MIDI 2.0 Specifications Get Global Debut

MIDI 2.0, the next-generation music and arts specification that enhances virtually all aspects of 1983’s original MIDI 1.0 spec, made its world-wide debut at the Winter NAMM music industry trade show in January. According to the MIDI Manufacturers Association, current MIDI users wanted more nuanced expressiveness, higher resolution, and increased ease-of-use, but also require backward compatibility with existing MIDI 1.0 devices. The suite of MIDI 2.0 specifications adopted at The 2020 NAMM Show meeting of the MIDI Manufacturers Association delivers on those promises.

The association says that manufacturers can now start creating products with confidence that will work with both new MIDI 2.0 gear and legacy MIDI gear. Furthermore, Roland introduced the A-88 MK— the first MIDI 2.0-ready controller keyboard. It realizes MIDI 2.0’s promise of greater expressiveness thanks to higher controller and velocity resolution, coupled with the ability to take advantage of MIDI 2.0’s extended range of controllers.

MIDI 2.0 educational sessions that were part of the A3E (Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange) attracted overflow crowds, underscoring the interest in this significant advance in the music industry.

According to industry veteran Gene Joly, the MMA’s current president, “MIDI 2.0 has been a long time in the making, because the industry wanted to make sure we created something that would be viable for decades, be ready for new technologies, and retain backward compatibility with existing MIDI gear. And once again, the music industry has proven it can do what few other industries have done: set aside competitive differences, and join together for the good of creative artists around the world.”

The MIDI Association — the free, global community of people who work and create with MIDI — now has over 23,000 members in 113 countries,

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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