MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is one of the biggest advances in music technology of the past several decades. It’s approaching 40 years old!
As a standard, it’s held up surprisingly well over those (almost) four decades.
But about a decade ago, the MIDI Manufacturers Association (or MMA as they are called by us nerds) started thinking about how to update the standard for the modern musical and media landscape.
They named the concept ‘HD MIDI’. Yes, the ‘HD’ is exactly what you think it is, and yes, it’s a stupid name.
I railed against the idea at the time, and was even surprised to find its creator Dave Smith (of Sequential) was also not so thrilled about it.
His reasoning was the same as mine – if it still works, why fix it?
Today, just in time for HotNAMM®, the MMA has announced MIDI 2.0™. Yes, it’s now a Trademark too.
You can read the preliminary here.
So do I feel the same way about it 10 years later?
MIDI needs updating.
DAW’s as well as Music Hardware and Software have exploded in functionality and power along with computational technology, and I’m not sure that continuing to put ‘Band-Aids®’ on the original spec is going to cut it anymore. Some of the new tech like MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) needs more than just an 8-bit Data stream, and faster communication and new control capabilities will most certainly lead to more innovation – which we sorely need in the Industry.
And the MIDI 2.0™ spec calls for total backwards compatibility, which ‘HD MIDI’ was not really certain about…
So hopefully these ‘tests’ go well and we’ll be incorporating the results into better bloops and bleeps very soon.
Now, what I do find very interesting is that Roland (who worked with Dave Smith to create MIDI) is on this upcoming ‘Prototyping Team’.
Sequential is not.
Maybe Dave still feels the same after all these years… 🙂