This roundup will help you find the best USB MIDI interface for your setup.
Note that 1x1 or single input/output adapters will get the job done for most music production needs, however if you require two or more MIDI instruments playing simultaneously, or you don't want to keep plugging and unplugging between instruments and controllers, then you should go for interfaces with more ports. You will also need more channels if you'll be using electronic drums along with other MIDI instruments.
EMU XMIDI 1x1
The affordable EMU XMIDI 1x1 is an impressive (16 MIDI channels in/out) interface that has reliably been put to use by many musicians, with great results.
It is designed with the cables built-in, making it truly plug and play and more cost effective. It also operates with no noticeable lag, able to take on live recording tasks with ease. Since it's cheap, you can easily get it as a nice back-up for your main interface or you can use it as a portable alternative. Simply put, this is the best deal.
MIDIMan MIDISport 1x1
The MIDISport 1x1 is another reliable USB to MIDI Interface that is surprisingly affordable!
It has one MIDI input and output port with 16 channels each, plenty enough for most electronic drums, keyboards and other controllers. Users are unanimous in stating that it looks and feels solid, and that it works as advertised - reliable, fast and easy to setup. Note that the MIDIMan MIDISport 1x1 does not come with MIDI cables.
M-Audio MIDISport 2x2
The original green colored 2x2 MIDISport is among the most easily identifiable MIDI interfaces.
Thanks to its hard-wired through-switch design that satisfied many musicians and producers. The M-Audio MIDISport 2x2 brings back this classic, but this time available in better looking colors of white and black. It has two input/output ports with 32 MIDI channels and MIDI merge, and it is USB powered for true plug and play performance. This is a great budget interface if you have at least two MIDI instruments.
MOTU Micro Lite
Simplifying multiple MIDI setup is a breeze with the MOTU Micro Lite.
For something compact, it gives you 5 MIDI in/out with 80 MIDI channels - enough to properly organize and manage your MIDI instruments and controllers. With the MOTU Micro Lite, you get a workstation with less clutter. Other features include quick compatibility with both Mac and Windows, USB power, and it has front panel LEDs that give useful visual feedback. MOTU also offers bigger rack-mounted MIDI controllers with 8x8 MIDI ports for those that need more.
ESI M8UXL 8x8
If you want a reliable workhorse with the best MIDI efficiency at a reasonable price, then the ESI M8UXL is for you.
It is a stylish rack-mounted MIDI interface that offers 8 MIDI inputs and 8 MIDI outputs, giving you up to 128 MIDI channels that efficiently use just one USB 2.0 connection. This is great for organizing medium to big studios, allowing you to easily introduce MIDI instruments or controllers without any hassle. If 8 is still not enough for you, you can have more MIDI ports by simply hooking up multiple ESI M8UXLs to a single computer! As expected this unit operates with no humanly noticeable delay and it boasts compatibility with all the popular OS, including Mac, Windows - and even Linux.
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