Guitarists have had the right idea for a long time: when you
run out of hands, get your feet in on the action. Now with us
keyboardists busying ourselves with complex synth patches and
triggering grooves from Ableton Live in live performance, the time is
right for mainstreaming the stompbox-style foot controller.
Strangely, finding an affordable (sub-$400) foot controller is hard to do these days. The first model I found was Behringer's FCB-1010
— but I was immediately suspicious. Behringer usually means a) cheaper
than hell (good), b) will fall apart after a couple of weeks if not
already dead on arrival (bad), and c) ripped off from someone else
(unethical). Ethics aside, cheap means nothing if the gear is crap.
Sure enough, the design of the Behringer is ripped off verbatim from Roland's FC-200,
which has a street just above US$360. Even the typeface and pedal shape
and layout is the same, for crying out loud! (See Roland's lawsuit against Behringer
for ripping off their effects pedals.) I'll opt for the Roland because
I trust the company, though if you're the sort who likes buying fake
Rolexes in Chinatown, be my guest with the FCB-1010.
So, I'm set to give the FC-200 a try — but has anyone else found other
MIDI controllers that are better? (And do me a favor, please don't buy
up the entire stock of FC-200s before I get mine!)