Korg PadKontrol - wrong MIDI notes, configuration, issues and solutions

[note: this post can also be found in the old Ableton forum, I just moved it here; This is not exactly a question, but is more of a forum post that I hope will help other people]

Hello everyone,

Recently i installed Ableton Live 9, whilst still maintaining Live 8, and I ran into problems with MIDI notes sent by my Korg PadKontrol.

Since the PadKontrol manuals are absolutely terrible for troubleshooting, I decided to write a post about this technical issue so that if anyone across the same problem, they might be able to solve it as well - bearing in mind that no two setups are alike, of course.

I found that Live 9 read my Pad Kontrol notes incorrectly (i.e., the top row would play the same notes as the 4th, lower row). Strange, because Live 8 still read the MIDI messages correctly.

This was driving me nuts, but since PadKontrol was working fine with Live 8, I suspected that I probably hadn't installed the PadKontrol driver correctly.

In my particular case, my setup was:
MacBook Pro, 2.2 GHz, 4GB RAM
Korg PadKontrol
MOTU Ultralite MK3

And this was the solution that worked for me:
1 - reinstalled drivers (downloaded from Korg site)

2 - downloaded PadKontrol factory presets

3 - since I had not backed up my PadKontrol settings, I re-edited some stuff through the PadKontrol editor software (i.e., MIDI notes, Cc messages, etc)
note that for the editor to work correctly, you must assign MIDI preferences like so:
Midi in: padKontrol 1 Port A
Midi out: padKontrol 1 CTRL

this is crucial, because you will not be able to load or export PadKontrol settings if the Port connections are not correct

4 - After the changes, the PadKontrol was working correctly in both Live 8 and Live 9

Also of note: PadKontrol works one octave higher - that is, in order to play notes C1 to D#2 (standard Live DrumKit playing setting) you must configure the notes as C2 - D#3; something to do with the MIDI standard used by Korg, apparently.

This KVR forum link explains these (and other) issues in detail, and is helpful even if a bit outdated


Anyway, from what I've read in KVR and other forums, this problem might also occur even if you do not have a dual Live installation to begin with. I assume that if you follow these steps, you'll solve the problem, but no two systems are 100% alike.

Anyone else had a similar problem? If so, feel free to share your experience, it's possible that I'm missing something in my attempt at troubleshooting!

Hope this is of use for anyone grappling with this annoyance. Feel free to post comments and write about different variations of this problem, or other PadKontrol issues.



a_nascimento 5 years ago | 1 comment

7 answers

  • a_nascimento
    4 answers
    6 votes received
    2 votes

    I'm afraid that, as of update Live 9.0.4, Live is unable to properly read MIDI notes from the KorgPad. Curiously enough, Live 8 interprets the MIDI messages correctly.


    The solution I presented above no longer works. Any hints are welcome, and I've sent a message to Ableton support.

    The PadKontrol only works properly when factory presets are loaded - as soon as you make changes. Live 9.0.4 goes absolutely bonkers. The top row of the PadKontrol keys emits the correct midi messages, but Live 9 interprets them compeltely randomly.


    It would be nice if Ableton presented a solution for this, and I advise people to be careful when using PadKontrol with Live 9 until they solve this.

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • a_nascimento
    4 answers
    6 votes received
    2 votes

    update 3 - I had a chat with Ableton Support and a solution has surfaced. What follows is a transcription / adaptation of what they wrote me (thanks, Ableton Support!)

    I was using the padKontrol as a Control Surface only.

    "When you have the Control Surface option selected, the MIDI device resorts to the custom mappings created by Korg. When you create some custom MIDI mappings to the device, we would recommend that you switch off the 'Control Surface', 'Input' and 'Output' from the top of the MIDI preferences, and select only From the MIDI Port towards the bottom, "padKONTROL (MIDI IN)", Track [On]". This will allow you to map your settings individually, and hopefully should resolve your strange MIDI activity."

    It works!

    Also, on the MIDI ports dialog in Live, make sure you select MIDI PORT A or B in the connections when using USB (MIDI IN is for actual physical MIDI cable connection only)

    Hope this info is of use to anyone who comes across this problem with misplaced MIDI notes.

    5 years ago | 2 comments
  • a_nascimento
    4 answers
    6 votes received
    1 vote

    update 2 - restoring to factory presets is a semi-workaround; scene 01 works well with drums racks as long as you don't need to change octaves, of course; but again as soon as you begin changing the settings (i.e. programming a sequence of chromatic scenes so you can access all octaves), you're in trouble.

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • vershun
    1 answer
    1 vote received
    1 vote

    Wish I could have posted a screenshot, but I hope this helps:  Under preferences MIDI Sync, at the top section, set control surface to (PadKONTROL), set input to (PadKONTROL 1 PORT A).  At the bottom section (MIDI Ports) turn on the first 4 buttons under the track column...  Everything will be mapped perfectly! 

    4 years ago | 1 comment
  • hendrikstudio
    4 answers
    4 votes received
    1 vote

    It looks like there has been a change in the factory settings from pk or in the surface setting from ableton.. or somewhere else.. however^^

    to use padkontrol like before with drumrack.. that everytime the pad is on the same location vice versa you have to change the notes on your pk.

    here they come.

















    in the midi device section choose surface=padkontrol;input=pk 1 port a; output=pk 1 ctrl

    i just use pk for midi input .. so in only have Track=ON



    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • T^3
    13 answers
    13 votes received
    1 vote

    Regarding: "Also of note: PadKontrol works one octave higher - that is, in order to play notes C1 to D#2 (standard Live DrumKit playing setting) you must configure the notes as C2 - D#3; something to do with the MIDI standard used by Korg, apparently."

    This also happens with an Akai MPK225: https://www.ableton.com/answers/octave-difference-between-mpk-225-pads-and-ableton-drum-kits-bug

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • michipili
    1 answer
    1 vote received
    1 vote

    I also own a Korg PadKontrol, which I can almost use without problems. I have trouble with two keys, the issue is similar for both keys.

    I configured a key to send a D#2 and I am confident this configuration is correct because the MIDI Map Mode Switch reports a D#2 when that key is pressed. However, the Drum-Rack instrument (here Kit-LD classic) receives a F1.

    I have no idea how to fix the issue!

    1 year ago | 0 comments

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