East Meets West
We are especially glad to have been able to bring you this issue's rather special cover story - a round-table discussion with leading Japanese hi-tech instrument manufacturers - because such opportunities are very rare indeed. In fact, the very thought of rival manufacturers discussing future concepts and next generation products around the same table would have been unthinkable ten years ago. We have the universal language of MIDI to thank for bringing this spirit of 'glasnost' to the musical instrument community - without it, I feel sure we would still be in the unenlightened Dark Ages, with manufacturers all competing to win acceptance of their proprietary interconnection 'standard'. Thank heavens things have changed!
Going by what the participants of the MIDI round-table had to say for themselves, I am encouraged in the belief that the manufacturers do actually want to maintain common standards - the original thinking that such standards would lead to reduced sales by certain companies is, I feel sure, now firmly behind us once and for all. The only possible fly in the ointment may come in the present fight to establish similar protocol standards in high speed data transmission, but from where I stand the Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) looks deeply entrenched enough for it to ride the storm and come out on top. Whether MIDI Time Code will follow suit on an international scale is anybody's guess!
Some of the concepts discussed by the Japanese participants will no doubt be appearing on some of the new products released at the Frankfurt Music Fair this March. By the time you read this, the SOS staff will be in the process of clocking all the new goodies in person and we'll bring you a full report upon our return. (That's if we can drag ourselves out of the bierkeller in time to catch the flight home! "Same again please, Brunhilde.") It won't have escaped some readers' attention that this issue bears the April cover date - and you know what traditionally happens on the first day of April, don't you? So, for the record, let me point out that the article on the DAR SoundStation II (for those readers' who have never seen or heard of this exemplary pro-audio device before) is not a wind-up. Sound On Sound is packed only with factual information - so please read and digest.