The Top MIDI Foot Controllers You Should Consider

As a performer, you have a lot going on every time you take the stage. Not only do you have to play your instrument, sing your parts, and remember all of the lyrics and chords, but you’re triggering click tracks, backing tracks, turning pages on your tablet, and more! Luckily, there are some incredible, floor-based MIDI controllers that will handle it all with a tap of your toe. 

A glance through any online music gear retailer’s website - we love Sweetwater by the way - and you’ll find incredible options that excel at everything from controlling sheet music apps to making on-the-fly changes in your favorite virtual instrument software. But with so many options, how do you know which one is for you? 

As performing musicians, worship leaders, and gear junkies ourselves, we suffer from the same options paralysis you sometimes do. So we decided to put together this list of our nine favorite MIDI foot controllers. Give it a read. We think it will help you find the perfect controller for your chosen software and apps.

1: Looptimus

Connectivity: 5-pin MIDI, USB
Price: $299

Loop’s Looptimus 9-switch MIDI foot controller is extremely powerful and effortlessly interacts with any midi-mappable music software, such as Prime and Ableton Live to send MIDI notes to trigger tracks, clicks, or samples. And there are plenty of MIDI commands on demand with 20 banks of six. But our favorite part of Looptimus is that this 5-Pin MIDI foot controller is, like our very own STOMP Bluetooth 4.0 app controller pedal, is made right here in the US, and made to last with rugged powder-coated aluminum chassis. 

2: Behringer MIDI Foot Controller FCB1010

Connectivity: 5-pin MIDI
Price: $149

The FCB1010 needs no introduction. It has long been a favorite of musicians across the world for its simplicity, wide variety of uses, and its wallet-friendly price. With its ten banks of ten presets each, it offers plenty of instant access to MIDI program change commands. But there is no denying that thanks to the dual expression pedals, it is geared toward the electric guitarists among us. That said, those pedals as assignable as the others. So get creative. You might find having the extra control of your tracks inspiring. 

3: Keith McMillen Instruments SoftStep 2

Connectivity: USB, (5-pin MIDI available with optional MIDI expander)
Price: $319

To musicians on the go, the Keith McMillen Instruments SoftStep 2 USB MIDI controller is the clear winner. Everything you demand in a powerful, floor-based MIDI controller is present and accounted for, including ten instant-recall footswitches, the ability to be optimized for most popular software, and an astounding amount of programming options. But thanks to the SoftStep 2’s rubber, fabric, and carbon fiber construction, it is nearly indestructible. And did we mention that it still comes in at only 1.3 lbs.? If there are any drawbacks at all, they would be the sometimes-overwhelming amount of programming options and the fact you need the optional MIDI expander to access the full 5-pin MIDI option.

4: MeloAudio MIDI Commander

Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI
Price: $149

The MeloAudio MIDI Commander is a fantastic option for instrumentalists who want powerful, instant control over their MIDI-based rigs, amp-modeling soft/hardware, or programmable effects setups. It even sports eight host presets, including Positive Grid’s JamUp and BIAS FX, Axe-Fx, Kemper, and more. Admittedly, the MIDI Commander is built for guitarists. But this compact and intuitive pedal can easily be programmed for a whole lot more. 

5: IK Multimedia iRig Blueboard

Connectivity: Bluetooth
Price: $99

The iRig Blueboard has been around a while and although the iRig is technically a competitor of our own STOMP Bluetooth Page Turner, we figured it deserves a mention because it has some helpful (although limited) MIDI capabilities. IK Multimedia has been a leader in the virtual instrument and software-based amp modeling game for a long time. Since none of us are going to lean over to click to a new preset on our laptop mid-song, IK dropped this little powerhouse, giving us the ease of use enjoyed by hardware guitar rigs. And the iRig Blueboard connects to your computer, tablet, or smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless freedom. While it’s not the pedal for all applications, it's great for simple MIDI program changes.

6: Disaster Area Designs MIDI Baby

Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI
Price: $89.99

Disaster Area Designs calls their MIDI Baby, “the smallest fully-programmable MIDI controller ever made.” Take one look at this adorable little guy, and we think you’ll agree. With a single footswitch, a multi-color LED, and a battle-ready metal enclosure, it’s a simple and effective way to run your rig. But don’t let the small size fool you. Fire up the company’s web configuration tool, and you’ll find there’s not much the MIDI Baby can’t do. While this may not be the perfect option for complicated performances, it’s an answered prayer for artists with more straightforward needs.

7: Morningstar MC6 MKII

Connectivity: USB, 6- & 7-pin MIDI
$229

The Morningstar MC6 MKII takes some of the most wide-ranging control on this list, adds it to surprising ease of use, USB and MIDI connectivity, and road-worthy reliability. If that were it, it would be enough to make the list. Regardless if you’re sending commands to a Line 6 Helix Rack or triggering a light show, the MC6 MKII can handle it. And because it crams all of this into a pedalboard-friendly and app-programmable package, it quickly rises to the top of many musicians’ lists. 

8: DAeLECTRONICS iCtrl-R mini

Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI
Price: $215

When it comes to signal routing, the DAeLELECTRONICS iCtrl-R mini takes the cake. While not the most flexible option, the iCtrl-R mini can send MIDI control over Bluetooth 4.0, USB, via the MIDI out, or all of them at the same time. If you need to make a lot happen but simplicity is your game, you might want to check this one out. And with similar construction to our STOMP, we know this controlled can be counted on for a long time to come.

9: Source Audio Soleman

Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI
Price: $249

Source Audio has long been taking the effects pedal world by storm with their forward-thinking digital designs. And now they’ve turned their sights to MIDI foot controllers. The Soleman is the outcome of their efforts, and it is among the most powerful options on this list. While it specializes in wringing the most from such powerful pedals as their Nemesis Delay, the Eventide H9, and the incredibly popular Strymon line up, the Soleman will easily take control over your VSTs, page-turning apps, and performance software programs.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many option when choosing a MIDI controller. Our recommendation is to consider 3 things above all: application/context, easy of use/editing, and price. Maybe you need simple (and single) patch changes on your Helix Stomp, in which case the MIDI Baby could prove to be a great option. Or maybe you need to be able to configure lots of MIDI options for your Strymon Timeline, in which case we love the Morningstar MC6 because of it's easy to use MIDI editor. Or maybe you're on a tight budget and need multiple switches for under $100. If so, you might choose the iRig BlueBoard. We'd love to hear your thoughts on MIDI controllers. Hit us up in our live chat or leave a note on Facebook/Instagram.