Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles It's one of my favourite stories and it changes - not so much my story but by what has been happening recently, and what has been happening to the story recently In 1981, I was invited to Japan I met Mr Kakehashi and the engineer that designed the Jupiter 8 and Mr Kakehashi was very keen on creating a connection between one of our sequencers and the Jupiter 8. He and an engineer called Mr Sakai had created this connection - it was a serial connection, and they were referring it to it as a Universal Serial Bus which these days I think is hilarious, because of USB, but eventually changed it after some discussions. They had discussion with Dave Smith from Sequential Circuits and Tom Oberheim (Oberheim Keyboards). The three gentlemen agreed on the possibility of starting a standard, that every manufacturer would use and Taro (Kakehashi) was telling me this and I said to him at the time are you sure you want to give part of our technology away to another company? Taro (Kakehashi's) reasoning was that it was a small music business at the time and it wasn't gonna grow unless everybody started working together and nobody's really gonna make financial success if they didn't start working together. For example Prophet had a sequencer inside their keyboard Roland had sequencers outside their keyboard but it was clearly going to be the case very soon that Prophet would have an external sequencer. Now what if somebody bought the Prophet sequencer - and loved it but didn't like the Prophet keyboard - they were stuck with it, so it made sense to create MIDI. After those three gentlemen got together, Dave Smith announced at AES in 1982 that he wanted to create a system and everybody should get on board and apparently they had huge arguments between everybody because Tom Oberheim (for example) wanted a parallel bus so that it would be faster. Somebody wanted a really, really heavy cable to connect and so on, so the arguments just went on and on. It wasn't until 1982 at NAMM, where Dave Smith got up and said 'Look - Ive got an idea I'm going to call it the Universal Serial Interface' 'Synthesizer Interface' I think - U.S.I. at which time Roland were already releasing our USB although at this stage it was called a Digital Control Bus - and so we already had this thing but we couldn't get in agreement. Dave, to his credit, went around to everybody again and said 'You have got to get on board' to Yamaha, Oberheim. Kakehashi was involved in all this at that time and eventually it came down to that small group that did agree to it Saying, we're the major players in a small market, if we do it, they will have to come along It wasn't really ready, and then it was to be released at the 1983 NAMM Show for new products and we were going to get together and say 'Here it is - this is MIDI' but Mr Dave Smith released his in December, which I always thought was a little bit strange and I mentioned that to Taro Kakehashi at one stage, 'What do you think about that? Wasn't the agreement for NAMM?' Taro said 'History will tell', he is very laid back in that way, that's the interesting thing, now it is coming out that way if you look at Wiki (and of course you believe everything it says!) For years it has been saying Dave Smith the founder or creator of MIDI, lately it's been saying he announced the possibility of a serial interface after consultation with Mr Kakehashi and Tom Oberheim Clearly things have changed and Dave Smith and Kakehashi got a Grammy for MIDI. My personal connection, yes I met Mr Sakai who wrote the spec, but my favourite story about that time was I was with Mr Kakehashi in Japan, in Hamamatsu, and he said 'Let's go out for lunch' and we went to one of his favorite restaurants and suddenly Dave Smith arrived at the restaurant, and I thought this is a bit weird the whole lunch conversation was about the connector - what are we going to use for the connector. For example, Tom Oberheim wanted to use a parallel interface, which meant a really big, huge, chunky plug and cable. It also had huge grounding problems so you had noise going all the time. I'm not sure what exact connector Dave Smith wanted, but it was two pin and had the same grounding problem so then until Roland Japan came along and said 'We've got an idea, well use isolators so they are not actually connecting, they're just seeing the digital signals that allowed more than one instrument to be connected'. With everybody else's design it was going to be two only, because if you put another one in there, you would get ground loops and it was just untenable So, we ended up with this MIDI plug, and the amount of complaints about MIDI 'Oh its too slow' or 'Its serial, so if you play a chord every note is going to be later than the other one'. or 'Your using that damn MIDI plug that the guitarist is going to kick out halfway through the note' It's 30 years old now, and there is very little chance of changing it that much. I think Mr K should be really proud!