Forums > MaxMSP

key object in max 5 can't receive more than five keys pressed simultaneously

November 10, 2011 | 1:24 am

I’ve built what is essentially a synthesizer in max 5, and I’m using the key and keyup objects to activate certain sound files. As long as you hold down a certain key, the sound file associated with that key will play.

I’ve found that if I hold down more than four or five keys at the same time, the key object stops being able to identify the new keys that are being pressed, limiting my patch to being able to play only four or five files simultaneously.

Is there any way around this?

Thanks in advance,


November 10, 2011 | 2:16 am

I would wager that this is not a problem w/ key/keyup, but with your keyboard only having five-key rollover.

November 10, 2011 | 2:51 am

I’ve experienced something similar when writing a MIDI keyboard emulator and have to agree with Chris. Most keyboards don’t need to report more than 4 simultaneous key presses. Perhaps you could look in to using the keyboard buttons in a slightly different way: one press to turn a sound on and a second press of the same key to turn it off would be one alternative.

November 10, 2011 | 4:06 am

Thank you both! This is very helpful. So perhaps that is the problem. The strange thing, though, is that it seems inconsistent. Depending on which keys I press in which order, the number of keys I can activate simultaneously changes. Do you still think this is my keyboard (I actually tried this on two different laptops and had the same issue) or something in Max?

November 10, 2011 | 4:32 am

probably the keyboard. have always noticed this issue. Using the Caps-Lock MIDI keyboard emulator in Logic has the same problem. This is why hardware MIDI keyboards are useful :) They come so small and cheap nowadays too, if you only need two octaves.

November 10, 2011 | 6:02 am

I’ve actually got a physical, hardware version of the keyboard (which I built from scratch) that runs off a make controller, but am trying to build a simulator in max so I can show the piece. This is frustrating! I wonder if there is a workaround solution other than the one Luke suggested…

November 10, 2011 | 10:38 am

*Definitely* the keyboard.

Used to be that you couldn’t get more than 3 simultaneously depressed keys. It’s simply the way these peripherals are built.

Some keyboards are less limited than others, though. Go to a mass-market computer store and go around the machines on show, fire up the on-screen keyboard display and start hitting keys. You’ll see how many simultaneously depressed keys the keyboard will give. You may find one that goes higher than five or six.

November 10, 2011 | 10:16 pm

Thank you Peter and everyone else who has weighed in on this issue – much appreciated!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)