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Pitch bend getting stuck


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#1 Psychometric

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 20:14

I'm having issues with Renoise not co-operating with the pitch bend wheel on my M-Audio MidAir 25 controller.

 

It's fine as long as I don't touch it. But as soon as the pitch wheel moves, Renoise seems to think it's stuck halfway up. The hardware controller then only moves it from 100% to 0% with neutral being at 50% (where it should normally be going from 100% to -100% with neutral being 0%). 

 

This is a problem, as it seems to also be a very sensitive pitch wheel, with minuscule movements detected even when I don't touch it. Which wouldn't be a problem normally, except that the minuscule movements result in the above happening and all of a sudden the synth in question is a semitone sharp.

 

 

pitch.png

 

This image is a screenshot of what Renoise is showing the pitch bend at, while the controller is in the default neutral position.

 

Looking at the MIDI log, I can see that 100% up on the wheel shows a value of +8191, and 100% down on the wheel shows a value of -2115. The 0 value is about 80% down on the controller position. Renoise seems to be wanting the 0 value to be the neutral position. However when the controller is at the neutral position, Renoise MIDI log is showing me a value of about +5020... Is the controller just weird or can I fix this?

 

The only solution I have found so far is to restart Renoise. And unplug this controller. Not ideal, so wondering if anyone knows how I can figure out what's actually causing this and how to fix it, thanks.

 

 

 

EDIT: I'm seeing this in other DAWs as well so it doesn't seem to be exclusive to Renoise. That's leading me to believe the pitch wheel is just rubbish/broken. 

 

I don't actually use the pitch wheel for anything so this is a bit annoying as it's rendering the whole controller unusable at the moment. Is there a way to get renoise to just ignore it's commands? I tried disconnecting it from the board inside the controller but that seemed to set it to permanent 100% up...


Edited by Psychometric, 09 November 2017 - 21:33.


#2 OopsIFly

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 21:58

sounds to me like a broken pitch bend potentiometer or bad software tuning inside the device. was it like this from the beginning on? It is normal for renoise to assume neutral position until it gets the first signal, then it will jump to that position. midi devices usually only transmit signals when somthing changed.

 

if you can't return/repair the device or fix something with the drivers or some pre midi filter to normalise the action, you can probably disable the broken midi wheen in the device itself, so it will not send borked values any more. my m-audio axiom has such options in its software, so I guess your air will have them, too.


Edited by OopsIFly, 09 November 2017 - 22:00.


#3 danoise

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 21:59

Is there a way to get renoise to just ignore it's commands?

 

Preferences > MIDI allows you to filter out PB. That option also filters out control change (CC) messages, however...

If you need / want to keep those messages, I'd either go for some third-party software (e.g. good old MIDI-OX), or use xRules inside Renoise for filtering the MIDI as it arrives. 


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#4 Psychometric

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 00:52

sounds to me like a broken pitch bend potentiometer or bad software tuning inside the device. was it like this from the beginning on? It is normal for renoise to assume neutral position until it gets the first signal, then it will jump to that position. midi devices usually only transmit signals when somthing changed.

 

if you can't return/repair the device or fix something with the drivers or some pre midi filter to normalise the action, you can probably disable the broken midi wheen in the device itself, so it will not send borked values any more. my m-audio axiom has such options in its software, so I guess your air will have them, too.

 

It's possibly the potentiometer. It used to work but I've had this thing lying around for about 10 years probably and it's been sitting around for a while. There were some suggestions on Google to use some electrical cleaner stuff on it but that didn't work and it wasn't dusty or grimy anyway. Sadly this controller seems to have no way to disable the pitch bend, or calibrate it in any way. 

 

 

 

Preferences > MIDI allows you to filter out PB. That option also filters out control change (CC) messages, however...

If you need / want to keep those messages, I'd either go for some third-party software (e.g. good old MIDI-OX), or use xRules inside Renoise for filtering the MIDI as it arrives. 

 

Unfortunately I do need the CC messages! I'll have a look at xRules though, that seems like it might do the trick, thanks!



#5 TheBellows

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 16:29

Sounds like the potentiometer could very well be the culprit, maybe the wiper or carbon film has been damaged by oxidation, or just become dusty. There are some ways to fix it if the problems aren't too severe, you should look at this article: http://www.michaelsh...ratchypots.html

 

I do also suspect that the culprit might be an electrolytic capacitor, as those doesn't last forever, a bit depending on what it does in the circuit. These are often used to stabilize the currents and protect against current spikes, like those that occur when things are suddenly switched on and off. They contain liquid that somehow dries up over time.

 

Do you use a midi to USB converter? Maybe there are some driver issues because of Windows updates or something? I had some problems with mine, but i mostly suspected the MIDI keyboard as i had found it on the scrap heap. It did work for a while though, but suddenly after laying idle for a while it wouldn't work and i never figured out how to fix it.


Edited by TheBellows, 10 November 2017 - 16:42.

 

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#6 OopsIFly

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 19:30

if it is not outputting jumping/flickering values per se, but smoothly going through the value range - just shifted upwards, I thing the pot might not really be the problem & cleaning it probably won't hurt but also not really help. maybe bellows is right about a leaked/dried out cap, oh well.

 

I've had issues with "scratchy" pots also on midi controllers, and the symptom was crackling in audio if they controlled audio stuff... or crazy jumping values when for example a mod wheel or pitch bend wheel pot was affected, like when they were at a certain position the values would "flicker" around erratically. then cleaning with some stinky potentiometer spray will fix the problem for a while until it will eventually come back. I doubt any dirt or oxidation would shift the whole range up or down.

 

very last resort, if you need no bend wheel - cut the wire connected to the pot, and cross fingers and hope the thing will still work afterwards, minus the broken bend wheel which would then be rendered useless. but please don't shoot me in case your whole unit would become useless because of it.



#7 dblue

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 19:39

Crappy electronics seems to be an unfortunately common problem with M-Audio controllers.

I used to have an Oxygen 8 with a dodgy rotary knob that behaved like a Theremin, so I could send MIDI CC simply by moving my hand near to the controller.

Bad grounding or something like that, I guess. Hilarious funny problem to fuck around with, but it rendered the entire controller useless otherwise.

Anyway... Maybe you can edit the controller's internal mappings and disable the pitch bend completely, without hacking the hardware to pieces?

#8 TheBellows

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 20:35

What can happen is that, if the pot is wired so that the wiper is not connected to either side of the pot, then it can suddenly jump to infinite resistance, which probably is not a reasonable value for the circuit. Might be something completely different of course.

 

My MIDI to USB was also some M-Audio product....


 

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#9 OopsIFly

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 22:06

yes before cutting a wire maybe try if you can incorporate some midi filter tool to drop/ignore pitch bend commands. who knows if cutting the wire would make the circuit generate noise and then constantly spamming pitch bend messages totally erratically even without touching it, or stuff like that...

 

maybe xrules could be used for this if it is just a matter of controlling renoise with the thing?



#10 Psychometric

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 15:32

I already tried disconnecting the wire from the main board inside the controller, which resulted in the pitch bend being 100% on all the time, so that wasn't ideal. 

 

It does seem like the values produced are just shifted up. I'm reading +8191 (which I assume is the top value) about halfway up and it doesn't go higher than that even though the wheel still has half way to go. 

 

I tried swapping the pitch bend and mod wheel wires on the board as well so now my pitch isn't going everywhere, although I can't use the mod wheel either now  :unsure: I guess I could assign one of the knobs to replace it or something though. Having the pitch bend plugged into the mod wheel port seems to avoid it being triggered by accident as that parameter seems to be less sensitive to very slight movement. 

 

I've had a look at xRules but to be honest I haven't really figured it out yet  :blush: I'll try it again later.


Edited by Psychometric, 15 November 2017 - 15:33.