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How long will MIDI exist?


dansouth

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How long will MIDI exist? By my calculations, MIDI's been around for about eighteen-and-a-half years. It's popularity seems to be fading, though, as audio becomes more manageable due to faster computers, cheaper storage, etc.

 

Will MIDI still be around in another ten or twenty years? Will it be replaced by a new standard? Or will the concept of a real time control protocol fade into technological oblivion?

 

Will tools like Logic and DP and Cubase be extant in another twenty years? Will their feature sets improve? How so? What will we be able to do in MIDI-2 that we can't do today? If these manufacturers close their doors, will others rise in their place?

 

How would it change the way you work if MIDI were to vanish altogether?

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I think midi is one of those technologies that should go away, yet because it's here it won't go away. Manufacturers keep using it. It's very primitive & finicky. Imagine if your remote starter in your car was like it. You pull your car into your driveway (bring your keyboard back from a live gig). When you turn it off, you have to tell it the next time the key won't start it (Local Off). Now you have to tell the remote starter which make & model the car is (OMS or FreeMidi), open up the glove box & hit another switch that turns off the key so that the remote starter will have a chance to work (AppleTalk Inactive) maybe test it before you go into the house. The next morning you start your car from the house. You cross your fingers, because the last time you did this, you had to go underneath the hood & check a few things before you got it to work. Then when it did work, the car went out the driveway, on its own driving wildy down the street. I think the remote starter manufacturer would be out of business before it even got its product to the aftermarket auto stores. Don't get me wrong. I think is a great thing, not just to sequencing but also remote switching, etc. Some guys can really make midi sequencing fly, but I'm not one of them. I'm sure it was quite a feat to get all the manufacturers to agree on this type of technology, but its slow & outdated. But it's all we got so it keeps getting used.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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well what would most of us use MIDI for? recording note data into a PC, controlling other keyboards when playing live. it's sort of like a network isn't it? of course i think a lot could be done to improve midi, but has anyone ever tried it? why does everything have to go to 0-127? why not 0-255?

i think it will stay for a while. don't know when. but didn't 20 years ago we think that we'd be flying rockets around in the year 2000? well that was last year......

 

do not fear - the world does not belong to terrorists....

kendall

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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I still see a system for playing sounds via another instrument's keyboard, but I'll bet its soon done over Firewire. I'm looking forward to the day that I only have to hook up ONE cable to my keyboard prior to a gig (an infrared link to the foot pedal would be nice!).

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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While it's two decades old, how successful do you think a synth would be without midi? With midi, I can layer, texture and manipulate sounds that would take four or five people to do live. It hs given us a means to effect a soundscape in real time and makes it easier to capture that performance and repeat it infinitely with the desired timing/feel while still maintaining editing abilities (via computer).

 

Yes, audio recording and editing has come a long way, but the power and expense needed to manipulate the data is much greater than with midi. Once you capture the performance you are seeking, then it can be dumped down to audio where it can be further manipulated. For the music I do, I see midi as the first step in the recording process.

 

[ 12-10-2001: Message edited by: MusicWorkz ]

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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I think when Roland, Korg, Yamaha and Emu get together on an update things will move forward. A lot of companies, especially American manufacturers did not jump on the midi spec in the beginning. When a few powerful companies agreed on and implemented the spec the others had to follow or be left behind.
This post edited for speling.
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Actually, I like MIDI. I am most comfortable working with MIDI first then transfer everything to audio. Least in my opinion, when I record directly to audio, it'll never fail that I would always make some kind of mistake and I would re-record the take. In midi, I can just punch-in. I know I can do that with audio, but it's easier for me to do all editing in MIDI than with audio. Also, I like the fact that I can midi a controller to a sound module or midi a 76-key synth to a 61-key synth to control that synth. I know that I'm new to the game, but I hope midi will stay around awhile longer (till I can get a better understanding of digital audio recording and the freakin' latency problem I keep having!!). :D
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I would never consider purchasing any gear that didn't have at least a MIDI input or output (depending) on it.

 

I never have any problems controlling my modules via MIDI and I know of no other method to.

 

Also, I am heavily invested in MIDI having many modules and keyboards interconnected with patch bays, mergers and thru boxes.

 

If we are only talking about using MIDI for recording (sequencers and the like), I might concede the point. However, I have never used MIDI for recording/sequencing purposes, with the exeption of MIDI control surfaces that I use when I record to my PC and for syncing up a drum machine.

 

 

Carl

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I think pro too about midi... (basically because im a beginner too at it... ) i rely so much on it wether it be in gigs, or simple recordings at home... but i won't hesitate to try sumthin better (once it turns up), maybe the new technology is just around the corner waiting to be picked up! :)
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Originally posted by b_3guy:

I think midi is one of those technologies that should go away, yet because it's here it won't go away. Manufacturers keep using it. It's very primitive & finicky.

 

I have to disagree with you on this one, b3_guy. Why should it go away? What would you replace it with?

 

I also don't agree that it's primitive and finicky. The way it's implemented into some synth operating systems and computer operating systems might leave something to be desired, but that's not the fault of midi itself. Midi is fantastic - it's reliable, it's cheap, it's on every synth I own, it's so useful!

 

The only situation where I would want to see it replaced was if it got replaced by something that A) was a standard adopted by all manufacturers (don't hold your breath waiting for that one) and B) was backwards compatible with the current version of MIDI.

 

You might not need it in your sequencer if you record everything as audio, but I'll bet there are still lots of people who use midi a lot. I know I do. I personally think it's indispensible.

 

[ 12-10-2001: Message edited by: GuestUser@GuestUser.com ]

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Originally posted by GuestUser@GuestUser.com:

What would you replace it with?

Firewire

It's primitive and finicky.

It's date alone covers this one.

The way it's implemented into some synth operating systems might leave something to be desired, but that's not the fault of midi itself.

Agreed.

it's cheap

Maybe that's why there's been no advancement.

backwards compatible with MIDI.

This is part of Winblows problem. The operating systems are made to be compatible with 286's. So now you want the brand new 2001 interface to be compatible with something that was dreamed up in 1980?

 

I agree Midi is a great thing. But improvements are required or maybe implementation could be improved upon. I would like to see better speed, some sort of auto detect by both synths & software/computers. I seem to have no problem with computers & softwares, even figuring out strange softwares, but I have a hell of a time getting midi to work after it is simply unplugged.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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I'd like midi to be replaced by something that addresses the timing and data congestion problems. I wouldn't like it to just vanish. I don't see why a protocol can't be created that updates existing midi files, and plays old gear. The data format appears simple enough, and the computer industry has done this sort of thing several times with computer os's, database formats, etc.

 

Midi will go away when we want something better bad enough. The technology allows for improvements, but the customers haven't clamored enough to drive the manufacturers into a huddle.

 

Sadly, I don't think we are in a particularly progressive era in the music industry, at least as far as building new standards to rejuvenate the industry is concerned. What we need is a benign microsoft/intel combo to whip the industry into shape. (did I just say that?)

 

Sorry, flame away. ;)

 

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by b_3guy:

Firewire

 

Yes, but Firewire doesn't have a protocol for synths, does it? I think Yamaha has MLan which runs on top of Firewire, but that's proprietary at this point, I think. Well, maybe a couple of Korg synths support it. But it's not backwards compatible with MIDI. That means that if I want to use mLan, I'll have to have two protocols going, mLan and Midi. Great, just what we need, competing 'standards'.

 

Its date alone covers this one.

 

Being 18 years old does not make it primitive and finicky. It's good enough for its intended purpose.

 

Maybe that's why there's been no advancement.

 

But there has been additions and advancements to the Midi spec. There's no need to keep changing it just for the sake of change. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

 

This is part of Winblows problem. The operating systems are made to be compatible with 286's. So now you want the brand new 2001 interface to be compatible with something that was dreamed up in 1980?

 

Not quite true. Windows 2000 for instance, requires at least a Pentium class chip, I think. Also, Windows's backwards compatibility is a strength, not a problem. You don't want to have to throw out all your old software every time you upgrade your operating system, it's expensive and just not practical. And again, what's wrong with being dreamed up in 1980? You're b3_guy, you're named after an instrument that was dreamed up, what, in 1940? The B3 was a good design, people still use it today.

 

I agree Midi is a great thing. But improvements are required or maybe implementation could be improved upon. I would like to see better speed, some sort of auto detect by both synths & software/computers. I seem to have no problem with computers & softwares, even figuring out strange softwares, but I have a hell of a time getting midi to work after it is simply unplugged.

 

I agree that there's room for improvement in user interface design. But, again, I think these are synth and computer operating system problems. I don't think they are problems with MIDI itself. MIDI is just a protocol for sending information. I think that SYSEX could use a lot of improvement and standardization, but I think MIDI allows for that. If the manufacturers could come with some solid SYSEX standards, then computer software makers could do things like what you want.

 

Besides, there's no guarantee mLan will be perfect, either.

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What midi needs is to go to a parallel system instead of serial. They could start a parallel system and just let the people that still have a serial system just buy a convertor box. Hi def TV is one of those systems. Latency sound not be all that much affected. Should only add microseconds to the transfer. Computers would love it. Casey

 "Let It Be!"

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I'm thinking I want a 802.11b wireless connection from my keyboard to my other devices.

 

Instead of one wire, try no wires.

 

The data that is sent via MIDI is puny compared to doing things like video editing so firewire seems overkill, but hey, I'd like to see it .

 

Why not USB? I mean they make MIDI USB converters so why isn't there a rewritten protocol for Midi over USb only?

 

Shrug.

 

3P

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I just went over to Yamaha site and read some stuff about mLan to refresh my memory. What it appears to do is send Audio and MIDI data over a high-speed bus (Firewire). So, it doesn't actually REPLACE Midi, it just sends it over a faster bus. Now, if your synth has an mLan port, and your computer has one too, then, depending on how the mLan is implemented inside the synth, and depending how the mLan is implemented inside the computer interface, and depending how the mLan driver code is written for your operating system, then you could end with a 'faster' version of MIDI. The MIDI data would be the same, but it would get there faster (in theory).

 

I guess that actually sounds pretty good to me. If the mLan interface to the computer allows me to plug in enough MIDI cables (for non-mLan synths), then maybe I could live with it. But it all depends on how well it gets supported by the synth and computer industry. A couple of problems I noticed so far: the only mLan computer interface sold by Yamaha, the mLAN8P, only has 2 MIDI ports.

 

Another problem with mLan is that it comes from Yamaha, who have a history of designing user-unfriendly operating systems.

 

[ 12-11-2001: Message edited by: GuestUser@GuestUser.com ]

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Hi:

I happen to love midi...yes, it does need some improvements, but as a universal standard to let instruments "talk" to one another - it's great. I love that I can crate an entire song out of data events that basically take up no disk space. Not to mention being able to select new patches and instruments with ease instead of re-recording audio. Besides what are the chances that a new universal standard will ever come to fruition? Just look at audio - vst, mas, rtas, tdm, direct x...so many variations and choices. Good old midi, you can always count on that. ~nel

*

 

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Well, since MIDI's *predecessor* (CV/gate; CV = control voltage) is still around after something like 30+ years (whevener it was that Bob Moog came up with the 1V/oct and S-trig standards for his modular synths, even though most, if not all, gate I/O on current gear is V-trig, not S-trig), I see no reason why MIDI shouldn't last as long ...
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I'm really new to midi, but i feel it is really accessable and small.

 

You can store a ton of midi info layer upon layer of info. I guess it's just one of those things that just take a while to get into and actually use extensively (fully) in order to feel it's worth keeping (continuing). I personally perfer to record data live in true audio.

 

Makes it really easy i find working on the Fantom (in combo with CUBASE VST) for that, because i can go back into it with "micro edit" ;) and fine tune, and tweak it further. It saves midi in 2 forms (the Fantom) -- one where it's just the formatting (or completed midi file) and the other saves all the fine settings manipulated throughout the work. It's still finiky because you have to deal with midi channels, eeek! to corrispond with what sound you want and all that jazz...

 

The learning and discoveries are worth the time,

 

 

...don't throw away what has already been a real good thing; we humans really like to waste and replace, rarely do we really appreciate something for a life time or even improv upon constantly, rarely more do we make the best of what we got...

 

-vi

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Hey, my first post!

 

Sometimes looking back reminds us why things are important. The most important value of MIDI is its simplestthe ability to record the notes you play on a MIDI keyboard into a sequencer.

 

Prior to MIDI, tracks were recorded into analog tape recorders (the good old Tascam 4-track). Make a mistake, rerecord. When MIDI and sequencers emerged, you could record your performance into the sequencer. Suddenly, editing mistakes, fixing rhythm errors, and tightening up rhythms became easy (and fast). The ability to transpose to new keys, select and duplicate tracks, copy and paste 4-measure drum patterns into larger patterns was incredibly easy. MIDI sequencers became the word processors of music. Add the capability to easily edit and manipulate all of the other MIDI parameters and controllers (volume, expession, velocity, panning, tempo, and others) and you see the powerful foundation that MIDI offers.

 

One of MIDI's overlooked values is that it is the data that notation programs use to create printed music.

 

MIDI has its bumps especially with regard to issues of MIDI protocols that are no longer supported (Apple MIDI Manger, OMS), installation problems, latency and timing, but in general it has done ok. I think most people have an unfavorable view of MIDI because of how poor MIDI files often sound when played on mismatched MIDI sound modules, and from installing MIDI software and interfaces.

 

MIDI is showing its age, but hopefully newer implementations and improvements to computers, MIDI peripherals and equipment, and operating systems may again stabilize MIDI as a good thing (go OS X.1, and higher). The hassle of MIDI interfaces, software installation, drivers, and making it work with your computer is something we all have gone through and remember with dislike. Another black eye for MIDI.

 

Without MIDI, however, the digital audio recorded into your computer or DAW would be similar to recording onto a tape recorder. Make a mistake, rerecord. Editing of single notes, transposing sections, and creating loops using copy-paste are certainly more difficult with digital audio than with MIDI.

 

Furthermore, unless I am mistaken, MIDI data is the underlying "controller" of most of the DAWs and digital audio software programs out there. What is the mechanism that lets you draw volume and tempo maps for your digital audio tracks? It is MIDI data, I believe. Don't forget that your samplers, soft synths, and sound modules still need to be triggered by MIDI in order to play. In all cases, if MIDI is gone, something would need to replace it.

 

Don't get me wrong. I dislike the torture of installing MIDI and making everything work each other. I want standards to improve and give us more power, better performance, and easier installation. Let's hope we get there whether its MIDI or some future standard.

 

If you're just tracking your instruments into digital audio tracks then don't think of MIDI at all. Those of us who are older and were weaned on MIDI probably still use MIDI to record our music and songs.

 

THAT SAID,

 

Digital Audio is INCREDIBLE. I'm just one midly old MIDI guy who is rediscovering the fun of writing and recording music in this new world of digital audio (with considerably better results than that old 4-trackI'm just starting back up once I get past the learning curve and the setup thing.)

 

My hat is off (and I don't wear one) to all of you who are recording and producing music these days. I have learned a great deal from reading your posts. I am amazed by the demos I hear from these forums. When I heard some of the music composed by the GigaSampler crowd and the realism of MIDI mock-ups by composers such as James Newton Howard, Antonio Genovino (and many others) my mouth just dropped. It's all incredible and your talents and skills are to be admired.

 

All in all, it's an exciting time to be in music. Regards to all.

 

It's more difficult to write these posts than I imagined. Take care.

 

John

 

 

Check out the new MOTU advertisements for Digital Performer 3 where they mention that DP3 and a G4 were the controllers that played backing tracks, controlledlighting, and even a Neve board using DP3 with its MIDI data. This was on the Madonna and U2 world tours. Now that's MIDI.

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Hey Jon!

 

Neighbor! ;)

 

Welcome to the Keyboard Corner! Thanks for the post. Where've you been hiding since August? :)

 

For the record, I LOVE MIDI for all of the reasons that you mentioned. It's fun to listen to a piece of music at different tempos and decide on just the right BPM setting before committing tracks to tape/HD. It's wonderful to transpose a rough arrangement until you find the right key for your voice.

 

I rely heavily on Logic's ability to represent MIDI data in different ways - notation, matrix edit, lists, strip charts, etc.

 

Part of the reason that I started this thread is because I don't want to see products like this vanish in lieu of Acid-style loop programs. Those programs have their place, but they're not as flexible as MIDI. Also, I've never been one to make music out of bits that someone else has composed. I prefer to "roll my own." It's encouraging to hear that many others also appreciate MIDI's power and advantages. I guess all hope is not lost after all. ;)

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Thanks Dan,

 

I recognize your name from many other posts. It's a pleasure meeting you and the many others on all of these lists. Perhaps, a little introduction is due.

 

I only discovered these on-line forums in August. They're great! I am a long time subscriber of Keyboard and many other music, computer, and recording magazines. I have not been able to be involved because, like all of us, my work day is long and tiring and I just browse a little late in the evening. I also don't have the day-to-day chops (or a working home studio yet-just a computer and rack in the corner) to contribute technical advice to the many forums. Maybe this will change.

 

As far as MIDI and technology, my background goes way back. When I was a young teacher, over 25 years ago, I used a "pre-MIDI" ElectroComp 101 (does anyone remember this baby?) to teach junior high school students how to compose electronic music (the weird stuff) and to make films. Yes, kids can learn a lot from music technology.

 

Just one last example of how music technology, such as MIDI, can empower you. Many years ago, I purchased a Mac IIci, MasterTraks Pro, and a couple of sound modules. With my new music word processor I wrote a great deal of music in two years. Prior to that I was using hardware, an Oberheim OB-Xa and Obhereim MIDI sequencer, to record sequences. Using hardware sequencers to record MIDI was too difficult and tedious. The MIDI software and computer suddenly made things easy.

 

I feel excited today by the new integration of MIDI sequencers and digital audio, software synths and samplers, and the new power of computers. Again, its a great time to be in music.

 

I think that all of you on these and other lists empower users to go out and create music using new music technology. The fact that you can be your own record label nowadays and release CDs made from home project studios is a great thing. I'm learning its not always easybut its still a great thing.

 

If my wife gives me permission, I'm going to spend more money.

 

Take care all. It's a pleasure. Hope I can respond more often. I have a feeling I'm not doing these smiley faces quite right. Bye all, and thanks for your welcome Dan.

 

John

:P:P

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Well, being a computer-nerd, I'd say midi is as primitive as C . Once you learn C++ you don't use C any more. But if you don't know C++ you think that C is the greatest thing since assembler. MIDI has been around for a while, and I still miss the ability to send more note-properties than velocity, note, and aftertouch. Sure, there is always a workaround, but it is always unintuitive. The thing is that a programming-language (be it C or MIDI) need to be accessible, easy and intuitive. We have the processing-power now, so we don't need C to make it fast enough, so bring on MIDI++ !.

 

I don't compare audiorecordings to MIDI because that would be like comparing source-code with compiled code.

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