the pot end (black and red wires 'A') after first opening up the pedal, or
inside the captive jack plug (black and red wires 'B'). It took me about five minutes with
my soldering iron:
Those that don't fancy soldering can buy a
foot pedal adaptor cable that you attach to the existing pedal cable - one suitable model
is the FC7 Foot Pedal Adapter from Ashby Solutions ( http://music.ashbysolutions.com/misc.html
about to buy a pedal, here are some guidelines that I've checked as far as possible, to
save you the inconvenience of five minutes soldering
FOOT PEDAL CONTROLLER COMPATIBILITY
KEYBOARD MANUFACTURER: Clavia
(Nord), CME, Emu, Kurzweil, M Audio, Novation, Oberheim, Roland, Voce (+some pre-1995 Korg
PEDAL WIRING: Wiper of pot connected to plug Tip, top of pot connected to
plug Ring, bottom of pot connected to plug Sleeve.
PEDALS THAT SHOULD WORK:
M Audio EX-P (has polarity switch) http://www.m-audio.com/products/view/ex-p#.VW2-e0ZilM4
Roland EV-7 http://www.roland.com/products/ev-7/
BCK VP 3 (no longer
Lead Foot LFX-1 www.thomann.de/thoiw2_lead_foot_lfx1_prodinfo.html
KEYBOARD MANUFACTURER: Kawai, Korg, Yamaha, some more recent Clavia products (that now
offer support for both 'polarities' of expression pedal)
PEDAL WIRING: Wiper of pot
connected to plug Ring, top of pot connected to Wiper, bottom of pot connected to plug
PEDALS THAT SHOULD WORK:
M Audio EX-P (has polarity switch) www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/EXP-main.html
Korg EXP-2 www.korg.com/gear/info.asp?A_PROD_NO=EXP2
Korg XVP-10 www.korg.co.uk/products/accessories/xvp_10/acc_xvp10.asp
(no longer avilable)
Yamaha FC-7 http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/music-production/accessories/footcontroll
Behringer FCV100 www.behringer.com/FCV100/index.cfm?lang=ENG)
anyone has tried other pedal models with other keyboards not mentioned here, let me know
and I'll update this list.
12/07/2006 Added Lead Foot LFX-1 pedal thanks to Alexx and Kawai keyboards thanks to
UPDATED 04/09/2006 Added Voce products to list, and some pre-1995
N.B. Kurzweil keyboards apparently also expect a 10K ohm pot, and
won't provide a smooth, full-range adjustment even with a correctly modified pedal that
uses a 50K or even 100K component. Thanks to Bruce Wahler who manufactures the Ashby
Solutions FC7 adapter mentioned above for this information.
14/05/2007 Added Behringer FCV100 to list thanks to SteveECrane.
UPDATED 31/08/2012 Added Novation keyboards to list - the recommended pedal
for these is M Audio's EX-P or Moog EP-2
UPDATED 18/02/2013 Added M Audio keyboards to list, and added 2nd Clavia entry
to reflect the fact that more recent Nord products now support both 'polarities' of
Keep that info coming!