Sorry for the slow reply, but we wanted to get a complete response so we took some time.
There is a good deal of misinformation here that we would like to clear up.
“Hopefully there’ll be an operating system upgrade sometime in the future to implement MIDI 2, even if it’s just to respond to the CI with “this device is MIDI 1.0 compliant”!
Much progress has already been made that you may not be aware of because the information is targeted to developers.
Apple’s Monterey operating system already announced support for MIDI 2.0 and MIDI-CI.
If you have the Monterey OS on your Apple computer, internally it is running MIDI 2.0 hi-resolution protocol messages and translating back to MIDI 1.0 when you plug your MIDI 1.0 device into a USB port. The first major test of backwards compatibility is already happening and working.
Just in the last two weeks, Google announced developer support for MIDI 2.0.
Yes, there is something of a chick and egg problem with MIDI 2.0.
It’s hard for major companies to support MIDI 2.0 until there is support from all the major Operating Systems, but Apple and Google are pretty big chickens .
The reality is that we are still in the developer stage of MIDI 2.0 growth. First the OS companies need to support it, then applications and hardware need to be developed and this all has to be done in middle of the lingering effects of the pandemic.
The MIDI Association is aware of these challenges and have been meeting them head on.
Several months ago, we agreed to help fund the development of the Amenote ProtoZoa USB MIDI 2.0 Prototyping Tool.
AmeNote is a new company formed by MIDI 2.0 WG chair Mike Kent and Michael Loh (who founded iConnectivity). MIDI Association members can use the device for testing and to facilitate and kick-start development of their own projects and products.
The goals of the Amenote ProtoZoa USB MIDI 2.0 Prototyping Tool is to encourage speedier adoption of MIDI 2.0 by:
- Providing an affordable, flexible prototyping platform to enable all MIDI Association members to start testing and prototyping MIDI 2.0 UMP.Providing a testing platform which connects via the Apple and Google USB MIDI 2.0 drivers recently released
We are planning in the next few weeks to ship Amenote ProtoZoa USB MIDI 2.0 Prototyping Tools all over the world to over 40 leading MIDI Association and AMEI (the Japanese MIDI organization) companies that are committed to prototyping MIDI 2.0.
It would have been sooner, but production of the boards was delayed when Shenzen was shut down by a CoVid outbreak.
We have already shipped 25 Groovesizer 2 devices that support MIDI 2.0 MIDI-CI Capabilities on 5 Pin DIN.
You have to remember that 2 of the three Ps of MIDI 2.0 can be done on a product that only has 5 PIN Din Plugs (if the device’s firmware is updated to support MIDI-CI Profile Configuration and Property Exchange.) That’s what we did with the Groovesizer whose firmware is Open Source.
You will probably see a few MIDI 2.0 products announced at the NAMM Show in June 2022 and shipped in 2022. Then more in 2023.
The first products are likely to implement Property Exchange features, then Profile Configuration, and then the new Protocol.
There are other companies like Embodme who have already implemented MIDI 2.0 internally.
Someone mentioned Cubase 12, But Steinberg already said that all developers need to do to get support for MIDI 2.0 is use the VST3 SDK because Cubase already has per note and hi-resolution capability.
DAWs don't need to wait for SMF2 (which we are already working on) because that is for file interchange only. They all store their projects in native formats. One of the specifications we have already adopted (Property Exchange Get and State Device State) will bring the same level of recallability of hardware instruments in DAWS that exist for Softsynths and we know of a number of well known companies that are currently prototyping this feature.
But it will take a few years of growth for the industry to update existing products and/or introduce new generations of products with various MIDI 2.0 functions until MIDI 2.0 is more widely enabled.
Everyone should be okay with that.
MIDI 1.0 was introduced almost four decades ago, yet MPE - another major extension to the MIDI 1.0 spec - happened only recently. That evolutionary process is what has allowed MIDI 1.0 to mature, remain backward compatible, and continue to add more features.
MIDI 2.0 is simply another step in this evolutionary process, to mark where MIDI changed from being a monologue from one device to another, to becoming a dialogue among devices.
MIDI 2.0 is really just more MIDI, not a fundamentally different kind of MIDI. It’s still a computer language that deals with musical expression, just one with a bigger vocabulary.
In the months and years ahead, as new products are introduced, more and more of them will adopt MIDI 2.0 features. Some are ready now, and simply await others to become available so they can “talk” to each other. And of course, this is a software/firmware driven industry. Just as early MIDI 1.0 products often added features over time, so will MIDI 2.0 gear.
One of the best parts of MIDI’s evolutionary pace is that it’s up to musicians to decide the pace at which they want to upgrade their setups, rather than having it dictated by manufacturers. The only reason users can do that is because of the deliberate planning that allows MIDI 2.0 gear to be backward-compatible with MIDI 1.0 gear.
Some people will buy MIDI 2.0 gear as soon as it becomes available, some will keep using MIDI 1.0 gear, and some will mix and match 1.0 and 2.0 gear. That way, nothing becomes a doorstop because it’s ‘obsolete.’ The MIDI language is constructed so it doesn’t lose part of its existing vocabulary, it simply gains a bigger vocabulary through MIDI 2.0.
Fortunately, prioritizing backward compatibility means that MIDI 2.0 can continue to evolve just as MIDI 1.0 did, and not only remain compatible with MIDI 1.0 gear, but remain valid for decades into the future.