The M-Audio SP2 is a piano-style sustain pedal costing around £23 in the UK. There are several sustain pedals from major manufacturers on the market, but the M-Audio stands out from the crowd by being priced noticeably lower than its competitors, and by incorporating a polarity switch.
The polarity switch allows the pedal to be used with a wide range of keyboards. If you find that the action of the pedal is reversed when connected to your keyboard, in other words pressing the pedal stops notes being sustained, then flipping the polarity switch will fix this problem. The switch is deeply recessed into the base and therefore cannot accidently be changed when using the pedal.
One problem I’ve found with all sustain pedals, piano-style or otherwise, is that they slip backwards in use, some more so than others. To my surprise, in a side-by-side comparison with a pedal from another major manufacturer (the Yamaha FC4), the M-Audio slipped back significantly less. On closer inspection I noticed that the FC4 only has three small rubber feet on the base compared to M-Audio's entire base being rubber. Obviously, slight variations in design can make a noticeable difference. However, the SP2 is by no means immune to sliding backwards, and much depends on the floor surface it is placed upon.
The pedal resistance of the M-Audio is quite firm, more closely resembling the feel of a real piano than many other sustain pedals I’ve used. Although I wouldn’t attach too much importance to this, the extra firmness does feel quite nice.
One curious feature of the SP2 is that it is supplied with a protective plastic cover for the chrome part of the pedal. To my way of thinking sustain pedals are meant to be operated under foot, and therefore as a natural consequence will become marked, so why have a beautifully shiny chrome pedal in the first place if it is going to be covered with a translucent piece of plastic? I pondered this question long and hard before the answer came to me one cold evening in my music room. A carpet was insulating my bare feet from the cold concrete floor, and as I pressed the SP2 to sustain my first chord I suddenly realised the plastic cover was doing the same thing – insulating my bare foot from the cold metal of the pedal! I guess M-Audio weren’t thinking about this when they added the plastic cover to their pedal, but it’s nice to know that the design feature isn’t redundant, and the cover is of practical value.
The build quality of the SP2 seems fine, but the build quality of piano-style pedals from other major manufacturers seems a little better. However, the M-Audio SP2 is more attractively priced, and has the added advantage of a polarity switch, so all in all I feel the SP2 represents good value for money.
See the related article: Choosing a Sustain Pedal.
(I would like to affirm to the reader that I have no connection with M-Audio, and have received no payment or benefits from any source for writing this review. It is a true customer/user review.)