Visual Music Systems

Foot Pedals

Control brightness levels

We use foot pedals to control the master brightness levels of multiple banks of effects, so we need pedals with USB inputs. The Behringer FCB1010 at $149 provides an off-the-shelf solution, with 2 expression pedals plus 10 switches that can assign the pedals to different banks. The FCB1010 generates a USB MIDI output, and our system can accept MIDI controls.

We wanted more pedals, so we eventually switched to using 5 Yamaha FC7 pedals (@$49) which have better precision and adjustability as well as a nicer feel. These are analog pedals, so we had to use an A/D converter with USB output. We tried using cheaper A/D’s, but most of these used the win serial port interface, which is not very reliable – we frequently had to restart the system to reset the Windows USB. We switched to using a Labjack U3-LV ($108) as our A/D and have not had any problems afterward. We bought a cheap ($16) regulated 3VDC supply to provide the reference voltage across the FC7’s potentiometer as the USB 5V supply is noisy.5