OVERRIDING M.I.D.I.

Arnim X. Sauerbier arnims at usa.globelle.com
Wed Jan 29 06:42:05 CET 1997


>> There is (was?) a proposal for a faster MIDI replacement called ZIPI.  

>> Anyone know what happened to this?
>
>Market pressure. They can't make synths with only ZIPI ports because, 
>who would buy them? What sequencers can you use/what expanders can 
>you plug them in to? And they won't introduce synths with ZIPI *and* 
>MIDI ports because as it is they're already trying to save pennies of 
>production costs. There's no good way of introducing it.

ZIPI wasn't backwards-compatible????  Whatever standard supplants MIDI 
needs to be backward-compatible with it, else you just can't sell the 
stuff.   One cheap solution would be to leave all the MIDI protocols, but 
just change the electrical specs -- just speed it up!  

But how to ensure compatibility with old gear?  If you were to hook 
several synths together on a MIDI chain, the Extended-MIDI synths would 
have to detect the presence of the standard MIDI synths and  fall back on 
the old MIDI speed.   I don't think the MIDI spec calls for any 
'handshaking' between instruments, does it?  This could be problematic - 
how will the enhanced MIDI device detect each instrument on the chain if 
it can't send a request for acknowledgment?

>A friend of mine suggested TCP/IP as a transport layer... MIDI to
>TCP/IP converters would fill a similar function that CV to MIDI
>converters do now. 

To be picayune, TCP/IP and MIDI are apples and oranges.  TCP/IP is a 
networking protocol (or internetworking protocol) which basically lets 
you wrap data chunks into a standard-format packet.  It does not specify 
the physical or electrical characteristics of the transmission medium.  
MIDI on the other hand is a standard for electrical, physical, network 
and application layers of the OSI model.  It specifies everything.   But 
it's a pointless topic since the only standard that can take-over will 
have to be MIDI compatible (This is the lesson of MS-DOS, my son).

>But I reckon there's not enough demand at the
>moment to make it worthwhile. IMHO 99.9% of everyone is either happy
>enough with the MIDI setup they already have, or can put up with its
>limitations considering its flexibility.

Well, all the synth heads I hang-around hate MIDI's slowness and would 
gladly pay a good chunk extra for more speed.  But they're the 'pros'.   
The 'amateurs' are perfectly happy to hook-up their casio to their 
soundblaster MIDI port and find that it actually works.  

Perhaps there are technical reasons why a backwards compatible MIDI 
extension can't be designed -- otherwise, why haven't they done it?

Hmm - maybe someone reading this will become inspired to develop an 
improved, backwards-compatible MIDI standard?   Stranger things have 
happened...

Arnim




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