BERKELEY, California – January 13, 2010 – The SoftStep foot controller is the alternative to bulky and limited footswitches used by musicians today. The latest innovation from Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) weighs in at just over a pound, fits into many laptop cases, and boasts ten keys, each with 5 degrees of freedom. This interface is so versatile that it will become the last foot controller a musician will need and the first that satisfies the growing demands of today’s stage and computer music. KMI will debut the SoftStep foot controller at booth 6227 in Hall A at the Winter NAMM 2010 conference in Anaheim, CA.
“SoftStep gives more power than ever to the musician in a smaller lighter package,” says inventor Keith McMillen. “Anything that can be controlled with a knob or sliders can be controlled with SoftStep. It is a mouse for the feet.”
SoftStep’s diminutive size (17.5” x 4” x .5”) and sleek design is a relief to traveling musicians. Though incredibly light, SoftStep’s elastomeric and carbon composite construction is deceptively rugged. The backlit keys are easy to see on stage and a 4 digit, alphanumeric display with 20 LEDs keeps the user informed – these keys provide more than just on/off control.
Each of the ten keys have five degrees of motion that can be preprogrammed to control effects, software, or multimedia via USB. Once programmed, SoftStep can function disconnected from the computer for more freedom. Each key is laid out to be easily accessed by foot and can register movements such as up/down, left/right, inc/dec, pressure and rotary motions. SoftStep also boasts an expression pedal and expansion port, and offers optional MIDI in/out. A diamond shaped array of 4 Navigation buttons can access presets or serve as a volume pedal, scrub, or loop control. SoftStep easily accomplishes what usually requires a sophisticated hand operated control surface.
The bundled SoftStep Connectivity Software is designed to be simple to learn and infinitely flexible. This evolved set of software tools allows the user to move seamlessly through a piece while controlling presets, notes, continuous controllers and transport commands. Beyond effects, SoftStep will be capable of controlling audio and video editing workstations so you can navigate software while leaving your hands free.
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About Keith McMillen Instruments
McMillen opened up the world of electronic music to string players when he started Zeta Music and built what has become the “gold standard” for electric string instruments. Since then he has invented the first programmable mixer for Akai; lead the research and development department at Gibson and Oberheim; he produced the popular Volume Logic multiband processing plug-in for iTunes; and brought over 100 cutting edge products to market. Since its inception in 2005, KMI has created
StringPort, K-Bow Bluetooth Sensor Bow, Batt-O-Meter, and Softstep. Touring with clunky gear lead McMillen to the KMI mission of freeing musicians to focus on their performance, not their technology. In addition to running KMI and BEAM Foundation, McMillen also performs with TrioMetrik, a string trio using McMillen’s technology to create a new genre of music he calls “NuRoque.”