Forums > MaxMSP

[key]: many letters at the same time

Dec 28 2008 | 9:31 pm

Hi maxers,

My problem:
– I’m working to prototype a musical interface in MaxMSP that heavily
relies on the QWERTY keyboard.
– The interface involves many QWERTY keys being pressed "at once"
– [key] works reliably for 1 key "at a time," no problems
– when I introduce 2-6 keys being pressed "at once," there are various
lags that occur with [key].
– specifically, if I connect [key] to [print] and press 6 keys, 1 of 6
of the keys will come immediately; the remaining 5 keys will show up
all at once, about 200 milliseconds later. For this test, I’m printing
directly to the "Max window". In short, one key comes out immediately,
then the rest show up.
– 6 keys "at the same time" seems to be the most [key] can handle;
with 7 keys, it drops one of them out pretty consistently
– I know about ice.key as a [key] alternative, but I emailed them & it
is unclear when the Max5 version will be released…so maybe a
solution lies within ice.key…
– Is this "problem" an OS X limitation? Interestingly, in TextMate I
can type 6 letters at a time, and all 6 show up immediately.
– can any windows users comment on how many keys can be pressed at once?
– searched the mailing list; couldn’t find anything relevant to this problem

– OS X, Leopard 10.5.5, running on MacPro and MacBookPro, Max v. 5.0.5
– overdrive is on

How can I get 6 key messages out of [key] "concurrently"?

I really need this to work — somehow, anyhow — for a project due in
two weeks, so i really appreciate the help!

Jerzy Gangi

Dec 28 2008 | 10:08 pm

Work with the [poly] object! You want a polyphonic keyboard. 200 ms is a long time, that sounds odd to me.

Dec 28 2008 | 10:12 pm

>Work with the [poly] object! You want a polyphonic keyboard. 200 ms
>is a long time, that sounds odd to me.

wasn’t there an objet, kind of "super-key" with ICE (a lib written by
peter castine which , i think, is freeware now)?



Kasper T. Toeplitz
noise, composition, bass, computer

Dec 28 2008 | 11:18 pm

hi jerzy,

just to let you know, I tried it on Windows XP
i can press 4 key at the same time but with 5 or more just one is sent
and it works in the same way in a text editor…



Dec 30 2008 | 7:44 am

Dec 30 2008 | 7:34 pm

Quote: jerzy wrote on Sun, 28 December 2008 22:31
> Question:
> How can I get 6 key messages out of [key] "concurrently"?

Most commercial keyboards simply won’t do this. The hardware/firmware is built around the notion that people will be *typing* on the keyboard and typists don’t normally need or want more than one keystroke at a time. The original Mac spec’d keyboards to be able to track a maximum of 3 simultaneous key presses (plus any combination of modifier keys). The spec was upped to 5 simultaneous keys depressed about a decade ago. TTBOMK that’s still all that’s required of a keyboard, although Stefan’s experiments indicate that Apple has gone further with some of their hardware.

I do remember hearing of a 3rd party ADB keyboard that handled more than the minimum spec, but I have no idea who the manufacturer was. The fact that it was ADB is an indication of how long ago this was.

So the short answer is: depends on your hardware.

As to the software side: I normally use ice.key from iCE Tools for piano-keyboard emulation stuff. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Good luck with your project,
— P

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