Gibson's peripheral vision

MaGIC (an acronym of the forced-feeling Media-accelerated Global Information Carrier, “Magic” from now on) is a music networking technology that Gibson Labs has been working on for almost three years. As an example of its potential, imagine a Magic guitar transmitting audio (one channel per string) and control information (the state of knobs, whammy bars, etc.) to a Magic amp digitally over ordinary (i.e. cheap) Ethernet cables. Sweet!

MIDI information can also be sent over Magic — a Gigabit Ethernet-based Magic connection is 32,000 times faster than a 31,250 bits per second MIDI connection — and it seems like Magic has the potential to revolutionize the industry at least as much as MIDI has. But according to Art Thompson, a senior editor of GuitarPlayer magazine, pooh-poohs it.

The mainstream guitar player doesn’t have the slightest interest in this.

I’m pretty sure that even guitarists completely uninterested in technology per se are very interested in eliminating hum and other unwanted noise (not to mention the deafness-inducing side effects of connecting a guitar to an amp without turning down the volume first). And ultimately, of course, guitarists won’t “choose” a digital interconnect standard any more than they chose the analog standard — it’s more about industry adoption and momentum.

The current version of the Magic specification supports up to thirty-two 32-bit bidirectional audio channels with sample rates up to 192 kHz and latencies as low as 250 microseconds. The spec is available online, and can be licensed royalty-free for 10 years.

The only missed opportunity I can see is that Gibson used a UDP-like packet format rather than just using UDP. (Image a guitar auto-finding potential amps using Rendezvous, etc.)