Cubase Pro 13 - freezing/lagging/locking up after unplugging NI Kontrol S88 MK3

Hi there.

I recently added a Native Instruments Kontrol S88 MK3 to my setup. Everything works fine so far until I turn off or unplug the S88 MK3 while Cubase is still running.

The music keeps playing but the GUI stops working. The rest of the PC is still working without any issues except for Cubase. I also have a Platform Nano connected and the Timecode showing in the display there is also hanging/jumping from the moment I turn off/unplug the keyboard. I can stop the music by hitting the Platform Nano’s stop button, but this also happens with a massive delay. However, I can’t stop the music with the mouse or the PC keyboard. Once the track is stopped, Cubase apparently starts to recover slowly. Everything keeps being laggy, but things start to slowly speed up and it takes some time until things are back to normal. This does not happen if I disconnect the Platform Nano.

What is the issue Cubase is having with the S88 MK3? The problem must be within Cubase because it shouldn’t behave this way, no matter whether a keyboard is disconnected/turned off or not.

Windows 11, latest version.

NI’s implementation is similar to Mackie (to not say identical), and Cubase is pretty good at handling Mackies.

I’ve been using a KK MK2 in Mackie mode for some years, without any issue similar to the one you describe upon disconnections, and this is why I’m suspicious for the MK3’s implementation.

Just to be more precise, note that there is a medium between the MK3 and Cubase, an NI’s daemon service doing the job. This means that when you disconnect the device, maybe something nasty happens with the way this daemon handles it, probably giving Cubase resources a hard time under Windows (which are not perfect by the way when it comes to MIDI handling). I would even check this service’s CPU resources at the time of disconnection.

I would recommend contacting NI using the dedicated forum or a ticket, so they can have a closer look at this issue.

I recently moved on my Mk2, partly through the frustration of not being able to simply disconnect the keyboard during a session in the way you have outlined in your post.

I ended up having to save the project I was working on and close it before I could switch the Mk2 off and slide it out of the way of my mixing desk. Very inconvenient and frustrating considering an otherwise excellent bit of kit. (especially those times I forgot to do it this way and had the same experience of the project playing and no way of stopping it, other than restarting the Mk2.

This happened throughout Windows 10 and 11, on different PCs and on at least CB12 and now 13. I never got to the bottom of it and the keyboard is now with a new owner, replaced by a Nektar P4 which doesn’t have the same level of irritation attached to it. Good luck!

Thanks for your input. The point is that Cubase apparently doesn’t release the hardware properly. I doubt that the NI Services (NTKDaemon, HardwareConnectionService, NIHardwareService, NIHostIntegrationAgent) are the primary problem because Cubase should go back to normal if those services are stopped. But nothing happens when I forcefully stop them. Cubase keeps behaving odd.
I don’t say they can’t be the cause for this problem, but my experience is that whenever a particular problematic service is terminated the problem should disappear immediately.
I wonder if this issue also occurs in combination with other DAWs. Looking back how long it took Steinberg to implement device recognition while Cubase is running I think this problem lies within Cubase. It’s my feeling. I can’t say for sure of course.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the MK2. Did you try the MK2 with other DAWs? Did the problem occur with those, too?
Yes, it’s very frustrating and absolutely kills one’s workflow. I used to use an MPK261 (with its own flaws, namely the keyboard with its velocity issues) but since it’s a class compliant device (no drivers availabel) I ran into some other problems on my new computer. I had to put a USB-Hub in-between for the MPK261 to be recognized which is also inconvenient.
I think Microsoft is to blame, too. My experience in general with their implementation of music production devices in Windows hasn’t been the best. But I don’t think Apple is any better.

Never tried the Mk2 with anything other than CB (I abandoned Ableton quite a few years ago).

I really don’t know where the fault lies. It seesm that Apple have a whole raft of issues of their own, and while Microsoft aren’t perfect, I’ve been running Win11 for a year on a new PC without any issues, and if anything the move to C13 has given me even more confidence with this particular setup.

I miss the NKS visual prompts since losing the keyboard, but TBH very little else. The Nektar still needs to be initiated before starting up Cubase, but like my Maschine Mk3, it can be switched off at any time without affecting the project I’m working on.

I really don’t know why what is effectively a dumb MIDI controller causes mayhem with Cubase when it is switched off mid stream, but trying to get the various support services of Microsoft, Steinberg and NI to avoid pointing and blaming each other was going to be too much hassle so there was only one loser … the keyboard.

I disabled all the NI services and funny enough, the keyboard is still being recognised within Cubase. This would mean that the problem definitely resides within Cubase and how it handles the Kontrol Sxx MK2/3.

Connecting the keyboard while Cubase is already running is no issue here. All the devices are properly recognised.

I really like the keybed, the polyphonic aftertouch and the encoders. It would be quite a drawback for me to let go of it.

I will further try to narrow down the issue. Still, it’s frustrating having these kind of issues in 2024.

I think this is the key (pardon the pun!) to why the keyboard is still being recognised:

Dunno … this is why we ended up parting ways. I’d rather be using my time playing than trying to work out these sorts of technicalities :thinking:

…or writing responses to frustrated Kontrol-/Cubase-Users like me in the Steinberg forums. :wink:

Yes, I do get your point and I’d be happy if things would just work the way they are intended to. But apparently the companies don’t want us to be productive and have us sorting out the issues their gear cause instead…

I’d really like to see the Steinberg people comment on this. They should be having an idea why their DAW behaves this way.