Remembering SoundMAX MIDI on NT 4.0 :)

Here’s a link to a YouTube video containing a 30-minute audio recording of Analog Devices, Inc. SoundMAX MIDI software synthesizer running on Windows NT 4.0. I think this is really cool because I wrote this synthesizer for Analog Devices, Inc. while consulting for them in the late 1990’s.

[MIDI Comparison Project] SoundMAX ADI Integrated Audio (make sure to listen to the 480p stream).

The Musical Instrument Data Interface (MIDI) spec is used a standard protocol used to interface electronic musical instruments for the purposes of live performance and recording. In the early 1990’s MIDI was hugely popular among game authors who leveraged the massive compression afforded by MIDI-encoded scores to provide background soundtracks (games were still being distributed on floppy disks at that time).

By the late 1990’s there were still many application titles that leveraged MIDI synthesis to provide background music in educational titles and games primarily. MIDI synthesis hardware was expensive however and host CPU’s were increasingly capable of taking on the relatively compute-intensive task of MIDI rendering.

Intel’s AC’97 PC motherboard audio spec omitted hardware accelerated MIDI synthesis for cost reasons. Analog Devices wishing to differentiate their SoundMAX product contracted me to provide a host-CPU synthesis solution for Win98 and NT 4.0.

The synthesizer code leveraged the SoundCanvas sample set licensed from Roland, Corp. and featured active host-CPU load monitoring and dynamic render fidelity adjustment to minimize impact on foreground application performance and ensure smooth and unbroken playback even during periods of peak CPU utilization.

Such a fun project 🙂

About Chris Russell
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