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Yamaha releases "Open Plug-In Technology"


TRIBE Member
I know most of you will be clueless about this, but to some of us this is big news!!

I am deffinetly liking this idea!

Yamaha releases "Open Plug-In Technology" for modular enhancements to software sequencer products

Yamaha Corporation of Japan today announced an exciting new open plug-in format for the control of MIDI devices from within music software and sequencing products. The new plug-in format allows for seamless integration of hardware control surfaces, synthesiser editors, enhanced editing views and other MIDI processing tools. "Open Plug-In Technology" is based upon the Microsoft COM (Component Object Model) interface to provide compatibility with Microsoft Windows 9.x/ME/2000 and XP. Yamaha is actively promoting this new plug-in format to third party hardware and software companies; early adopters include Cakewalk with SONAR 2.0 and
Sonic Foundry.

A comprehensive SDK for "Open Plug-In Technology" is available from today under royalty free license from Yamaha. The SDK includes the full specification, example plug-in source code and a demonstration hosting application. The SDK provides all the information necessary for third party hardware/software vendors to start immediate development using the "Open Plug-In Technology" format.

Why was "Open Plug-In Technology" developed?

Yamaha realises the importance of computer based music production and recognises that the integration of its hardware products into this environment is the ultimate goal and dream for many users. To provide seamless integration requires a set of features including control surfaces, edit views (such as enhanced list views), and other MIDI processing tools.

"Wouldn't it be great if the synth editors for your entire studio could run seamlessly inside your sequencer; so you don't have to open up a second application, 'ALT+TAB' between programs, or tie yourself in knots with multiclient MIDI links?"

"Imagine a world where the mind numbing MIDI event list, containing everything from automation data to synthesiser edit parameters could be translated from meaningless bytes into plain and simple language that you can understand".

"Imagine being able to take your favourite edit view, such as a drum or list editor, from one sequencer application to another. Or the capability to easily add new views or editors to applications that previously had none".

"Open Plug-In Technology" is designed to meet these needs.

"Open Plug-In Technology" provides a complete and open solution.

Whereas other plug-in formats cater for audio processing and software synthesiser, "Open Plug-In Technology" is targeted at providing complete MIDI solutions in the computer environment. The architecture allows developers to provide custom plug-ins for direct support of new hardware and/or MIDI extensions; which will work in an integrated way with all participating software vendor products.

This opens the possibility for a totally modular sequencer environment.

Yamaha are firmly committed to providing "Open Plug-In Technology" solutions for many of their current and future hardware products (such as editors for the hugely popular Motif synth). Yamaha's first product to support this new system will be the SQ01 sequencer, which is bundled free with the Yamaha S08 synthesiser and will be included with future hardware from Yamaha.

Yamaha are also developing a wide range of plug-in tools to enhance the functionality of "Open Plug-In Technology" enabled products. These will include many of Yamaha's existing synthesisers, soundcards and tone generators, as well as pro audio equipment and also new and exciting computer related hardware products to come.

Mr Katsuhiro Tokuda, General manager of PA-DMI (Pro Audio and Digital Musical Instrument) Division at Yamaha Corporation Japan says "Yamaha are very pleased to be making what we hope will be a great step forward for hardware and software integration. We believe that "Open Plug-In Technology" offers great benefit to every musician who uses a computer, and are very excited about working so closely with strategic partners."

Yamaha have worked in cooperation with sequencer companies around the world, discussing the specification, and working to create a system that is beneficial to everyone concerned; from the hardware manufacturers, to the software companies, and most importantly to the end users - who just want things to work in a seamless manner.

For each new product, a single plug-in can be developed which operates 'out of the box' in all "Open Plug-In technology" compatible sequencer environments. Thus reducing multiplicity of support and allowing a common interface to be presented throughout. Hardware companies will know exactly what their software front end will look like in all enabled applications. So no matter if the end user is working on a project in one application, and then moves to a studio where he is using another, the same level of functionality will be presented throughout.

How it works

"Open Plug-In Technology" is based upon the Microsoft Component Object Model (COM). This technology is well suited to plug-ins as it defines the interface at the binary level, avoiding problems of technology transfers and/or manufacturer specific libraries. The architecture supports specification/interface expansion whilst overcoming versioning problems. Thus allowing new features to be added without breaking old ones. COM is an established and proven technology, used within OLE, Active X and DirectX.

Utilising "Open Plug-In Technology", the client application exposes its sequencing features to MIDI plug-ins in a controlled manner. Such features may include: access to MIDI ports, track/event data, realtime/offline MIDI queues, timing information, transport features, UI hosting and file storage.

Utilising these features, MIDI plug-ins can provide a wide variety of offline and realtime functions. The range of applications is only limited by the developers' imagination.

Implementing "Open Plug-In Technology"

Client application developers are free to implement as much or as little of the specification as meets their product requirements and timescales. However to simplify the users understanding of the clients capabilities, the following levels of "Open Plug-In Technology" integration have been defined.

Panels - provides support for running software control surfaces that transmit data via the clients' MIDI ports. e.g. hardware synth editors.

Processors - provides support for real-time and offline MIDI queues e.g. for the implementation of MIDI effect processors, arpeggiators, and realtime panel automation.

Views - provides support for client track/event access. Typically allows sophisticated MIDI edit views to be created (e.g. List editors, Auto Accompaniment etc).
"Open Plug-In Technology" is extensible allowing for future manufacturer specific extensions and new features.

At Frankfurt Messe, Yamaha will be demonstrating a wide range of plug-ins and "Open Plug-In Technology" compatible software, including editors for Motif, S08, PLG series daughterboards and a new set of view editors.

For more information on "Open Plug-In Technology" check out our OPT page coming soon at www.yamahasynth.com