Sustain pedal + expression pedal inputs to keyboard

Luka

Member
Hi,
I want to buy a sustain pedal and an expression pedal, but both are to be connected with the "sustain" port on my M-Audio keyboard. Yet, I only have one "sustain" port. The other option would be the MIDI port. Is there a sustain to midi port converter that exists?
Or is there a way to plug the expression pedal directly to the computer maybe? If so, I would need "sustain to USB" type of thing?

Thank you!
 

Stringtree

Active Member
Hey Luka,

The sustain pedal is a switch. It is either on or off.

The expression pedal is a continuous controller, or CC. It sweeps through a range of 0 - 127.

So a way around this is to have another MIDI device in your system that has a wheel or expression pedal input, and simply allow tracks to accept MIDI input from all the devices. Merging your pedal input with the CC is no big deal. This could be a cheap keyboard with wheel or volume pedal input.

The sustain pedal input is not going to accept CC input. It's an on-or-off thing.

Works for me; hope it does for you.

Greg
 
OP
Luka

Luka

Member
Hey Luka,

The sustain pedal is a switch. It is either on or off.

The expression pedal is a continuous controller, or CC. It sweeps through a range of 0 - 127.

So a way around this is to have another MIDI device in your system that has a wheel or expression pedal input, and simply allow tracks to accept MIDI input from all the devices. Merging your pedal input with the CC is no big deal. This could be a cheap keyboard with wheel or volume pedal input.

The sustain pedal input is not going to accept CC input. It's an on-or-off thing.

Works for me; hope it does for you.

Greg
So you're saying I would absolutely have to buy another (cheap) keyboard in order to have two pedals?! There must be a way to connect two pedals through one keyboard no? Or directly to the computer?
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Dunno ?? ..... but older M-Audio Axiom Pro61 & newer NI KK S49 keyboards have both Sustain pedal and Expression pedal jacks. No clue which other models only have one jack .....
 
OP
Luka

Luka

Member
Dunno ?? ..... but older M-Audio Axiom Pro61 & newer NI KK S49 keyboards BOTH have Sustain pedal and Expression pedal jacks. No clue which models only have one jack .....
I have a Sustain jack and a MIDI jack. But the pedals come with the sustain jack. I'd like to have it go to the MIDI?
 

Stringtree

Active Member
I'm not saying I have all the answers, just a cheap answer.

If your MIDI jack on that keyboard is a MIDI Out, there's no way to get that smooth analog In Expression control turned into MIDI data. There's no MIDI In on the M-Audio.

You are probably using the M-Audio as a USB MIDI keyboard, no?

So if the keyboard doesn't accept additional MIDI data (Expression in and merge), then another cheap way to do it is to have another keyboard with the Expression or Volume pedal input, assign both of them to the same DAW channel, and let the software merge them.

More expensive M-Audio keyboards will have two jacks. One accepts On/Off sustain pedal input, and the other accepts CC input from an external potentiometer and creates digital MIDI data out of the sweep between values. It comes down to cash.

I was faced with the same problem, and just adding another USB-input MIDI device with this CC functionality solved the problem.

Greg
 
OP
Luka

Luka

Member
I'm not saying I have all the answers, just a cheap answer.

If your MIDI jack on that keyboard is a MIDI Out, there's no way to get that smooth analog In Expression control turned into MIDI data. There's no MIDI In on the M-Audio.

You are probably using the M-Audio as a USB MIDI keyboard, no?

So if the keyboard doesn't accept additional MIDI data (Expression in and merge), then another cheap way to do it is to have another keyboard with the Expression or Volume pedal input, assign both of them to the same DAW channel, and let the software merge them.

More expensive M-Audio keyboards will have two jacks. One accepts On/Off sustain pedal input, and the other accepts CC input from an external potentiometer and creates digital MIDI data out of the sweep between values. It comes down to cash.

I was faced with the same problem, and just adding another USB-input MIDI device with this CC functionality solved the problem.

Greg
Oh! So my Keystation 61 Mk3 probably can't even get CC information other than On/Off !?
How can I check to make sure?
 

Stringtree

Active Member
If you look at the end of a Sustain pedal, it has two metal contacts separated by an insulator. This is a switch.

If you look at the end of an Expression or Volume pedal, there are three, separated by two insulating plastic pieces.

So electrically, these need to be mated to corresponding receiving pieces inside the jacks in order to work properly. The wiring needs to match up in order to work.

It's the difference between TS (tip-sleeve) and TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) that allows a circuit inside to perform the proper function.

So in fact, if you plug a damper pedal (sustain) into a TRS receiver, what will happen? It all depends on the electonic circuit that's behind the wall, but it may be that voltage is sent out of that jack to interface with a resistive device (an Expression or Volume pedal) and may short out the sender inside the keyboard.

I looked up some junk on the usual suppliers' websites, and what I found was over $149. So getting something with a proper input and merging it is still what I'd do.

Orrrrr... You could get an M-Audio with a proper Volume or Expression pedal input and call it a day.

Greg
 

Stringtree

Active Member
I just checked the manual. A "momentary contact" input device that is attached to the Sustain input is a switch, so it cannot accept sweeping data via a footpedal.

But you do have a modwheel.

Greg
 
OP
Luka

Luka

Member
I just checked the manual. A "momentary contact" input device that is attached to the Sustain input is a switch, so it cannot accept sweeping data via a footpedal.

But you do have a modwheel.

Greg
Thank you very much for all your answers!
Very appreciated!
 

Stringtree

Active Member
Luka,

Happy to be of any help. There are all sorts of solutions:


and a lot of people use USB devices to control all sorts of parameters.

But a keyboard lacking a CC input is sort of not able to generate or accept sweeping CC data. Your MIDI port is MIDI Out only, so it's stuck that way.

As long as you have a pedal that works as an input into some input device (cheapass keyboard), your DAW will be able to assign this as any parameter, like volume, expression, whatever.

Hope you find happiness making music!

Greg