A month after its official announcement, it feels like the MIDI 2.0 rollout is on the horizon, with the full specifications now available to the general public. By heading over to the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) website, you can access the documents by creating a free account using your email address.
Predominantly, the focus of MIDI 2.0 is on bi-directional communication between devices, further musical expression and a higher level of resolution than the 7 or 14-bit data that the original MIDI protocol was limited to. Controller options are set to be expanded upon, with direct pitch control, or per-note expression. You’ll also be able to set up profiles for different use cases, saving set-up time and improving workflow thanks to the omission of manual programming.
With MIDI 2.0 being the successor to MIDI 1.0 after 35 years, it’s important to know what the upgrade means for you. “In a MIDI 2.0-enabled world”, Brett Porter of Art+Logic told us, “[you can] bring a new hardware synth into the studio, connect it to your computer, and your DAW will be able to configure itself correctly to work seamlessly with it”.
The Association agreed on the specs at this years NAMM, resulting in five documents for audio manufacturers to base their MIDI 2.0 products on. The software and development tools to make these products a reality are available to companies that are members of the MMA. Membership can be applied for via the MMA website. Roland is among the first to implement MIDI 2.0 in a device with the A-88MKII MIDI Keyboard.
The five MIDI 2.0 documents are as follows:
- MIDI 2.0 Specification Overview
- MIDI-CI (Capability Inquiry)
- Common Rules for MIDI-CI Profiles
- Common Rules for MIDI-CI Property Exchange
- Universal MIDI Packet (UMP) Format and MIDI 2.0 Protocol
You can read an introduction to MIDI 2.0 and download the full set of documents at midi.org
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