The MIDI Association Announces MIDI 2.0 Development Tools

The MIDI Association has released details of an ongoing, industry-wide initiative, by over 50 MIDI Association companies, to develop MIDI 2.0 products and services.

In spite of the challenges created by the pandemic, MIDI Association members have collaborated to create a variety of tools for working with MIDI 2.0:

Yamaha Corporation has funded the development of MIDI Workbench, a software tool for MIDI 2.0 testing and compliance, developed by Australian Andrew Mee.

Mee has also updated firmware for the TB2 Groovesizer, an Open Source MIDI 2.0 hardware synthesizer developed by Jean Marais, a South African living in Taiwan.

Canadian-based company AmeNote, founded by industry veterans Mike Kent (Chair of the MIDI 2.0 Working Group) and Micheal Loh (founder of iConnectivity) has designed ProtoZOA, a flexible Raspberry Pico based prototyping tool for MIDI 2.0.

To accelerate MIDI 2.0 development, the MIDI Association has helped fund ProtoZOA’s technical development and donated ProtoZOAs and TB2 Groovesizers at no charge to any MIDI Association member who wanted to join the prototyping effort.

These tools work together for prototyping and testing foundational MIDI 2.0 features such as the new Universal MIDI Packet, MIDI-CI Discovery, Profile Configuration, Property Exchange, USB MIDI 2.0, and MIDI 1.0 to 2.0 Translation.

With these advances, companies around the world now have software and hardware tools to build and compatibility test MIDI 2.0 products.

Amenote developed the ProtoZOA using Raspberry PICO CPUs, because they are openly accessible and affordable.

ProtoZOA is a USB MIDI 2.0 device that software developers can use to test with their MIDI 2.0 applications. Its firmware provides source code that hardware developers can incorporate into their own MIDI 2.0 devices. MIDI Association members are currently helping to test, and optimize the ProtoZOA code.

“Our plan is to release most of the ProtoZOA source code as Open Source with a permissive license.” noted AmeNote’s Mike Kent. “That will allow even non-MIDI Association members to use the code to develop MIDI 2.0 products.”

“These MIDI 2.0 prototyping efforts highlight what is truly unique about the MIDI Association,” stated MIDI Association president, Athan Billias. “Since MIDI’s genesis, companies that are traditionally fierce competitors have chosen cooperation as the best way to solve difficult problems—and to contribute those solutions at no charge back to the global community, for the benefit of musicians, artists, and engineers everywhere.”

17 thoughts on “The MIDI Association Announces MIDI 2.0 Development Tools

  1. That will indeed be helpful. I remember the different interpretations given to the sysEx messaging by the various manufacturers in MIDI 1.0. Of course they were allowed to do that, the standard was sufficiently open. But a bit more convergence in the use of MIDI in the early days would have saved those that want to exploit synths of the 80’s , 90’s and ‘00s at their fullest potential a lot of head aches.
    For MIDI2.0 these prototype tools will hopefully not only be used for compatibility testing, but also for interpretative convergence between those involved.

    1. I agree. MIDI is awesome due to its simplicity and reliability. MIDI 2 brings too much superfluous stuff for developers to screw up. Even in MIDI 1.0, nobody can come up with a decent implementation of NRPN.

      And mark my words: poor implementations of device discovery will ruin MIDI 2.0, and in turn ruin MIDI.

      1. “too much superfluous stuff for developers to screw up”

        This is entirely the point of standardising something

        MIDI 1.0 went through exactly the same standardisation process before it was universally adopted

        MIDI 1.0 was not perfect to begin with and still isn’t

        Simple and reliable it may be (in most cases) but it is also extremely slow and has massive limitations when compared to other data transfer protocols

  2. Something about the way the two Rasberry Pi Picos are seated unevenly on the proto board basically sums up the current aura of MIDI 2.0.

    We already have USB MIDI. It works quite well for a lot of stuff.

    While it would be nice to have high resolution MIDI CC and discovery modes that quiz instruments about their capabilities and control mapping, it’s an incremental increase in capability which requires significant effort from developers.

    1. Somewhat ironically, the same person who designed this product co-founded iConnectivity, an industry leader with the standardization of MIDI via USB across devices. It appears he sees value here in the same way he saw value in USB MIDI.

      1. Just don’t let him anywhere near the documentation of how the hardware or software works (or is supposed to work). I’ve had a mio-XL in my studio for over two years. It is, without question, the most powerful MIDI interface ever conceived. The hardware is fantastic and it amazes me, sometimes, how incredible it is. However, unlike for the mio-10, the Auracle software that drives the mio-XL hardware has never even had an operator’s manual, and it is impossible to get the necessary technical information about the hardware from iConnectivity to do troubleshooting without the assistance of their very competent tech support team. The mio-XL is a great product, but I wouldn’t let the guy in charge of developing it anywhere near MIDI 2.0, except as a consultant, maybe.

    2. Looks like one is in a socket while the other is soldered straight to the board. I’m guessing the socketed one is meant to be removable and used externally after programming so you can access the GPIO

    3. I worked as a mechanical engineer in the electronics industry. Mounting things is an afterthought to most. You’d be shocked how much analog vibration bleeds into sensitive circuits. You can see the sidebands on a spectral analysis. It even affects high speed digital circuits [RF speeds].

  3. Some features of the original spec, like 14-bit CC, and polyphonic after-touch were very rarely implemented. This was somewhat forgivable as they required more costly designs/builds/parts, and high-res/per-voice CC’s also can eat up MIDI 1.0’s limited bandwidth.

    Now that we can have higher bandwidth in the communication, these other features– especially high-res CC, and multiple per-voice CC’s are VERY welcome. The proof, once again, is in the pudding (i.e., putting). Will there be sufficient demand from users for these features?, and will manufacturers/developers respond to this demand with new product designs?

    This stage is important though, as it brings these ideas into the realm of reality.

  4. Stub makes a good point about “more costly designs” and “sufficient demand.” How many people really understand poly AT, such that it becomes a greater point of player/buyer desire? Where could most of us experience that at all? I mean the full, super-rare DX1 effect, even if you have a decent controller that applies it.

    The 2.0 spec is almost Star-Trek-ish in range, but I’m still using mono AT and setting up another track if I need the added expression. It loosely holds me back from MPE. I was sniffing the Sensel Morph when the company went on a regrettable sabbatical.

    I think the best thing the MIDI Association could do now would be to whip up a concise video showing a fistful of these features in action with currently available means. Show them a good “I gotta get me one of THOSE!!” floor show and they’ll start lining up.

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