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#2887601 - 10/28/17 10:29 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: OB Dave]
OB Dave Offline
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Registered: 04/25/09
Posts: 1165
Loc: San Diego CA, US
Originally Posted By: OB Grave
I should open one of mine up and see if there's a way to get a dual-gang pot in there.

Ok, so the parts came in and I finally got some time to sit down and see if I can hack the Yamaha FC7 expression pedal to make it a dual expression pedal. Short answer is: I was unsuccessful and I suspect itís just not possible with this pedal. You can skip the rest if youíre not interested.

At first glance it shouldnít be too difficult a problem to solve. The Yamaha FC7 uses what appears to be an unremarkable 50k rotary pot with a linear curve. Just need to find a dual gang rotary pot with similar dimensions. How hard can it be? So I found three pots that looked similar - same shaft length with a D-key, etc. They were all 10k, but thatís fine, perhaps even better. Bought one of each. The Alps and Bourns devices I bought were higher quality sealed pots, but the Taiwan Alpha part was most similar physically to the Alps pot that Yamaha uses. None of the three pots I found had lug terminals, but the Alpha part was the largest and I figured the easiest to solder, so thatís what I went with.

I should also point out that after having disassembled and reassembled the FC7 several times now, Iím gaining an even deeper appreciation for how well-engineered this pedal is. A lot of volume pedals use a gear and toothed bar mechanism to translate the pedal motion to a rotational motion to turn a rotary pot. Ernie Ball pedals use a string and spindle thing thatís an enormous pain to restring if you ever have to service the pedal, and both designs put tremendous strain on the pot if they become mis-adjusted. The Yamaha design is quite elegant. The pot is turned by a spring-loaded cam, and pushing down on the pedal turns the cam. Thereís no way for the pot to get rotated beyond its physical limits, and thereís no way it can become misadjusted. You could drive over the thing and youíll break the housing before youíll break the pot. Itís a really good design. No wonder Iíve never had one fail on me.

Anyway, hereís the issue: Yamahaís cam mechanism does not turn the pot through its full rotation, and Yamaha had Alps build them a pot with a special curve to accommodate this. If you connect the pot to an ohmmeter, remove the cam, and turn it through its full rotation, youíll see 50k 50k 50k 50k 50k and once youíve turned it about half of its range, then youíll see it ramp down to 0 ohms. It is a linear taper pot, but the range of the taper has been restricted to only a subset of its full rotation, and theyíve engineered this subset to correspond to the motion of the cam.

At this point I was far enough into it I decided to go ahead and install the dual gang Alpha pot and see if it was gonna be close enough. Aligned the pot so that toe-down got all the way down to 0 ohms resistance like the original Yamaha pot. But in the toe up position, you only get to 5k or 6k. (Remember, this is a 10k pot, so about half its range is inaccessible.) Connected to the Nord, I could see the clav rotary encoder range was reduced to maybe 40-50% of full range, and when used on expression pedal on the Mojo, also only gave you the last portion of the expression pedal range.

So Iím throwing in the towel on this one. The only way to make this work would be to find a dual-gang rotary pot with a linear taper whose range matches that of the original pot. This is clearly a custom part so the odds of that are approximately zero.

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#2887602 - 10/28/17 11:04 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: OB Dave]
Markyboard Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Very interesting Dave. However I wonder how "custom" this pot really is. We've been talking about physical "dead" range with several pedals and it seems this "feature" is built into the pot itself. I'm not sure how these pots are built but I can envision no internal wiper movement until the shaft s turned a certain amount from it physical stops. I wonder if it's a speced parameter? idk I believe this is true for mod wheel and pitch wheel pots as well. Opened my m-audio controller while investigating the center point dead space a while back and came to this conclusion.

Anyway thanks for sharing your insight. How was removal of the old pot? Did you end up irreparably tearing through some of the pedal infrastructure?

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#2887604 - 10/28/17 11:24 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
mate stubb Online   content
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This doesn't surprise me. I remember pots in old wah wah pedals and other gear driven devices that were what we called short throw - they had less mechanical rotation than a standard pot.

I haven't looked closely at one of my FC7s, but is there a point where the cam stops turning the shaft before the physical limit of rotation?

If so, Yamaha probably found that it was cheaper to source a pot with standard rotation params but with a custom resistance track, rather than custom short physical throw. But I'm speculating.
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#2887605 - 10/29/17 12:03 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
OB Dave Offline
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Registered: 04/25/09
Posts: 1165
Loc: San Diego CA, US
Originally Posted By: DarkyLord
However I wonder how "custom" this pot really is.

I would say the answer is "very." I can't think of many applications for a pot that behaves this way.

Originally Posted By: matted stump
I remember pots in old wah wah pedals and other gear driven devices that were what we called short throw - they had less mechanical rotation than a standard pot.

I haven't looked closely at one of my FC7s, but is there a point where the cam stops turning the shaft before the physical limit of rotation?

Yes, exactly. The geometry of the cam mechanism is such that the pot's rotation is limited by the cam, not the pot, so it's impossible to rotate the pot beyond its mechanical limits. If you pop the cam off, you can rotate the pot a full 270 or 300 degrees. Its travel seems like that of a regular pot.

The way these pots are typically made: the phenolic material is impregnated with a carbon stripe whose total resistance is 10k or 50k or whatever the pot resistance is, and the wiper travels the length of the carbon stripe. I am guessing that if you busted this pot open, about half of that stripe is copper, so there's no resistance change for that part of the pot's travel, and then it transitions to carbon for the usable travel of the pot. It was probably cheaper to make a custom pot this way because the one phenolic board is custom and the rest of the pot could be built using standard components.

That said, the alignment pin on this pot was in an odd location rotationally. In order to mount the Alpha pot, i needed to drill a new hole in the plate, oh I dunno, maybe 165 degrees off from where the original hole was.

Opening up the pedal was pretty easy. The one screw sorta in the center of the bottom holds a plate that holds the guts of the thing against the bottom of the part you put your foot on. Loosen that once screw and you can get the guts out. Remove the bolt that serves as the fulcrum, and lift the plastic housing out. It will split into two halves. All the interesting stuff happens in the half where the wire goes. One screw and one bolt pretty much holds the whole thing together.

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#2888776 - 11/06/17 07:11 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 4301
Loc: DE
Originally Posted By: Markyboard
Originally Posted By: DanL

I'd be using it on the Electro. Both the Roland and Electro are supposed to auto sense the polarity. I have a dual Kurz sustain pedal that is backwards and they both sense it when you power up.


For an expression pedal? Not sure how it would know. I'm only aware of auto sense for sustain pedal inputs. But I could be wrong...again mad

(Edit) Now there may be a reverse function setting.


Just to clarify- my Electro did sense the FC7 properly and it worked right out of the box. The pedal response wasn't quite right though, it had a narrow band, but when I changed the setting in the Electro to use the FC7, it responded perfectly over the full sweep of the pedal.
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#2888779 - 11/06/17 07:24 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: DanL]
Markyboard Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Originally Posted By: DanL


Just to clarify- my Electro did sense the FC7 properly and it worked right out of the box. The pedal response wasn't quite right though, it had a narrow band, but when I changed the setting in the Electro to use the FC7, it responded perfectly over the full sweep of the pedal.


What is it "sensing" - that a pedal is present? Since it's just a resistance between 0 and 50k Ohms I'm not sure how it could do anything more then that. idk

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#2888789 - 11/06/17 08:32 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
The Real MC Offline
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Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 5270
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Originally Posted By: Markyboard
Here's my first second attempt at an Expression Pedal Summary. I think it covers most Expression and active CV pedals we've talked about, and then some. It may be somewhat cryptic but hopefully useful in steering folks to pedals compatible with their keyboard of choice. I didn't include price as that info varies and can easily be obtained. I welcome inputs, corrections etc. Also if someone would like to host the next version Excel spreadsheet for me that would be great.

Shared Pedal Summary Ver3


I've been using the Ernie Ball 25K stereo volume pedals. I'm now up to four of them. Smooth action, doesn't tilt over or ride the floor, medium damped travel, accepts TRS stereo I/O which I have adopted as standard in my system.

I could put the summary on my website. I would convert the Excel file to an html table and add your credit.

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#2888822 - 11/06/17 12:34 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 4301
Loc: DE
Originally Posted By: Markyboard
Originally Posted By: DanL


Just to clarify- my Electro did sense the FC7 properly and it worked right out of the box. The pedal response wasn't quite right though, it had a narrow band, but when I changed the setting in the Electro to use the FC7, it responded perfectly over the full sweep of the pedal.


What is it "sensing" - that a pedal is present? Since it's just a resistance between 0 and 50k Ohms I'm not sure how it could do anything more then that. idk


Sensing the polarity- you had mentioned in another comment that you thought the sustain pedals did that but were not sure about expression. Since the Yamaha is wired backwards from other models I wanted to clarify that the Nord did sense it and configure it to work properly.
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#2888923 - 11/07/17 04:25 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: The Real MC]
Markyboard Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Originally Posted By: The Real MC


I've been using the Ernie Ball 25K stereo volume pedals. I'm now up to four of them. Smooth action, doesn't tilt over or ride the floor, medium damped travel, accepts TRS stereo I/O which I have adopted as standard in my system.

I could put the summary on my website. I would convert the Excel file to an html table and add your credit.


I believe the Ernie Ball 25K is strictly a volume pedal and this summary is for expression pedals. It does include pedals that do both so if I got that wrong let me know.

Also thanks very much for the offer to post but this Google Share seems to work really well.

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#2889673 - 11/10/17 08:24 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
paulnajar Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/24/13
Posts: 71
Loc: Sydney Australia
I wanted to weight in on this thread for a couple of reasons. First is to say a sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread making it the valuable resource that it is. For me itís also been very timely having recently busted 2 different old pedals and so I wanted to share my experiences on 2 different new pedals Iíve recently purchased.

The first broken pedal was an old Alesis F2. Very robust but downside is it did have a fair bit of dead travel at the top and bottom of itís physical range. I was using this on my bottom KB which is a Roland RD64.

I had an old Fatar pedal from the 1990ís that I was using on my top KB - a Novation SL MK2 61 that I moved to the Roland and this worked much better than the old Alesis F2 pedal did on the Roland with almost no dead travel.

For the Novation after looking around I purchased a Boss EV-30. It works OK but there is a tiny bit of dead travel. Not a deal breaker.

So that all happened about 6 weeks ago. Last weekend I broke the old Fatar pedal at a gig. Simply the plastic pedal upper just snapped. After reading through this thread and looking around again I purchased a Moog EP-3. This pedal works brilliantly on the Roland with absolutely no dead travel and a very smooth response.

Whatís interesting is if I swap the two pedals and plug the Moog in the Novation and the Boss into the Roland - neither pedal performs as well and both end up having increased dead travel. I see that as strange particularly for the Boss plugged into the Roland given theyíre the same company. Also both keyboards expect a 10K pedal.

So the Moog EP-3 was about 30% cheaper than the Boss EV-30 and is a far superior performing pedal and I wish I had 2 of them.

Kind regards
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#2889675 - 11/10/17 08:46 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: paulnajar]
Markay Offline
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Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 3113
Loc: Australia
Paul, glad someone else has noticed the dead travel issue and the difference in observed response that the same pedal has plugged into different, but technically identical, boards.

I had formed the opinion that most considered an expression pedal to "work" if it went from soft to loud during its travel without regard to what happened over the full arc of travel.
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#2889678 - 11/10/17 09:20 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markay]
Bill Spencer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 334
Loc: Northern California
What strikes me about this whole thread is how ridiculous it is that itís this hard to find a pedsl to work with a given keyboard. It would be very nice if manufacturers could agree on some sort of standard, much like they did with MIDI, to alleviate this unnecessary complication.

Yamahaís implementation of a Ďsecondí pedal is particularly annoying because if you program a patch to work with the pedal and then donít use the pedal, It acts as if the pedal is all the way on. Thatís the way you want an expression or volume pedal to work, but completely opposite the way a Ďpedal controllerí should work. I just donít get the logic.

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#2894784 - 12/08/17 11:14 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: mate stubb]
zxcvbnm098 Offline
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Registered: 12/02/05
Posts: 1342
Loc: Southern Calif.
Originally Posted By: mate stubb
Will do.


Moe, did you ever get this? I've been thinking about these lately...

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#2894787 - 12/09/17 12:29 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: zxcvbnm098]
mate stubb Online   content
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Originally Posted By: zxcvbnm098
Originally Posted By: mate stubb
Will do.


Moe, did you ever get this? I've been thinking about these lately...


No. Been on his list for awhile, haven't heard anything.
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#2898328 - 12/28/17 11:04 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Bill Spencer]
Spider76 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/01/13
Posts: 431
Originally Posted By: Bill Spencer
What strikes me about this whole thread is how ridiculous it is that itís this hard to find a pedsl to work with a given keyboard.


This. I've been trying to get any pedal to work with my KARP Odyssey, but no way. The website says the Korg XVP-20 will work, but it's really expensive and I dont own other Korg synths, so I'm afraid it could be a one-trick pony I will use only with the Oddy.
Any hints?

Apart from this, a few considerations:

1- THANKS for the topic!

2- can we make this and the "keyboard action list" topics stickies? I think they're very useful general reference topics.

3- we could add to the pedal description size, weight and travel. All are quite useful practical info. I'll start with what I found (or measured):

BRAND /MODEL /Size mm (LxWxH) /Weigth(g) /Throw(į)

BOSS
/FV-500L /289x110x72 /1600
/EV-30 /192x80x58 /780 /Short(17į)

EHX
/Exp Pedal /252x87x76
/Dual Exp Pedal /252x87x76
/Next Step Expression

Korg
/EXP-2 /200x87x91 /460
/XVP-10 /300x114x69 /1450
/XVP-20 /268x90x62 /1300
/DS-1H

Mission Eng
/EP-1 /251x99x76 /1430
/EP-25K /251x99x76 /1430
/EP-25- Pro Aero /279x101x76 /770

Moog
/EP-3 /1180

Pigtronix
/Dual Expression Pedal /254x102x64 /1600

Quiklok
VP-26U /200x84x58 /630 /Short(15į)

Roland
/EV-5 /200x86x54 /400

Source Audio
/Dual Expression Pedal /254x102x76
/Reflex Universal Controller /267x95x70 /1000

Yamaha
/FC7 /250x116x58 /1300 /Long(30į)



I would also add to the list the EHX Next Gen Expression Pedal, which is weird because it has no mechanical moving parts (no pots!) and also doubles as an active CV pedal.

(sorry for the messy list, can't find a way to make tabs work!)

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#2898479 - 12/29/17 07:32 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Spider76]
Markyboard Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Spider76
Originally Posted By: Bill Spencer
What strikes me about this whole thread is how ridiculous it is that itís this hard to find a pedsl to work with a given keyboard.


This. I've been trying to get any pedal to work with my KARP Odyssey, but no way. The website says the Korg XVP-20 will work, but it's really expensive and I dont own other Korg synths, so I'm afraid it could be a one-trick pony I will use only with the Oddy.
Any hints?



Hi- Per the manual

PEDAL jack
Connect an optional (separately sold) volume pedal here. Youíll also use this jack when connecting the SQ-1 (sequencer) to control the ARP ODYSSEY.



Under the specs at the bottom the options show VP-10, although I'm sure many volume type pedals will work. Note that this is not an Expression pedal input found on most modern synths/keyboards.



Originally Posted By: Spider76

Apart from this, a few considerations:


2- can we make this and the "keyboard action list" topics stickies? I think they're very useful general reference topics.



Several have requested this and other threads be made stickies. I believe the intent of stickies is for forum guidance, not specific subjects.

Originally Posted By: Spider76

3- we could add to the pedal description size, weight and travel. All are quite useful practical info.

I'll give it a shot but it may be a while. Imo most people aren't looking to compare size and weight, but what do I know? The throw angle has been suggested but I think the specific data is limited. Still good idea though - thanks!


I think a higher priority is to include keyboard/compatibility with each pedal which is also a lot of work, but i plan to attempt to tackle this soon.




Originally Posted By: Spider76

I would also add to the list the EHX Next Gen Expression Pedal, which is weird because it has no mechanical moving parts (no pots!) and also doubles as an active CV pedal.


Will do.

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#2898883 - 01/01/18 04:42 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
Spider76 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/01/13
Posts: 431
Originally Posted By: Markyboard

I'll give it a shot but it may be a while. Imo most people aren't looking to compare size and weight, but what do I know? The throw angle has been suggested but I think the specific data is limited. Still good idea though - thanks!


I think a higher priority is to include keyboard/compatibility with each pedal which is also a lot of work, but i plan to attempt to tackle this soon.


I think size and weight are useful because these are practical features that can make a difference for the gigging musician (space taken up on a pedalboard, weight to carry around). Also, usually (not always) bigger and heavier pedals have a longer throw and better build quality.

As to size, weight and throw angle, I measured the ones I own (Yamaha FC7, Boss EV30 and QuikLok VP26U) so I can confirm these data are precise.
Hopefully somebody else can chime in on other models.

As to compatibility, it's absolutely a need given how much variability there is, and how difficult it is to find a pedal that properly works with different brands and models.

I think the best thing would be if members reported their own experiences, and we collected them all on this topic.


Side question: does the Moog EP-3 have a cam or a string? I plan on getting one but I HATE strings, they look so cheap and fragile to me. I found pics online of Moog pedals both with strings or cams, both advertized as the EP-3...can anybody clarify? Thanks!

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#2898893 - 01/01/18 07:01 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Spider76]
Markyboard Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Spider76

Hopefully somebody else can chime in on other models,
I think the best thing would be if members reported their own experiences, and we collected them all on this topic.


Yup - exactly what we've been doing thus far. Personally I just need a bit more time before I focus on this again.

Originally Posted By: Spider76

Side question: does the Moog EP-3 have a cam or a string? I plan on getting one but I HATE strings, they look so cheap and fragile to me. I found pics online of Moog pedals both with strings or cams, both advertized as the EP-3...can anybody clarify? Thanks!


No string per these EP-3 Comments on Moog Forum

Btw I did add the EHX pedals.


Edited by Markyboard (01/01/18 07:02 AM)

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#2898910 - 01/01/18 08:23 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Markyboard]
Marzzz Offline
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Registered: 11/24/00
Posts: 2557
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: Markyboard
I believe the Ernie Ball 25K is strictly a volume pedal and this summary is for expression pedals. It does include pedals that do both so if I got that wrong let me know.

Hans Tobeason (Eddie Jobson's keyboard tech) converted Ernie Ball Volume pedals into continuous MIDI controllers expression pedals.



He got back to me quickly on this:

I converted the Ernie Ball pedals by swapping out the logarithmic taper potentiometers for 25K linear taper, then rewiring one of the 1/4 TRS jacks on the back (I removed the extraneous jacks). It was a bit of a kludge, since the new pot shafts weren't metric size, so I had to ream out the pulleys. And the new pots weren't quite as good quality as the originals, since I couldn't source the same manufacturer (I used Honeywell 10% pots - Mouser part #785-380C125K). But they seem to be working!

That EB pedal has, I believe, logarithmic taper potentiometers - all volume pedals do - and that won't work as a expression pedal, which needs a linear taper pot. The trick with expression pedals is to get the circuit right - <http://www.strymon.net/2010/07/12/strymon-tech-corner-1-anatomy-of-an-expression-pedal/>. I just happened to use a 25K pot - it doesn't really matter. But it has to be linear - <http://www.strymon.net/tag/expression-pedal/> - read down a bit for the linear/log bit.


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#2906395 - 02/01/18 12:37 PM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: Marzzz]
brenner13 Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 1118
Loc: Kansas
Whoa, ho, HO! Just got my Studiologic FP/50 and it is fantastic. Only got to spend about 5 minutes with it plugged into the Numa Compact2, and only adjusting the swell of the strings layered over piano, but it offers a very long and smooth throw. Straight TRS cable is attached, but seems very quality. Anxious to try it on other boards to see how it works with other brands (ROLAND).
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#2907116 - 02/04/18 11:12 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: brenner13]
brenner13 Offline
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Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 1118
Loc: Kansas
Nope! Silly Roland still requires the out-of-production Ashby adapter for the fantastic Studiologic FP/50 expression pedal to work on the VR09. It works wonderfully on every other keyboard I've tried. Strange.
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#2909269 - 02/13/18 09:33 AM Re: Expression Pedal Summary [Re: brenner13]
Markyboard Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 6106
Loc: Springfield, Virginia
As promised....I've updated the spreadsheet with compatibility info (note the Expression Interface column header) and I also added columns for dimensions & weight and angle as requested. There's not much angle info published so feel free to post specifics.

Regarding compatibility I'm making the assumption along with some recent test confirmation that this is by make and not my model. In other words each manufacturer will design their expression input interface to expect the wiper on the tip or the ring for all their products. If you know of any exceptions we can call them out separately.

And as a reminder and reconfirmed during my testing, a pedal's pot value of 10K, 25K or 50K does not matter. There's a lot of mis-information on the internet with people making the wrong assumption why their pedal doesn't work with a given keyboard.

It comes down to 2 types of expression pedals - the ones that work out of the box and the ones you need to reverse the polarity (tip/ring) on. If there are exceptions (and there might be) feel free to bring it up.

Shared Pedal Summary

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