Nektar P6 midi controller stopped working with Bitwig

Hello everyone,

Please accept my apologies if this post is in the wrong forum but rightly or wrongly, I deemed that it was the most adequate.

I am the lucky owner of a Nektar Panorama P6 Midi controller keyboard and Bitwig but lately they have stopped "dialoging" together.

Background:
The P6 is deeply integrated with Bitwig and both have been faultlessly working together on Manjaro since I installed it for the first time back in October. The duo has been thru many Manjaro updates since and have been very reliable up until I did an update around the 27/03/20 after which they stopped working together. I was hoping that future updates would solve the problems - well... not so :cry: but there is hope! :slight_smile:

My configuration:
Laptop: MSI GT 72 2QE Dominator Pro
OS: Linux Manjaro (latest)
Kernel: 5.6.7-1 Manjaro
KDE Plasma: 5.18.4
DAW: Bitwig 3.1.3 (for Linux)
P6 Controller script: Bitwig_Panorama_Linux_2019-08.zip
P6 Firmware: v01.14.03

Symptoms:
The P6 is detected by Bitwig and appears in Bitwig's "Controller settings" panel (see picture below) but the controller's piano keys, sliders, pots or pads stay unresponsive with the midi event light in Bitwig not flashing.

NektarP6Test_Bitwig313_Settings
Now, to eliminate the possibility that the P6 could be damaged, I tested it successfully with standalone synths outside Bitwig (i.e standalone VSTs via Wine and/or VST, Lv2 etc... via Carla patch-bay bridge.

Solution:
After many unsuccessful tests with my installation and research on the web, I stumbled upon a thread on the KVR Bitwig forum relating to a similar problem but for an "AKAI Mini controller"

In one of the posts, the KVRist @sth pinpointed that "pipewire" could be the culprit and suggested to disable it by typing in a console:

    $ systemctl --user stop pipewire.socket
    $ systemctl --user stop pipewire.service

which I did and... Hooray!! it worked! :smiley: :clap: :clap:

Based on @sth comments, the way I understand it (please don't hesitate to correct me if wrong as I am willing to learn) is that pipewire, automatically preempt all available MIDI devices (I guess before Bitwig has a chance to do so) which is a real nono for Bitwig's direct/exclusive access requirement to communicate with the Controller Scripts!

Question:
Well, I don't really have one right now... I only wanted to pass on @sth's tip to the community so other users, who like me use Bitwig's deeply integrated midi controllers under Manjaro, have a quick and easy workaround!

I also wanted to highlight the problem to the Manjaro team in case it is something of interest/importance for the future of their fantastic distro.

Last but not least, I would like to thank KVRist @sth for his perspicacity and finding without forgetting the Manjaro team and this community for their dedication and hard work to keep us safely on the bleeding edge of computing! :+1: :+1:

1 Like

That's interesting:

pipewire, required by
xdg-desktop-portal, required by
manjaro-kde-settings

And what the actual heck is this pipewire?

Features include:

Capture and playback of audio and video with minimal latency.

Real-time Multimedia processing on audio and video.

Multiprocess architecture to let applications share multimedia content.

Seamless support for PulseAudio, JACK, ALSA and GStreamer applications.

Sandboxed applications support. See Flatpak for more info.

Well, i still don't understand why pipewire is needed and what it does exactly- or is it just for this flatpack bullshite, the Future Of Apps On Linux?

Edit:
I had similar issues with my Arturia Keylab btw, the last nail in the linux daw production coffin at that time.

Truth be told, I don't really either (other than what is described in the archlinux pipewire page, it is some kind of unified secure, multimedia, audio, video and desktop sharing wiring system)
What I know though is that, as highlighted in another very interesting post found on the Q&A Bitwig forum last night, I have now disabled pipewire altogether (not just stopped as suggested in my previous post) and my Bitwig audio/midi Panorama P6 setup is now working again as before even after reboots!

Well, although I haven't tried my P6 outside Bitwig (other than with Carla and Wine standalone VSTs) your Arturia Midi should work with other Daws regardless of pipewire.
On the other hand, the Arturia, afaik being also a Bitwig deeply integrated midi controller, should show the same problem in Bitwig!
Stopping or disabling the pipewire service/socket should do the trick!

On a side note, it would be fab if Bitwig would decide to give us Linux paying users more tender and loving care to ensure that their midi integration play way nicer with Linux hosts - whatever the distro (not just Ubuntu) :slight_smile:

Let see how all this evolves !

I've never tried bitwig. : )

Anyway, i actually never moved away from theotheros to linux in terms of audio production. It makes, depending on the software you use, no sense. I am currently considering a hackintosh and logic pro for mixing, reaper for tracking. Not sure about that yet.

Well maybe you should give it a go - it is actually quite amazing I think!!

Well I won't be able to help with these other than they have excellent reputation in the professional world - afaik, one can't really go wrong with those - this is also true for the hackintosh in term of audio reputation!

Well I actually moved from theotheros a few month back but not specifically for the audio side of thing. I am only a casual audio user with interest in synth, sound and melody tinkering and I don't have the constraint of tight schedules imposed by production studio requirements.

On the other hand, I believe (maybe I am delusional here) that the wind is turning for Linux audio and that it is getting more and more traction, as shown by the growing number of manufacturers/developers jumping on the Linux bandwagon and making their products available/compatible. Of course distros like Manjaro ,offering more and more stability and ease of use, as well as integration with their own laptop also helps tremendously in this direction!! Well the future is pink :star_struck:

Still I am to young as a Linux user to have a deep understanding of the Linux audio system but, from my bird view point (and within the allowance for breakage possibilities), it feels way superior (i.e. RT kernel) and flexible than theotheros audio - again I will stand corrected as I am willing to learn! :slightly_smiling_face:

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