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Opcode Systems

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A now-extinct music hardware and software company, best known for its Studio Vision software package. Studio Vision was the first software package to combine MIDI sequencing and audio processing capability; as such, it was the first DAW software to run on a mass-market personal computer. (It originally ran under MacOS; later, a Windows version was developed.) The company was also the original commercial developer of the Max/MSP music processing software, after licensing the software from IRCAM in 1989.

At one time, Opcode and MOTU were locked in serious competition in the DAW and MIDI interface markets. When Apple was compelled to cease supporting the original MIDI Manager, MOTU and Opcode both put forward their own concepts for interfacing their proprietary MIDI interface hardware to the operating system, resulting in a brief period of flame wars among the users of the two competing systems. Opcode's entry was called OMS.

Opcode was purchases by the guitar maker Gibson in 1998. The combination was a very poor fit, as Gibson didn't know what to do with Opcode, and Gibson was also having severe difficulties with its distributors and resellers at the time. Opcode staff and Gibson management clashed, and soon the developers left en masse. With no staff remaining, Gibson shut down Opcode the next year.

Ironically, the Opcode OMS developers had the last laugh in the MIDI interface wars, sort of. When Apple Computer finally settled its issues with The Beatles and was able to pursue development of music software, some ex-Opcode developers joined Apple and worked on the development of Core Audio and Core MIDI, which became the Apple-imposed standards for audio and MIDI interfaces under OSX.

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