The lists have been quiet recently, and I've had several
requests for news from the standards world regarding
the Structured Audio tools.
Most importantly, the standard is finished! Final editing
was completed just after the New Year and the document
is now in the hands of the ISO. The whole standard will be
formally approved by ISO member nations in the next month,
and then published ("issued") by ISO soon after.
The important last step in the standards work was intensive
collaboration with the MIDI Manufacturer's Association. This
resulted in the development of the MPEG-4 Structured
Audio Sample Bank Format (SASBF), which is the same
format as the DLS-2 standard. You can read more about
DLS-2 in a press release on the SA home page.
MMA experts also reviewed the MIDI functionality in the FCD,
and helped to make it more robust and useful in the FDIS.
So MPEG-4 SA systems will be easily connected to existing
MIDI studios and work well with existing MIDI content.
I am working on the reference software update, which is due
in March. I'm holding off wide public release of the Final Draft
of the standard until the reference software is conformant to
it, to avoid confusion. However, anyone that wishes a copy
of the Final Draft in the understanding that there is not yet
fully-conforming software is welcome to mail me privately.
On the evangelism side, there are now many organizations,
both industry and academic, who have committed resources
to the development of conforming tools. I won't name names,
but I hope that some of these people will post to saol-dev and
describe what they're working on.
To whet your appetite, I know of one nearly-finished
complete SAOL-to-C compiler that should run SAOL code
must faster than the reference software. There's also a number
of projects on authoring, profiling, and maintaining compatibility
with other popular computer-music tools.
Once the software is done, I'll augment the SA home page with
some new things: links to people working on MPEG-4 projects,
list of known bugs in the standard, more musical examples,
freeware tools to work with.
Please post to the mailing lists and tell us about your plans for
using or developing around the MPEG-4 Structured Audio
Best to all,
-- Eric Scheirer
Editor, MPEG-4 Structured Audio
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