Skip to content

ENGL Z12 MIDI Footswitch Review – Built Like A Tank!

    Hello there, back again with another article for you. This time we will be looking at the ENGL Z12 MIDI footswitch! I bought this footswitch to use with the ENGL E570 tube preamp. For those who have never heard of the ENGL company, here’s a quick introduction.

    ENGL is a German guitar amp manufacturer that stands out with its unique approach to amp building as well as being a pioneer in MIDI-compatible tube guitar head amps.

    ENGL company has been manufacturing mainly tube guitar combo and head amps as well as speaker cabinets. They also offer guitar pedals, power amps, preamps, IR loader pedals and various unique footswitch systems for their amps.

    Check out my ENGL Cabloader IR loader pedal review here

    Their footswitch line consists of traditional (yet still very uniquely designed) footswitches and MIDI-compatible footswitches as well.

    ENGL Z12 MIDI Footcontroller

    ENGL Z12 MIDI Foot controller

    Last year, I got myself an ENGL E570 tube preamp, thinking I could save presets on the unit. Later on, I discovered that I was not able to save any preset but control the whole interface of the preamp via MIDI!

    Check out my ENGL E570 tube preamp review here

    ENGL Z12 is an ultra-modern MIDI foot controller that allows you to access 128 MIDI program locations (01-128) on 13 banks (see the matrix below). There are 16 channels for MIDI message transmission. ENGL Z12‘s 128 program slots can be programmed in a matter of seconds and you can control these program slots with 12 heavy-duty footswitches. One of the coolest things about ENGL Z12 is that it can be powered via MIDI (MIDI Phantom Power) so you don’t need to use an external power supply.

    ENGL Z-12 MIDI pin

    ENGL Z-12 MIDI pin

    This MIDI phantom power is fed from Pin 1 and 2 as shown in the image above. If you want to use ENGL Z12 with 3rd party brand units, you need to check the manual and see how that particular unit feeds power MIDI. For ENGL products, it’s a matter of seconds to get this running as they are built fully compatible with each other.

    ENGL Z-12 MIDI IN & Power

    ENGL Z-12 MIDI IN & Power

    In case you want to use ENGL Z12 with other MIDI-compatible processors, or effect units that don’t feature MIDI phantom power, you can still get an external power adapter for your Z12 and use it without it an issue.

    Note that, ENGL Z12 is a MIDI controller that can work with any MIDI device, so you are not limited to having to use it with ENGL products only!

    Before I have explained the banks vs program locations and some common confusions that I have come across in customer reviews, let’s quickly have a look at the tech specs table.

    ENGL Z12 Tech Specs

    MaterialStainless Steel
    Number of Footswitches12
    Number of MIDI Programs128
    Number of MIDI Banks13
    Power Supply7-15 volts AC or 9-20 volts DC, approximately 300 mA
    Max Power Consumption100 mA
    MIDI Phantom PowerPin 1 and Pin 2 (centre)
    SystemAT 89C51 controller with internal 4k FLASH memory for software (protected, 12 MHz system clock)
    Dimensions (L x W x H)50 x 15 x 5 cm
    Weightapproximately 2.8 kg

    My first impression of ENGL Z12 was that it’s built like a tank! It is really solid, and durable yet very simple to use with its unique features. Considering the fact that it’s been available since the early 2000s and being still in the game proves ENGL company has done a great job!

    ENGL Z12 MIDI Program Locations vs Banks

    I have noticed in a lot of users’ comments that people often get confused with the layout and how it’s designed. It also gave me some trouble in the beginning. But having read the manual, I found ENGL Z12 is very easy to understand, use and program.

    As stated in the manual, on the first (0) and ninth (9) banks 000 and 129 will not function! If you have a look at the matrix below, you will be able to understand it in a matter of seconds.


    So only on these banks, you will have 9 program locations, and you will have 10 program locations for the rest of the banks.

    How to program ENGL Z12?

    Programming and storing a preset on ENGL Z12 is very easy! You only need to set up your configuration on your ENGL amp, for instance, on my E570 preamp, I set the first channel to a classic voicing with gain boost engaged. As soon as I changed the default layout just like this, the “Write/Copy” button starts blinking.

    Music Plugin Deals at ENGL Z12 MIDI Footswitch Review - Built Like A Tank! Seymour Duncan Join The Best Musicians!ENGL Z12 MIDI Footswitch Review - Built Like A Tank!

    In the meantime, you can choose which bank and program location you want to save this preset on ENGL Z12. Then all you need to do is to press and hold the “Write/Copy” button for about three seconds.

    It will start blinking faster, three times again and you’re done!

    ENGL Z12 MIDI Footswitch Review & Test (no talking)

    In order to show you how easy it is to program, I have prepared a short video here below.

    There’s only one little issue with my ENGL Z12 footswitch. The plastic padding at the bottom! One of them is a little bit shorter than the rest, so when you press on any footswitches, you feel it’s rocking a bit. But it’s a very very tiny amount of movement. Other than that, it’s built like a tank!

    Improve your MIDI keyboard/finger drumming skills with Melodics

    Overall, I would recommend anyone ENGL Z12 without a doubt. Considering the fact that, it’s compatible with any MIDI device, I think you should consider buying this if you are looking for a MIDI footswitch. If you research the market, you will see it’s pretty affordable in comparison to more modern or recent products by other brands.

    I hope you have enjoyed this brief article and found this helpful. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!

    Osman Cenan Çiğil –

    Post your comments and feedback here

    By submitting a comment, you accept that you will be automatically included in the newsletter. You can always opt out in case you are not interested in the content updates.