MIDI 2.0 – HD-MIDI – on its way?


Whatever it will eventually be called, and exactly what it will be called, David Battino has been talking about the next generation of MIDI.

MIDI (what is MIDI?) has been around for a long time – over twenty years in fact – and it’s time for an upgrade.

David writes:

Continued below...

Way back in 1998, I moderated a brainstorming group charged with outlining MIDI 2.0. Some of our hopes were:

  • More controllers (especially non-keyboard controllers)
  • 3D spatialization control instead of just basic panning
  • Looping information in MIDI files
  • Peer-to-peer ‘discovery’ rather than blind data transmission
  • Sample-accurate sync, and
  • Better marketing

That last item is especially interesting. When most people hear the word MIDI, they think of the annoying tunes that wheeze out of mid-90s Web pages. Contrary to popular belief, MIDI doesn’t “sound bad” — it has no sound at all. It’s simply a communications protocol. No one says Postscript looks bad; the output quality depends on the printer.

Similarly, a well-crafted MIDI file played through a high-quality synthesizer sounds great. That’s something you hear every day, whether you realize it or not. Still, the world has changed a lot since 1983, and it’s exciting to see this important spec advancing.

I think it’s fairly amazing that MIDI has stood the test of time, persisting with the advancement of musical technology. It will be very interesting to see how it progresses and is adopted in the industry.