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Audio Companies - Learn From MIDI And Stop Creating Competing Platforms

It seems a little ironic that as we celebrate the achievement of the creation of the standard MIDI protocol with its 30th Birthday, we now have plug-in manufacturers lining up to give us different platforms and standards with which to host them.

Yesterday, Waves announced their new DiGiGrid describing it as ‘The perfect partnership of audio hardware and software.’ UAD offer us their highly popular UAD processing platform, Avid offer HDX, then there’s the assorted plug-in formats, with everything from VST to AAX.

We will all have an opinion about which is the best format, each manufacturer obviously claims it is their format. To be frank, I don’t care, this is not my attempt to proselytize for one brand or the other, I already use three platforms in my sound creation. If you think it’s frustrating for those of us buying the stuff, then imagine being a plug-in designer who has to create different versions of the same plug-in, simply to work on another platform, spending time porting plug-ins to new formats instead of designing new ones.

As each new ‘better, faster, higher, longer… blah, blah, blah’ strapline flashes before me, I just think, come on guys, I know you have businesses to run and brands to build, but so did Roland, Sequential Circuits and all the other brands that agreed on the MIDI protocol 30 yrs ago. By all means go ahead and invent, but another wheel? No thanks.

It is said that if the drug companies worked together instead of competing for market share, then we would have already have cured half the illnesses that kill us. I don’t know how true that is, but I do wish we could all settle on one format and then get on with it. Perhaps I am living in cloud cuckoo land? If I am, then it’s an expensive place to live.

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