I have been struggling with a MIDI recording problem for several years. I am close to going bonkers over this – or maybe I'm there already! I am hoping someone here can give me a clue to what is going on.
The problem occurs when I use Band in a Box (BIAB) to record from a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano. You can see the issue here - note the bottom red/green line, which indicates overlapping notes.Recording Problem
So my questions are: What is causing those? And how can I prevent it?
A few basic facts before I get to the nitty-gritty:
• The problem does not occur with other midi recording software such as RealBand, Aria, Anvil Studio, or Pianoteq.
• The problem does occur with two different Yamaha piano models (Yamaha P120 and Yamaha Clavinova).
• The problem occurs whether I connect with a USB cable, or with a Yamaha MIDI cable with MIDI/USB adapter.
• The problem occurs whether I use the built-in drivers or the Yamaha MIDI USB driver.
• The problem occurs with BIAB2006 (yes, 2006, I just recently re-installed it and checked), and BIAB2020, and all BIAB'S in between that I have had.
• The problem has occurred on three computers (2 laptops, 1 desktop), with different versions of Windows.
• The problem does not occur with my old CASIO LK-220 keyboard.
• The problem is repeatable, in that if I play and record for a few minutes, it almost always happens; but it is random, in that it does not always happen at the same time or on the same notes. The randomness makes it hard to troubleshoot.
• If I record a longer piece, more of those lines accumulate.
There was a suggestion that perhaps the Yamaha sends a flood of MIDI messages that overwhelm BIAB. To check, I installed software called Midi-Ox, which monitors incoming MIDI messages. I don't know how to devise a good diagnostic test, but I have run a few simple tests, with results that seem normal. If I press ten keys at once, ten note-on messages show up; if I release them, ten note-off messages are displayed. If I do that test many times, rapidly, I still get ten note-on and ten note-off messages. If I monitor the input while simultaneously recording in BIAB, the only MIDI messages I see are the notes that I press on the Yamaha. Nothing I did seemed to stimulate a flood of messages.
If I set Midi-Ox to see all messages, not just the notes, I do get a continuous stream of Active Sensing messages, a few per second. I assume these are benign; however, it is interesting to note that the Casio keyboard does not send Active Sensing messages, and does not cause overlapping notes. There does not seem to be any way to tell the Yamaha to stop the Active Sensing.
I have varied just about everything I can think of, with no change in results. Things I have played around with, to no avail:
• ASIO vs MME
• MIDI Through ON/OFF
• One-way MIDI comm (disconnected other cable)
• MIDI input and output drivers
• VST settings
• Playing with/without pedal
• Yamaha transmitting on different channels
• Latency settings
• Record on the soloist track vs melody track in BIAB
• Jbridge settings
• 32 bit vs 64 bit for BIAB
• Quantizing settings
• Timer resolution settings
• Ethernet function disabled
• Antivirus off
• Record filter – various settings
• MIDI file resolution
• Windows audio sample rate settings
• Piano Local Control ON/OFF
• Set piano to not send Pitchbend, Systemrealtime, Sysex, Program, or Control messages
• Uninstall BIAB, reinstall (twice!)
• Send Extra Note Off Messages set to YES in BIAB
• Piano Local On set to OFF, at both piano and in BIAB software
• Monitored CPU load while recording, no spikes noted
• Reset priority of BIAB process in Windows
• Isolate the computer from the internet
• Turn off WI-FI
• Stop programs running in the background
• Computer cleanup measures – defrag, disk error check, PC Cleanup, etc
Recently, I began to wonder if some other software on my computer was causing an interaction of some sort. (I had a strange problem once with MS Word, and MS told me to upgrade Adobe Acrobat to fix it. They were right. I guess the two programs used the same DLL file or something like that, so there was an interaction that I would not have expected.) With that in mind, I deleted the Vanbasco MIDI Player to see if that would fix the MIDI problem. Nope.
I had previously assumed two things that I am now not sure of. I assumed that the problem was due to losing a note off message, but now I think that is not right, because sometimes the problem occurs when I am sure I was still holding down the key (i.e., I am sure no note off message has been sent). Also, I assumed that the problem was most likely when there are a lot of notes coming from the piano, but sometimes there are lots of notes, and no overlap problem, and sometimes there is a problem when there are not so many notes.
How accurate is my data? I have no expertise in these things, so I may be misinterpreting some results. Also, I have always assumed I was on the brink of solving the problem, so I was never motivated to keep detailed data for the future analysis; the result being that the quality of my note-taking was not what you would call meticulous.
Questions that seem to point to a culprit:
• Why does the problem occur with BIAB but not RealBand, ARIA, Anvil Studio, or Pianoteq? What's different?
• Why does it occur with Yamaha pianos but not with the Casio keyboard? What's different?
Thanks for any suggestions or comments!