Finally Free

For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of buying the full official MIDI specification, but never went through with it. Not so much because of the cost ($100 for the core spec) but because of the hassle. Only fax or snail mail? Really? Not to mention that ordering from outside of the US seemed unreasonably complicated. The MIDI association site kept hinting that electronic versions of the documents would be available soon, but that message had been there for at least a year.

So I randomly went to the midi.org site today to check if anything changed and and lo and behold, it looks completely different! And what’s more… it no longer offers the printed MIDI specs for sale. Instead, there are PDFs for download (free registration required). That’s a heck of a lot better than $100 worth of dead tree matter.

So now I have a couple hundred pages to read. Thanks, guys!

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6 Responses to Finally Free

  1. wow that’s pretty cool! You’d think all the old docs would open up past a point to keep people interested, but instead it seems older tech just turns inward, and feeds on itself.

  2. Michal Necasek says:

    MIDI is maybe a bit unusual in that it’s old but not obsolete. Bit like Ethernet. The old MIDI serial cables are getting rarer nowadays, but there’s MIDI over USB, Ethernet, or Bluetooth. MIDI is still very widely used for music production and playback and that probably won’t change anytime soon.

  3. raijinzrael says:

    “Bit like Ethernet.”
    Or SCSI :-).

  4. Chris M. says:

    MIDI is also used for some very un-music like functions like controlling lighting and for video time code.

  5. I dont know about where you are, but in Hong Kong we have music stores, and much to my surprise they sell Roland branded MIDI cables.

  6. Michal Necasek says:

    I’m sure they do. Old style MIDI cabling is far from dead, and there are tons of USB to MIDI adapters available. But it has been significantly supplanted by USB (previously FireWire, too) and Ethernet.

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