Solving some common Yamaha KX88 issues

After purchasing a used Yamaha KX88 for a great price over a year ago I have run into a few issues that have caused me many a headache. While this is a great midi controller keyboard, it does suffer from degradation over time as any other piece of equipment. I thought I would document a few issues I’ve ran into and the solutions that worked for me on my blog just in case anyone else has the same problem. Hopefully this will help you to solve it faster than perusing endless forums for the answer.

First things first: download the free version of MidiOX. This allows you to read midi controller data in a raw format. Often times seeing what midi data is being sent to your computer will expedite the process of finding a solution (whether it be in software or hardware.)

First thing is first. Try resetting the keyboard to factory settings. To do this, hold down the “A” and “B” bank buttons while powering on the device. After it’s on let go of the buttons and the LED displays should both read 0.

Issue #1: Pitch bend wheel causes many notes to play or corrupt midi messages.

This issue took awhile to figure out the cause and I eventually narrowed it down to a faulty internal clock in the KX88. Luckily, Yamaha included a process to disable the internal clock. All you have to do is hold down the “MODE” button while powering on the controller and the internal clock will be disabled. This fixed the issue for me. It does, however, disable the built in arpeggiator functions however this isn’t too necessary with modern software but if you are planning to control a hardware synth this might be a deal killer for you. If you are buying the controller used it’s advisable to bring a laptop with a copy of MidiOX along with you to test that all MIDI information is being sent across in a non-faulty state.

Issue #2: Keyboard is stuck in DUAL mode or any other mode.

I tried many things but I eventually figured out that this is a pretty common issue with the keyboard. It is easily fixable however! The reason this happens is because the keyboard cannot change modes if it is processing input. Whenever I was experiencing the issue hitting MS1-MS4 would freeze the keyboard and I would have to power it down and back up to get any response from it. My solution was to use MidiOX and play every note on the keyboard by hitting it fairly hard. Eventually I found one note that was “dead.” I got a can of compressed air and depressed the note while putting the straw in between the key and the black felt and sprayed it there and then hammered the key a little more. Eventually the note started playing again and I was able to switch modes freely without experiencing any freezing.

I hope this has at least helped someone to fix their KX88 issues. It’s a great controller keyboard and I would hate to see someone replace it when it can be fixed easily.