Have you ever wished you had an expression pedal or foot switch with a direct MIDI output? Beat Bars has introduced the EX3 MIDI expression pedal and FS3 MIDI foot switch. That’s good news for anyone looking for pedals to control their DAW, software synths or other MIDI devices directly.
Last year, Beat Bars released the EX2M and FS2M MIDI adapters for standard expression pedals and foot switches. These handy little boxes let you connect pedals directly to your computer via USB, so you don’t have to go through a keyboard controller or another device anymore. Now, Beat Bars has decided to take it a step further and introduce its own pedals with MIDI and USB outputs: the EX3 and FS3.
Most standard expression pedals have a 1/4″ connector and plug into a keyboard controller, guitar multi-effect or a similar device. But there are times when no device with an expression input is available and you might want a pedal that connects directly via MIDI or USB.
Beat Bars EX3
The Beat Bars EX3 is a stand-alone MIDI/USB expression pedal with a USB port and a 5-pin MIDI output. It is class compliant and works on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. The EX3 can be set to send various types of MIDI data: CC, pitch bend, and poly or channel aftertouch. The pedal can also transmit a MIDI clock signal, whose tempo is controlled by the pedal. With these configuration options, many uses come to mind, like controlling the wah wah effect in a guitar amp simulation or using effects in DJ software. A little utility program for Windows, Mac and Linux lets you set the pedal to what you want it to do.
Beat Bars FS3
The Beat Bars FS3 is a dual MIDI foot switch. Like the EX3, it offers MIDI and USB connections and is powered over USB. The two switches can be configured to perform a variety of tasks. In addition to sending CC, program change or note events, the FS3 can also transmit a MIDI clock signal, with one of the foot switches acting as a tap tempo button. When sending control change data, the buttons support on/off (2 values) or impulse (1 value) modes. For program changes, they can be set to specific program numbers or function as up/down buttons. As with the EX3, a simple utility program allows you to configure the pedal to your needs.
Both the EX3 and FS3 seem like very useful pedals capable of solving a variety of problems. I especially like the clock option. I’ve searched for a stand-alone MIDI clock pedal with a tap tempo option before, to sync the delay of my Microkorg (which famously doesn’t have a tap button). I don’t own the synth anymore, but back at the time, a simple solution like the FS3 would’ve been just what I needed.
Price and availability
Both the EX3 and FS3 are now available to order from the Beat Bars website. The EX3 costs EUR 169.90; the FS3 can be had for EUR 129.90. The company ships world-wide, with free shipping to EU countries.