The Second Annual Interactive Music Conference

Project Bar-B-Q 1997

Yamaha Corporation of America  
Texas Instruments  
Music & Computers  
Motorola, Prodigy & BMI  

Report: Table of Contents  

Project Bar-B-Q '97  
(The 2nd Texas Interactive Music Conference and Bar-B-Q)  
Report of Results  


"Project Bar-B-Q" is an intense Texas-style think tank held annually on a 360 acre ranch in Boerne, Texas for three days in late October.  At this second gathering, 32 experts from the computer/music community were in attendance.  The goal this year was to "influence hardware and software for music on computers over the next 5 years." 

The group's results, along with action items, are presented in this report. 
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The BBQ Staff prepared this plan for approaching the Topic: 

1.  Where do hardware and software appear to be headed in the next 5 years? 
2.  What problems would we like to see solved, what questions answered? 
3.  What solutions and answers can we come up with? 
4.  How can we best effect those solutions and answer those questions? 

As was the case last year, key elements in achieving our goals were: 

--a carefully planned, tightly scheduled program, tempered with 
--every allowance for the group and individuals to follow their own direction, including the formation of "rogue groups," picking the topics to be brainstormed, opting to change the schedule on the fly, etc. 
--fostering a very special setting in which all attention could be comfortably turned to the task at hand. 

Step 1, "Where do hardware and software appear to be headed in the next 5 years?" was addressed on Friday by a brief reiteration of the history of BBQ '96, and a discussion of what repercussions that BBQ did and did not have on our business. 

Following the BBQ history were 5 talks of 15 minutes each by our guests, on emerging technologies and recent (or near-future) changes in the industry. 

The last of the talks, "appliance theory," by Van Webster, caused quite a stir, and filled the minds of the Group with visions of questions and problems everywhere. 

The stage was set.  Our comfortable place in the world had been challenged. Our perspective was changed and broadened.  Our minds alert and full and ready to fight!  Our brains were fully prepared for...Lunch! 

Step 2, "What problems would we like to see solved, what questions answered?" is where we decided what would be brainstormed in the breakout groups that comprised the body of BBQ.  In this roundtable, we attempted to scrutinize our industry to find its most important questions/topics.  We decided to form separate groups to study each topic, rather than having each breakout group cover all topics. 

Step 3, "What solutions and answers can we come up with?" was covered in the same manner as last year.  We split the attendees into 4 groups, each assigned a facilitator (except one, which chose to form as a "rogue group"), and brainstormed the hell out of the chosen Problems/Questions.  This happened, with various breaks, group exercises, and diversions, from Friday afternoon through Saturday around 2:00. 
Saturday afternoon, each group had two hours to write up their report of solutions/answers to the Big 3 Problem/Questions.  These reports were read at 5:30 Saturday, and are included herein. 

Step 4, "How can we best effect those solutions and answer those questions?" is addressed by action items included in each group's report. 

Last year, the BBQ report told the world what we wanted to see.  This year, our report is to let you know our best shot at answers to the industry's biggest questions, and solutions to our biggest problems. 
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Four areas were defined and attacked as the biggest problems/solutions facing our business: 

PROBLEM 1:  A PC is an unreliable, difficult to use, rapidly moving target.  An appliance (task-specific system) is more efficient, economical, and effective. 

SOLUTION:  An audio appliance was conceptualized and designed.  It is a crash-proof, idiot-proof, great-sounding, affordable all-purpose sealed box (or set of components within another appliance) that handles all audio for PC's, NC's, set top boxes, and internet browsers, and even does PC audio without the PC.  A white paper is to be written and read to the press. 
PROBLEM 2:  High-quality audio and a baseline platform need to be defined, standardized, and logoed. 

SOLUTION:  High quality audio was defined as audio quality that renders the artist's intentions without distracting artifacts, using hardware and software as easy to use as today's Hi-fi equipment.  The baseline platform was defined as the advance audio description within PC'98, which lists minimum acceptable specifications within certain parameters such as frequency response and dynamic range. 
Additional parameters were listed that ought to be included, such as concurrency of audio features, and # of streaming audio channels. 
It was recommended that if a PC OEM can not provide minimum speaker capabilities, speakers should not be bundled.  The phrase "Speakers Not Included" might spur consumers to make their own choices in speakers. 
Action items to develop this information and use it to influence the industry are to be undertaken by the Platform Development Working Group of the MMA/IA-SIG. 
PROBLEM 3:  Consumer demand and developer support for high-quality audio must be encouraged and nurtured. 

SOLUTION:  The group defined the factors that limit consumer and developer awareness. 
The group created action items to build both developer excitement and 
consumer demand. 
                -Educate and evangelize magazine editors 
                -Educate and evangelize developers 
                -Create an audio-enhanced version of a popular title 
The group defined the factors that limit developer support for good 
quality audio. 
The group created action items to build developer support 
                -a better-tools-and-drivers Working Group was suggested. 
                -Programs for developer education were suggested. 
                -A white paper was suggested calling for better quality audio in titles. 
PROBLEM 4:  DLS must be enabled on the PC platform in the absence of a DLS API from Microsoft. 

SOLUTION:  Constructive dialogue was established between major players in the field, which seemed to galvanize the group, and hopefully the industry, toward common solutions to downloading samples.  Microsoft clarified its timeline for including DLS functionality.  Apples's Quicktime 3.0 emerged as a possible solution to the problem.  A MIDI SysEx solution used by Chromatic emerged as a possible solution.  A letter was sent from BBQ to Microsoft requesting that a downloading API be made available now, rather than waiting for all of DirectMusic to be finished. 

Action items were listed to follow through on the above. 

As of this writing, a great deal of dialog on the BBQ e-mail list server has been leading up to further meetings on the topic of promoting understanding of great sounding audio in multimedia. 

Other observations of Project BBQ '97: 

It was observed that BBQ '96 did have significant impact on the industry, through PC '98 and DirectMusic. 

The Gigasampler by Nemesis was unveiled to the computer/music community, demonstrating the lifting of significant barriers to computer processing of sampled sound. 

"Appliance Theory," championed in particular by Van Webster and Jim Reekes, gained more than a foothold in the computer/music crowd. 
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 Influencing Hardware & Software  for Music on Computers Over the Next Five Years 

 Thursday, October 30th: 
 Hawaiian Luau Mixer 
 6:30PM Until  ???       Main House 
                                         Informal Introductions and Agenda Ventilation: 
                                         5 minute personal introductions. 
 Friday, October 31st: 
 7:30-9:00        Reveille and Chuckwagon Breakfast 
 9:00-9:30        "Official Howdy" 
                              Overview and Welcome:  The Fat Man 
 9:30-10:00       TALKS 1: 
                              Past:  Since Last Year/Update: 
                                   "Where We Were/Thought We Were" 
                                   "What Happened/Didn't Happen" 
 10:00-12:15     TALKS 2: 
                                    "What's Going on in the Industry?" 
                                    "Strong Trends in Technology & Content" 
                                         Tom White:  DLS 
                                         Aaron Higgins:  Direct Music 
                                         Jim Van Buskirk:  Endless Wave 
                                         Jim Reekes:  Quick Time 
                                         Van Webster:  Appliance Theory 
                                         (15 Minute Talks/Q&A) 
 12:15-1:45     Lunch 
 1:45-3:10       Brainstorming Session: 
                            "What are the Biggest Problems/Questions?" 
 3:10-3:30       Group Brain: 
                            Narrowing Focus to four topics & splitting into groups 
 3:30-3:45       Beer Break 
 3:45-6:30       Problem Solving Session:  Part I 
                            Breakout Brainstorm/Discussion Groups 
 6:30-7:00       Evening Break 
 7:00-7:30       Happy Hour in Main House 
 7:30-9:00       Bar-B-Q Dinner, Bonfire and Blues 
 9:00-???        Evening Acoustic Jam Outside 

 Saturday, November 1st: 
 7:30-9:00       Morning Grub 
 9:00-9:15       Town Meeting: 
                            Epiphanies? Rogue Groups? 
 9:15-11:30     Problem Solving Session: Part II 
 11:30-1:00     Working Lunch in Groups 
 1:00-1:30       BREAK 
 1:30-3:30       Canoe Run Down the Guadalupe 
 3:00-5:30       Group Results & Evaluations 
                            Finalize a Group Vision/Consensus of Future & Create Final Documentation 
 5:30-7:00       Groups Present Results 
 7:00-7:30       Wrap-Up 
 7:30-8:00       Happy Hour 
 8:00-9:30       Awards Ceremony 
 9:30-???        BIG JAM: Main House 

 Sunday, November 2nd: 
 8:00-9:00      Breakfast 
                            Snakepit open for Bloody Mary's & Mimosa's 
 9:00-11:30     Town Hall Meeting 
                              Input from Attendees/Next Year's Event 
 9:00-4:00       Last Shuttles Out of Dodge 
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IV.    TALKS 1: 

Talks 1:  Where we were/thought we were 

This talk was intended to disgruntle the attendees by forcing us to look  with greater scrutiny 
at our preconceived ideas of where we are headed as  an industry. 

The Fat Man briefly reviewed the outline of the executive summary of last  year's BBQ report, 
and invited people to contribute their own memories and  impressions--especially 
contradictory ones--of what was accomplished by BBQ '96. 

Most significantly, it was suggested and agreed that we improve over last year's work by 
including action items and dates in our group reports for this year. 

It was confirmed that the PDWG (started at BBQ last year) had a most definite and positive 
impact on Intel/Microsoft's PC '98 specs. 

Likewise, the ICWG was cited as having had definite and positive influence on Microsoft's 

It was suggested that we deal with legacy issues. 

We reminded ourselves of a question that was brought up at last year and left unexplored; that 
QuickTime might contain all of the functionality that would be required of a standard, common 
language for creating interactive compositions. 

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V.  TALKS 2:  
"What's Going on in the Industry?" 
"Strong Trends in Technology & Content" 
         Tom White:  DLS 
         Aaron Higgins:  Direct Music 
         Jim Van Buskirk:  Endless Wave 
         Jim Reekes:  Quick Time 
         Van Webster:  Appliance Theory 

BIOGRAPHY    Tom White 

Tom White is President & CEO of the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and a 
consultant on multimedia technology and marketing, specializing on the convergence of the 
computer and music industries.  Tom also sits on the Steering Committee of the Interactive 
Audio Special Interest Group, which is developing recommended practices for new 
technologies in multimedia.  He manages the MMA's activities in education, intellectual 
property, technical development, and outreach to other organizations and related industries. 
As the manager of the multimedia products group at Roland Corporation from 1990 to 1994, 
Tom was responsible for the launch of General MIDI and Roland's Sound Canvas products, 
and worked directly with companies such as Microsoft and Apple to incorporate support for 
MIDI technology in computer operating systems. 

Tom is a frequent speaker on audio issues at trade shows and conferences, and has been 
quoted in various publications, including Music Inc., Comdex Show Daily, Multimedia World, 
and Multimedia Producer magazines. 

Tom White 
Consultant on Multimedia Marketing & Technology 
P.O. Box 3173 La Habra, CA 90632-3173,  Tel: (310) 947-8689   Fax: (310) 947-4569 


Update on DLS: 
Available today ... 

The DLS Level 1 Specification (DLS-1) document is now available from the MMA, and the 
instructions for ordering the document are available on the MMA web site (www.midi.org). 
The MMA is also now shipping "DLS Synth/Author" for Windows 95, which is a DLS-1 file 
authoring and editing program intended to jump start DLS-1 content development.  (Pricing 
and ordering instructions are on the MMA web site). 

Coming Soon: 
Verification and Certification ... 

The next deliverable from the MMA will be the "DLS Verification Kit" (DVK) which will 
allow developers of hardware or software synthesizers to verify compliance with the DLS-1 
specification.  The kit includes reference DLS-1 files, a description of the MMA approved 
procedure for testing compliance, actual test materials for use with an Audio Precision System 
2, a copy of "DLS Synth/Author", and the source code for linking "DLS Synth/Author" to the 
developer's device.  The DLS DVK will be available in December. Actual DLS-1 compliance 
certification (at the MMA test lab) will also begin in December. (Instructions for obtaining the 
DVK and certification will be posted on the MMA web site when available). 

Marketing for Success ... 

To achieve the goal of broad support for DLS Level 1 will require a marketing effort aimed at 
proving the viability of DLS.  The MMA will be reinvesting a portion of the revenue from 
certification into publicizing those companies that provide DLS support, starting with a listing 
of DLS-1 compatible products on the MMA web site.  Additionally, companies that meet 
compatibility requirements will be entitled to use the a "DLS Logo" on their products and in 
their own marketing.  We encourage each and every audio developer with an interest in broad 
support for DLS to participate in the MMA marketing and logo efforts. 

Compatible Products ... 

DLS compatible devices (synths) have been announced by S3, Analog Devices, EuPhonics, 
Yamaha and Chromatic, and promised by many more audio IC and board manufacturers, 
including Ensoniq, ESS, Rockwell, Kurzweil, and Texas Instruments.  Software for DLS 
editing and content development is expected from Sonic Foundry and other tools developers 
next year. 

The missing links ... 

The missing link, however, are standard APIs for download management.  Many options are 
in the works: Diamondware has announced a soon-to-be-released, DLS-enabled version of 
their sound toolkit (PC), and Microsoft has promised an API ("Direct Music") which will 
support DLS in 1998. Meanwhile, Apple supports sample downloading in QuickTime 3.0 
(Windows and Mac OS) and now provides a means to convert DLS format data to the 
QuickTime format.  We are also aware of efforts at Sun and SGI to support the MMA DLS 
format, as well as at RAD and other tools developers, but at this moment no platform is really 
"full enabled" for DLS.  Rather than sit back and wait, we urge you all to express your interest 
in DLS to the people who can enable the platforms! 

(note: Subsequent to this presentation, a BBQ group was formed to discuss this issue, in 
response to concern expressed by the attendees.) 

Up next: DLS Level 2 ... 

Since the time that DLS Level 1 was developed the functionality of entry level PC synthesizers 
has increased, and it now makes sense to look at a Level 2 specification which can provide 
better performance.  However, to bring DLS-2 to market as quickly as possible requires 
anticipating the Level 2 program costs and necessary resources, and budgeting for them in 
advance.  The MMA is currently reviewing a proposal for a DLS Level 2 Working Group (in 
the IASIG) which describes action items, milestones, and deliverables, and plans to determine 
the funding requirements to make this project a success.  We will notify MMA and IASIG 
members of our conclusion and expected working group plans, shortly. 

BIOGRAPHY    Aaron Higgins 

 Aaron Higgins has a long and diverse past with music and audio.  Some of his more bizarre 
accomplishments include playing in a band that performed while riding bicycles and working 
on a comedy radio show.  After getting his BSEE from Penn State University, Aaron worked 
in the audio semiconductor industry as a design engineer and technical marketing manager. 
Currently, he works at Microsoft as the Audio Technical Evangelist in the Windows Division, 
where he is focused on enhancing the state of the art of audio in Windows. 

Aaron Higgins 
Audio Technical Evangelist;  Microsoft 
One Microsoft Way,   Redmond, WA  98052-6399 
Tel: (425) 703-2029        Fax: (425)936-7329 


DirectMusic is a new set of APIs that will be released by Microsoft in early 1998.  The 
functionality is split into two major sections called DirectMusic Core and DirectMusic 

DM Core delivers the long awaited API for downloading DLS files to either hardware or 
software synthesizers.  In addition, there is a completely new MIDI interface with extremely 
accurate time stamping.  All of the MIDI flowing through the machine will reference a global 
clock with 100ns resolution.  Developers wishing to access low level MIDI and DLS services 
can write to directly to DM Core. 

DirectMusic Interactive is a flexible engine for delivering music that adapts to any external 
influence . By providing numerous controls of timing, mood, personality, etc. the system can 
bring spontaneity to situations that previously used repetitive loops of music . The architecture 
is capable of accommodating other music engines to enable maximum flexibility to developers. 

BIOGRAPHY    Jim Van Buskirk 

Founded in 1996, NemeSys (New Media Systems) Technology, Inc., Jim Van Buskirk 
together with NemeSys co-founder Joe Bibbo have brought together one of the most highly 
successful groups of host-based signal processing technology developers in the USA.  The 
technical staff at NemeSys have designed proven, production quality products currently 
shipping  by such companies as Rockwell Semiconductor Systems, Packard Bell, Compaq 
Computer, Aztech Labs, Digital Equipment Corporation, Peavey Electronics and have been 
featured in technology exhibitions by Intel Corporation, Texas Instruments, Brooktree 
Corporation, Atlanta Signal Processing, and East West Communications. 


An introduction to GigaSampler and Endless Wave MIDI/Audio integration technology was 
presented.  Synergistic opportunities and convergence with interactive/gaming audio delivery 
were discussed, including the worlds first Endless Wave live 'interactive audio' performance 
by Team Fat's own David Govett.  "Near production quality" development tools for the 
technology were shown with an example 350MB 6 velocity stereo sampled Steinway piano 
which ran in a less than a 32MB RAM memory footprint with 7ms note-on latency. 

BIOGRAPHY    Jim Reekes 

Jim Reekes studied music composition and theory in college, never taking a single computer 
science or engineering class because he knew they would only pollute his brain.  He taught 
himself programming, beginning with the Apple II and then on the Macintosh 128k in 1984 
using assembly language because he couldn't afford the Lisa development system.  He begin 
working in Apple's Developer Technical Support group, MacDTS, in 1988.  He took over 
responsibility for the Sound Manager during System 7 beta (so you  can't blame that one on 
him!) and in 1991 he finished the new Sound  Manager 3.0, which was a complete rewrite to 
"make it suck less.  "If  there one thing he has learned while at Apple, it's that there's a fine line 
between an amazing insight and having a bad attitude.  Amazing  insight is when you keep your 
opinions to yourself, until someone asks for it.  Jim has been collecting progressive rock and 
electronic music recording since 1970.  He grew up in Pomona, California, during the 1960s- 
70s and can remember when Frank Zappa performed in local bars on Mission Blvd. and 
Cucamonga was a vineyard.  Jim thinks Frank was the most influential composer of his time. 
He wishes programming didn't suck out his brain so much, so that he could spend more time 
in his MIDI studio creating sound you've never heard before. 

BIOGRAPHY    Van Webster 

Founder and President of Webster Communications a marketing and creative services 
company, is a consultant, speaker, video & audio producer, educator and entertainment 
systems designer.  Major clients include the Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Corporation, EMI Music 
Distribution, and Glendale Federal Bank.  Webster has produced over 200 business video 
titles and more than 300 Compact Disc Masters.  Webster Communications includes a full 
service audio and video production facility for broadcast and business program production. 
He founded, and chaired for 18 years, the Recording Engineering Certificate Program at 
UCLA Extension where he continues to teach.  More than 2500 students have taken his 
courses.  In 1996, he chaired the 101st Audio Engineering Society Convention in Los Angeles 
and has served on the AES Convention Core Planning Committee for 12 years.  Van has a 
B.A. in Fine Arts from Claremont McKenna College and a M.A. in Architecture from 
California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.  He is a member of AES, SMPTE, 
and NARAS. 

President Webster Communications. 
607 North Avenue, Los Angeles,  CA 90042 
Tel: (213)258-6741 email: VanWebster@aol.com 


Van Webster presented at the 2nd Texas Computer Music Conference that Systems become 
more efficient, more effective and more economical when they are task specific.  General 
purpose products do many things Okay, but few things well.  An appliance is a task specific 
device.  The most successful appliances are low cost, simple to use and intuitive to 
understand.  A PC is an unreliable, difficult to use, rapidly moving target.  Constant changes in 
technology have made computers very expensive expendables, not capital investments. 
General purpose computers are instruments of torture.  People who are tied to productivity 
demands at work on a computer are not likely to turn to the same beige box for entertainment 
at home.  Computerized Entertainment products will be more effective in the market place if 
they are dedicated systems (Appliances) and not general purpose PCs.  Will the market 
decide which system will survive?  Or will the industry?  For success, applications need to be 
self contained and self scaling.  All the required systems must be included in the product. 

5 Key Points to successful media: 
1.  MUST BE ECONOMICAL It must be a good value. 
2.  MUST HAVE STRUCTURE Media systems must offer the familiarity of conventions. 
3.  MUST BE EASY TO USE Consumers respond to things that are easy to use, understand 
and enjoy.  Consumers choose convenience over quality every time. 
4.  MUST OFFER SOMETHING COMPELLING The package must be a bargain that the 
consumer just can't pass up. 
5.  MUST BE SYNERGISTIC  Consumers like to add value to something they already own. 


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The entire group met to choose the problems/questions that were most important to them, 
which were then to be discussed by all the breakout groups.  Most of the problems/questions 
proposed were incorporated into a five-step plan to influence hardware and software for 
audio on PC's. 

5-Step Plan: 

1.  Define high-quality audio 
2.  Define a baseline platform (including discussion of:) 
         -Host vs Non-host based processing? 
3.  Logo the standards 
         -Ours?  Create and enforce a logo? 
         -Theirs?  Provide our specs to bodies that already have viable, credible logos? 
4.  Consumer Demand--marketing 
5.  Developer Support--create/define/encourage the Killer App? 

There was some discussion on point 3;  some felt that a logo-ing program was appropriate for 
this group to undertake.  However, most favored the attitude that it would be appropriate for 
the BBQ Group to serve the function of defining baseline platform specs for audio on 
computers which could then be incorporated into the superset of specs created and enforced 
by Intel and Microsoft. 

Having been inspired by Van Websters talk, about a quarter of the attendees formed a group 
to work on defining and creating a Consumer Audio Appliance. 

Likewise inspired by issues raised in the "Where does Hardware and Software...appear to be 
heading" discussions, by Microsoft's DirectMusic presentation and discussions of the previous 
evening, a Rogue Group of roughly six people formed around Eric Larsen's suggestion to 
discuss issues surrounding a downloadable API. 

The remaining half of the BBQ members were drawn into two groups, one to discuss 
questions 1, 2, and 3 (Defining the Platform), and the other to discuss 4 and 5 (Bridging the 
Gap between the Music and the Consumer). 

Mark Miller made the very helpful suggestion of incorporating action items, dates, and 
responsible parties into the breakout groups' reports, thus allowing prolonged time spent in 
groups, and eliminating the need for our planned final meeting to define action items. 

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#1. K-Mart Shoppers 

Facilitator:  Jeff Johannigman 
Slogan:         "Computers Suck" 

Dave Govett;  Team Fat 
Jim Reekes;  Apple 
Hamilton Altstatt;  Disney Interactive 
James Grunke;  The Hotz Corp. 
Van Webster;  Webster Communications 
Ralph Thomas;  Strategic Simulations 
David Battino, Music & Computers 

The appliance workgroup took on the responsibility of scouting into the territory of where 
music and computers are headed.  The goal was to put a stake in the future, pointing out the 
road ahead.  This journey became a  vision-quest to see what an audio appliance might be in 
the next 5 years.  Just as the automotive industry has "concept cars," we designed the concept 
audio appliance--an affordable, easy to use, intelligent audio appliance that connects to and 
enhances home entertainment systems.  Within the consumer electronic market, home 
entertainment systems are a collection of components, instead of the PC method of the all-in- 
one box. 

The intention behind components is that the customer can buy a module for the job.  All CD 
players work with all CD content on all stereos.  That's what it takes to cross the chasm from 
high tech to mass market.  One of the tests for such an appliance is if one would expect to find 
such a product in K-Mart.  Our audio appliance is an apparatus which can be a dedicated 
device or embedded into a larger system.  The audio appliance is to do all of the audio 
processing that occurs for the consumer.  It will be incorporated into the home entertainment 
system whose duties include, among others, playback of movies and music-only 
entertainment, as well as games and web-browsing. 

This audio application is a DLS GM synth, containing a full GM set in ROM with RAM for 
DLS.  It is an outboard sound card for PC's, NC's, set top boxes, and any of the internet 
browsers such as Web TV.  It can be made to work with existing PC's and existing software 
titles using the audio driver.  It has high speed digital I/O connectors to transfer data to and 
from the audio appliance.  Firewire is the emerging standard, which will be found on most 
consumer electronic devices.  Broadcasting and downloading audio from the net, such as 
MPEG or Liquid Audio, will be sent to the audio appliance from the PC or NC. 

The signal processing capabilities of the audio appliance are powerful enough to mix, sample- 
rate convert, and encode/decode audio formats.  The audio appliance runs JAVA, so it can 
be programmed and provide the necessary graphical support to be displayed on the TV. 
Finally, and optional expansion slot, such as PCM/CIA, can provide custom programs similar 
to the way synths can access new patches and data.  Any multi-channel audio output, such as 
a software package used by project studios, can be encoded into surround sound format. 
Typical uses of the product include processing MIDI and digital audio to be mixed and 
encoded into a surround sound format.  An educational use is the example of the "Miracle 
Piano" to teach keyboard skills.  This could be done with the audio appliance, low cost MIDI 
keyboard, and the home entertainment system without a PC.  CD quality audio from the net 
can be purchased or previewed without the need of a PC.  A video conference of a business 
meeting can take advantage of the surround sound speaker placement to simulate the virtual 
positions of the people in the meeting. 

With the emergence of the project studio, pitching your latest demo can take place in the 
comfortable living room by attaching the portable 8-track digital recorder to the audio 
appliance.  An adjustable mixing board and EQ would be shown on the TV, showing the 
controls which have been recorded along with the audio data.  Interactive entertainment such 
as the Hotz, Harmonix, and Resrocket could be done without the need of a computer. 

This product achieves an important element, the audio appliance cannot crash the computer, 
which is a problem that plagues the entire PC market.  Our concept of the audio application of 
the future satisfies the requirement of an "appliance."  It is economical to the mass market, 
$300-500, with a window of compatibility lasting 5-10 years.  It is synergistic in that it 
combines the home entertainment system with appliances of the future such as NC and 
integrated web browsing set top boxes.  It is a consumer product for those who want to 
interact with audio without computers.  It has no user serviceable parts, such as a lid to cover 
slots, which consumers avoid.  This product is for anyone with an investment into a home 
entertainment system, and those who are dissatisfied with computers or NC boxes. 

The next step is to document the concept in a white paper, to be read bythe press, company 
presidents, and key influences.  The information can be made available in magazine articles, 
the Web, and possible discussions and demos at trade shows. 

After scouting ahead, the future sounds good!!! 

#2. The Pedernales Pinkerton's 
Facilitator:  Linda Law 
Slogan:         "Who are these guys?!!" 

Aaron Higgins;  Microsoft 
Howard Brown;  Compaq 
Dan Cox;  Intel 
Mike D'Amore;  Yamaha 
Gary Johnson;  Texas Instruments 
Michael Land;  Lucas Arts 
Rob Maher;  Euphonics 
Gerard Papa;  Lucent Technology 
Jorge Salhuana;  Texas Instruments 
Daryl Sartain;  ESS 
Robert Sloan;  Phillips Semiconductor 

Pedernales Pinkerton's Report: 

How do we define high quality audio? 

The answer to "How do we define high quality audio" is an artistic or subjective answer.  The 
best answer is "We can't define high quality audio, but I know it when I hear it."  It should be 
comparable to CD quality, whatever the user defines as CD quality.  The speakers are the 
limiting factor, especially related to budget.  The key is that the audio quality renders the 
artist's intentions without distracting artifacts.  We must also remember that high quality means 
that the hardware and software are as easy to install and use as today's Hi-fi equipment. 

We also need to provide an immersive 3D experience. 

What is the baseline platform for high quality audio? 

The current baseline platform for high quality audio is the advance audio description within PC 
'98.  This document specifies the minimum acceptable specifications below: 

         Frequency response 
         Dynamic range 
         THD + N 
         Full Scale I/O Voltages 
         Crosstalk between signal channels 
         Sample frequency accuracy 
         16x CD 
         200Mhz CPU 
         Plus more 

What should be the baseline platform for high quality audio? 

We feel that there should be minimum requirements for speakers.  If the PC OEM can not 
provide the minimum speaker capabilities, we recommend that speakers not be bundled, but 
rather let the consumer choose. 

         Other minimum requirements should include: 
                 Concurrency of audio features 
                 # of streaming audio channels 
                 CPU utilization 
                 Synthesis quality 
                 Sample rate conversion quality 

It will be the extended channel of the PDWG to define and quantify the list of parameters 
above that are not included in PC '98.  Beside the top five areas described above, we also 
see the need to look at: 

         Latency, acceptable levels of synchronization, A/D/A linearity, mechanical-acoustic 
coupling, # of mixing channels, # of synth voices, sample rate for synthesis, microphones and 

How do we influence what we describe in questions 1-3 to become a standard? 

We will present findings at conferences starting in March '98.  In addition, we will try to 
influence any continuation of PC roadmap standards such as PC '98. 

#3.  The Plumbers 

Facilitator:  Tom White 
Slogan:         "We can fix it" 

Mark Miller;  Harmonix 
Eric Larson;  Creative 
Conrad Maxwell;  Rockwell 
Joe Bryan;  Chromatic 
Paul Chasteen;  Eye and I Productions 
Charles Wiltgen;  Apple 
Mark Burton; Microsoft 

The plumbers chose the task of enabling DLS on the PC platform, in the absence of a DLS 
API from Microsoft. 

Participants included Charles Wiltgen of Apple, Mark Burton of Microsoft, Eric Larsen 
(Creative Labs), Joe Bryan (Chromatic Research), and Paul Chasteen (Eye and I). Mark 
Miller (Harmonix) and Conrad Maxwell (Rockwell) also participated on the second day of 

The participants from Microsoft and Apple clarified the current situation for their own 
solutions to the problem: 


QuickTime (QT) 3.0, which may ship as soon as January 1998, has a SW synth with similar 
functionality to a DLS synth, and an API for download management, which will run on both 
the MAC OS and Windows 95/98 OS. 

To enable QT for DLS playback will require a DLS format import component (which 
converts DLS data into QT media format).  Charles agreed that developing this component 
should be a priority for Apple after QT 3.0 ships, or would provide assistance to someone 
who wanted to begin that work immediately. 

IHVs wishing to obtain support in QT for their own synths (replacing the Apple Synth) can 
produce a synth component which handles translation of parameters from Apple's media 
format.  Assistance is available from Apple. 


Windows 98 and 95 will not (at least for now) have native support for DLS.  Instead, support 
will be provided via Direct X extensions (Direct Music).  Direct Music running on Windows 
95 will not support hardware acceleration (replaceable synths).  Direct Music may ship about 
the same time as Win98 (June 1998). 

After the discussion of Apple and Microsoft solutions for DLS, Joe Bryan revisited his 
proposal for a MIDI System Exclusive (SysEx) protocol for DLS.  The advantage of a SysEx 
protocol is it would not require specific support directly from the OS, since MIDI messages 
are already passed intact in most every popular OS.  The major disadvantage over Microsoft 
and Apple APIs (for example) is that it would not be bi-directional and thus would not 
support device queries nor error reporting.  Still, it would be simple and fast to implement! 

Joe has offered to document the protocol used by Chromatic, which also uses a commonly 
available URL-reference function supported by both Apple and Microsoft operating systems. 
Joe asked that application developers review and validate his API, and also asked for 
someone to volunteer the code for IHVs to link in their drivers (in case Chromatic is unable to 
do so) that would make it easy for IHVs to implement the API.  The complete API could be 
presented to the MMA for standardization prior to the MMA annual meeting in January, and 
could be operable early across a broad number of DLS-compatible products in early 1998. 

Another issue of concern to the group members was gaining application developer support for 
DLS.  Eric reported the lack of broad support for downloadable sounds among sound cards 
has slowed the adoption of Creative's Sound Fonts format among developers -- a situation 
which DLS could resolve.  The group discussed Creative's experience and future plans with 
Sound Fonts and determined that DLS support from Microsoft or Apple (QT) should resolve 
the problem, and enable Creative as well as other suppliers of synthesis hardware and 
software to commit to support for DLS. 

In keeping with the self-created charter of the second BBQ Project group, the following 
action items were defined by the plumbers: 

  1. IHVs should contact Apple about developing their Synth Component for QT 3.0 

  2. Someone needs to step forward and commit to developing the DLS Import Component, 
or else we risk waiting for Apple, which could ultimately result in unsatisfactory delays. 

  3. IHVs should also attend a Microsoft review of Direct Music scheduled for the IASIG 
ICWG prior to CGDC, and provide comment. 

  4. The attendees of the second BBQ project should make it clear to Microsoft that the DLS 
API is of immediate interest and need, and request Microsoft not delay DLS for other Direct 
Music functionalities.  We need to help Aaron Higgins deliver the right message to the Direct 
X team. 

  5. Those application developers or IHVs interested in assisting Joe Bryan polish up the 
MIDI SysEx API need to contact him (address provided in BBQ report). Anyone willing to 
provide source code for enabling IHVs to support this API need to step forward. 

#4   Report of the Deep Fried Fat, Really Ugly, Sound Monkeys from Hell and Soon 

Facilitator:  Dave Warhol & Ellen Guon 
Slogan:  "It's all in the name." 

Joe Forget;  Interact 
Colin Anderson;  DMA Designs 
Tim Patterson;  Interact 
Rick Kelly;  Accolade 
Kurt Heiden;  Creative 
Peter Hinsbeeck; Intel 
Scott McNeese;  VLSI 
Bobby Prince, Prince Music 

The Monkeys group of the fabulous Project Bar-B-Q came to an early conclusion: It became 
apparent that consumer demand does not happen in a vacuum.  We must create this demand 
to support our work.  Increasing consumer demand and developer support for good quality 
audio will be best achieved by enlisting magazines reviewers and editors as evangelists for 
good quality audio. 


There is currently a lack of demand for good quality audio for a number of reasons: 

         Lack of developer support 
         Lack of marketing focus 
         Consumers don't know all the stats, logos, buzzwords, and technologies 
         Audio takes a backseat to video in resource allocation 
         Milestone reviews often based on graphical impressions 
         Resource allocation myths (CPU needs to be taxed for good audio) 

The simple truth is Developer Excitement equals Consumer Demand  We focused on three 
ways to build consumer demand and developer support for good quality audio: 

1.)  Educate and evangelize magazine editors and reviewers about good quality audio.  Once 
reviews of titles start including a greater emphasis on audio, and the editorial content calls for 
greater fidelity in audio, marketing personnel and developers will realize that good quality 
audio is important to their current development projects. 

Educate and Evangelize Magazine Editors and Reviewers About Good Quality Audio. 
Magazine editors and reviewers represent the least educated group about high-fidelity audio 
for computers.  Most reviews brush aside the importance of sound with deprecating 
comments like Those toe-tapping tunes  made me hum.  This is in stark contrast to their 
knowledge of graphics. 

Therefore, we feel it is imperative to do the following: 

Create a collateral piece called Audio 101 for reviewers that summarizes the basic audio 
technologies, why they are important, and how they are used in titles today.  Establish a set of 
reviewer's guidelines for audio so reviewers know what to look for and how to evaluate titles. 

Get high-quality audio components on the desks of reviewers.  Hardware company 
evangelists need to focus on magazines as a key element of education.  Cajole, bribe, and 
lobby editors and reviewers to emphasize sound in the same way they emphasize graphics and 

2.)  Educate and evangelize developers about the benefits of good quality audio in their titles. 
Programmers and producers need to understand what it means when a game doesn't have 
great audio:  the added value is astonishing. Our battle is with the developers, not the 

Educate and Evangelize Developers About the Benefits of Good Quality Audio.  Sponsor a 
session at CGDC called Audio for Producers to showcase technology and content; include 
compelling demos.  Sponsor a session at E3 called Audio for Dumb Marketing People to 
showcase technology and content; include compelling demos.  Encourage a developer to 
enhance their title to be showcased at both shows.  Send a letter to marketing departments 
beginning with what we want to showcase.  Establish a broader category of computer audio 
awards that are not popularity contests but based on objective standards that are nearly 
identical to the Reviewer Guidelines. 

Develop a CD with Best of Audio examples AND upcoming product demos that showcase 
good quality audio.  CD to be sponsored by Hardware company or magazine. 

Establish a reporting mechanism to regularly update developers on new technologies (DLS, 
SoundFont, etc.)  Author a monthly column/feature about Audio in Game Developer 

3.)  Create an audio-enhanced version of a popular "A" title to showcase the very best in 
good quality audio.  Compelling the industry to talk about statistics and theory does not 
motivate action; showing a real product does. 

As for our final action item, we feel that is necessary to establish an informal body to 
coordinate and execute each of these items, such as the evangelization of our mission and 
message.  This would not necessarily be an official working group, but should be implemented 
under the umbrella of the IA-SIG. 

Building Developer Support: 

Developer support for good quality audio is weak at best.  We identified a number of 
challenges that sound teams face in implementing good quality audio in titles: 

1.) Technology and Tools, How to use best in a true production environment 
2.) Success Model What does good quality audio mean and how successful can it be? 
3.) Problem Solving How Do I Do This? 
4.) Optimal Audio Use-How Do I Best Use Audio in my Titles? 
5.) Realistic Goals within Product Development-Eliminate 200 sound effects in an afternoon 
6.) Lack of Standardization One Word: Legacy 

To build developer support, we need to focus on the following action items: 

A.  Technology & Tools 

Propose an IA-SIG Working Group to create better drivers, a run-time framework, and 
better authoring tools that are compatible. 

B.  Developer Education 

Create a mechanism to educate developers about technology developments and advertise that 

Sponsor a Session called Wake Up you Ignorant Sons of Bitches focused on producers, 
programmers, and marketing wonks that aggressively promotes our mission and message. 

Distribute a White Paper at CGDC calling for better quality audio 
implementation in titles. 

Call for volunteers: 
--Author an article entitled: Audio Technology for Game Designers 
--Promote and extend the importance of awards as a motivation to develop good quality 
audio Standards 
--Establish scalability as important and crucial 
--Establish unified support of new standards 
--Evangelize console game companies to adopt DLS standardization for cross-platform 

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