Nektar Impact LX - black keys issue fix (Windows)

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Grecco
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Location: EU

Post 18 May 2017

Hello! :)

The Impact LX series from Nektar is pretty good. However the "black keys issue" is really annoying. Forget about playing piano like instruments where velocity is a key (aptly called). Black keys are significally louder. Finally I got Roland A-88 for these tasks, which is outstanding piece of hardware.
My LX88 started to collect a dust. I looked at him and realized that synth instruments are that kind type of gear which requires keys of Impact. But "black keys"...

Making the long story short I managed a fix for black keys (for now Windows only). It consists of two components:

- loopMIDI
- ImpactFixer (my little program, which decreases the velocity for black keys)

Both free of charge.

Thanks to loopMIDI, MIDI signal is internally routed from Nektar to ImpactFixer and then to Reason. Works like a charm. Now I'm happy again using Nektar Impact LX 88 with a second life chance! :)

Download and setup: http://redsparrow.eu/nektar/

Cheers,
Grecco
Last edited by Grecco on 18 Sep 2018, edited 1 time in total.
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theshoemaker
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Post 20 May 2017

Do you have proper remote maps for the impact?
:PUF_figure: latest :reason: V12 on MacOS Ventura

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Grecco
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Post 22 May 2017

theshoemaker wrote:Do you have proper remote maps for the impact?
The issue is not maps related. MIDI messages monitor shows precisely that black keys are louder - both on USB and MIDI connection.
My other MIDI keyboards work perfectly.
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WillyOD
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Post 22 May 2017

I have no idea but that sounds like a hardware problem...? Have you contacted Nektar and tried to get it physically fixed?

Cool that you found a workaround though, you coded it yourself?
I used to make music but now I just cry on these forums. @diippii.com

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Grecco
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Post 22 May 2017

WillyOD wrote:I have no idea but that sounds like a hardware problem...? Have you contacted Nektar and tried to get it physically fixed?
I've contacted, of course. No answer. No firmware upgrade (not sure even possible).
WillyOD wrote: Cool that you found a workaround though, you coded it yourself?
Yes (the ImpactFixer). For now it is a simple tool. I'm thinking also to add zone splitter, e.g. up to 8 zones defined by user visible in DAW as 8 external MIDI devices (even with one MIDI channel only devices). It could be for any MIDI keyboard.
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16BitBear
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Post 23 May 2017

Grecco wrote:Hello! :)

The Impact LX series from Nektar is pretty good. However the "black keys issue" is really annoying. Forget about playing piano like instruments where velocity is a key (aptly called). Black keys are significally louder. Finally I got Roland A-88 for these tasks, which is outstanding piece of hardware.
My LX88 started to collect a dust. I looked at him and realized that synth instruments are that kind type of gear which requires keys of Impact. But "black keys"...

Making the long story short I managed a fix for black keys (for now Windows only). It consists of two components:

- loopMIDI
- ImpactFixer (my little program, which decreases the velocity for black keys)

Both free of charge.

Thanks to loopMIDI, MIDI signal is internally routed from Nektar to ImpactFixer and then to Reason. Works like a charm. Now I'm happy again using Nektar Impact LX 88 with a second life chance! :)

Please PM me if you're interested!

Cheers,
Grecco
You are using an original LX series? I have not read any such similar complaints especially with the new LX+ series. Perhaps it was hardware or firmware related to the LX but now fixed in the LX+.

Ostermilk
Posts: 1535
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 23 May 2017

Velocity is working fine here on an LX25+.

Even if there was such an issue with one the workaround would be simple, just use the transpose buttons until the key you want to play in is all on the white keys... :D

I did a search on it there's some talk about it on the P6 but none of it is conclusive I also came across this which isn't even a Nektar keyboard.

http://community.m-audio.com/m-audio/to ... white-keys

So I guess any non-weighted controller, not just Nektar products, is going to suffer from this to a certain extent as there's more leverage on the longer white keys, like I said I'm not having problems but then I'm not much of a keyboard player, but if I was and velocity issues were cramping my style I'd go to the extra expense of getting a weighted keyboard.

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Grecco
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Post 23 May 2017

DJBuddhaBear wrote: You are using an original LX series? I have not read any such similar complaints especially with the new LX+ series. Perhaps it was hardware or firmware related to the LX but now fixed in the LX+.
Original LX, but also found post that in the LX+ the black keys issue is also not improved. As I said - for synth instruments where the velocity is often fixed is not an issue, but forget playing piano like instrument. Switching LX velocity curve in menu doesn't change anything.

Here is first what I found before purchasing LX. I thought it is not a problem, but after a while it was.



Maybe hardware, maybe firmware. No option for upgrade. And fact that other keyboards have the similar black keys issue is not an excuse.

Transposing is some workaround and I tried, but later was harder to work with pianoroll finetuning in Reason.
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Ostermilk
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 23 May 2017

Grecco wrote:And fact that other keyboards have the similar black keys issue is not an excuse.
I wasn't making excuses for anything, it just seems that its a common issue with ALL non-weigted keyboards, if you read the thread I linked to it shows compoarisons further down the page. It's certainly less of an issue on my current Nektar than it has been on some of my previous controllers.

If you want to play piano though and it bothers you then I guess your best bet is to get something that is designed to play like a piano. Many mortals such as myself though just get on with the 'shortcomings' of a reasonably priced keyboard controller for their needs, without the bigger budget requirements of a fully weighted keyboard, if that's the issue you are having it would justify the extra cost, no?

Why do you think 'weighted' keyboards exist and what do you think 'weighted' actually means? It means designed and manufactured to combat the very thing you are trying to counter. If you can find or coax any $80 controller to play just like a Steinway grand across the entire keyboard then I take my hat off to you. Even them some would say the Steinway played like crap which is why they went for a Yamaha instead. Would it mean contacting Steinway and demand they fix this issue for them immediately? Maybe, but I'd understand if they got the same reply as you did from Nektar.

Additionally I was part joking about transposing in order to get the key you want to play in all on the white keys btw, but I can't for the life of me see why this would cause issues with the piano roll as all the notes will still be recorded correctly on the intended note lanes.

The guy in the video can play, and he notes that whilst it's not feeling like a real piano keyboard and there's some discrepancy between the black and white keys (likely as I say to do with the shorter keys having less leverage than the white ones against the trigger mechanisms), he's realistic about his expectations of the type of keyboard he's using, gets used to the discrepancy and rates it as one of the better controllers of its type.

So if you've got some gizmology that can overcome these common shortcomings then yes, I'd be interested in trying out your solution.

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Grecco
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Post 23 May 2017

Ostermilk wrote: I wasn't making excuses for anything, it just seems that its a common issue with ALL non-weigted keyboards,
Tested:
Novation Supernova II - Fatar keyboard, no problem with blacks, piano instrument playing - ok
Ensoniq SQ2 - no problem with blacks, piano instrument playing - ok
Roland A-88 - no problem with blacks, piano instrument playing - by design.
Impact LX88 - well...
Ostermilk wrote: If you want to play piano though and it bothers you then I guess your best bet is to get something that is designed to play like a piano.
You're totally right, just read initial post in this thread.
The idea of this post is to share the fix, because LX88 has very annoying issue, which is NOT common with ALL non, semi or fully weighted keyboards...
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Ostermilk
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 23 May 2017

Grecco wrote:, which is NOT common with ALL non, semi or fully weighted keyboards...
According to you but I'm finding people compalaining about the same issue with pretty much any other controller, Keystation 88 or Code 61, Oxygene 25, according to the link where someone is complaing about the Code 61 the Nektar keyboard is reported not to be suffering from it, yet there are common reports that the P6 does, my LX25 + doesn't at least not enough for it to be an issue, go figure.

Don't have a pop at me about it I'm just googling the issue and I'm seeing complaints about it everywhere, it's not my fault if you just want to believe it's an isolated issue for the LX.

I'll ask again why do you think weighted keyboards exist and why does this problem manifest itself on keyboards that are produced for a lower budget than those types of keyboards?

Here's another post about the same thing, I suppose you could carry on ignoring all the issues that have been flagged up over the years about many other controllers if you want keep insisting that it's an LX thing, but here goes anyway with another thread that smacked me in the face after a casual search.

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=110

Where you'll find this quote:
The funny thing is that I searched the net for the problem, and found that besides Doepfer, most keyboard manufacturers seem to have this problem(Kurzweil,CME,Fatar).
It's even such a common problem that somebody has already provided a fully featured solution that isn't keyboard specific and you don't even have to ask nicely to get it, it's just here.

http://users.belgacom.net/gc813607/index.html

There ya go I just shared a fix too for anyone that wants it straight away for any keyboard. So thanks for flagging up the idea that keyboards can show a discrepancy between black and white keys so now anyone suffering from it can find a cheap and cheerful solution without needing to invest in a weighted keyboard.

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Grecco
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Post 23 May 2017

Ostermilk wrote: I'll ask again why do you think weighted keyboards exist and why does this problem manifest itself on keyboards that are produced for a lower budget than those types of keyboards?
Thank you Ostermilk for the deeper digging. The PianoTuner tool seems to be similar solution. Maybe somehow even better. And information about Fatar has the same issue, blowed away my POV.
Maybe ImpactFixer also will be developed, maybe stay as is. I found problem and just did fix in 15 minutes. Faster than googling.

Back to your question - IMHO weighted keyboards are the answer for the market wants. They are not better than semi or non weighted. They are different. However playing on weighted keyboard is like touching and sculpting each note separately - even with synth REs (and now VSTs).
And yes, some synths require semi-w or even non-w, and this is why I needed to fix my sweet Nektar :)

Cheers ;)
Greg
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16BitBear
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Location: Arizona

Post 24 May 2017

Grecco wrote:
DJBuddhaBear wrote: You are using an original LX series? I have not read any such similar complaints especially with the new LX+ series. Perhaps it was hardware or firmware related to the LX but now fixed in the LX+.
Original LX, but also found post that in the LX+ the black keys issue is also not improved. As I said - for synth instruments where the velocity is often fixed is not an issue, but forget playing piano like instrument. Switching LX velocity curve in menu doesn't change anything.

Here is first what I found before purchasing LX. I thought it is not a problem, but after a while it was.



Maybe hardware, maybe firmware. No option for upgrade. And fact that other keyboards have the similar black keys issue is not an excuse.

Transposing is some workaround and I tried, but later was harder to work with pianoroll finetuning in Reason.
I use a Korg digital piano which is hammer action weighted keys for all my strict piano compositions, playing, etc. I am in the market for a 25 or 49 key controller and the LX+ is in the running. I will send you a PM.

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Grecco
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Post 18 Sep 2018

Download and setup: http://redsparrow.eu/nektar/
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Nos402
Posts: 15
Joined: 09 Sep 2019

Post 16 Mar 2024

I have an LX88+ and found this post after Googling "black keys louder" which is a problem I've had with it. I tried to download ImpactFixer but both Defender and MalwareBytes tell me it's a a Trojan Malware. :( I'm guessing no one has found another fix for this yet? What a bummer as aside from that I really like the LX88+. I just end up having to manually adjust a lot of the black key velocities in the MIDI recording.

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