One reason for the success, and longevity, of the original Midi specification was the ambition to develope a ‘bullet-proof’ spec before products were introduced. The same philosophy is now emerging with Midi 2.0, as the past month has seen Midi Manufacturers Association (MMA) members review and adopted eight new Midi 2.0 specification families, bringing the total to 13 finalised specs. 

MMA President Craig AndertonThe new specifications take advantage of Midi Capability Inquiry (CI), a protocol that expands Midi with new features while protecting backward compatibility. Midi 2.0 devices can query Midi 2.0 and 1.0 gear automatically about the functions they include, follow rules that create user-friendly profiles for different instrument types, and standardise formats for exchanging properties (such as preset data) among instruments and DAWs. Further, a universal Midi data packet accommodates communicating both Midi 2.0 and 1.0 data over USB.

Parallel MMA working groups are currently working on specifications for default control mappings, orchestral articulations, guitar controllers, wind controllers, a standard file format for Midi 2.0, and other elements designed to add both convenience and power to forthcoming Midi 2.0 products.

‘It’s fascinating to see what’s going on behind the scenes, particularly because of the effort being put into backwards compatibility,’ says MMA President Craig Anderton. ‘As a result, I expect that the transition to Midi 2.0 won’t be a jarring change, but a smooth crossfade that will enhance current systems for years to come.’

Details on the new specs, Midi 2.0 spec downloads, and news and applications involving Midi are available through the Midi Association website. Membership is free upon registration, and there’s an option to subscribe to a blog with updates on the latest Midi news.

See also:
Après Midi

More: www.midi.org

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