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Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 11:18 pm
by phatmann
I have been having consistent problems with dropped notes and stuck notes on my SP. I had hoped that OS 3.1 would solve it, but it changed nothing at all.

I am connecting my SP to an XK-3c via a MIDI DIN cable. The problem happens every few minutes. The dropped notes are bad enough, but a stuck note during a gig would be humiliating. I cannot enjoy playing a keyboard that is not reliable.

Other folks have swapped their unit for a new one and still had the same problem. It seems that all the units have this issue.

Amos has been trying to solve this in firmware without success. I am starting to wonder if this is a flaw in the MIDI controller that Moog needs to fix.

I bought the keyboard about 20 days ago. I have fallen in love with the sound. But I am strongly considering returning it in the next few days, because the dropped and stuck notes problem makes it unusable for me.


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:40 pm
by Jebus0000
I'm having the exact same problem. I also installed os3.1 and it's still REALLY bad. I don't think I'd be able to get through a full song without it getting stuck on a note.

I have a gig in another city on saturday and need this synth to work!

btw, I'm using a Korg Micro Kontroll plugged in via MIDI DIN

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:54 pm
by Amos
Guys - I'm very committed to fixing this.

Jebus0000, any idea if your controller is sending out either clock or active sensing messages in addition to MIDI notes?
or afterpressure? Just curious and trying to get some parameters here.

I hav been using a Little Phatty keyboard to play stacks of Slim Phatty synths all using DIN MIDI and have not had any stuck notes, over many hours of testing.
I'm not trying to shift the blame, I want to figure out what could be different between these controllers you're using and the ones I've used with no trouble.

I have a beat up old Oxygen8 controller at work, I will try using that and see if I get any stuck notes.

I assume both of you guys have used these same controllers with other synths and had no stuck note issues, correct?

Thanks for your help


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:59 pm
by Amos
also, can you guys tell me what version of the USB firmware you both have?

On the Master menu, System Utilities, the page that lists OS version will say 3.1/## where the ## is the USB firmware version.
Latest version is 31. Let me know, thanks...

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 11:29 pm
by phatmann
Hi Amos.

Thanks for your commitment to solve this issue. I will provide any help and information that I can. To answer your questions:
  • I don't think my keyboard is sending out clock or active sensing messages. Is there a way I can confirm this? Is there an app for the Mac that can log the MIDI stream?
  • My keyboard does not send aftertouch.
  • I have not used my keyboard to control any other MIDI instrument. But I can find no evidence online of the XK-3c's MIDI implementation having any known issues.
  • My OS version says 3.1 653/30.
If you need more information, let me know. I will do whatever it takes to help you debug this. If you want me to try an debugging (instrumented) version of the OS, I would be happy to do so.


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 9:57 am
by Amos
OK! First thing is we should get the USB firmware up to version 31. I am very hopeful this will help, since it's a real difference between your hardware and mine.

Problem is I only have a tested working installer for this firmware for Windows. Still debugging the Mac installer. Do you have any access to a Windows machine? I think Windows running on a Mac via Parallels/etc/ might work also.

If so, here's the v31 installer:

You just connect USB from computer to Slim, run the Slim_USB_v31.exe, and type the number corresponding to your Slim (should be listed by name, or as "USB Audio Interface" in windows XP and older). Press Enter.
You should see "USB UPGRADED" displayed on the Phatty LCD when the update is complete.

If no access to a Windows machine, I'm working on the Mac version and should have something soonish.

Also, there's a rather good app for Mac called MIDI Monitor, which does exactly what you'd hope it would:

It's tiny, and free. I think every Mac MIDI musician should have a copy...

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 1:59 pm
by phatmann
Amos, I can run Windows via Parallels. I will install the USB firmware ASAP and let you know how it goes.

So, you think the USB firmware could affect the MIDI controller?


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:12 pm
by Jebus0000
my controller is sending clock according to MIDI monitor but no after touch. I have used my controller with other synths and don't remember having any issues.

mine os is 655/30

I'll try firmware upgrade tonight when I have access to a PC.

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:34 pm
by Amos
All MIDI goes through the "USB" board... it's really more of a MIDI co-processor, it handles all merging and MIDI routing for DIN and USB, then routes all of this to the main board.

I'm still concerned that something else may be going on... if it was 100% our firmware causing the problem, I think we would have many more reports about it. Still, best next step is to update the USB firmware and re-test. If it's fixed, wunderbar... if not, I'll keep looking at the details. A special "debug" enabled firmware might not be a bad next step if needed.

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:39 pm
by phatmann

I installed the USB 31 update and restarted the SP. After about two minutes of playing, I got a stuck note. Right before the stuck note the system started to "glitch" a little, with at least one note dropping. So unfortunately the USB update made no difference.

I connected the XK-3c to MIDI Monitor and waited about 5 minutes. I saw no MIDI events being sent over the wire. When I hit a key, I saw only Note On and Note Off. So there appears to be nothing extraneous.

Any other ideas?


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:41 pm
by phatmann
Amos, in another post you mention the USB firmware for the LP being at version 32. You gave me version 31. Is 31 the latest version for the SP?


Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 6:17 pm
by Amos
Correct, v31 is for Slim, v32 is for Little Phatty. Absolutely the only difference is the name that appears on your computer when the unit is connected via USB (v31 reports "Slim Phatty," v32 reports "LP Stage II").

Here's v32 for Little Phatty (windows installer):
-- in case anyone reading this thread should need it.

Meanwhile, about your stuck notes problems. I have not had any stuck notes with Slim Phatty when controlled by Little Phatty keyboard, or when controlled by MIDI from my computer. I just spent several minutes playing all kinds of runs and trills and note clusters using DIN MIDI from my old oxygen 8 controller keyboard. No stuck or dropped notes.

Back in the very early days of the Slim (at the NAMM show) I remember I got some stuck notes when sending MIDI notes & clock from a FutureRetro ORB sequencer. I have one of those here too; I'll leave it running overnight and see if I get any stuck notes.

If not...

Do you have any other keyboards that send MIDI, or is this your only one? Idea would be to use a different keyboard to play the Slim and see if you have the same problem.

Do you have any other sound modules you can control via your controller keyboard? The idea is to see if you have any stuck or missed notes using the same controller and a different synth. Can you do either of these tests?

Again, I'm really sorry for the trouble. I feel bad that I am not seeing this here.

Other people reading this thread: Do you have a Slim Phatty? Do you get any stuck notes when using DIN MIDI? I am very interested to hear some more feedback... seems to me if they all had this same problem, we would certainly hear more about it... but I am keeping an open mind and trying to get to the bottom of it, in any case.

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 9:37 pm
by Jebus0000
k, I figured out how to turn off the midi clock on my microkontrol and when it's off it seems to work without sticking notes... if I turn the clock back on I get a stuck note within a minute of playing.

I haven't played it for an extended period but looks like that fixed the problem.

Do you still recommend doing the USB update?

thanks for all your help Amos!

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 10:24 pm
by Amos
Specifically, what the USB update fixes is the bug where if MIDI is streaming into the Phatty while it's being powered on, this disables the Phatty from responding to MIDI for the duration of that session. You have to turn on the power before connecting MIDI if this is a problem in your setup (like, if your controller is always sending Active Sensing messages out to the Phatty, for instance).

So, it's a needless bug which is fixed by the update; I'd go for it. It should be entirely transparent as there are no other changes.

I'm glad turning off clock fixed the problem... I asked about that because I found in some of my own online searching that several people were having this problem when using a Korg microKorg as a controller... if it was sending out clock, it seemed to drop occasional note off and note on messages. Turning off the outgoing clock seemed to fix it. As far as I could tell, in those cases it was a problem with the microKorg. I don't remember any mentions of the microkontrol but they could be running the same note and clock handling code... To determine that the problem is with your controller and not the Phatty, you'd need to confirm that you got stuck notes from another synth when controlling it with this same keyboard. If it only happens with the Phatty then that would be different.

In any case, I will look carefully at exactly what the Phatty does when it receives clock, to try to rule out any problems there that could cause bad behavior. So many folks send notes and clock to these synths at the same time, though, that I suspect we would have gotten a lot more complaints by now if it failed as frequently for everyone who tried this. Thanks for being a good sport about the whole process.

tony - It looks like your situation is a bit different. Is there any possibility for you to control a softsynth or other hardware synth via this controller, or record MIDI in a sequencer such that you could look at the MIDI output from your keyboard, looking for stuck notes? This sort of thing (the occasional missed note off/on) is hard to see in a simple MIDI Monitor, as you must count all the note on and off messages for yourself. An instrument or a piano roll sequencer will show much more easily if a note is stuck.

If we can demonstrate with some confidence that there are not any problems with the MIDI output from the controller, then we must look very carefully at all the MIDI messages that do come from the controller, so that we can see what is causing the Phatty to have trouble. A well-working Phatty which is getting correct MIDI does not have the problems you are experiencing, I am pretty sure. In any recording or tests with other synths you do (if you can do any) be sure to use also the same MIDI cables as you are using with the Phatty and your keyboard. It is rare, but I've ever had bad MIDI cables...

Re: Dropped and stuck notes even with new firmware

Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:57 am
by js2music
Amos, you replied to a recent post of mine on this forum relating to the same problem (I am using a Microkorg XL to trigger the SP via midi cable). First off, I appreciate your help and quick response to all of our issues. I've have uploaded all the recent OS and USB updates and I am still experiencing very frequent hanging notes.

I have now tested the Microkorg XL with various manufacturers (Nord Stage EX, Roland Sonic Cell, Alesis Micron) as a midi controller and none of those devices had hanging notes or lack of triggering. I also tried connecting the Microkorg XL to the SP and then out to the other devices from the midi thru and when the SP had hanging notes the other pieces did not.

So, this definitely looks like an issue that's taking place in the SP in relation to Korg products (When I use the Nord Stage EX or Alesis micron as controllers for the SP, there are no hanging notes). If it helps, I also found that switching the midi clock on the Microkorg XL did clear up the issues I'm having with the SP. But, I want to use the internal clock on the Microkorg for arpeggiation and delay sync.

One other odd thing: If I connect the Micron to the SP while both are on (and the SP has warmed up), the tuning of the SP is normal - fine tune knob at 12 o'clock. But, if I power cycle the Micron while connected to the SP (and the SP is on) the tuning of SP goes flat, so I must turn the fine tune knob to 3 o'clock to reach 440. Very strange. Then, If I power cycle the SP it will return to the normal tuning - 12 o'clock.

Let me know what you discover in the Microkorg/Moog category, I would really like to continue using the these two as a pair - both have special attributes that other keyboards do not have.

Thanks in advance,