Ztar USB MIDI recording weirdness

The issue is that all recorded MIDI notes are stacked at the beginning of the MIDI event.

I’ve read that some Windows users need to check Use System Timestamp in the MIDI Port set up to get their USB keyboard controllers to work properly. This option doesn’t seem to be available for Mac users.

The Ztar cannot pass sys ex through the USB port, which means that users have to connect to the supplied MIDI patch bay/power source in order to load or save sys ex. This is a known issue.

When connected via USB, the Ztar is recognized by the OSX Audio MIDI utility and shows up in the Cubase Devices>Device Set up menu.

I can play VSTi in real time. When recording in Cubase, a horizontal line runs through the MIDI event and changes per played MIDI note. Opening any MIDI editor shows results similar to the attachment. (I can record MIDI via USB in another DAW)

Hooking up to Cubase via the supplied MIDI connections works fine. But that means a wart wort, MIDI cables from the controller to the MIDI patcher, then more MIDI cables to a MIDI patchbay (FastLane). All of this defeats the objective of running a very streamlined system.

There is a known issue with this controller, but Is there some setting that I’ve missed in Cubase?

What would cause MIDI notes recorded by any USB controller to all stack up at the beginning of a MIDI event vs along the time line as expected?

What can be done to correct this?


I’ve seen this before in other MIDI implementations. In fact its also happening to me in an iPad app called Thumbjam. I bet you find it won’t happen if you use the device in other apps … it didn’t for me in Logic or Garage Band on the Mac side.

I think it’s something to do with the way Cubase interprets NOTE OFF messages . I was in touch with one developer who’s product was doing this, and he gave me the code he was using for generating MIDI messages… I don’t understand it, but he said it was all 'standard Mac OSX Core MIDI" and looked like this

uint8_t buffer[kBufferSize];
MIDIPacketList *pktlist = (MIDIPacketList *)buffer;
MIDIPacket *curPacket = MIDIPacketListInit(pktlist);
curPacket = MIDIPacketListAdd(pktlist, sizeof(buffer), curPacket, 0, [data length], [data bytes]);
return MIDIReceived(outEndpoint, pktlist );

I sent this to Steinberg who replied with this ;

"One of our developers had a look at the information you have provided. He has a short and concise tip to to give:

For the generation of the time stamp use the command “AudioGetCurrentHostTime()”.

He is pretty sure that this should already solve the problem."

The developer’s lights went on, and within 30 minutes I had a build of the App which worked with Cubase.

Maybe contact your Ztar support?

Hope this helps


Hello Lee,

Thank you for that very informative response. I’ll contact the folks at Starr Labs with this info with the hope that they’ll act on it.

Best regards,


Let us know what happens … this seems to be an issue for ‘smaller’ developers … I mean keyboards, my Yamaha EZ Guitar etc don’t do it … so I’d like to track the solution if there is one.

I want to try out one those cheapo You Rock MIDI guitars soon. I’ll post if that has a similar problem!




I just sent Harvey a message that included a couple of screen shots and a copy and paste of your initial response. Any response I receive will be posted here.

As a guitar player I have an appreciation for all of the elements that create desirable tone in the whole wood, bone, and string instrument experience. I’ve had one excellent acoustic guitar for years; various 6 string electrics, an electric 12 string, really old Gibson bass etc. But MIDI guitar has really been the thing since the days before I started to use a computer for music. My avatar show me incognito playing a Yamaha G10 connected to an Alesis MMT8/HR-16/Roland U220 sync’d to a Fostex 260. Talk about “happy days…”

I have no shame in saying that I’ve been envious of keyboard players who’ve had the luxury of cheap, plastic USB keyboard controllers for the past several years. The Ztar is quite a beast with many advantages but not enough to convince me to give up, say, my Godin LGX-SA/Roland GI-20 combo. Starr Lab has been threatening to release its Rock Controller for some time now. It’s supposedly a more sophisticated version of a YRG type controller.

It 's funny to think that cheap, plastic game controllers might be the next big thing in MIDI guitar. The possibility of a simple USB connection without a hardware converter/wall-wart etc is very appealing. Especially if said cheap plastic controller plays nicely with MIDI in Cubase. :mrgreen:

Just curious, how is the velocity sensitivity of the EZ Guitar? Do you have any parameter that can be tweaked? Or do you have to use something like the Logical Editor to vary the velocity of MIDI notes?


They acknowledge needing to update the driver. Fair enough.

I just hope it gets fixed sooner than later.

If anyone else is having a similar issue as described in this thread, please let Starr Labs know about it.