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Re: MIDI problems ???

andre wrote > and > > >, and Kim wrote > >, and it's all well worth
reading, but I snipped it all to say:

You're both absolutely right!  MIDI _is_ a horrible protocol, and it
_does_ let us do things that just aren't possible any other way.

Andre:  Shhhhhhhhh... please don't tell everyone how wonderful Casio
MIDI guitars are.  I only have three, and I'm not sure that's a lifetime
supply.  Let me find a couple more cheap before you go trumpeting the
gospel and driving the price up, OK? ;-)

Nah, it's just us:  Might as well tell the _whole_ story:

Casio killed production on it's CZ 101 synth-- and its sistren, the
CZ-1000, -3000, -5000, and CZ-1-- _not_ due to poor sales, but because
the company had built an incredible line of better mousetraps:

--The VZ-1 keyboard, VZ-10M rackmount, and VZ-8M rackmount (optimized
for MIDI guitar, digital horn, and specialized keyboard uses)
synthesizers.  Casio called the synthesis process "phase distortion,"
but make no mistake about it, kiddies-- this is FM better than Yamaha
did it, renamed to avoid infringing Yamaha's license of the Chowning
patents, but with eight "modules" to Yamaha's four or six "operators," 
and _eight-stage_ envelopes (a carryover from the CZ series-- yes!) when
no one else offered more than five.  

--The FZ-1 keyboard, FZ-10M rackmount, and FZ-20M rackmount (with HD
provision, though the specifics escape me) samplers.  Sixteen-bit when
the state of the art in the price class was twelve-bit, and with a
limited but powerful 48-partial _additive synthesis_ capability built in
(a feature elsewhere available in the under $10,000 range only in the
Kawaii K5 and K5m, which lacked sampling capability).

--The MG-500 and MG-510 MIDI guitars, and PG-300, -310, and -380 MIDI
guitars with built-in preset synthesizers.  The first (and until this
year, _only_) MIDI guitars with the pitch to MIDI converter built into
the instrument-- no need for a separate rack or floor unit, or an
expensive and hard to find multiconductor cable.  Also, the guitars
themselves are outstanding even without the MIDI and synth features.

--The DH-100 Digital Horn.  I know little about this unit, except that
it was a hell of a lot less expensive than the Akai and Yamaha units.

So, Casio built better mousetraps... and the world beat a path to the
doors of Sam Ash, and that store in suburban Milwaukee whose name
escapes me at the moment, and a few other retailers who sold these
better mousetraps at 40% of list price or less, after Casio discontinued

See, we've looped back to the JamMan/Vortex marketing thread of last
year... are you delighted?

My take on the Casio pro-instrument marketing failure is:  What
marketing?  In the three years from introduction to official
discontinuation of the product line, I, a religious reader of _Guitar
Player_ in those days, saw exactly _two_ ads for the MIDI guitars,
featuring their _only_ high-profile endorser:

[Are they ready for this?  Naw, it's too gruesome... I'll hate myself in
the morning... but I'll do it:]

Stanley Jordan.

I can't prove this, but I strongly suspect Casio was a victim of its own
huge success in the home keyboard/toy instrument market.  Confronted
with instruments bearing the Casio name but professional-instrument
prices, I'm guessing most potential customers just didn't take them
seriously-- and Casio apparently didn't perceive a need to overcome
this  misperception until it was too late, if then.

Sure, I want something better than MIDI.  To be very specific, I want a
guitar-pitch-to-MIDI's-vastly-superior-successor converter which will
(a) replace the trem block in a Strat-type guitar, or fit inside an
acoustic or semi-hollowbody, with no drilling;
(b) contain its own internal power, good for 15 years;
(c) incorporate an EMI/RFI-proof wireless system, including a
similarly-sized and powered receiver;
(d) be downwardly compatible with MIDI;
(e) retail for $250.00 MSRP.

Meantime, I've still barely scratched the surface of the possibilites of
the CZ-101 I bought more than ten years ago... let alone the
possibilites of the MG-510 (or PG-380) with VZ-8M and MIDI pedal
keyboard with second VZ-8M which constitute my main rig.  Yet those
scratches have vastly enriched my life, taking me to places
(geographical as well as musical) I could never have gone otherwise.

Yes, MIDI's been good to me. :-)

Troubador Tech (http://people.delphi.com/johnpollock/)