Quick Hit: Keith McMillen Instruments Soft Step 2 MIDI Foot Controller
Digital guitarists cheered when Keith McMillen Instruments introduced the original SoftStep in 2011. Until then, players seeking foot control for software amps and effects had to contend with large, clunky controllers, usually requiring MIDI-to-USB adapters.
The featherweight SoftStep connected directly to a computer’s USB port. Its carbon-fiber construction and 14 “beer-proof” soft-rubber switches provided real-time control in a portable, powerful, and remarkably rugged package. You could use it in easy plug-and-play mode, or tweak KMI’s dedicated software, which can perform tricks like assigning up to six gestures to a single switch. (Example: You might program a footswitch so that tapping it activates a virtual wah pedal, pressing and releasing controls the sweep, and rocking left to right regulates bandwidth.)
The new SoftStep 2 replaces the original’s rectangular switches with ones shaped like plus signs, making it easier for guitarists without formal ballet training to execute those multi-gestural moves. Other refinements: faster response, brighter lights, and revised Mac/PC software.
Test Gear:“Parts” guitar with Fishman TriplePlay MIDI pickup, MacBook Pro, Apple MainStage software, various plug-ins.