Which MIDI Foot Controller for Ableton Live

Navigating the world of MIDI foot controller for Ableton Live can be both exciting and daunting, with a variety of options catering to various needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore different MIDI foot pedals, ranging from budget-friendly to advanced options, considering factors such as build quality, usability, and size differences. Whether you’re a DJ, performer, or producer, finding the right MIDI foot pedal can significantly enhance your Ableton Live experience.

MP-100 with Ableton Live
fcb 1010 ableton foot controller
Nektar Pacer with Ableton Live advanced MIDI control plug in

What are the criterias to decide on a foot controller for Ableton Live: A Comprehensive Breakdown

You should ask yourself the following questions to decide on a foot controller for Ableton Live:

  • Do you want to travel and tour with the foot controller and need to take weight and size into account?
  • What is the minimum amount of stomps and buttons you will need?
  • How stable should the controller sit on the floor?
  • Do you need your controller to be connected via long distances?
  • What connections does the controller offer for power and MIDI?

1. Budget-Friendly and Portable: M-Wave Chocolate

For those on a budget, the M-Wavee Chocolate is an excellent entry point, priced as low as 30 Euros. Its compact design and portability make it ideal for travelers, connecting via USB-C and accommodating an optional expression pedal. Though limited to four buttons, it’s a cost-effective solution for those looking for simplicity or a backup controller. You can download a free editor app for the M-Wave Chocolate which needs to be installed on a smartphone. The M-Wave is not only suitable as a foot controller for Ableton Live but can be used with hands quite well. You can customise your Ableton Live set control via combining the M Wave Chocolate with the Advanced Control Buttons Max for Live device.

Connections: USB-C (Power+MIDI) + Bluetooth (MIDI) + 1 Expression Pedal Input

Pros: Price + perfect if you need (very) small

Cons: might slip without additional fixing to floor (e.g. velcro)

Advanced MIDI Control for Ableton Live for Buttons

2. Striking the Balance: MP 100 (/Meloaudio MIDI Commander)

Update: The MP 100 is currently not available to buy at Thomann but you might be able to find one 2nd hand on the common known platforms.

Stepping up in both price and functionality, the MP-100 comes in at 119 Euros. With eight buttons and the option for two expression pedals, it strikes a balance between affordability and versatility. The MP-100 programming unfortunately isn’t intuitive but for seamless Ableton Live integration it can be used with the MP-100 Max for Live Control device, offering preset navigation capabilities, making it suitable for live performances. However, users should be mindful of the slightly tight button spacing.

Connections: USB (Power+MIDI) + 5-Pin MIDI Out + 2 Expression Pedal Inputs

Pros: Led display which shows the number of selected preset

Cons: slightly tight button spacing

MP-100 with Ableton Live

3. Mid-Range Excellence: Behringer FCB 1010

In the mid-range category, the FCB 1010 offers expanded functionality at 155 Euros. Boasting 2 built-in expression pedals, quieter operation, and additional button spacing, it’s an attractive choice for those seeking stability on the floor. The FCB 1010 provides a reliable and feature-rich MIDI foot pedal for Ableton Live without a hefty price tag. Again onboard editing is not made for people starting out with MIDI but a Max for Live solution for the FCB 1010 is available here.

Connections: Cold Appliance Plug (Power) + 5-Pin MIDI In + Out/Through + 2 switch sockets, e.g. for channel switching of a guitar amplifier

Pros: Inbuilt Expression Pedals

Cons: precision of values from the Expression Pedals

fcb1010 with Ableton Live set up guide

4. Premium Flexibility: Nektar Pacer

At the premium end, the Nektar Pacer stands out with a price tag of 205 Euros. This MIDI foot pedal offers superior build quality, customizable LED colors, and extensive connectivity options. With USB and DC adapter power possibilities, it provides flexibility for integration into various setups. While lacking a software editor, third-party solution is available. It offers an Ableton Live preset which unfortunately doesn’t make this a foot controller for Ableton Live out of the box for most uses cases BUT a Max for Live solution offers advanced customization options which on the same time are easy to set up.

Connections: USB (Power+MIDI) + alternative DC power + 5-Pin MIDI Out + 2×2 switch sockets + 2×2 relay sockets + 2 Expression pedal Inputs

Pros: Built-Quality and weight in perfect balance + edit-able LED lights (with limits)

Cons: Editor Software only from 3rd party + encoder dial needs disabling

Nektar Pacer with Ableton Live advanced MIDI control plug in

Conclusion: Making an Informed Decision

Choosing the right MIDI foot pedal for Ableton Live depends on your specific requirements and preferences. If portability and affordability are key, the M-Wave Chocolate is an excellent starting point. For a balanced solution, the MP100 offers versatility. The FCB 1010 caters to those prioritizing built-in expression pedals and stable floor placement, while the Nektar Pacer stands as the premium choice for ultimate flexibility and performance.

Consider factors such as portability, build quality, and the level of customization needed for your unique use case. Each MIDI foot pedal discussed here has its strengths, and the decision ultimately rests on your preferences.

MIDI foot controller for Ableton Live Customisation

Enter the realm of Max for Live devices, powerful tools that transcend the inherent quirks of MIDI foot pedal editing. Specifically tailored by AbletonDrummer.com, these Max for Live devices, such as those designed for the MP100, FCB 1010, and The Nektar Pacer, offer transformative advantages in real-world scenarios. Picture this: you’re seamlessly navigating between presets during a live performance with the MP100, effortlessly controlling tracks, metronomes, and even engaging in live looping. With the FCB 1010, imagine the ease of mapping expression pedals and swiftly changing presets without delving into intricate editing. The Nektar Pacer, coupled with its Max for Live device, becomes a powerhouse, allowing you to design an expressive, color-coded pedal layout for precise control over various effects and presets. These Max for Live devices not only simplify complex editing but unlock a new level of intuitive and personalized control, enhancing the overall functionality of MIDI foot pedals in your Ableton Live experience.

MP-100 foot controller for Ableton Live
fcb1010 with Ableton Live set up guide
Nektar Pacer with Ableton Live advanced MIDI control plug in and ableton foot controller

Nektar Pacer at Thomann

Behringer FCB 1010 at Thomann

MP 100 at Thomann unfortunately this controller is discontinued and no longer available at Thomann.

Those are affiliates links and if you buy via using those links I will get a few points/% from Thomann)

M Wave Chocolate at Amazon

This is an affiliate Link and If you are using this link to buy on Amazon I will get some percentage from that purchase via Amazon.

More resources for MIDI Controller and Ableton Looping

If you are looking for general infos on setting up a MIDI Controller with Ableton Live – then follow this link.

Here you will find an advanced looper plugin which lets you set up live looping in Ableton Live.

How to live loop Ableton