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#239461 - 08/05/08 10:07 PM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
keybplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 2416
Loc: CA
This may be encouraging to all you MIDI enthusiasts out there..

MIDI Manufacturers Investigate New HD Protocol

January, 2008

For the third year in a row, dozens of MIDI hardware and software manufacturers gathered at the Marriott in Anaheim CA, in conjunction with the Winter NAMM Show, to plan a new High Definition protocol for musical instruments.

"MIDI has worked fantastically for more than 25 years, but with today's computers and embedded microprocessors we can now do much more than MIDI was originally designed to do", said MMA President and CEO Tom White. "This new protocol will encourage market growth through more expressive products, improved ease of use, and new and innovative applications. Plus new HD devices and software will be compatible with all of the great MIDI hardware and software that already exists."

This proposed update increases the number of MIDI Channels and Controllers, and provides greater resolution in data values for all of the current MIDI 1.0 messages. Moreover, the HD functions are all accomplished with single messages, as opposed to compound messages in MIDI 1.0, which means using and editing the new messages will be far easier for both developers and users. The HD protocol also supports the creation of entirely new messages that were not practical with the MIDI 1.0 protocol.

"At this point HD-MIDI is still under development, but we've seen a lot of interest in this from both hardware and software developers," said White. "Our policy is not to discuss MMA Specifications publicly until they're officially adopted, but in this case we want to make sure that all qualified companies have the opportunity to participate before the first version is published later this year."

The original MIDI 1.0 Specification, developed in 1983, has been the foundation for interoperability of digital musical instruments for 25 years. The initial "MIDI 1.0 Specification" contained the rules for remote control of keyboard devices, but over the years additional specifications were developed for file exchange, sound exchange, synthesizer design, and new applications such as stage lighting and ring-tones. Today the term "MIDI" applies to the wide variety of file formats, applications, and device specifications defined by the MIDI Manufacturers Association.

The MIDI Manufacturers Association is an industry non-profit organization that is responsible for maintaining and extending MIDI. Formed in 1985 by the original developers of the MIDI 1.0 Specification, the MMA provides a forum where companies using MIDI can cooperate and collaborate to make their equipment interoperable.

Best,
Mike
_________________________
Yamaha Genos, Mackie HR824 MKII Studio Monitors, Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro Mixer (made in USA), Cakewalk Sonar Platinum, Shure SM58 vocal mic.

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#239462 - 08/05/08 11:36 PM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6162
Loc: Ventura CA USA
While I understand the times must move on I personally would not consider buying a keyboard without standard MIDI connections. I use too much older gear Roland JX8P, Roland JV80, Waldorf Pulse, Yamaha TX802 and Yamaha SY77 that I like to be able to trigger from a master keyboard. Sure I don't often use some of these synths often in a live situation away from a computer .... but I don't want the decision of which I can still use without a computer taken away from me.

I'll happily pay the extra $25 bucks it costs the manufacturer ( and probably not even that ) to include these on their keyboards. I'm all for including new MIDI connections in addition to the old ... but I still want gear to be compatible with all the MIDI gear that has come before.

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#239463 - 08/05/08 11:57 PM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
Yep, that gets a +1 from me.

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#239464 - 08/06/08 01:06 AM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6162
Loc: Ventura CA USA
The other big problem that people overlook is that MIDI over USB is NOT a standard that has been defined by the MIDI Manufacturers Association. Devices with USB MIDI can only be used with a computer that is running that manufacturer's device driver that understands how MIDI data is to be received and transmitted over the USB connection. Even if all MIDI gear came equipped with USB MIDI ports you could not plug a Roland USB connection into a Yamaha USB connection. While the cable would fit neither keyboard would understand the other. So MIDI communication between keyboards without a computer would become a thing of the past .... that would be very very bad and is completely against the whole point of establishing a MIDI standard in the very beginning.


[This message has been edited by Nigel (edited 08-06-2008).]

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#239465 - 08/06/08 04:16 AM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
squeak_D Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/08/00
Posts: 4639
Loc: West Virginia
Excellent points Nigel! I still feel it's a marketing thing with the lower end models to move those buyers (who were buying the lower end units for dual purposes) to the mid and higher end models.

It's also not just keyboards that have midi jacks, but tons of other gear use standard midi jacks as well. Here's another thing that doesn't make sense. The Yamaha MM6 (which is also an arranger keyboard) sells for $100 less than the S-500 and the MM6 has midi jacks (and) a USB midi interface.
_________________________
GEAR: Yamaha MOXF-6, Casio MZX-500, Roland Juno-Di, M-Audio Venom, Roland RS-70, Yamaha PSR S700, M-Audio Axiom Pro-61 (Midi Controller). SOFTWARE: Mixcraft-7, PowerTracks Pro Audio 2013, Beat Thang Virtual, Dimension Le.

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#239466 - 08/06/08 05:33 AM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I agree Nigel. From the perspective of the live playing professionals or home players here who do not desire to send midi out to or from secondary tone generators or other external midi gear withoout having to go through a computer, probably not a big deal at all.

From the perspective of the rest of us, or more accurately, at least in my way of working, lack of standard midi ports is unacceptable, and I won't be needing any board that doesn't have it.

In my situation, it doesn't work out at all, not only because I have older keyboards without usb ports, but mainly BECAUSE I use a computer much of the time. I have both the Tyros 2 and Motif ES. Neither of my primary music computers can recognize both sets of the Yamaha usb midi drivers at the same time, meaning that without standard midi ports I could not, for example, use the ES as a controller for One Man Band while I use the T2 as a tone generator. I can pull this off only because my computers have soundcards that include standard midi in and out jacks. The T2 does not work with the ES usb midi drivers, and vice versa, and the drivers conflict with one another on every computer I have tried them on ( several ).

AJ
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AJ

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#239467 - 08/06/08 11:17 AM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
I believe that the issue comes about because probably the vast majority of low end arranger users don't even have a second keyboard to hook it to (they are not buying the BOTL if they can afford or need the TOTL!), and due to the primitive MIDI capabilities of these arrangers, you couldn't do very much of any use with them even if there WERE MIDI ports.

These things are designed, marketed, and intended to be used as the sole keyboard in a 'home' environment, for personal entertainment purposes, NOT as one of many devices in a 'pro' gigging rig...

But my main peeve remains that, although higher end arrangers DO have MIDI ports, their OS's are VERY poorly designed for the purposes that those MIDI ports imply... The control of external gear, or the ability to be controlled by the same.

Let's look at the two main scenarios that having MIDI ports might encourage you to try...

First is using a module, as an extension to the tone palette of your arranger. What we are going to want to do here is be able to send ANY arranger part, whether keyboard, style or SMF out to the module, have the master arranger select the tones in that module, while at the same time routing what needs to be played internally to it's normal destination. Few (if any) can manage this without you having to jump through hoops to achieve it, as basic as this is. Most of the time, you end up having to mess with the module as well, to set it up to receive some parts, whilst ignoring others, or other such dumb shenanigans. A remote is supposed to be just that... Remote. You are not supposed to have to touch it at all (f the master is designed properly)

And secondly... what's the thing most ARRANGER players would like to do with MIDI? Yep, that's right... Hook up two arrangers, and combine them into one über-arranger, with the strength of both combined.

This one, a no-brainer in my book, is the one thing they seem to go completely out of their way to ensure NEVER happens. The majority of even TOTL arrangers do not have codes to synchronize Fill selection, Variation selection, Breaks, Style selection, part mutes, even if you CAN hook them together and have them start and stop at the correct time And those that do, they are completely proprietary codes, with no standardization between manufacturers.

So, once again, despite those magical MIDI jacks actually being on the arranger, you can't do with them the most obvious things that one would consider they are there for...

None of this will change, until the arranger community as a whole starts to grumble, grouse and bitch and moan as often as you can, in as many places as you can, and show the manufacturers that putting these capabilities into an arranger would be worth their while... You might, for instance, point out to them that a feature designed specifically to hook two arrangers together is going to result in the sale of TWO ARRANGERS, not one!

And those that manufacture modules as well as arrangers (most of them) would benefit from increased module sales IF ONLY WE COULD USE THEM!

Beats me how they don't see these obvious facts, it really does...

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#239468 - 08/06/08 11:32 AM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
squeak_D Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/08/00
Posts: 4639
Loc: West Virginia
I still don't see the logic in them not having midi jacks on the S-500, but having them on the MM6 though. These are both arrangers (while one may not have the full style sections.., it's still an auto accomp keyboard), but Yamaha at least gave the MM6 midi jacks... How about this for a missing basic feature. Yamaha claims the MM6 to be a "synth" yet the MM6 is missing ONE very important feature found on a synth.. The MM6 has NO PORTAMENTO!!!!

I had considered the MM6 just for some cheap Motif sounds, a bang around board, and so on, but when I found out it had no portamento, and even it's onboard midi was limited--I said the hell with that and bought the Motif ES6 (before they were all sold out).
_________________________
GEAR: Yamaha MOXF-6, Casio MZX-500, Roland Juno-Di, M-Audio Venom, Roland RS-70, Yamaha PSR S700, M-Audio Axiom Pro-61 (Midi Controller). SOFTWARE: Mixcraft-7, PowerTracks Pro Audio 2013, Beat Thang Virtual, Dimension Le.

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#239469 - 08/06/08 01:23 PM Re: Basic features disappearing from keyboards-WHAT GIVES!
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
Perhaps, and Squeak I know this is nto a lot to do with the lack of midi ports, but Diki's post got me thinking....

Maybe as a community, arranger players can lobby the Midi Manufacturers Association (MMA) to have them come up with a industry wide specification for the communication between arrangers specifically.

Actually I might start this as a new thread, it is an important issue for all of us I think.

Dennis

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