At the NAMM show, the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) had their annual general meeting where they unanimously voted to adopt the complete suite of MIDI 2.0 specifications. They’ve just got around to letting the rest of us know.
MIDI 2.0 – it’s going to be a real thing
The MMA is a non-profit trade organisation that brings together hardware and software manufacturers who develop products that use MIDI. Members include instrument makers such as Roland, Moog and Nektar, software developers like Ableton, Steinberg and Bome and also platform producers such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. They all got together at NAMM, had some tea and pastries, and voted to adopt the entire range of MIDI 2.0 technologies and protocols.
What this means is that all manufactures with an interest in MIDI can start to implement MIDI 2.0 into their gear confident that it will be fully supported by everyone else. Roland has already jumped into the fray with their A-88 MKII controller keyboard that is MIDI 2.0 compatible. To my knowledge it was the only product at the show that had MIDI 2.0 going on which sort of defeats the whole purpose as MIDI is all about the connection between two different devices or systems. So what we haven’t seen up to this point is the simple and yet vital action of connecting two MIDI 2.0 devices together and witnessing what occurs.
Florian Bomers from Bome is on the MMA technical standards board and he’s been very helpful in demystifying MIDI 2.0. Their BomeBox MIDI hub is capable of acting as a MIDI 1.0 to 2.0 converter.
The best source of further information about MIDI 2.0 is this article on the MMA website. If you want the nutshell version then MIDI 2.0 gives two-way communication between devices so your DAW will know exactly what’s plugged in, what it is, what it contains and what it can do. There are profiles that with automatically configure controllers and mapping and there will be more channels and higher resolution. And for the most part it will work with MIDI 1.0 so that nothing is obsolete.
All we need now is to see it in action and then we can carry on making music as normal while MIDI quietly gets better and more intelligent around us.
- MMA website.