Midi Expression Pedal recommendations

That’s $260 here in the US. I think I paid $400 for the Dwarf. To have to pay that much for an otherwise $70 pedal because there’s no regular port on the Dwarf is simply ridiculous.
I’m waiting on delivery for the Doremidi Midi pedal converter that’s available for $40 USD.
But thanks for the suggestion.

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Once the doremidi arrives try the Nektar Expression pedals - I use them alot. Super cheap and a nicer feel than the Roland EV5. They are pretty sturdy too, even though they are plastic - which in all fairness most pedals are.

Totally agree with your other post by the way about re inventing the wheel…pointless.


WOW! $20 at Musicians Friend!

yeah thats why I have a few!

Not Mission quality but you can lots and lots for same price ; )


Thanks for the hot tip!

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Honestly, my hunch is that this omission of the expression pedal port is either an oversight or they figured it was a way for them to sell an overly complicated expression pedal festooned with features that we may never find a use for. They announced the new expression pedal in 2019 and they still haven’t managed to release it in 2022.

What really irks me that they kept telling me, “Oh, it’s simple. Just build an Arduino device for the expression pedal.” They actually assume that anybody should be able to do that!! :rage::rage:
The simple fact of the matter is, it’s 2022 - **NOBODY ** should have to do that even if they could.

I’m sorry but this subject really makes my blood boil.

Why get a dwarf in the first place, when the lack of an expression pedal port upsets you so much? I think it’s totally legit to critisice this, but to let it out on the developers and assuming that some plan of selling something due to the lack of an exp port seems a bit unfair to me…


hey @Austin73
That’s a cool device you post there.
I wan’t aware this existed and I believe this could solve a lot of different issues for other people out there.

Now that I think of it:
I have an old volume/wah I got somewhere in a trade but never used. You think there would be a way to combine a volume pedal in such a way it can become a midi expresson pedal?

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For others with the same problem:

You may try a box that converts Expression voltage to USB, such as AudioFront units (1 to 4 expression inputs), Beatbars Expression to midi (they also have an unit for expression and switch), as well as the aforementioned Doremidi. Some are externally powered and others work with the +5V of the USB port.

There are a few expression pedals with USB outputs, the most recent being the Boss EV-1 wireless, Eowave’s USB Pedal, but these will always be in the 130 EUR / 150 USD price range. (Other than @broupe’s Lehle, of course. Lehle gear, costly as they might be, is just fantastic.)

You may employ a device that turns expression data directly into MIDI data, such as Midi Solutions Pedal Controller. This might be the solution that’s least prone to fail, since you don’t have to deal with possible low voltages at the USB port of your device.

Finally, for the tinkerers, it’s possible to DIY your way out of this.

Please do.

With such a small form factor and all of its other features, my guess – please notice: guess, educated and non-compromised – is that the circuitry for enabling an expression port and its required power (plus the space it would take) prompted MOD to make a choice. They have chosen 2 possible inputs for expression pedals, either via USB midi or DIN midi. Those inputs serve also a multitude of purposes, as opposed to the expression jack. (For the Duo X, MOD found a clever way to use the same jack for expression and CV.)

Sure, come think of it, a teensy board can provide expression connectivity, but that takes space and will require some software layer to operate properly. The 5V line required for the expression pedal to work has to be isolated from the remainder of the circuitry so it doesn’t produce unwanted results. The Blue Chip Axon back in the 90s employed 2 pins of the Midi-Thru connector to output audio, but later they realised it created undue interference with the midi stream, so they dropped that approach to implement 2 output jacks. The immediate consequence was to become a full-sized rack unit, as opposed to the half-sized unit before it.

Please notice that I am not defending MOD or justifying their approach. It is in my opinion highly unlikely that a company would forgo something in high demand just for the sake of selling a proprietary unit that they haven’t produced in a long time. The MOD footswitch was created along with the original Mod Duo, which had only 2 of them. Then, we must consider that bigger companies tried that approach in the past and failed miserably, Vox amps and their evil foot units being a good example.


Ok. Let’s talk about that space requirement. I haven’t opened up the Dwarf yet so I’m not sure how much space there is along the sides of the unit with relation to its insides and how a 1/4” connector on its side might impact the circuitry.

Even if they kept it on the same plane as the rest of the other connectors, the one connector that is not as important on this device as the others is the headphone connector. They could have used that 3.5mm connector instead of a regular 1/4” connector for the expression pedal. It’s not a big deal to get a TRS cable that has the appropriate connector on each end. It’s a pedal and most devices in this form factor do not have a headphone output so it wouldn’t be missed.

What set me off was the nonchalant, “Oh it’s easy. Anybody can do it”, manner that Mod Devices as well as others here suggested building an Arduino device to get around the issue. As if that shouldn’t be a problem at all. It felt dismissive and flippant.

There’s a pattern here for me and that is that the Dwarf, as supremely capable and flexible as it is, sacrifices the more basic aspects for that flexibility. This prevalent theme extends to the software as well. All the tools are there for the really advanced procedures but something as basic as drag and drop reorganizing of the pedalboards, nope.

Don’t worry. I’m going to shut up about this and live with the Dwarf and its “janky” cobbled together feel, random crashes and disconnects and just hope that maybe someday some kind of improvement will be made to the UI at least. From now on, every time I get frustrated with it I will remind myself that I’m a spoiled brat who got far too used to the experience that products from the likes of Line6, Boss, Zoom, Fender, Yamaha, Vox, Korg and Digitech provided me. Yes, I’ve owned at least one product from each of those companies. No, none of their products can compare to the Dwarf but at least none of them ignored the basic necessities and for me this is where the Dwarf fails spectacularly.

I will refrain from posting on this forum unless absolutely necessary. You won’t have to defend the Dwarf’s honor from the likes of me anymore.

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I couldn’t disagree more with this statement. For me, lacking a headphone out would be a much more severe oversight than the expression input, considering there are three other ways to get expression control into the device.

That said, I’ve not yet purchased my Dwarf, so it’s good to hear your grievances. I’m still considering other options, BUT:

No, none of their products can compare to the Dwarf

The fact that you said this amidst all of your angst kind of sells me on the Dwarf.

I’ve installed MODEP on a Pi to test out the idea, and even though it’s 2 years old, doesn’t include MANY of the plugins and features, and is even more janky than you are saying the Dwarf is, I am finding the routing freedom, synth and drum possibilities, etc, way more exciting than the alternatives.

I personally hope you stick around this community and can alleviate some of your frustrations. Best of luck with it!



You might have misread my post and intentions.

I thought the sentence

should have said enough. Mod units sure have their share of pros but also of cons, and I even agree with you on some of them – such as the GUI revamp. I am not a MOD apologist and was simply trying to point to possible technical hurdles that prompted their decision to not include a EXP port. I am not in any point saying that it was a right decision. And they did leave some options open, such as DIN midi or USB midi.

And, again, what I made was an educated guess – meaning I am examining possible technical reasons for their choices against my previous knowledge of electronics in general. I am not affiliated to MOD in any way.

I must point, however, to a couple things:

  1. Boss/Roland stripped some of their units of basic MIDI ports. For instance, the GP-10 has USB midi only, in spite of being a guitar to midi converter, and the MS-3 – a switcher, among other things!! – has only a midi out DIN port. Not to mention GP-10’s extremely poor midi implementation, where by a number of CC messages aren’t even transmitted. In their thought process, they figured out the demand for such wasn’t as high as that of other ports: Expression, Controller, and headphones. Which brings me to #2;
  1. It is a port that is very high demand. Even the Yamaha Magicstomp units discontinued in the mid 2000s sell for 30-40% more if they have the phone out jack than when they don’t ($80-120 without, $130-180 with.) The fact that you can practice silently, coupled with reduced dimensions and extensive sonic possibilities is a major selling point to many – if not all – multi-effect units today.

So, even Boss/Roland has chosen to drop a port that’s highly useful to keep another that is in higher demand.

Therefore, I can perfectly understand your stance on the usefulness of an EXP port and how that topic makes your “blood boil.” Indeed, “go make an Arduino converter” is not a valid option – though in reviewing your posts here and in 2 other threads I only found one instance of such a solution being offered to you directly. Still, as it stands, your options with the Dwarf are employing a DIN midi or USB midi pedal. (I have responded with more details on another post of yours regarding the Beatbars unit.)


I don’t see why anyone should put up with this. It is quite clear there are other options in the market, price notwithstanding, that would probably serve you better. You may wish to reassess your plans regarding the Dwarf.

Again, I see that MOD has its share of shortcomings, and it’s hard to predict when or if some much desirable changes will be made. Worse yet, whether or not MOD will thrive as a company. It might be the case that Dwarfs will cost $700 in 5 years due to high demand or sell for $100 for old-timers. Only time will tell, but I am hopeful and see how hard they’re trying. Let’s see how they come out of their crowdfunding projects and work towards solidifying their platform.

But not you, not anyone has to wait until it finally “thrives”.


I know I said I would refrain from posting here. But I thought it was important to reply to this part of your post. In the “Pedalboards” section check out the one I shared called “Loonie Bin”
That sound has not ever been possible with any device I have ever owned and it is the reason I am sticking with it and keeping the Dwarf. It’s a double edged sword because that sound also reminds me of my frustration with the Dwarf. For now I can only imagine what would have been possible with that pedalboard if I could connect an EXP pedal. I have given in and ordered a thankfully relatively inexpensive exp to midi converter. I await its arrival in hopes that it does the job but also hedged my bets by purchasing a Crumar USB connected exp pedal for under $100 that I came upon on eBay.

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I had already listened to and hearted it. :wink:

I hope one of these solutions will ease your path with the Dwarf and also expect that MOD will be able to make substantial improvements to their products once they deliver the remaining units for their crowdfunding projects. I guess the 2022-2023 period will be critical.

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I know nothing beats a real expression pedal but as a workaround I use the CV SlewRate or the CV Envelope and map these to a footswitch on the dwarf. Like in the video posted for this pedalboard ANDY:Weird Intervals - MOD Devices
Granted I manly use it for swells and nothing crazy but this keeps my footprint low or is handy when I use my expression pedal on the other board.


Another option, if not wanting to find a midi expression pedal, is to use a midi footswitch that has an expression pedal port. I already had a Morningstar MC6 because the three switches on my old HX Stomp were limiting, and it has two standard expression pedal inputs. I realize that’s an expensive way to attach a cheap exp pedal, but hey, more buttons! Plus they make a less expensive three-switch pedal with a single exp port.


Not really. But MIDI is not so hard with that, if you DIY some cable and provide on the right pin 5V from a power supply or batteries it should work.

That’s actually something from where you can get the power from. You can get the 5V from there.

I’m curious about this @Simon :slight_smile:


Already started the project here : https://forum.moddevices.com/t/arduino-midiusb-volume-expression/7182/3


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There is a review of very cheap midi controller with exp - chocolate, I got one and it works great, it would be perfect extension for Dwarf - 4 extra buttons plus MIDI EXP - I use it with Moog EP3. There are one issue, exp works reversed, but it can be solved with some CV plugins, which I dit and now it works as it should.


We have another topic with some suggestions already here Expression pedals and adapter options for the Dwarf

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