The MIDI Forum

  1. Ryan
  2. MIDI Software
  3. Thursday, 17 January 2019
  4.  Subscribe via email
Hi there! I’m currently struggling with MIDI issues and am at a loss with what to do.

I am using an iRig Keys Pro37 connected to an iPad Air 2, running a variety of apps (not simultaneously) such as Garageband, SampleTank and Neo Soul Keys Studio. It’s with the latter, I am suddenly experiencing problems. For the record, I also have Midi Wrench installed and was using it to turn on/off sustain.

Everything was running fine and I was having no issues with any of my midi instruments – the irig just plugged in and played right out of the box, and was working with every app perfectly. I downloaded the free Neo Soul Keys app and really enjoyed the sounds it produced, so I took the plunge, purchased the full Neo Soul Keys Studio, and downloaded it. When I booted the app, I found that the volume was barely audible. It was so faint at first, I thought it wasn’t working at all, but maxing my volume on my mixer, I get a very quiet sound.

I flick through the different electric pianos in NSKS, and all of them are the same low volume. I try all the different presets, and every one of them is the same barely audible level. I check the apps volume, and my volume control on my irig (CC7) and that’s at max. I check my connections, mixer, ipad volume – all fine. I open other apps – Garageband and SampleTank – and they are lovely and loud, no problems there. I open the original free version of NSK – which was working perfectly fine – but now that too is an unusable volume.

Not really knowing very much about how MIDI really works, I assume that maybe with MIDI wrench I must have changed a parameter somehow, somewhere, that affects only NSKS (and NSK free app). I follow the iRig pro’s instructions to perform a MIDI reset. No change. I uninstall both NSK and NSKS, and reinstall. No change. I uninstall, perform a general reset on my iPad (to maybe reset any parameters?) reinstall – no change.

I contact customer support at NSK, and the guy rudely tells me he has never heard of such a problem, that its my iPad not the app, and offered no further advice or help. But if its only his app that isn’t working properly, surely its either an issue with the app, or an issue with how my iPad/controller is communicating with the app – so in my opinion it IS a NSK issue. Sadly, he’s decided saying “its your iPad” is the end of his support.

Returning to the full app, I continue to fiddle with FX and dials to see if anything can fix the issue. The first thing I notice is that there is a sustain button in the app, (on/off) with a dial. If I turn this “off” I get no sound at all. When it is on and dialled to 10 (max) I get the same barely audible volume, and when I turn the dial down the volume decreases. I find that kind of weird – while I’m no conossiuer of electric pianos and MIDI instrumentation, sustain isn’t usually synonymous with volume – and what is the need of turning sustain on/off if it just turns your whole sound on/off?

Another thing I noticed was that within the app is an FX called “Widener”, with two parameters – “Stereo” and “Width”. If I set them to near max, I get a usable sound. Okay, so no problem right? Well, I can’t help but feel this is just patching up the problem rather than fixing it. Note that whenever I choose any of the factory presets, none of them have “Widener” set to on or max. Surely if this was the default setting, this would be present in all presets and set to this from the off, rather than something I had to dig around inside the app to find and then set myself every time I change the preset. Secondly, I can’t be sure I’m getting the best sound out of this app if I’m using an FX to boost the signal so much. Thirdly, why have an FX unit that needs to be permanently on and maxed out for anything to work? All this tells me that the app is supposed to be audible with the Widener, and the Widener is there to effect an already good signal. Plus, why is the NSK free app quiet? The free app doesn’t have FX and therefore doesn’t have a widener to turn on or off – remember this was working perfectly before I installed the full NSKS.

Apologies for the long post. I just wanted to make sure I gave as much information as possible, and as a rookie with MIDI I’m not sure what is or isn’t relevant. I’ve spent good money on NSKS and just want it to work properly. I can’t help but feel there is some MIDI parameter screwed up somewhere, or some file stored on my iPad relating to NSK that’s got something twisted – I just don’t know what to do, how to check, how to reset anything properly, or why the NSK apps are playing up when no other MIDI-based app is having problems.

Any help or guidance would be so gratefully received, thank you so much in advance.

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