6

When pressing a key on my midi device and monitoring it in Midi-OX, it takes a long time (about 5 seconds) before it registers another input. Note that I'm nót talking about the delay between pressing a key and midi-OX registering it, but the delay between it registers another key after pressing one. A "cool-down period" so to speak before it recognizes another input.

I have used both Cubase and Midi-OX as software to monitor, and both have the same problem and "cool-down" period of around 5 seconds. I have tried both a PSR550 keyboard and a Yamaha Clavinova piano - again same result on both.

I use a Logilink UA0037N Adapter USB to Midi (In-Out, 1,9 m) to connect the keyboard/elec piano to my Medion Erazer laptop.

What could be the problem?

EDIT: As suggested I bought another cable: M-Audio USB Uno MIDI Interface 1 in/out. About twice as expensive (€30) and the best I could get. There is still the same delay. This cable does seem to be more sensitive for touch-sensitivity and pedals etc., but as soon as I press a key it will not react to another press (or release) for ~4 seconds.

The plot thickens though - anything other than the black-white keys on the Clavinova/PSR work perfectly fine. The pedals, buttons and pith-bender all work real-time.

Even stranger still - after any input óther than a key, the "cooldown" will reset and it will react to another key-press or release, at which point it stops reacting to any more key presses again.

So I've used different devices (PSR/Clavinova) different cables, different software (Cubase and Midi-OX) and different computers (tested everything with an old laptop as well that had usb2 instead of usb3 ports). I also looked in the PSR manual to set it to "midi output mode", which is apparently a specific mode for the keyboard when using it as a midi device. All setups and combinations have the exact same problem.

EDIT2: Turns out it WAS the cable. I just took my entire setup to a place that had dozens of different cables lying around, and eventually one worked normally. It seemed to be completely random which ones worked and which didn't though; some really cheap cables worked and some high-end brand ones didn't (though cheaper cables had the problem way more often). I really hate midi now.

10
  • 2
    Hello, welcome here! Just a quick question: how big the delay? As you tried two different keyboard (and it would be surprising that a clavinova has this issue) and two different programs, it seems the culprit would be the USB-MIDI interface. There are a lot of different of these guys and some of them are known to be buggy…
    – Tom
    Sep 1 at 11:28
  • It's about 5 seconds before it registers another input. I just bought the Logilink UA0037N Adapter (€14). If this is not a common/fixable problem (google didn't help at least) you suggest I buy a better cable.
    – Jerros
    Sep 1 at 11:57
  • Ourf, yeah, that's a long delay! I would suggest at least try another one, preferably another brand. It is the only part of your setup that is common in all your tests…
    – Tom
    Sep 1 at 12:18
  • 3
    There might be something useful here: sound.stackexchange.com/questions/27743/… Sep 1 at 12:39
  • 1
    Keep in mind that MIDI is an utterly crippled standard designed with the kind of digital circuits in mind that were available in the late 70s. It should have been obsolete by the 90s, but somehow nobody ever cared to replace it with something better. That is the problem, really. The hacks they devised back then to allow keyboards of the time to be as responsive as possible despite their very primitive hardware are bound to lead to all kinds of funny incompatibilities. Most software works around it by interpreting the different ways notes can be ended, guessing what the intention was. Sep 1 at 19:42
9

5 seconds is beyond anything reasonable in normal operation. So we have to search for something outside of normal operation. What is common between your experiments? Obviously your computer. Then we have

I have tried both a PSR550 keyboard and a Yamaha Clavinova piano

which does not look like a commonality until we realise that a PSR550 is also from Yamaha. That makes it likely that both devices share the same kind of Midi interface and basic implementation.

Another commonality obviously is your USB-Midi interface. Looking for images of this device, it appears to be a branded copy of the standard cause for Midi problems, an adapter with a mixture of violin and bass clef on one side.

This adapter is known to garble Sysex messages and it is known to garble running status bytes which are used (among other things) for compressing note-off events into shorter Midi sequences by broadcasting them as note-on events with velocity 0.

This is the reason this garbage MIDI adapter tends to fall apart under polyphony when a keyboard utilises this sort of compression for sending notes in tight sequence.

My guess would be that either the keyboard or the adapter changes use or interpretation of running status bytes when a longer delay to the last byte has been interposed. It may well be that 5 seconds after the last note, the next note from the Yamaha keyboards will be sent without using running status byte compression (even though it would still be applicable) in order to avoid missing notes when someone replugs Midi connectors (which presumably tends to take at least 5 seconds, or at least people will not expect it to work immediately in case they are faster).

Either that, or the adapter has a timeout period after it got confused where it reverts to a sensible behavior.

It would appear that the Yamaha keyboards make the cheap adapter fall apart more conspicuously with even simpler use than what commonly makes it drop out. I would not blame the keyboard, really.

There are actually good brands for USB Midi adapters (like Roland, Yamaha, M-Audio) and lots of vintage USB1.1 adapters from those brands which are plenty fast enough at 12Mbps for most purposes (depending on the hub, you might want to avoid sharing a hub with a mouse or keyboard or other slow device). Get one of those preowned and forget about the cheap ubuquitous standard Chinese junk with the fantasy clef on it.

6
  • 1
    Can you add some reference — say, a link to an article — to back up that the adapter is known to have problems?
    – Aaron
    Sep 1 at 15:39
  • @Aaron Even without citations, the off-brand MIDI adapter is by far the most likely source of the trouble, whether it’s the hardware or the driver or both. Sep 1 at 16:34
  • @ToddWilcox I'm not questioning the answer, just letting the author know it would be even stronger with a citation or two.
    – Aaron
    Sep 1 at 18:19
  • I'll try buying an expensive Yamaha-brand cable then. I do hope that's the problem, because I can't just keep buying cables until one happens to work (or we find out that wasn't problem).
    – Jerros
    Sep 1 at 18:51
  • New cable, same problem. This better cable does seem to be more sensitive for touch-sensitivity and pedals and stuff, but still as soon as I press a key it will not react to another key (or release) for ~4 seconds. The plot thickens though - anything other than the black-white keys on the Clavinova/PSR work perfectly fine. From the pedals to the buttons to the pith-bender. They all work real-time. Even stranger still - after any input óther than a key, the "cooldown" will reset and it will react to another key-press or release, at which point it stops reacting to any more key presses again.
    – Jerros
    Sep 10 at 13:34
2

I can only guess but it's probably your midi interface.

midi/usb interfaces can be cheap - but if they're cheap... this'll happen. or at least things like this. you've tried another?

5
  • Have just returned this one and ordered a better one - will come back to this question if that's resolved it.
    – Jerros
    Sep 4 at 17:16
  • New cable, same problem. This better cable does seem to be more sensitive for touch-sensitivity and pedals and stuff, but still as soon as I press a key it will not react to another key (or release) for ~4 seconds. The plot thickens though - anything other than the black-white keys on the Clavinova/PSR work perfectly fine. From the pedals to the buttons to the pith-bender. They all work real-time. Even stranger still - after any input óther than a key, the "cooldown" will reset and it will react to another key-press or release, at which point it stops reacting to any more key presses again.
    – Jerros
    Sep 10 at 13:33
  • @Jerros dang and you've tried 2 different keyboards (as well as multiple software) and same problem? I'm at a loss. My next guess would be keyboard settings. Like an autochord sort of thing where you hit a key and it plays a chord. Look in your keyboard manuals for hardware reset. And see if anything changes. Then set the minimum # settings you can to try to get it to talk properly. Good luck :/ Sep 10 at 16:08
  • Turns out it WAS the cable. I just took my entire setup to a place that had dozens of different cables lying around, and eventually one worked normally. It seemed to be completely random which ones worked and which didn't though; some really cheap cables worked and some high-end brand ones didn't (though cheaper cables had the problem way more often).
    – Jerros
    Sep 13 at 7:02
  • weirddd. well, glad you're back to music-ing :) Sep 13 at 16:27
1

This cable does seem to be more sensitive for touch-sensitivity and pedals etc., but as soon as I press a key it will not react to another press (or release) for ~4 seconds. The plot thickens though - anything other than the black-white keys on the Clavinova/PSR work perfectly fine. The pedals, buttons and pith-bender all work real-time. Even stranger still - after any input óther than a key, the "cooldown" will reset and it will react to another key-press or release, at which point it stops reacting to any more key presses again.

What is the problem?

This actually points doubly strong to "running status byte" compression triggering the problem since interjecting a controller message will stop the opportunity for doing a running status byte. If the cable does not mess up the reception of this message, either the driver (are there remnants from your last USB cable's driver? Have you installed any drivers available for your current one? Usually no driver should really be necessary) or the application will be at fault.

2
  • Both cables installed their own drivers when plugged into the laptop. I tried ónly the second, better cable on a different laptop that never had any midi drivers installed on it before - same problem occurs. Should I manually search for drivers on the web? Though I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly.
    – Jerros
    Sep 10 at 14:57
  • Turns out it WAS the cable. I just took my entire setup to a place that had dozens of different cables lying around, and eventually one worked normally. It seemed to be completely random which ones worked and which didn't though; some really cheap cables worked and some high-end brand ones didn't (though cheaper cables had the problem way more often).
    – Jerros
    Sep 13 at 7:02
1

"Running Status" is nothing that can be represented via USB Midi. If that is the source of the problem, it is the USB/Midi-Interface that messes this up. If your USB device string (in Linux visible with lsusb and in Windows somewhere in the device manager or something) indicates an M-Audio device, then M-Audio needs to get crossed off the list of recommendable manufacturers.

If it doesn't, it depends on whether your cable is genuine (and M-Audio indeed reverted to using bad third-party chips) to decide whether M-Audio is at fault for marking up generic garbage to a premium price tag after putting a different case on it.

I'd return it and see whether I can get something like a Terratec Midi One (which is only unidirectional and so, while handy and reliable, mostly applicable to simple uses) or one of the older preowned interfaces in a metal case (and typically with a full-size USB B socket).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.