Q: I keep hearing about this new version of MIDI that is coming out called SMDI. What are it's advantages and when will we see it on new products?
A: SMDI (pronounced "smid-dee") is not a new version of MIDI. However, it is a very important new tool for electronic musicians and sound designers. SMDI stands for SCSI Musical Data Interchange. (Wow! we now have acronyms within acronyms!) SMDI is used to transmit large amounts of musical data such as digital audio files at an extremely high speed between different manufacturers' products.
How would you use this, you ask? Let's say you have a Kurzweil K2000, Passport's Alchemy sample editing software on your Mac and an E-mu ESI-32 (lucky you!). You have a cool drum loop in K2000 format that you want to tweak using Alchemy, so you send it to your Mac via SMDI. (You can do this tweak right in the Kurz but the Mac's computer screen is much larger, thus making extremely tight edits easier) Finally, you'll want to transfer the finished sample over to the ESI-32 that you are taking out to gig with.
Before SMDI, transmitting a large amount of data such as samples required us to use the Midi Sample Dump Standard. It took forever to transfer data this way because: (1) MIDI is a serial communication and (2) MIDI is slow at just 31,250 bits per second. A one second sample that is recorded at 44.1 kHz requires 352,800 bits to be transferred serially at a rate of 31,250 bits per second. This will take almost 12 seconds to get the sample from the K2000 to Alchemy and another 12 seconds to get the sample to the ESI32. A 30 second sample can take more than 5 minute to transfer.
SMDI is a parallel communication and much faster than MIDI. SMDI's transfer rate is between 250,000 and 1,500,00 bit word per second. The sample that took 12 seconds to send over MIDI now takes less than a second to transfer via SMDI! Faster transfer means less waiting on computers, which means more music!
Q: I would like to install a hard drive into my K2000 keyboard. What is the largest drive that I can install? I was told by Kurzweil that the limit is 540 meg because of excess current draw from anything above that size. I've found many 1 gig drives that draw considerably less than the Quantum 540LPS drive that is recommended. What is the lowdown?
A: There are four things to be aware of when installing a hard drive in the K2000: The hard disk's current draw, the hard disk's supply voltage, the physical size of the drive, and formatted size of the drive. The main factor when purchasing a drive for the K2000 is current draw. The K2000 can only supply a finite amount of current to the hard drive and if the drive requires more current than the K2000 is capable of providing, you're in trouble. Install too large a drive in the K2000 and the disk may not spin up, the K2000 could blow a fuse, or you could damage the unit's circuitry.
The K2000 supplies two voltages to the hard drive : +5 volts DC to power the electronics and +12 volts DC to drive the motor. These are normal voltages for all SCSI hard drives. K2000 keyboards can supply 0.6 Amps on the +5 volt line and 0.75 Amps on the +12 volt line. The K2000R and K2500 rackmounts can supply 1.0 Amp on both the +5 volt and +12 volt line. The current available to power the hard drive mechanism can be affected by the other options that may be installed in the machine such as RAM, sampling, P-RAM, etc. If you stay within the figures above you should be okay, but there are no guarantees.
The physical size of the drive is also a factor. Drives are measured by their height. Currently there are full height, 1/2 height, and 1/3 height drives available. The K2000 can accommodate only 1/3 height drives. There is more room in the K2000R and K2500R, so they can use either 1/2 or 1/3 height drives. If you have a K2000 or K2000R without P-RAM, you cannot backup data between two drives if the total is greater than 1 Gig. If you have P-RAM or a K2500R, you can back up between two large drives with no problem.
As to drive capacity, some 1 gig drives that meet the current draw requirements seem to work. There is not a software limit to drive size, so it is sometimes possible to use drives 1 gig or larger, however, most drives that size have not been tested by Kurzweil.
Sound like techno babble? Don't worry, this is one of many issues that go on behind the scenes at Sweetwater. We've researched it and will be happy to sell you a drive that we guarantee works perfectly in your machine.
Q: I just got Vision and Galaxy and the Vision manual says refers to an OMS Manual that seems to be missing. Where is my OMS manual?
A: Opcode is no longer shipping a hard copy of their OMS manual . The manual is a file on your OMS floppy disk called OMS Mini Manual. Just double click on is application and the manual will appear on your screen!