Midi/USB Foot Controller. DIY or not?

Ho to all.
I would like to ask a question about the possibility of using a pedal board with simple switches towards Cantabile. Is there an interface that has a USB connection as its input switches and its output? Very briefly: I have a Korg EC5 which has 5 simple footswitches, but which does not have a midi data transfer circuit in it. The question is precisely this, if there is a circuit or a device that transforms the signals from switches / buttons to midi signals, as the foot controllers do (like Line 6 express, to understand). I hope I have explained myself correctly.

Hi Sergio,

There are some products like that, here is a link to a page with examples


If you want to build your own this is a solution some have used.

Hope this gives some help :slight_smile:


There are many options New or secondhand

  • Behringer FCB1010 (Big, Heavy, will last for 20 years)
  • Yamaha MFC1
  • Nektar Pacer
  • MeloAudio MIDI
  • M-VAVE Chocolate BT (Cheep, USB)

There are any more options, including some USB and DIY Arduino projects

1 Like

Keith McMillen SoftStep devices are very portable and configurable. You need rather pointy shoes (which Zoe Keating uses!) to actuate the detailed corners of the foot switches on the later units (the SoftStep2).

There are also options for converting analog pedals (switches and expression pedals) to MIDI, such as the AudioFront MIDI Expression.

Hey guys.
Probably a misunderstanding on my translation.
I reshape my question: I was thinking of using my Korg EC5 as if it were a pedal controller. This is not possible because the EC5 is not a midi controller pedal board, but contains a series of footswitches (it has 1 common contact and 5 possibilities). I was just wondering if there was an interface. It was just my curiosity. Know if there is something that transforms the EC5 into a midi controller pedalboard.

Google search is your friend. I use it all the time.


Are you talking about using your pa80 or the Axiom as your controller? The EC5 is designed to work with the pa80. For grins, connect it the the proper jack on the pa80, connect the USB cable to your laptop and see what CCs are sent (if any) when you press each switch.


Doug, thanks for your point.
The EC5 can only be connected to the Pa 80, I know. But for the solution of seeing which CCs are sent, I seem to remember, they only concern the possibility of midi associations within the Pa 80. The problem of having a midi controller pedal board is overcome because I am buying a Line 6 express or a Behringer. My curiosity was to adapt the EC5 as a midi pedalboard. I am browsing the internet to see this, even if there is something on the electronic circuit level. Nothing else. Just because the EC5 would be an unused item. As I like it now, I would like to use my Pa80 as a midi controller keyboard and not as an arranger. At the moment I use it in my church with VSTs and an arranger is not needed there …


I was just curious. Years ago, I was using a Hammond XK2 as a controller and found that every switch or control knob would send out MIDI data (over MIDI DIN in this case). I mapped that data into Cantabile.

Yes, through years of experimentation, I now have two closets that are filled devices that I can point to and say “I used to use you back in the day”. :wink:


1 Like


See here if one of the projects suite your needs.

If you prefer a commercial device, try this.

Ciao Paolo. Hai tirato fuori il coniglio dal cilindro!!!
You pulled the rabbit out of the hat (to put it in Italian …). It is really interesting what you found for me. I was trying until a few minutes ago, without succeeding. In fact, I didn’t know how to find a starting point, an idea. Thank you, see how I can possibly recycle my EC5. Notwithstanding that Line 6 or Behringer remains my basic idea. I’ll let you know what I’m up to!

Giving the EC5 a new life only worth if you use a DIY solution.
A Line 6 FBV Express MKII comes about €85, It’s quite inexpensive for a out-of-the-box ready device with four switches and a continuous pedal.
My 2 €cents.

Hi Paolo
I like the DIY solution for the EC5, no doubt about it. In particular it could be useful because it has the switches on the same row, it is easier to use them.
Meanwhile, I take the Line 6 FBV Express because it is very immediate, it is simple to configure and use.
The other solution I will see later, maybe I will have to take two cards to get to the use of the 5 switches contained in the EC5. But I will see this later.
Thanks, for now, for the (dritta) information.

You can manage all the 5 switches (and more!) with one board. Of course, a good skill in microprocessor programming language is needed. It’s definitely not a ready to use option.

I believe, then, that I will stop here. I’m not so sure I’m that good! I should read something on the subject to see if I can understand how to program. I thought the card was ready to use. I honestly don’t even know what it takes to program the processor.

I did exactly what you are trying to attempt. Only with a Behringer footswitch that has four buttons. See here MIDI Footswitch Controller

If you need help with it, let me know.

1 Like

Hi John, thanks for your reply.
I’m glad you did something that I would like to do too. I just don’t know much about it. How could you help me? I’m reading the thread you submitted to me very carefully.
What would you advise me, to begin with?

I’m not familiar with your pedal. Does it have room inside to mount the Arduino board? They are pretty small, about 2 1/2 inces x 2 inches x 3/4 inch.

Step 1 Wire the switches to the Arduino
Step 2 Modify the code for your needs ( # of switches and CC#s you want to use
Step 3 Upload the code to the Arduino
Step 4 Flash the bios to make it a universal MIDI device
Step 5 Mount the Arduino board in the pedal

It really is very easy to do. Your pedal has 6 wires connecting the switches. One is the ground, the others are signal. Connect the common wire (ground) to the Arduino ground the other five wires will connect to the “digital” inputs of the Arduino. The code in my example is for four buttons, you can use that as a guide to add the fifth button. The only tricky part is flashing the Arduino bios to make it a bootable MIDI controller. You can assign any MIDI CC# to each of the buttons. I used a few that were not used in the standard controller range. Once you get started if you any have problems, PM me and I’ll help you work it out.
Of course, if you want to send me the pedal and an Arduino Uno, I can build it for you.

where are you from?

You wrote:
“The only tricky part is flashing the Arduino bios to make it a bootable MIDI controller.”
This part I don’t know how to set up. Could you help me?