MIDI Manufacturers Association Announces Changes Ahead Of MIDI 2.0 Adoption

The MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) Board of Directors has announced that it is expanding the scope of the organization to accommodate future growth, in anticipation of the ‘impending adoption of MIDI 2.0’ .

MMA President Tom White, who guided the MMA for the past 26 years, has announced his retirement. Gene Joly, SVP of QSC and former NAMM board member, will serve as interim President while the MMA initiates an executive search to fill the position permanently.

The organization announced plans for MIDI 2.0, a major update to the ubiquitous Musical Instrument Digital Interface standard, in January 2019. MIDI 2.0 promises to bring MIDI auto-configuration, new DAW/web integrations, extended resolution, increased expressiveness and tighter timing.

MIDI Association Interim President Gene Joly

Other positions changes include:

  • The Board has elected Kate Stone, CEO of Novalia, as the Chair of Board of Directors.
  • Athan Billias, MMA Board Member and Digital Marketing Strategy Manager at Yamaha, will serve as Chief Financial Officer.
  • Craig Anderton has accepted the position of Vice President of Public Relations.
  • Kevin LaManna, CEO of Monday Loves You, will serve as Vice President of Information Technology.

All of the current officers of the MMA serve as unpaid volunteers.

A variety of MMA events are planned for the upcoming 2020 NAMM Show, including an overview of MIDI 2.0 and technical discussions.

23 thoughts on “MIDI Manufacturers Association Announces Changes Ahead Of MIDI 2.0 Adoption

  1. Almost 37 years with midi value resolution of 128, it is serious time for increased resolution on that one. Perhaps with the option to choose either 128, 256, 512, 1024, or 2048, with the 128-setting being backward compatible with all midi-1 devices since 1983.

    1. This is not entirely true, as 14-bit control change messages were possible for a long time, and the high resolution velocity prefix was included in the Midi standard in 2010 already. It was always the manufacturers that never fully exploited the possibilities of Midi, with very few exceptions.

      Nevertheless, I welcome the 2.0 standard. We’ll have to see how long it takes to actually see it implemented in Midi devices, however.

      1. This.

        Even the standard CC’s have a 14-bit option, as well as NRPNs. But the list of controllers that generate precise 14-bit messages, and the list of synths that respond to it are both stupidly short.

        It’s true that 127 or 128 steps of resolution is fine for many things. I think velocity would be better with double that, i.e., 255 steps (0= note off). Controlling things related to pitch and dynamics easily need 14 or 16 bits– as the range and resolution of our ear’s ability to perceive change necessitates it.

        But even things like release velocity and polyAT which should be standard are hard to find. Fortunately, we are seeing some movement on that front in recent products.

    2. Here’s the quote that addresses your concern directly:

      “Can MIDI 2.0 provide more resolution?

      Yes, MIDI 1.0 messages are usually 7 bit (14 bit is possible by not widely implmented because there are only 128 CC messages). In MIDI 2.0 velocity is 16 bit and the 128 control change messages, 16,384 Registered Controllers, 16,384 Assignable Controllers, Poly and channel pressure and Pitch Bend are 32 bit.”

      Fantastic. Plus solid timing and all that Capability Inquiry stuff. You know how playing with a softsynth has never been as satisfying as a “real” synth? Property Exchange will make possible controllers that fix that. We’ll look back on things like NI Komplete Kontrol, Arturia Keylab, or Novation Automap and laugh. Filter automation zippering? That’ll be gone. Little timing errors? Should be gone (but I’ll believe it when I hear it-transport implementation could still f*ck it up).

      Software user experience is going to get way, way better. But it wont mean the end of hardware. All that resolution is going to create demand for more and more real time power. I think the distinction between hardware and software is going to get blurred. The real cleverness will be in UI design.

      1. the difference between playing a HW and SW synth isn’t in the control, it is usually in the modeling and response, that is something that midi cant fix. Improving the resolution of the control is across the board, not just software.

        1. I think it is in the control, at least in large part. To me, a lot of softsynths sound great. Amazing, in fact. Having to interact with an instrument via a plug-in GUI will always suck on some level, however. And none of the parameter-mapping schemes yet devised has been satisfactory insofar as offering the integration and immediacy of well-designed hardware. The problem isn’t that it’s technically impossible to do with MIDI 1.0– it’s just been impractical to do all the things that it would take within the current framework. The new protocols can and will fix that.

  2. I just looked fast through the session program and the “the enable more musical expression sounds” sounds interesting, especially with all those new expression controllers, which we see coming out from Roli and Expressive etc…

    1. Extended resolution, that will mean that you have to twist your faders or knobs extra to get to the same point, but in between you will obtain extra musical expression for your setting? (Do you really need this extra setting control to obtain the desired sound?)

    2. Backward Compatibility, I don’t think anyone would disagree at this point. Would it be possible to upgrade legacy devices with this new 2.0 standard without too much reengineering?

    1. #1 – in regards to Extended resolution, I don’t believe thats how it will work. Most likely it will be implemented like newer Elektron Boxes where fast movements cover a lot of the range and small movements allow much more “fine” control. It took a little time to get used to it on my Octatrack mk2 but now it’s very natural for me

    2. Doesn’t “extended resolution” simply mean there are more possible values available between the maximum and minimum value? Midi 1 had a resolution of 7 bit, which allows for 128 discrete values. So when you hit the key, your actual velocity will be quantized to one of 128 values. With Midi 2, the 32 bit resolution allows for more than 4 billion possible values, so the quantized value will be much closer to your actual keystroke.

      1. An even more practical example might be where you have a knob encoder that lets you dial in a specific pitch (at very precise values). If you have a freq/pitch parameter that goes from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, you could easily dial in your frequency/pitch in 1 Hz or 1 cent increments with no jumps. So you could get wide range without sacrificing resolution. For an analog knob it’s not that practical. But for an encoder with clever ballistics it could be very useful.

  3. I just want a theremin controller that doesn’t step pitches (and doesn’t require extensive programming from me). I’m guessing it’ll be another 5-7 years.

    1. The MMA itself doesn’t manufacture products, that’s correct. But it’s made up of hardware and software manufacturers, the major OS developers, and more. Not consultants — more like representatives who help drive the direction, have input into the decisions (and are often the ones driving the standards/decisions), and also a vote on adopting standards.

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