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Vortex (etc.) Footswitches & Pedals


NEW! (23/5/03) Sorry folks, appears that the footswitch described here is now discontinued. Don't know if Lexicon still have some though, might be worth a try.

The Vortex, along with other Lexicon rack effects such as the JamMan, MPX100 & Alex has two jack sockets at the back for attaching the supplied footswitch. So you have a choice as to which functions you make available to your feet. (Unless you get yourself another switch.) Footswitches are available from Lexicon, but are somewhat on the expensive side, especially as it isn't a particularly good switch.

However you used to be able buy the same footswitch that Lexicon buy in, made by Rean, for a fraction of the cost. This was available from Maplin Electronics, who don't seem to do anything suitable now. Probably you're best bet is to make your own, using "push to make, non-latching" push buttons, such as are still available from Maplin (UK, or order on-line). For US try Mouser Electronics. Keep a look out for these switches in any music shop bargain bins.
I haven't checked this but...
We have the footswitch for $25.

Dick Michaels
Rogue Music NYC

...I did get an email from someone who ok'ed it..

There's one drawback however (apart from you can't get them), the switch is supplied as latching and needs to be changed to non-latching for Vortex use. (Latching means that you hit the switch and it changes from "off" to "on" until you hit it again, a non-latching switch is only "on" as long as you hold it down).

I've heard quite a lot of criticism of the standard Lexicon switches, and indeed I did have some initial problems with them. I had to re-solder a component in one of my switches, it hadn't been positioned correctly. I had to spray switch cleaner into another. The third switch had a mechanical fault, a small piece of plastic had to be removed, otherwise hitting one of the controls caused the other to operate as well. To start with I had problems with the tap time on the JamMan, the switch kind of double triggered causing very short delay times. However once the switches settled in they started to work just fine.

If you get one of these switches, this is how to convert to non-latching:-

  • Remove two screws from the base of the switch, and remove the base plate.
  • Remove the plastic nut from the jack socket.
  • Lift out the circuit board.
  • View the board as shown in the picture, press one of the switches and you'll see a small silver wire component just above the spring which will move about. This is the bit you'll need to move. In the picture the right hand switch is unaltered (latching) and the left has been changed (non-latching).
  • Using narrow nose pliers pull this wire component just far enough away from the switch so that you can flip it to one side, don't pull it right out.
  • Now repeat for the other switch, and reassemble the unit.
  • You now have a Vortex (or JamMan) compliant footswitch.
The process is reversible if you want to return to a latching switch.


see page 5 of the Vortex manual

Technically speaking you need an expression pedal with a 10-50KOhm linear pot. This means that you want a device which is marketed as an "expression pedal", a "swell" or "volume" pedal won't do. The latter, even if they work, will produce a pedal with most of the range crowded up one end. I've always used the Bespeco VM 18-L which works fine, and has a useful switch which reverses the pedal action.

The Zoom FP02 is sold as an expression pedal for Zoom gear, but has a logarithmic pot like a volume pedal, and is hence unsuitable.

I haven't tried any other pedals, but there seem to be a couple of other options available. The following email snippets are all from members of the Looper's Delight mailing list ( thank's guys).

I use the Boss Ev5 with my vortex

Kevin Goldsmith
Unit Circle Media

I use the Boss EV-5
I had to open it up and with the help of a tiny
allen wrench- adjust the axle/pot position to
achieve a full 0-64 parameter sweep but it works
perfectly now-
I cant find any photo of it on the web but if
needed I could provide one eventually-

Cliff Novey

I use a Roland EV-5 exp pedal to do the morph thing on my Vortex. My only complaint would have to do with "feel". I wish it had a tad more resistance in its movement. Maybe my foot is just too heavy.

I have also tried the DOD VCC1 volume pedal; but, like most volume pedals, the pot is not linear. Too bad really, because I do like the feel of it.

John Tidwell

The Boss EV-5 also works great but is quite a bit more expensive than the Proel... I've got 3 EV-5's and am going to switch to Proel for my next two...

Miko Biffle

The Roland EV-5 works perfectly with my Vortexes.
The Yamaha pedal from my FM synth does NOT work.
I've appended a message fished from my archives with details on the Proel PVP 16L footpedal. I haven't tried it, yet.

Also, if you can find one, a "double piano pedal" featuring two piano-damper-style pedals for footswitches and a single TRS output is the perfect A/B and TAP controller. It is much more precise than the two-button lex footswitches, at least for me (and probably lots of other folks who've pedalled a piano). I found *one* at a used gear store; wish they had more!
Now if I could just rig a way to use 1 pedal for TAP on two vortexes....


from the archives
| AMS sells the Proel PVP 16L, which looks and behaves almost
| identically to an
| EV-5, for $30...I've stocked up.
| David

AMS is at

Nick Douglas

I use the expression pedal that came with my Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. It works fine with the Vortex--I can go from 0 to 64 and back without problems.

Mark Kata

I use a Roland EV-5 with mine. It comes with an attached cable. I've also tried the volume pedal w/ insert cable method. It was a DOD VC-C1. This was not as good as the Roland because it does not have a linear pot.

John Tidwell

The FV50-L is a volume pedal. I was using an "insert" cable which is has a stereo plug at one end and 2 mono plugs at the other. Some effects loops and mixing boards use this type of setup. One stereo jack functions as both send and return. So, you plug the stereo end into the expression jack (which is stereo on the Vortex and all your Roland/Boss stuff) and each mono plug into the in and out jacks of the volume pedal. With the FV-50L (L = Low impedance) I got the exact same parameter spread across the full range of motion as my EV-5 (true expression pedal). If you mess up the two mono switches your pedal will simply work in reverse. I tried this with my Ernie Ball guitar volume pedal (for High impedance) and found that the parameter range was compressed to a small portion of the pedal stroke.

I actually own 2 "true" expression pedals (and EV-5 and an EV-10). Knowing I can use a Low impedance pedal and get the same results is great. Now I can just get a cheap keyboard volume pedal if one of the others breaks down -- or I can use the keyboard pedal for a true volume pedal if need be. Better than having a dedicated expression pedal!

Hope this helps.

Greg S

Actually, Soul Fruit carries a modified Kenton control pedal that works great. Check us out at:

I have 10 in stock at the moment. The sell for $35 plus shipping. Email me directly for any questions you might have.

Be Well

Will Brake

An interesting suggestion from Greg S using a volume pedal with an 'insert' lead (thats a stereo jack split to two mono jacks) , from what he says the pot is 20kOhms, which is low for a volume pedal, but right in the correct range for the Vortex. I'd guess that the pot is of the 'linear' type. I'd be very careful about which way it was plugged in, so as not to short out the Vortex!

For questions/suggestions/contributions please contact : Andy Butler

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