MIDI Foot Controller
Review by: Scott Kahn
|Features Usability Documentation & Product Support Price Other Comments
Contact Info Overall Rating—Product Summary
The Behringer FCB1010 is a popular product with musicians just stepping up to rack systems. Its attractive price, rugged build quality, and the widespread availability of Behringer products on dealer shelves make it an easy product to pick up at your local musician’s super-store. For rack system “newbies”, and even those of us with more rack programming experience, we found the FCB1010’s programming interface to be extremely challenging to figure out, and it may scare the uninitiated away from using MIDI-controlled rack systems.
On the positive side, if you want to play deep, the FCB1010 will welcome you with open arms. You can program as many as 100 presets to send Continuous Controller (CC) messages (so much for the six or eight CC message limitations with other boards!), and each pedal is capable of performing numerous operations concurrently.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a separate mode of operation that distinguishes between Program Change mode and CC mode, so if you’re making use of multiple CC pedals, you’ll need to more carefully plan out your foot controller implementation. In our Other Comments section, we provide advice on our preferred method of implementing this foot controller in your rack system.
If you’re new to using MIDI foot controllers, we have an in-depth tutorial on the subject that you may wish to read before diving into our foot controller product reviews.
Click here to read our MIDI foot controller tutorial.
With great power comes great responsibility, and in the case of the FCB1010, the responsibility is all yours for explicitly programming every action you require beyond the default Program Change commands. In fact, compared to other MIDI foot controllers we have used at all price points, the FCB1010 required significantly more programming effort. If all you require are simple program changes and use of the expression pedals, the FCB1010 will work fine with minimal configuration effort, but configuring various CC instructions requires a tedious amount of lengthy programming (typically only a one-time ordeal). We configured a pedal to send CC messages so that it could turn an effect block On/Off in one of our processors (a TC Electronic G-Major). This simple function required approximately 15 pedal selections, some simple numeric data entry, and required paying careful attention to status lights across the top of the controller. Setting up multiple pedals to behave in this manner can take an inordinate amount of time and, with so many steps to follow, it’s easy to hit a wrong button and confuse the process. Fortunately, the FCB1010 has a Preset Copy function that enables you to copy one patch to numerous other locations in memory. We recommend that once you configure a single pedal for CC messages, you copy that patch to all the other pedals you want to enable, and then edit each of those and change the CC value.
Documentation and Product Support
The User’s Manual that ships with the FCB1010 is enough to scare the average guitar player. The information is presented in much too compact a form (small text, tight line spacing), making it very hard to follow required programming steps without repeatedly losing your place. “The Quick Guide to Programming” was much easier to follow, but you’ll still need the User’s Manual. Download this handy document from the Behringer web site and read through it prior to tackling the User’s Manual.
We were not able to figure out the actual usability of this foot controller (the lack of a separate/dedicated CC mode, for example) without calling Behringer technical support. On the plus side, their support was excellent (and they had no idea we were calling for a magazine review). We got through to an engineer in only a minute, he answered our questions, and he even emailed me an unofficial support document written by an end-user providing useful tips on programming the FCB1010 for use with our G-Major.
The FCB1010 ($219.99) typically sells for near $150, which is an excellent price if this MIDI foot controller meets your needs.
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