Midisport 2x2 USB (Mac/Win)Musicians new to MIDI often ask me which MIDI interface they should purchase. One company I mention to them is Midiman, which enjoys a reputation for manufacturing quality products. The Midisport 252 USB ($129), one of Midiman's most recent offerings, lives up to this solid reputation.
Green MachineHoused in a small, rugged box, the Midisport 252 USB is a lovely shade of lime green. It sports two independent MIDI input and output ports, which provide a combined total of 32 MIDI channels. The back of the box gives you access to both MIDI output jacks, the second MIDI input jack, and the USB connector. The front allows access to the first MIDI input jack and contains five green LED indicators, four of which correspond to the MIDI jacks. The last LED indicates whether the USB connection is working correctly.
The Midisport provides two extra features that give you a little more bang for your buck. One is a MIDI Thru switch that, when activated, routes data from each MIDI input to the corresponding MIDI output. This lets you continue to use your MIDI controllers and instruments when the computer is turned off. The second little extra is a CD-ROM containing drivers for both the PC and the Mac, so you can use the interface on multiple platforms. Very nice.
Sporty PerformanceI tested the Midisport on my Pentium II/300 MHz PC running Windows 98. Installation was a cinch. I plugged the Midisport into a USB port, inserted the driver disc so that the drivers would automatically load, and that was it - simple and painless. I tested the interface with several software products, including Cakewalk's Pro Audio and Steinberg's Cubase VST. I had nary a problem, and the interface continues to perform without incident to this very day.
The Midisport 252 USB does the job and does it well. Moreover, its small size makes it ideal for laptop musicians. If you're looking for an inexpensive and reliable MIDI interface for your USB-equipped Mac or PC, you can't go wrong with this one.