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MIDI Association Explains ‘Capability Inquiry’ Features In MIDI 2.0

Friday the MIDI Association published an introduction to MIDI 2.0, describing updates to the already-evolving 36-year-old standard, including MIDI-CI, Profiles and Property Exchange:
MIDI 2.0 updates MIDI with new auto-configuration, extended resolution, increased expressiveness, and tighter timing — all while maintaining a high priority on backward compatibility. This major update of MIDI paves the way for a new generation of advanced interconnected MIDI devices, while still preserving interoperability with the millions of existing MIDI 1.0 devices. One of the core goals of MIDI 2.0 is to also enhance the MIDI 1.0 feature set whenever possible.

The additional capabilities that MIDI 2.0 brings to devices are enabled by MIDI-Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI). The basic idea is that if devices have a bidirectional connection, they can exchange their capabilities with each other. Devices can share their configuration and what MIDI functions are supported. Devices use a bidirectional link to configure MIDI features when both devices agree to support that feature. MIDI-CI discovers and configures device features using three categories of inquiry: Profile Configuration, Property Exchange, and Protocol Negotiation. If a device does not support any new features, it uses the MIDI 1.0 as usual. Devices connected to that device will continue to use MIDI 1.0 in communication with that device…
MIDI 2.0 has a new Universal MIDI Packet format for carrying MIDI 1.0 Protocol messages and MIDI 2.0 Protocol messages…

The foundational specification, MIDI-CI has been published and is available for download. Other key MIDI 2.0 specifications are nearing completion in the MIDI Manufacturers Association. But it will take several years to write numerous Profile and Property Exchange specifications to follow…. [W]e do not expect any MIDI 2.0 products to be released in 2019. For MIDI to be fully useable, the industry needs devices, applications, operating systems, and DAWs to support these new specifications. It will take time for a whole system of devices to be available.

The post emphasizes that the original MIDI 1.0 “is not being replaced. Rather it is being extended and is expected to continue, well integrated with the new MIDI 2.0 environment. It is part of the Universal MIDI Packet, the fundamental MIDI data format…

“MIDI 2.0 is just part of the evolution of MIDI that has gone on for 36 years. The step by step evolution continues.”

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