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More Channels for The Digital Musician 70

Posted by Hemos
from the rob-can-make-more-bad-music dept.
syrupdude writes "For those of us out there who love making bad music, Harmony Central has a story about a new digital wiring scheme from Gibson called GMICS, which uses standard cat5 cable to deliver 16 channels of 32 bits at 96kHz, or 8 channels at 192kHz. Definitely cool, but apparently not open. "
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More Channels for The Digital Musician

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  • Opcode is a company, not a product. They don't have any products of consequence for Windows, only MacOS, so I'm not sure what you meant by "running Opcode on NT." Check out their Vision DSP [opcode.com] as compared to Digital Performer. You might still prefer the MOTU product, but you can't judge Opcode based on any of their very few failed Windows products.

    Emerson, former product testing manager for Opcode... (*grin)
    --

  • by Bill Currie (487)
    I realy should have read the article first, but they way I read Hemos' intro was that it was for broadcasting ultra hifi audio over the local network (I've been thinking about setting up an mp3 server for just this purpose (though not ultra hifi of course), hence the confusion).

    BTW, looks pretty open (though I don't know about patents). I just downloaded the specs from this page [gmics.org] (look at the bottom for the pdf) and just glancing through the table of contents looks promising from the sw developer's POV. You'll probably need special hw (one of their chips), but that kindof goes with a new wire protocol. Anyway, having something like this closed would only hurt acceptance.

  • According to the specs (section 2.3), it uses plain old 100mb ethernet of it's electrical transport, so it looks like you could just plug one of their instruments into a standard 100mb nic, but I'm not certain if the nic will be able to handle the packets. However, it looks like MIDI control packets is explicitly supported, so all that should be needed is a dongle between your MIDI instrument and the GMICS network.

    Hmm, isn't IEEE 802.3 the ethernet packet spec? If so, it looks like a nic might be able to pase the packets up to the OS afterall. Dang, I wish I knew more about the ethernet protocol, then I could give a good comparison, but thinks look promising.

    Contrary to my previous posting (#3), this definitly looks worthwhile.

    I just realized, this could be an excelent tech for control systems, eg robotics. 32 bits @ 192kHz would be fast enough for just about any mechanical aplication and 8 chanels going down one wire would certainly help cut costs. I'm liking this more and more. And as another poster stated, that phantom power certainly looks interesting (500mA@9V, hmm, 4.5 Watts, more than enough to power a StrongARM or 4).

  • It's certainly 802.3 minus negotiation at the electrical level. I can't tell from the specs about the data level as my ethernet knowledges is so rusty it'll collapse any moment, but it looks like they're butchering the address fields, plus maybe a few others. I'm gonna hafta re-read that chapter in the book I've got. It goes into enough details at the data level to know what's going on. Anyway, the spec has so far been interesting reading.

    To interface to a plain nic, you'ld probably have to put it into promiscuous mode and even then I'm not sure how well it will work.

  • There's a data channel in there as well. I can't find the details right now, but I think it's around 380kBps.
  • You should check out Freebirth [bitmechanic.com]

    Still nothing even remotely like Cubase tho.

  • This card, or pretty much any other, is pointless unless they make their own ALSA or OSS/Free driver for it. Simply publishing the hardware details usually isn't enough to generate a sound card driver these days.

    Those looking for a Linux soundcard should read the Linux Audio Quality HOWTO [ulster.net]. Also, recently, kernel hacks have been posted that claim better latency in real time audio applications than is available with MacOS, BeOS, or any of the 31 flavors of Windows. I have links to draft versions of papers on doing so: email me if you're really interested. While I'm at the link game, I should also mention the Linux Music Station [crosswinds.net] as important for anybody doing even batch audio processing with Linux.

    Another month or so and we'll be able to turn a beefy Linux box into a complete music composition and performance workstation!

  • You may find that drivers for high-end soundcards appear sooner for BeOS than for linux. Worth keeping an eye on, anyway.

    http://www.lebuzz.com [lebuzz.com]

    Hamish
  • Here's a simple overview of the licensing policy as laid out on http://www.gmics.org/chip.html#tag [gmics.org]:

    The GMICS technology is offered as shippable components or as licensed intellectual property. Companies wishing to create their own custom silicon may obtain an inexpensive license to the technology. Other developers may wish to simply incorporate the GMICS chip set that is offered.

    Hamish
  • The disappointment expressed at Gibson's proprietary specs for this system isn't especially fair. One must remember--Gibson is a musical instrument manufacturer that trades off of its past (the most recently designed Gibson that anyone ever buys is the Les Paul bass, designed in 1969). It's not exactly known for forward-thinking, revolutionary designs in the here and now--and even though this is a huge step forward, there are certain things that have to give. Open-specing a piece of hardware that took years and millions of dollars to develop is a difficult idea to swallow for many American companies, especially one so firmly rooted in the past.

    That said, I'm still a Fender man.


  • Cakewalk? we are talking professional here :) How about SoundForge :) I'd like that ported please. Lets have trent reznor make his next album on a penguin.
    --
  • Of all the things. Why would we *not* have this kind of setup using *standard* networking protocols?
    100Mbps ethernet is *plenty* for what they're doing: 96khz * 32 bit samples * 16 channels
    ~ 50Mbps
    On a *local* LAN, that shouldn't be a problem for 100bt or 1000bt.

    Why on earth would we want to go for specialized networking protocols just for a different application?

    Their technology will only limit music equipment for ages to come in the same way MIDI has.

    In fact, I'd prefer to see the darn thing running over IP. Perhaps we don't want to be routing this stuff around the net right now... but why limit the capabilities?

    I think these guys are scared and are trying to lure musicians off into an area that would be more lucrative for the music hardware industry.

    I want my keyboard speaking IP damnit... :-)

    This proposal is just nuts.
  • It's about time somebody is trying to update digital interfaces for instruments.

    You mean line LoneWolf's MediaLAN digital media interface of, oh, I dunno, the best part of a decade ago?

    I don't know what happened to that in the end. Of course, it was totally proprietary; however, a quick skim of the GMICS site doesn't say anything about the licensing arrangements of this system either.

    Btw, Gibson (owners of Opcode Systems) have a lousy reputation when it comes to managing hi-tech subsidiaries - the tendency is to buy, strip-mine, sell.

  • Is this not what apple had in mind when they designed fire-wire. It also provides for power to go down the same cable, somethin that might be hard with cat 5.
  • I do a lot of recording and in the music industry the concept that all you need is twice the sampling frequency has been discredited. A big part of the problem lies in the filter nessesary to remove the digital artifacts. It is hard to build a filter that has a sharp cutoff and still sounds good. Raising the sample rate alows the filter to be less severe. A lot of musicians have retreated to "all analogue" in the production process. A certian amount of this is superstition and fud on the part of the makers of analogue gear. A lot of musicians speak of digital as sounding 'harsh' and claim that the anologue sounds 'warm' From my own experience, there are nasty artifacts the result in sound that gets processed a lot in the digital domain. I am more interested int the greater bit depths then the extended sample rate. It is true that it is impossible to make a a/d converter much beyond 24 bits. But once you get that sample you want to have more dynamics available to allow more freedome in processing.
  • Why would you need a seperate cable for each string? Normal guitars have all the strings mixed together before it ever gets to the patch cord. Mixing like that is done on the guitar...
  • This sounds nice and all but isn't this just a more limited version of Firewire? Firewire is supposed to include the same or more channels of audio, includes MIDI in the streaming protocols and is a true "standard". Why would anyone want to blow reams of cash on proprietary stuff when they can pay commodity pricing on Firewire? Gibson VS Yamaha? Who do you think is gonna win that one. . .
  • I havent had a chance to read them in detail, but on page 37 (I think it was), there are packet definitions for midi data transfer. i.e. no more MIDI cables.

  • By what I gathered from this article, they are looking to perform an A/D conversion at the sound source. In doing so, you get the true sound of the source, be it a guitar pickup or a drum or vocal mic. This is very different from a MIDI pickup that just sends control data to a sound generation device. This scheme would allow for a sixteen mic drum setup to be run down a single Cat 5. This system would also allow for conversion of existing instruments. I could see an A/D module complete with volume and tone pots to replace the existing controls in a guitar. Pull the existing guts, solder your pickup leads to the module and plug in your Cat 5 cable. Vintage Les Paul sound with onboard A/D, probably for less than a hundred bucks. No router required.
  • They selected Cat 5 over Firewire because of the length restrictions. Cat 5 is approximately 100 meters, whereas Firewire is only a few feet. Imagine a rock guitarist with a 3 or 5 foot cable.
    As far as the power distibution, they are using pins 7 and 8 to carry the required power. This was decided upon due to their non-use in standard computer hardware. This prevents anyone from frying a NIC by sending it 24V on a data line. And you know that people are going to try to plug them straight into their NICs in spite of their incompatibility.
  • I totally agree. By using A/D on the instrument, you still maintain all of the dynamics of the signal, with much less loss and noise being introduced. The noise associated with the A/D and D/A between guitar and amp is negligible compared to the AC hum and RF interference that I'm used to . A loud 60Hz hum on top of the local urban station with a little bit of taxicab radio conversations thrown in will not be missed by me. Any Chicago players out there remember the Avalon?
  • from what I understand, you can send 16 channels in both directions.
  • I think we will soon see the point where digital modeling amplifiers will be able to simulate tubes very closely. The efforts to this point haven't been great, but they've come leaps and bounds from where they were.

    I know I won't complain if I can shave 20-30 pounds from my amp, and not have to replace tubes every few months. But still, the tone comes first.

    I'd love to play around with their experiment board once they get 'em out, that's for sure.

    darius
  • I can see where this sort of thing would be very useful for keyboards and synths, effects modules, mixers, and so on, but I'm not quite sure what it buys someone who is playing a guitar.

    If you put the A/D converters into the guitar, then you avoid a lot of the noise and hum associated with guitar cords. Despite high quality construction and shielding, there is still a lot of electrical that gets into a conventional cord, especially longer cords. Even if you get back to the analog domain in your tube amplifier, you still win by using a digital cord.

  • According to my math, 16 channels of 32 bits at 96kHz uses less than half the bandwidth of 100Mb. Doesn't it seem like you should be able to get at least 24 channels across the wire? If you are trying to run everything over this medium, channels could quickly become a scarce resource.
  • I've skimmed the specs and I'm quite enthused about the possibilities. I don't think this is intended to displace MIDI as much as it is to unify next-generation digital audio behind a connection system composed of mostly commodity components. MIDI cannot handle real-time CD-quality digital audio transfer - its intended use is for low-latency messaging and triggering. The latency in this system will probably enable it to displace MIDI Sync and dedicated SMPTE channels.

    The only part of the system that is costly is the chip required for encoding/decoding/d/a-converting of the audio. This is an advantage over fiber-based systems, even though Toslink-based SPDIF connections have gotten pretty cheap. And of course, embedded logic will have to be developed for more complicated instruments and gear to harness its capabilities.

    Gibson is showing great vision with this product and I'm anxious to see a demo of its capabilities.
  • Soundforge? screw that!

    Pro Tools [digidesign.com] or nothing at all.
    (looks like nothing will have to do for a long long time)

    - daniel
  • This is more the kind of thing I'm hoping that BeOS will have support for rather than linux...because this is the kind of thing BeOS was specifically made for.

    I'm all for linux getting new technologies and such, but for working with audio, linux really can't touch BeOS as of yet.

  • The only thing is that Gibson is expensive so it'll probably cost an arm and a leg.The prospect is wonderfull so I'd probably pay it anyway.

    While on the topic...now all I need is some professional quality sound editing tool's for LINUX. Anybody have any sugesstions? I've used Cakewalk for years and I am sick of it. As soon as I find this solution, my last Windows box will be gone!

  • 96k * 16 * 32 = 49152Kb/s = 49 Mb/s. So this is only using half the bandwidth availible. Anyone care to speculate on why it's so conservative?

    Johan
  • Finally somebody with a really useful idea that has to do with digital audio. Forget all those 50hz "humming" problems due to bad electricity wiring. In future you'll install a LAN instead of three thousand XLR cables ,)

    I only hope other companies will pick up the idea soon.
  • 192 kHz * 8 channels * 32 bits per sample / 60 seconds per minute / 8 bits per byte = 100 MB per minute.

    192 kHz * 8 channel * 4 bytes per sample * 60 seconds per minute are about 350 MB per minute here.

    I wouldn't bother adding compression. I don't think pro audio guys would go for it.

    Well, lossless compression should be possible and worth it, especially if it "compresses" 7 channels that don't transfer anything at all (as I guess inactive channels would do).

  • Well, lossless compression should be possible and worth it, especially if it "compresses" 7 channels that don't transfer anything at all (as I guess inactive channels would do).

    True, but how many lossless audio compression algorithms are there? Are they easy enough to fit onto a tape deck or inside an acoustic guitar?

    Also, figure that for a guitar you will be using at least 6 (one for each string). An acoustic guitar could use even more for strategically placed microphones. And then you have 7string and 12 string guitars. I don't know how many strings a Chapman stick has, but it's more than 12, I think.
    --
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
    B. B. Buick
  • Well, lossless compression should be possible and worth it, especially if it "compresses" 7 channels that don't transfer anything at all (as I guess inactive channels would do).

    True, but how many lossless audio compression algorithms are there? Are they easy enough to fit onto a tape deck or inside an acoustic guitar?

    Also, figure that for a guitar you will be using at least 6 (one for each string). An acoustic guitar could use even more for strategically placed microphones. And then you have 7string and 12 string guitars. I don't know how many strings a Chapman stick has, but it's more than 12, I think.
    --
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
    B. B. Buick
  • I don't see how this is meant to usurp MIDI. (I haven't looked through the specs yet.) Unless GMICS carries timecodes and note data, too, I'll still have to deal with a bunch of MIDI cables to connect my sequencer to all the boxes that it controls. Which isn't as bad, if MIDI wasn't so finicky and limited to 16 channels per bus.
    --
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
    B. B. Buick
  • "The timing might be slightly better in the Gibson spec, though. 1394 is great for stereo signals and would work well for source signals, but the timing is not quite good enough to seperate a mixed signal. You need picosecond resolution for that."

    Well.. no you dont, youre really way off or you made a typo :)

    microsecond resolution is more than enough when it comes to audio, and picosecond would mean a million times more precise than that. picoseconde resolution practically would mean that the audio hardware would be capable of sampling frequencies at a terahertz =), i would be really impressed if any other manufacturer pulled this off, besides you would need to uprgrade your computer to handle the load.. ;)
  • It's ten minutes per GB.
  • Look, this digital standard is intended as a transport mechanism. The sound is still being produced by good old fashioned humbuckers. It's then transported (w/ greater than CD quality) to the amp where it can be reproduced. That amp can be filled with all the cheery tubes you want, man. The digital cable just makes sure there's no signal loss on the way from your ax to the amp. sounds pretty sweet to me.
  • Is it really called GMICS? Haha. Enough said.
  • Isn't there a (short) practical limit to 1394 cable lengths that would render them inappropriate in this application?

    Essentially, what's been done here is to lay a time-division multiplexed audio-data stream on a protocol designed for a shared medium, that, in this application, well, isn't.

    That's O.K.: Ethernet hardware is rather cheap, and Cat5 cabling is ubiquitous. I've often thought of designing something similar for distributing uncompresed digital audio throughout my home, though IP-based so routers could handle it.

    There's a couple problems with this approach, though:

    1) Combining async and sync traffic is problematic. Here, a dedicated data channel has been piggybacked on the syncronous packet stream. ATM works pretty much the same way, except allows for dunamic allocation of bandwidth end to end.

    2) Notice that there is one master clock source. This is fine, if you're sending data to one amp (which has a stable master clock, and so doesn't have to endure arrival sample jitter. But what if you have amps all over the place? If one is a master clock source, the others will suffer sample jitter. Furthermore, this makes combination of audio packets on different segments problematic.

    You'd need a switched star arrangement if you have multiple sources and multiple destinations. Furthermore, a single source could only talk to a single destination at a time over a single segment. Scratch the idea of an autio server.

    This is why most devices in the technical spec are daisy-chained, by the way.

    3) Finally, regardless of how much audio traffic is on the link, each receiver has to work almost at wire speed to process each packet in time.

    IOW, you have to be prepared to send or receive 16 audio channels regardless of how many you need for your end to end application.

    I do wonder, though, if ATM (which can also run over Cat5 cabling) wouldn't have been a better choice: there's even a low-speed ATM-25 (25 Mb/s) variant.
  • According to the specs (section 2.3), it uses plain old 100mb ethernet of it's electrical transport, so it looks like you could just plug one of their instruments into a standard 100mb nic, but I'm not certain if the nic will be able to handle the packets. However, it looks like MIDI control packets is explicitly supported, so all that should be needed is a dongle between your MIDI instrument and the GMICS network.

    It's not compatible with 100Mbit Ethernet - they use the physical and electrical layers from the specification (sensible - there are a lot of cheap, readily-available components that deal with these), but not the data link layer. If you plug GMICS equipment into an Ethernet hub or network card, nothing will happen - the hub won't see a link heartbeat.

    It's easy to imagine a device that has analogue and MIDI connectors on one side and a GMICS type A connector on the other side. It could be powered by the 'phantom power', and would make it trivial to interface an analogue instrument and existing effects boxes to a GMICS system.

    (Incidentally, I think they are abusing the term 'phantom power' a little in the specification. It usually refers to power sent over an audio lead using the same conductor as the audio signal; at both ends the DC power is filtered out leaving the AC audio signal. The GMICS 'phantom power' is just sent using the four otherwise-unused conductors in a Category 5 cable.)

  • Why 96 kHz? Humans can only hear frequencies below 22kHz and the sampling theorem states that any band-limited signal can be completely specified by samples taken at twice the maximum frequency- implying a need for 44kHz max. So what's the extra 52 kHz for? I'm sceptical that the oversampling is to reduces noise since a wider filter can only increase the total noise power- not reduce it. I assume some practical reason exists.

    The raw signal from the various instruments will pass through several layers of processing: mixing, filtering, effects processing, etc. At each of these stages distortion will be introduced (through rounding errors, etc.) - it's better to start out at high resolution and sample rate, have the distortion be small at each stage, and only reduce the resolution and sample rate for the final medium than it is to use the bare minimum rate all the way through the system and suffer larger (probably audible) distortions.

  • I can see where this sort of thing would be very useful for keyboards and synths, effects modules, mixers, and so on, but I'm not quite sure what it buys someone who is playing a guitar. Good guitar amps are made using tubes, and the response of a good tube amp is totally dependent on the electrical qualities of the guitar, so cleaning it up digitally is sort of a waste of effort since you're killing the whole point of having a tube amp. Any use of this interface in a guitar is going to need a an analog channel to carry the signal out the good old fashioned way as well. Although the prospect of some sort of traditional like interface ( a dial) on a guitar that is wired to digital effects on the amp/mixer/preamp is very interesting.

    -Rich
  • This is indeed a problem. Linux could, at least, do with something like OMS..

    Since Gibson bought opcode a while back, you know who to whine at :)

    Seriously though, audio is the main reason I keep my windows install working.. Until I can get a copy of Rebirth for linux, a decent sequencer, patch librarian, audio and MIDI control etc, I can't ditch it alltogether...

    What's worse that that drivers for soundcards of a higher quality than a basic SB16 are virtually impossible to find. Sure, there's an amazingly glitchy and unreliable sblive driver.. but what to do, if you want to drive a creamware pulsar, SW1000XG or an Event Gina?

    One size truly does not fit all- in this case, linux is a lousy fit. I'll use it for what it's good at, for now...

  • While on the topic...now all I need is some professional quality sound editing tool's for LINUX. Anybody have any sugesstions? I've used Cakewalk for years and I am sick of it. As soon as I find this solution, my last Windows box will be gone!

    AFAIK, you'll find links to the gammut of linux sound s/w here [xdt.com]

    The short answer is that it all pretty much sucks. Some suck less than others, of course. But if you hate Cakewalk, you are really going to hate this mess of s/w. I've used Rosegarden a bit, and it seems to be the most complete editor, but even still, it's not all that great.

    Happy Hunting! :)

  • I think we will soon see the point where digital modeling amplifiers will be able to simulate tubes very closely. The efforts to this point haven't been great, but they've come leaps and bounds from where they were.

    Actually, I read somewhere that Bob Carver did it. He claimed to be able to match the sound of any tube amp on the planet for much cheaper. Those elitest advertising-driven guys at Audiophile took him up on it and speced an amp (a very expensive one). They sat in double-blind tests and couldn't actually tell the difference.

    Why Carver hasn't been really promoting it is a mystery to me, though. It seems he could be making a killing.

    Then again, I'm quite happy with my '60s era Ampeg B-15N, and my brother's happy with his '70s era Twin and Vibrolux.
  • Arrgh, I hate Cakewalk, too. I've never heard of anyone actually using it professionally, just hobbyist stuff.

    Here's a nice list of sound apps for Linux:

    http://www.4front-tech.com/ossapps.html [4front-tech.com].

    There's some really nice stuff there.
  • I hope Gibson doesn't expect huge licensing fees for this. Domination by one company often hurts acceptance. Look at Yamaha's XG and Roland's GS. Have you ever seen an XG synth NOT made by Yamaha?

    /me shivers, thinking of the hard disk space that audio will take up.

    192 kHz * 8 channels * 32 bits per sample / 60 seconds per minute / 8 bits per byte = 100 MB per minute.

    I wouldn't bother adding compression. I don't think pro audio guys would go for it.
    --
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
    B. B. Buick
  • Why do we need another standard? There is already a way to send uncompressed audio and MIDI information over 1394, as well as video and everything else.

    Yamaha is the biggest proponent of the audio over 1394 standards. And they're a much bigger player in the digital music market than Gibson.

    The timing might be slightly better in the Gibson spec, though. 1394 is great for stereo signals and would work well for source signals, but the timing is not quite good enough to seperate a mixed signal. You need picosecond resolution for that. In other words, 1394 is good enough to run signals from the mics to the mixing board, and from the mixing board to the amplifiers, but you wouldn't want to run 1394 from the amplifier to the speakers. (well you could, but some audiophiles might complain)

    1394 is an open standard that has been in public discussion for a long time, and promises to interconnect a large variety of devices.

    I don't think that the Gibson spec will be any cheaper than 1394. A 100Mb Ethernet PHY is cheaper than a 400Mb 1394 PHY, but the data/link IC is as yet unknown....
  • I have had to do some research for work on digital audio and the best 16 channel (32 with a sister board) part I could find was at http://www.frontierdesign.com. The lack of Linux support with this kind of (very sweet) high-end hardware is frustrating.
  • If network audio interests you, I suggest you check out CobraNet [peakaudio.com].

    Here are a few reasons why:

    Already supported by a number of manufacturers including QSC, Rane, Peavey, Crest, Level Control Systems, Eastern Acoustic Works and Crown.

    Uses standard Ethernet - uses off the shelf switches and hubs

    Each 100m link supports 64 channels of audio

    A single switch ( with enough backplane bandwith ) can support upwards of 600 audio channels

    Can coexist with regular ethernet data so you can play Q3A on the same network

    I am obviously biased ( check the sig below ) but what the hell...

    -John

    --
    John Dunn
    Peak Audio, Inc [peakaudio.com]

  • by C A S S I E L (16009) on Friday September 24, 1999 @02:34AM (#1662690) Homepage

    According to the press release:

    Our vision is to embrace and extend the capabilities of the guitar - and all musical instruments ...

    Hmm, where have I heard the phrase embrace and extend before?

  • by jetpack (22743) on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:11AM (#1662691) Homepage
    First, to address this issue:

    Definitely cool, but apparently not open.

    The specs are there on the GMICS site in pdf format [gmics.org]. How open do you want? This is definitely better than the MIDI standard. Sure you can get the MIDI specs, but the the MIDI Manufacturers Association [midi.org] (MMA), who maintain them, expect you to pay 40 or 50 bux for them.

    Having put that aside, I've only skimmed the specs, I haven't got a complete view of how this all works, but it appears that it will solve a number of problems that many of us musicians currently deal with.

    [0] MIDI works and is useful, but it's getting old and crispy. Connecting MIDI devices can be a royal pain, and MIDI patch bays are equally annoying.

    [1] Mixing analogue and digital signals is another pain in the butt, particularly in live situations.

    [2] Somewhat related to [1], with any decent sized MIDI setup, the number of midi and patch cords becomes almost unmanagable. GMIC will at least cut this mess in half.

    These are just a few of them. Most importantly, GMICS should, if accepted by manufactures, go a long way in unifying studio and live setups, and making them easier to deal with (even with fairly small "studios" like mine).

    On the other hand, I'm not going to get too excited untill a few things happen.

    [0] Manufacturers other than Gibson need to accept this as a standard and start building gear around the standard.

    [1] Decent software needs to exist before I'll consider it usefull.

    [2] It better deal well with my pre-existing gear in some sane and reasonable manner, or it is pointless. I like the gear I have and I don't intend to sell it all off just so I can retrofit. (fortunately most of my gear is MIDI enabled, including FX processors, so this might not be too big a deal).

    Anyhow, it sounds pretty cool, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out in practice. It's about time somebody is trying to update digital interfaces for instruments. I don't think the MMA is going to like this much :)

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