Serious MIDI controller for Cantabile (fighting with stuck notes)

It seems we have a broad range of MIDI controller users here.
Obvious: we use C3 as VST host and automation manager, so we play keys using controllers.
I heard some guys not satisfied by stuck notes.
“Stuck” means some keys starting a MIDI ON when pressed and not producing MIDI OFF when released.
It can happen if you play too fast or too wild.
It happens to me with tree controllers I own: and old Roland A something (it is in the cellar, not anymore used also because of that); an old M-Audio Oxygen 61, first series, and a new Arturia Keylab 61 mkII.
It never happens to me if I use my Yamaha Montage7: since I use C3 I had 6 gigs, and this seems now very clear.
So I must say that my Yamaha axe has a wonderful keyboard for my tastes.
Not hammered, dynamic enough, and never failing.
I am looking for something similar as pure MIDI controller

I have under my eyes two brands I don’t know and I never used: Icon and Nektar.
An 88 version could be nice, because with some serious VSTs also acoustic and electric pianos can be played live without any issue.
Maybe Akai or Alesis?

So I am asking to users here: do you get stuck notes with Icon8X or Nektar LX88+?
I could sell my Arturia keylab: I bought it to get live automation commands with Reaper.
It does not work well with that target in mind.
Since I use Cantabile, I decided to use Reaper only for sequencing, not for live VST hosting.
A good controller for C3 needs only to have addressable sliders and buttons, special drivers or automation with DAW are not anymore needed. Intelligence stay inside C3.

Last but not least: I cannot switch off stuck notes using C3 commands.
“Panic” button (the one with esclamation mark on top right of the page) does not work.

Thanks for your help on both matters.

Hi @Furio !
Interrestingly I got recently a stuck note using C3 and the Nektar Panorama T6 (61 keys).
But I am not sure the problem is coming from the keyboard rather than the VSTi used !
In my case I am quite sure the problem is coming when switching ON/OFF the bypass of midi IN ports in C3 through bindings to LED switches (mutes) on the Panorama T6 during playing notes on the keyboard.
This did not appear up to now but last rehearsal it was by using a specific song using specific VSTi.
So I will have to dig a bit more to understand which VSTi is causing this.
Is your problem raising when using a specific VSTi or any of them ? Do you use the same kind of mute switches on the keyboard when this is failing ? The ones under each of the faders.

Hi Troman.

I got stuck notes mainly with organ VSTs, because this is the most used thing I do with my classic rock bands.
I got it with Kontakt Vintage Organs and IK Multimedia Hammond BX3.
So I presume it is not the VST, but it is the controller.
Last 6 gigs in a month: 3 with Yamaha Montage7: no stuck notes.
3 gigs with my Arturia keylab 61 mkII: more or less 2-3 stuck notes per gig.
So I am nearly sure it is the quality of the mechanical and electrical structure of the keybed.
And they happen when I play normal notes, not when I or C3 play other commands.

Bad thing is that the only way to solve is to look for the missing MIDI OFF and play the right key on the keyboard.
C3 panic button didn’t work yesterday afternoon for example…
This makes me crazy, you can guess the reasons if you play live.

Hi Furio,

A few points about your problem.

I have also experienced it with Axiom 61 V1 by M-Audio so I feel your pain … in my case always when doing glissando or smear on organ VSTi’s. In my case hitting the same note(s) that were stuck didn’t clear it either and a controller power on/off was the only solution that reset the controller CPU to the correct state and stopped the note on messages from transmitting from the controller. The controller was the problem, not Cantabile or any organ VSTi’s. The scanner for the key-bed had malfunctioned and it’s logic had gotten scrambled some how. My friend Steve had similar problems with his Code49.

The All Notes Off button in Cantabile works great but it can’t stop the controller from sending note on messages continuously to an open MIDI port so that’s why it acts like it does. In your case pressing the stuck note is cleared by pressing the stuck note again and producing a clean Note Off message from the key-bed and scanner circuit.

My Kurzweil fatar key-beds never had stuck notes nor my Roland RD pianos so it’s a design and quality thing I guess …

just my 2 cents … I hope you find a good small controller board that is reliable!


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Yes Dave,
same here: never a stuck note on Yamaha Montage7.

Fatar is a well known keybed producer, and they sell to Yamaha, Kurzweil and all other synth manufacturers.
Such as to controllers companies.
Why do we see such a big difference on the quality?
Where is the point?

Yamaha as well as Korg and Roland have their own keybed manufacturer meanwhile.

The problem described has surely not much to do with the keybed itself. But with the electronics behind it that scans the keybed and generates the midi messages…

I also had this problem in my last two gigs. It was only the organ VSTs. I figured it might be a cable not well connected. I finally turned my keyboard off…then back on. That seemed to correct the problem. Since I am out of town for a few days, I won’t be able to test the rig I used until later this week, and see if I can reproduce it. I am also experiencing a problem with B-3X. I had to remove it from use until I can figure things out. Don’t know if it is related.

might I ask what problem …?

Yes…you may.

For some strange reason, I can play B-3X thru laptop soundcard…no problem. But when I recently run it thru my Focusrite, it has an irritating distortion/blown speaker sound, even on a clean sound. In the short time I’ve had to check into it, I can disable the guitar amp, or dial it back near zero, and it works just fine. My cpu level is around 50% so not crapping out in that area. That is about all I got to check out before I left home. It does not do this with any other VSTs. I brought the Focusrite, and a mini keyboard controller with me so I could test it.
Sorry to OP for O/T.

BTW…I checked it with another controller, same thing. I can press a key half way down, and get just the noise. Real strange. Was working fine a week ago.

Hey Dave

I figured it out. I was running a a different buffer setting on Focusrite for a new band, and never reset to my old setting. My bad.


Now to the sticky keys…

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Fatar is reported to supply many synth brands. But my issue is to find a sure solution to buy. Fatar made or not.
It is difficult to test before paying. Problem comes always during a real gig, never at home or in a shop.
I was thinking my Arturia would be good, it isn’t, so next buy must be more accurate.

Waiting reports about Akai or Novation.
I saw some pro using them…

I’ve had excellent luck with the Novations. Unfortunately, they don’t make the SL series anymore. I bought a Behringer Motor61 and have been working with that. Not the best keyboard ever, but no stuck notes. I used to have a lot of stuck notes with Forte before switching to Cantabile. I built a foot switch and had programmed a macro to send a bunch of Channel Off and Note off commands over all channels. I haven’t used it for a long time. I don’t even hook it up anymore. Kurzweils are my favorite keyboard. I have 88 and 61 key versions, but they’re too heavy. Somehow, they used to be lighter.

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I was about to recommend the Arturia Keylab MkII when I read that you already use it. I absolutely love this thing (I have a 49) and would rate it as one of the best synth action controllers available at the moment. I’ve never gotten a stuck note with mine running Cantabile clean. The only time that has happened was when I had Traktor open in the background with its own controller and separate soundcard and I have a feeling Asio4All might have been in the way somehow (which I don’t use but have on my system for fallback purposes). And then it happened with all my connected keyboards.

I really doubt it has anything to do with the Keylab.

I never use Asio4all. With all of my setups I use pure asio driver. And no other audio multitasking.
Until I find a better explanation, Keylab is suspect.
The fact that interaction with Reaper is not as it should be, started to make me disappointed. Just after I bought it.

@Furio is your Keylab an “Essential” model? I understand that the Keylab Essential is sort of entry class. The KeyLab MkII is the “pro” level. I have neither, but I believe some in this forum have reported issues with the Essential, but the MKII is rock solid. (It seems to me poor marketing to name Entry Class and Pro Class products so similarly.)

Of course it is the pro version.
Keylab mkII.
Nearly 500 euro…

No offense intended :blush: just checking

No offense received.
Just self sarcasm…

Well, Novation does have the SL MK3, it has way more features then buttons and sliders though. Arps, sequencer, CV out etc. But indeed, the keybeds are very good, at least the SL MK2 that I use.

If you’re getting stuck notes while just playing (as opposed to across a song transition/state switch - although you shouldn’t get those with Cantabile either) then it’s most likely something about the MIDI connection.

I get emails about this all the time and 95% of the time it’s either a faulty/misfitting USB cable, or from running from an under-powered USB port (especially if connected to laptop).

Try a different cable. Try a powered USB hub.

That’s probably because stuck plugin isn’t responding to “All Notes Off” MIDI Command.