Serious MIDI controller for Cantabile (fighting with stuck notes)


Do you mean that a notebook pumped by its power supply is not able to drive 2 USB output?
One for an audio board and one for a MIDI controller?
This is for me totally unexpected…
I will obviously buy and try, hugely cheaper than a new controller.
And I will report here my results.



I was waiting for you to chime in on this topic. I found that the All notes off didn’t work for me sometimes either so i made a rack that simply transmits all 128 note off messages (in separate bindings) either by sending a onscreen keyboard custom CC 123 button to it via it’s MIDI In


or by changing the rack state to the TRIGGER state. after it sends the messages it will reset itself back to the OFF state. I just route the MIDI out from the rack to the loop-back port of the MAIN keyboard or whatever controller(s) you want that is getting stuck notes.

CLR NOTES.cantabileRack (337.5 KB)

It is in effect a brute force MIDI Notes OFF generator rack that is route specific. It could be put in the background rack if it was used a lot but anyway here it is for anyone who it might help, use at your own risk but know it has been tested for use with C3 performer …

My question is since I know this approach works when the ‘All Notes Off’ message will not is there an opening for adding a global feature that instead of using the MIDI 123 message did the brute force method via loopback ports to clear devices that were tricky that way? Just kicking around ideas here but since it uses the loopback ports it looks to Cantabile like any controller sent them. What do you think @brad ?




To me this trick seems pure genius…


Just my 2 cents on this, I never use usb for midi, not sure why, probably completely unfounded but I’m old and stubborn… I use the old 5 pin midi leads and power all my boards with power supplies. It means I have more leads but no stuck notes…


Adding my 2 cent we have 4 already:

I can confirm what @brad declared. I definitely had problems produced by a mix of bad cables and incresed current need of a usb soundcard (RME babyface). For my understanding this is not necessarily due to poor powercapabilities of USB ports on the PC. Long cables with small diameters simply produce high resistances. Adding high currents and additionally mechanical movement (!) of the cable you get large voltage drops producing desturbed telegrams. In my case 3 actions fixed the problem completely:

  1. Supplying babyface from a powered USB hub using a very short cable with large diameter and fixing everything mechanically in a rack
  2. Using a high quality cable with large diameter from hub to my laptop also mechanically fixed (as far as possible)
  3. Using the midi in port of babyface to connect my keyboard powered by an internal power supply (just as @Toaster described) instead of a USB connection. Should there be a bad plug or even a plug slip out of it‘s connection I simply plug it in again and go on playing. In case of a hanging note I have a small arduino driven hardware unit, doing some midi signal routing outside cantabile with a panic button on the front doing exactly what @dave_dore can achieve with his rack (brute force method). No hanging notes left.

Since my setup is rock solid - not a single crash.

Regards, humphrey


Same here - I use “classic” MIDI cables with a MIDI interface (iConnectivity mio), and my keyboards are powered separately. My Kurzweil 88 key has a full power cord; the AKAI MPK 249 is powered via USB cord by an Anker charger.

The only stuck notes issues I have are the known issues around the keybed of the M-Audio Code 49 and the Alesis VI-49 - there seems to be a glitch in their keybeds connected to aftertouch that creates stuck notes and sometimes freezes the whole keyboard. But no more stuck notes or freezes since I’ve moved to the AKAI for live gigs.

I really recommend going the classic midi cable route - also makes it easier to adapt your setup to varying input devices.




I’m with Humphrey regarding USB MIDI for connections. I bought “music grade” USB cables :wink: from Redco Audio who happen to be nearby. They are short and large diameter. I use a powered D-Link hub that has a metal casing and a good sized power supply. Everything is mounted and secured. I use an Axiom 61 and haven’t experienced stuck notes. I did take it apart and clean all the contacts on the Fatar TP/9 keybed when I bought it used. One last comment though, for some reason I prefer to use the mod wheel instead of after touch.


Some good and bad news.
Good news are that I managed to had an infamous “stuck note event” while in rehearsal, in a cellar of a friend’s house.
So I had time to investigate a little and be sure of my actions.
When I play live, my rationality does not work at all.

It was with Arturia KeyLab mkII 61 keys, my notebook Asus, my Kontrol Audio6 board, while playing some excited organ chords on Hammond B3X.
No way to stop the note with “Panic” command (three push on the STOP button of the controller, or push on <!> on C3 screen), the only way was as usual to play the stuck note again. So the controller inside KeyLab was again in serious troubles.

The only difference between yesterday evening and my previous experience were new USB cables I bought on Amazon. Here a pic of those new mates.
It is the best I could find, nothing good in electronics shop, no other way on line.
See the magnificent “golden coated” plugs…
Bad thing is that in Europe cables do not show AWG rating, so I cannot be sure of the thickness of the copper.
Here are two cables, one by Ugreen, one by Amazon. First one was under test yesterday.

So evident conclusion was that cable is not the guilty device.
Next step will be to be sure of USB electrical rating.
As an electronic engineer I cannot exclude that in some circumstances notebook is not feeding properly (with correct current and tension) the keyboard power need.
So next device under test will be a new active USB hub like the one here below.

Now my opinion is that all the friends here are right.
I am looking for a decent power supply for the Arturia controller too, to drive it with an old MIDI cable. That would be probably the solution.
Of course if active hub and power supply will not work, I will sell this keyboard, trying to find a better one.
Stay tuned for the next episode of this saga…


Just to be controversial, I will point out that, in 390 daily performances using the Akai MPK249, MPK225 and NI S88 mk1/S49 mk2 via USB, those never had stuck notes. The only one that ever did have that happen was the 5-pin MIDI connected Korg Wavestation keyboard which often drove a Wavestation SR rack module for the extended sounds. (7 keyboards total, including a Kawai K5000s and little Korg Poly 800 used as a controller.)

I use a powered USB hub to take power strain off the computer, but the Akai’s want to be directly connected to the computer. I have 15 USB devices total, one being a MOTU MIDI XPress XT. Insane setup, yet maybe 6 of nearly 400 shows had a stuck note happen, always the Wavestation.



I’m following this thread closely (like several others apparently). As I mentioned earlier, I recently got the Arturia KeyLab 61 mkII, and have been very happy with it. I did not have any issues with stuck notes – until our recent show last Saturday night. So, I’m taking back my strong statement that I didn’t think the KeyLab was at fault. I’m wanting to do more testing myself.

All of the errors occurred while playing the IK B-3X plugin, with the palm glissandos and other techniques that are part of a B-3 perfomance. It was also the first time that I had used the B-3X instead of Blue3 live, although i seriously doubt that would make a difference.

No other useful info to add at this point, other than to say that I hope we end up finding a solution (preferably not involving selling the KeyLab).


Such a rebel…shall I join you?

Yes, I also have had a handful of glitches with USB cables in the past 10 yrs. Also had problems in the past with 5-pin midi cables, as well as 1/4" patch cords. It is totally necessary to have a powered hub. I do not drag my expensive controllers to nominal gigs anymore. I started using cheaper, lighter keyboards, because of my aging bones, and the wear and tear on my primo controllers. I use the $$$ controllers in the $$$ gigs. The cheaper controllers usually do not have a 5-pin midi connection, or a power source other than USB. My Focusrite is powered, but even though it has a 5-pin input, my laptop is connected thru USB…no 5-pin there.
Cables fail. I’ve dealt with it over 50yrs. Guitar cables, amp to speaker cables, PA cables…infinity. Wrapping and unwrapping breaks the thin wires with time and abuse. The connection ports wear out as well. I’ve replaced many. Unfortunately, it is part of the game we play. Yet, I still have cables from 40 yrs ago that still work. How many times have you seen techs on stage replacing cables at a sold out concert? I saw it last week at a sold out concert. Just part of the game.

As far as the hung notes with B-3X, it can spike the cpu usage with a glissando. Since I updated to version 1.1, the cpu is running slightly leaner and no noticeable spikes.


I am trying to learn and share.
I am getting data and hints. Nice. Every opinion is extremely appreciated.

New detail: as a good engineer I checked Arturia requirements before buying a power supply. On the site there is clear data: 9 Volts, 1 Ampere.

And this is quite interesting: USB specifications talk about 5 Volts and 500 milliampere.
From an electronic engineer point of view, this Arturia controller CANNOT be power supplied by one USB2 plug.

I will have rehearsal next Friday and Monday with a simple power supply that I just bought.
Let’s see…


My stuck keys issue with the Keylab MKII goes away if I put it on external power! Tentatively - I’ll keep checking this.

I was just about to send my MKII (61 keys) off for repair because of stuck notes every now and then. This discussion made me curious: I have a keylab88, and an MKII61 for cases where I don’t want or can’t drag the 88 key beast around. I use the same cables for both setups. Never a stuck note with the 88 and every couple of minutes with the 61. So I knew cable was not going to be the issue. I was about to send the MKII back for repair or replacement but this discussion made me buy a cheap 9v adapter. Just tried it for 15 minutes - no stuck keys whatsoever. I’ll keep an eye out to make sure this is 100% reliable.

Interestingly, I never have this with the 88 key - but that is the older version, and you now what, the power requirements of the old 88 (5V / 0.5A) are about a quarter of what the MKII needs (9V / 1A)!!! My guess is my laptop has plenty of juice for the 88 and not enough juice for the 61…

@Furio - curious to hear your experience!


OK, after 2 hrs of playing … problem is not gone :frowning: - seems to happen less often though. Controller is going back for repair or replacement :frowning:


I wanted to write something after Monday, but I see that you need some more data.
I just played for 2 hours with the band. No stuck notes using 9 V power supply.
In my experience bad events were not so frequent, let’s say once or twice every gig.
So these two hours for me are not enough to shout Eureka.
We played some new tracks. So I did not push the limit with involving organ glissandos.
More news Monday night…


Some news here…

Between 15:00 and 17:00 today, at home, in a relaxed situation, while preparing sounds for the next gig I managed to simulate stuck notes with different solutions, on controller Arturia KeyLab 61 mkII and organ sounds.

First step: using firmware I had in my device: 1.0.1.
Different connections: pure USB, USB with powered hub, or MIDI and power supply.
No big difference, stuck notes are easy to be made if you play with insane technique (you know what I mean).
Maybe with power supply and MIDI are less probable but they come out.
One detail: if with Native VintageOrgans (inside Kontakt), panic button works well, both on controller and on C3.
With IK Hammond 3BX no way, no button is able to give a MIDI OFF, the only way to solve the lock is playing again the right stuck note. This means this lovely plug in must be better programmed.

I got hugely angry: no one will made a repair on a thing like this one, so I decided to sell the controller and buy a new one, probably Novation or Akai that seem performing well enough with all the guys here.

Last try: I upgraded to firmware 1.3.1 (the current one on Arturia site).
It seems someway better, I had to play some minutes in a wild way to get a stuck note, but I was able to do it.
Maybe it is some way more robust.

But this is a sad story…
In the next gig I will use organs from my Montage and synth sounds on Arturia.
This will solve for a while my anger.


Hi Furio,

I really feel with you and I know what I’m talking about. I had a soundcard producing a crackle once every 30 minutes and nothing I changed got me rid of it. Failures only happening once in a while can driving you nuts. Finally I got me a proper working soundcard and never looked back.

One thing came to my mind: to be finally sure the MKII is the reason for the problem (and I have no doubt it is) you might do a final test: control your Montage from the MKII via Midi-cable. This lockes out everything around PC, OS, cantabile, plugins,…

If MKII produces stuck notes you should easily be able to reproduce them on the Montage sound engine. Otherwise buying a new keyboard will probably not cure the problem and you have to dig deeper.

Finally thanks to all for posting your experience here. Atm I‘m looking for a new controller and MKII was one of the candidates. Meanwhole Akai MPK261 is on pole position.:wink:

Kind regards, humphrey


Just a quick suggestion for an alternative “Panic” function, since I’ve had similar issues with some stuck notes not being resolved by the usual panic mechanisms: I have created a binding from a controller pad that triggers “Engine->Restart Engine”. This is a bit brutal and takes a little more time, but it definitely kills all hanging notes and other nastiness for me. Call it “rude panic” :wink:




@humphrey !!!
You just put a huge bug in my ears!
Yes, idea to check Keylab driving Montage via MIDI with no computer and no software is really good!
I will try it as soon as possible.
The only comment I could do now is that Montage driving my Asus notebook and Cantabile worked perfectly for many gigs without stuck notes, so I saved my my notebook from the doubts I got now.

What if my audio board is “slow” managing many keys in input?
It is a NativeInstruments Kontrol Audio6.
Maybe audio board inside Montage is more performant and manages everything with no issues.
In that case I would need to buy an audio board and not a controller.
Pity I didn’t find yet a good device with two stereo outputs driven by potentiometers: I like to manage PA level and monitor level from my own seat, the only way with boards I know is using headphone output for monitoring, but this implies use of not balanced connection, something I don’t like on stage.

@Torsten: yes, I will implement same trick as yours, it could be really useful.

Many thanks to all the guys here: you are helping me a lot!


Not really, you could stick with your audio board and simply get a separate cheap MIDI interface. I just got this one here and tried some very wild organ slides - no stuck notes so far…