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Logic 8 Logic misinterpreting MIDI messages?

Discussion in 'Logic 8' started by jutaika, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Hello there! I just got Logic Express 8 about 2 weeks ago and I've been trying in vain to get my Yamaha EZ-AG midi guitar to work right. I solved the first problem using a Transformer to filter out low velocity notes caused by touching the fret buttons but not picking a string. Sounds great with software instruments like guitar and piano that fade away quickly, but with strings and organs, Logic keeps playing the notes indefinitely even after I lift my fingers off the fret buttons. Playing using the AG's built-in sounds and speaker does not produce the same problem. Switching to a Yamaha MIDI interface did not make a difference. Yamaha support (very quick to reply) confirms it's supposed to send a note-off message when your finger lifts off the frets. The MIDI monitor in the Environment shows notes keep playing. (Once I apply the Transformer to filter low velocity notes, even the mute bar on the guitar does not work to stop the hanging notes, 5 minutes was the longest I noted before hitting space bar to stop the hanging MIDI notes.) I LOVE the idea of playing strings with a guitar interface, but these hanging notes create terrible dissonance when notes from 2 or 3 different chords keep building together. Anybody know why this happens? Similar problems with keyboard controllers? Yamaha says Logic is not interpreting the MIDI messages correctly. I'm no whiz but I thought MIDI was not really up to interpretation: it's on or it's off. What do you think?
  3. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Did I understand you right that this problem occured after you added the transformer in Logic, as the Physical Input went straight to the Sequencer Input?
  4. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Hanging notes occur either way...

    Thanks for the speedy reply! The hanging MIDI notes occur even when there are no objects set up in the Environment. In other words, like you said, going straight from the interface (which shows up on upper left of the Environment) to the software instrument, I get both hanging/sustaining and low velocity, unintentional notes. As the low velocity notes occur through the guitar's built in speaker, that's not a Logic issue. But indefinite sustain after a note off message has been sent is the real problem. By the way, the same thing happens in GarageBand. I've searched EZ-AG forums and info and haven't seen the same issue. Just wondering if this ever happens with more common keyboard controllers hooked to Logic.
  5. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Maybe the Yamaha support was not right and the guitar sends velocity 0 instead of note-off. or something else. Cable a Monitor object right after the Physical Input and look what comes in.

    Logic shows note-offs in two ways, depending if you look at them before or after processing:


    Always troubles. Just dumb electronics and computers :)
    But I won't give the EZ-AG away, it's a unique little thing.
  6. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Monitor view

    Thanks Peter, I tested this. See attached. (It won't let me insert because the photo is on my desktop, not a URL)

    I tried playing and watching the monitor like you showed. I noticed that playing the F# note followed by the G actually sends a note-off for the F. (A side note, seems like each string has it's own channel 1-6, if the column of "1's" on the left are channels.) When a G note is played and I lift off my finger, I don't see an "off", but all numbers in the monitor go to "0". As you can see, from the picture, all previous notes played on DIFFERENT strings/channels still show highlighted on the mini-keyboard. I am stumped!

    Attached Files:

  7. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    For images: Skitch.
    Best thing I know and still free. Register and download the software. You can then make partial screenshots, write and draw over them and upload them to the Skitch server. Afterwards copy the image URL and use the image tool of the forum editor. Very quick.

    The second column is the channel, yes. 6 channels are normal for a guitar controller. If you don't want them you can probably change this on the guitar. Or transform them all to one channel in the Logic environment.

    There are no note-offs or 0 velocity. The crosses in the first column indicate SysEx data.


    You have two options:

    • Put a transformer in front of the monitor, set its upper popup menu to "Condition Splitter ...", nothing else. This will suppress the SysEx data. And make the monitor taller, it can show up to 32 different lines. This might show us more interesting stuff.

    • Download MidiMonitor and check what's really going on.
    I suggest MidiMonitor, this is an invaluable tool to analyze the MIDI flow in your computer.
  8. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Thanks so much for the help!

    Cool! I did as you suggested with Skitch! PLASQ! The same people who made the Comic Life App that I've had so much fun with!

    Ok let's test Skitch:
    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    This is the same kind of playing using a Yamaha PSR-530 keyboard. This is what the AG should be doing.

    And here's what things look like after I inserted your Condition Splitter Transformer before the MIDI monitor and made the monitor taller.

    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    I'm playing a simple D chord by pressing the fret buttons (not picking the string) hence the low velocity. I was using an organ software instrument. Funny thing was, even though you see note-offs (when I lifted my fingers), the notes continued to sustain until I touch the mute bar at the bridge of the AG. I see that the X's went away (indications of sysex data you mentioned).

    I really appreciate your help and patience. Logic is awesome, but it's complexity and required tinkering to get things working could be a turn-off for a guy who would rather play a PS3 instead of computer games just because of the ease and reliability. ;)
  9. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    The monitor looks good now. Unfortunately.

    Are you using Logic's B3 organ? If yes, try another instrument, a simple synth will do, ESM, ES1, does not matter.

    If the other intrument has the same oddities, press only single buttons, not a chord. Only one button, down and up. Does the synth hang? Try all 6 on a fret.
  10. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Very interesting...

    Now I see. When I press and release a single button, no note-off is sent, UNTIL I press another button/note on the SAME "string". As you can see from the pic, I pressed one button at a time on strings 1-5 and there are no note-offs between notes resulting from lifting my finger to touch the next button. I was using a synth string (EXS24 I think).
    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    Yamaha says there is definitely supposed to be a note-off. I think I better email them again. I am using their recommended interface (UX16) with latest driver. But I'll download MIDI Monitor as you suggested first, to see if there is any difference in the messages. Again, thanks for the help.
  11. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Try to press/release a single button while you pick the string. Maybe the EZ-AG thinks it is really a guitar and cannot sound without a string... I just tried the controller alone in a shop a while ago, don't know how it works via MIDI. But there are a couple of YouTube videos where people play it.

    And you may want to check with MidiMonitor. There is probably something we haven't seen yet. If your controller is ok, there must be a system behind the mystery.

    Do I remember right, somewhere in the fog of the past, that trills and hammer-ons cannot be played with just one button? This should then be in the manual and if yes, there is probably an explanation.
  12. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Just found this:
    "You can't do a pull off to an open string, but you can hammer-on from one."
    Our test with just one button seem to be obsolet. Just lifting the fingers is not enough. My guess is, that you need some string or mute action.
  13. jutaika

    jutaika New Member


    Yes, the YouTube videos were actually what sold me on the EZ-AG. I saw a guy playing electric piano on the bottom 4 strings and bass on the top 2 strings. I was thinking what I could do with my music using a tool like that! I originally wanted a Roland GR-20, but at $695 with the GK pickup, it's over my budget. The EZ-AG, at $200, has more than one advantage over the Roland: No pickup configuration required (evidently this can be tricky), no pitch-to-MIDI tracking and latency this can cause (especially when going from string to pickup to GR module to interface to computer to software instrument), and the price is less than 1/3 of the GR.

    It is true that you have to hammer-on by pressing first one note, picking, and quickly pressing a note above it. Vibrato and string bending is not possible as buttons don't move like strings. And pull-offs to an open string are supposed to result in note-off (except in my case, where the note just keeps playing after "pull-off").

    I'm at work for a few hours, but when I get home, I'll run a test with MIDI Monitor and see what comes out of the interface.

    As another side note, I've established that playing a different note on the same string sends a note-off for the previous note and note-on for the new one. So if I only play 3-note chords on the same 3 strings, I eliminate the infinite sustain problem. But when I play a G chord using all 6 strings, then move to a D chord using only the bottom 4, the bass strings from the G chord continue to sound and cause "sour notes". (Is "dissonance" the right word?)

    Also, instruments like piano and guitar don't cause so much of a problem because their sound fades away quickly, and newer, louder notes cover the sustaining but fading, older notes. But I got the EZ-AG to add strings and organ backing to my real guitar work! Grrr! I must admit though, I sound like I can actually play piano on it! He he! (Can't play keyboards.)
  14. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Open strings and "note-offs"

    "the open string will never send the note off, but lifting the fret button or touching the bridge should always. I tested this with freeware program called midiox." (MidiOx is for PC only. Your suggestion of MIDI Monitor for Mac should work)

    This is a quote from an email from Yamaha support. I think our tests are not obsolete. "Lifting a fret button" is the same as a pull-off to an open string. First he says that a picked, open string will not mute unless the metal mute bar on the bridge is pressed (or another note is played on the same string). Just like a real guitar: a picked, open string will keep vibrating until it fades to nothing, unless you touch it with your palm.

    BUT he also says that lifting off a fret button SHOULD send a note-off. For me it still DOES NOT. At least not in Logic.
  15. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Clear to me now. According to what Mr. Yamaha said, we were on the right way and the single button should send the note-off. I am curious what you find out with MidiMonitor.
  16. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    MIDI Monitor Results

    Ok, I downloaded MIDI Monitor. The first thing I noticed was the constant stream of "Real Time" "clock" and "active sense" data without me even touching anything. But I filtered that out and this is what I found:

    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    This is when I press each button across the 2nd fret one time and release it. Strangely enough, The note-off message comes first, followed instantly by a note-on. When the button is released, no message is sent. This is important, since Yamaha claims there should be a note-off message.

    And this is what it looks like if I press the fret button and pick a string (high E and B strings while pressing the 2nd fret).

    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    I don't know where the middle, 32 and 39 velocity notes are coming from, but the 16's are when I press the fret, and the higher velocity is when I pick the string. Again, when I release the button, no message at all is sent.

    Another weird thing: After I turned the guitar power off, unplugged the MIDI interface and power cord, plugged them back in and powered back up, pressing individual buttons gave a slightly different result. See below:

    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    This time no note-off at all is coming through. Not even when I press the fret button (like in the first screen shot above). This seems inconsistent to me. I am considering returning this thing and getting a keyboard controller with a good arpeggiator like the Yamaha KX25. :(
  17. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Realtime messages are normal for such controllers. But, without really knowing the device, I would say that the readouts indicate a malfunction. Looks like a case for the dealer and Yamaha.
  18. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Thanks so much for the help!

    Thanks a lot Peter. You really helped me find my way around in the dark here, being new to Logic AND the EZ-AG. I will contact Yamaha again. I think you are right and this is not normal. Still trying to decide whether I want to stick with the AG (ask Musician's Friend to send me another one and hope it works right). Thanks so much for all your help! You rock!
  19. David51

    David51 Senior member

    Ditto here, my Akai EWI4000 breath(wind) controller makes great music if I record the Line Out as audio file, the MIDI files it simultaneously creates are useless-the only answer from any forum I got was that "MIDI drivers are only as good as the people who write them" which I found cryptic-it might imply that the Core MIDI drivers are the problem, but i took one MIDI file to the Machouse and had the audio man play it on a better Mac than mine[PPC 1.5Ghz 1GB RAM Mini]and it worked OK-I think the Akai may need extreme fine tuning to work well enough because I saw in the piano roll view that note lengths where all shorter than needed and trills where very odd sounding. i need a better Mac so i will get a refurbished Intel iMac and see if it plays MIDI better than a Mini. I also follow the Google G3-5 list and there was mention of G4's having a MIDI bottleneck-but I may be the only musikant (Beer-Fiddler) to try this on a G4 and would like to know if anyone is getting good MIDI from a G4?
  20. jutaika

    jutaika New Member

    Hi David,

    I have an iMac G5 (Intel processor) so based on what you're saying, my problem is probably not processor- or operating system-related. Besides, a Yamaha keyboard plugged into the same interface works perfectly in Logic.

    I can tell that Logic Express 8 puts a strain on my computer and it's best not to run other programs at the same time. (Photoshop and Logic together make for a lot of "click and wait"). I have yet to find out what happens when I am running several real instrument and software instrument tracks at once :confused:

    Have a good one.
  21. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    David, you might want to open a new thread here with a subject like "Recording problem with Akai EWI4000". Your chances to get valuable informations are pretty good. I play a WX5 but I know at least one outstanding EWI player here in the forum ;)

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