[sdiy] Handling MIDI Running Status from Power-up

Tom Wiltshire tom at electricdruid.net
Thu Nov 14 20:56:12 CET 2019

> On 14 Nov 2019, at 18:37, Next Expanse <nextexpanse at gmail.com> wrote:
> The right way to solve this would be to have a bidirectional protocol, some sort of way for the receiver to detect when it’s been disconnected, and to have a way for the module to query the controller’s state. Nothing else will fix the problem, so unless there are some serious changes, we have to live with it.

The “right way” depends on the technology, and a bidirectional protocol would have been much too much overhead at the time MIDI was invented. Instead they did something simpler and it actually worked the vast majority of the time. Ok, there were “stuck note” problems, but everyone soon worked out how to fix that, and MIDI input devices started providing "MIDI Panic” functions that killed everything in an emergency.

The fact that we’re still here thirty+ years later discussing it shows exactly how much of a success it was. I can’t think of any other consumer/professional technology standard that’s lasted as long aside from the 1/4” jack! (*much* older, but which isn’t actually that standard when you look closely). I also think the degree of cross-manufacturer support for MIDI and the ensuing boom in consumer-level “bedroom studios” is something that modern manufacturers who believe that they need proprietary systems to maximise profits should learn from. I think the evidence from MIDI shows the reverse is true - the market grows larger when all the gear can work together freely and everyone benefits. I suppose plug-in standards for modern DAWs are a more recent example of the same thing - a good standard can create a whole ecosystem around it.

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