Korg USB MIDI Driver Disables the Alesis Control Pad

This is another single-serving post that explains resolution to a problem I had, that I could not find an answer to on the internet. So perhaps you’ve found this searching for the same problem I had. This is how I fixed it.

I have an Alesis Control Pad. A couple of years ago I bought a KORG nanoKONTROL unit, which I actually never used for anything. I have a recurring problem with Logic Pro becoming unresponsive to keyboard input (the one with the letters on it, not a musical keyboard) when you have plugin windows (Kontact, Amplitube) open. Makes it hard to stop playing if it won’t listen. I hooked up my nano kontrol to see if the transport buttons on it would work even if Logic isn’t listening to your typing.


Sure enough it does. It doesn’t fix it, but at least it lets me break out Logic without crashing it. I thought that would resolve the issue, but then my stupid Alesis Control Pad wasn’t working anymore. I could hit the pads and see the little red led on the Alesis flicker showing it was registering input, but logic doesn’t show any midi input. Using the approach of “last thing I did must have screwed things up” I went after the nano kontrol, which turns out to be the culprit.

It’s not the nano kontrol itself, it’s the “KORG USB-MIDI Driver” (v 1.2.0 r2) the instructions told me I had to install to have it work. If the korg usb midi driver is installed, the Control Pad doesn’t work anymore. Of course, finding instructions on how to remove the the korg usb-midi driver was impossible, hence why I’ve written this post for you. There may be more to this, but this works for me:

On your mac, open up the /Library folder. Go to library Easiest way is from the Finder go to “Go” and “Connect to Folder” (shift-command-G). Enter “/Library” in the dialog box. Navigate down into /Library/Audio/MIDI Drivers/. Find the file called KorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin (there may be others, depending on what you have installed, you just want this one korg one removed). Select the file and delete it (command-delete). You will need to enter your administrative password. There is also another korg midi driver in /System/Library/Extensions/advKorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin you could also remove. Empty the trash and reboot.

Here’s a very, very dangerous script that will remove both libraries. Be careful using it.

echo "Removing KorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin"
sudo rm -r "/Library/Audio/MIDI Drivers/KorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin"
echo "Removing advKorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin"
sudo rm -r "/System/Library/Extensions/advKorgUSBMIDIDriver.plugin"

midi drivers
korg midi get info

After reboot if you start the OSX standard “Audio MIDI Setup” application you should see your Alesis Control Pad again.

audio midi setup

The stupid part is, for me, Logic still works fine with the nano kontrol even with the usb driver removed. After restarting Logic shows it’s connected and the transport controls still work for me. works in logic I can’t use the “KORG KONTROL Editor” because it seems to just crash on OSX 10.8.2. Every time. So I’m not worried about editing the scenes, I just want the damned “stop” button to work when Logic won’t listen to typing.

editor crashes

A little update: A clean reinstall of OSX 10.8.2 (with restore of user files but not applications) does not fix the kontrol editor problem. If I boot with extensions disabled (holding shift at startup) Kontrol Editor works. If I make a new user and boot normally into the other user Kontrol Editor works. So it’s obviously something in my user profile that’s causing it to crash.

Another update and resolution: Going from the fact that a safe boot let Kontrol Editor work again, I decided to pursue what exactly safe boot disables. Thankfully Apple has an article on exactly this. I started going down the list: I didn’t have any user-directory extensions. I didn’t have anything in the various Startupitems. However:

It disables all fonts other than those in /System/Library/Fonts (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).

Now this was interesting. If you look at the crash message from Korg Kontrol Editor the top line is juce::ATSFontHelper::getPathAndKerning and a few other ATS functions, which are all to do with Fonts and the OSX Type System. I looked in ~/Library/Fonts (the fonts directory under the user directory, not the system /Library/Fonts and well shit, look at this:

OS9 Fonts

2001 dates? Shit those are old. Oh wait a second, those aren’t even modern fonts. Those are OS9 Fonts (font suitcases). Those fonts have literally been travelling around with my setup for more than a decade. From OS7, OS8.x, OS9.x, OSX. The various upgrades of OSX over the years have been just happily bringing those along for the ride. They’re in the user directory, so they got saved/restored from the time machine backup even though I didn’t bring applications back.

Sure enough, I just removed all the fonts from that directory (who the hell wants Wingdings anyway?). Technically I didn’t delete them, I just moved them to a new directory somewhere not in ~/Library/Fonts. Now Korg Kontrol Editor works again. So something about juce::ATSFontHelper::getPathAndKerning doesn’t like one or more of those fonts. Maybe a font is corrupted? Maybe juce:: just doesn’t like OS9-style font suitcases? Didn’t matter. It works now. The Alesis control pad still doesn’t work with the Korg USB MIDI drivers installed, but who cares.

Korg Kontrol Editor