MIDI 2.0 New Network (Ethernet) Transport

Brand Event

Members of the Network Transport WG will explain and demo working prototypes of the new network Transport

This specification defines the mechanisms and the message format for exchanging Universal MIDI Packet messages via a local area network. This enables the transport of MIDI 1.0 Protocol and MIDI 2.0 Protocol. This also defines discovery of available Network MIDI devices and Hosts, and management of Network MIDI Sessions.

Some examples of use-cases in this specification may include:

  • The vast majority of people who use MIDI have some type of home studio with a computer and multiple MIDI devices connected together. They record audio and MIDI using Digital Audio Workstation software. 
  • Most live performance venues and performances combine both networked multi-channel digital audio and a variety of MIDI instruments and controllers. 
  • Commercial facilities that include broadcast studios, recording studios, and universities with networked electronic music/piano labs.

This specification defines a way to connect those home studios or those performance venues via Ethernet and WiFi on a local area MIDI network. 

As of early 2024, the only available transport for MIDI 2.0 UMP is the USB Device Class Definition for MIDI Devices v2.0. An Ethernet network has some advantages over USB:

  • A USB cable length is generally limited to about 3 meters (about 9 feet and 10 inches). Ethernet cables can transmit data up to 100 meters without any signal loss or degradation.
  • USB can create problems with grounding noise. Ethernet connections are electrically isolated while USB is not. 
  • The connection topology can be changed in software without having to move physical cables.

Many transports for audio use Ethernet. Some of those are open standards (i.e. AES67) and some are proprietary (i.e., Dante by Audinate and Q-LAN by QSC). 

Being able to run MIDI 2.0 as a control protocol over the same cables that run audio can greatly expand the use of MIDI 2.0. MIDI 2.0 expands outside the limitations of MIDI 1.0, now using 32 bit words, no bandwidth limitations, and room for thousands of new messages. For example, the high resolution of MIDI 2.0 makes it possible to directly specify and control frequency parameters from 20Hz to 96KHz (and above).

A MIDI 2.0 UDP transport specification has many benefits for both end users and companies that make MIDI and   audio products.

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