4063 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Aug 24, 2006 1:19 AM by SaipanH3
I just bought an IMac and am looking for a USB or
Firewire to MIDI adapter, couldn't find one in the
Apple Store. COuld anyone recommend one? If they make
them with multipe MIDI inputs that would be great.
Hi, Sashasdad. Lots of great adapters out there; which one is best for you depends on your circumstances.
First suggestion: I would suggest going with one that has enough ins/outs plus one or two spares. If you get more gear, you can always add on another MIDI interface and your Mac shouldn't have any trouble handling it.
Second suggestion: don't even look for a Firewire MIDI interface. You'll find audio interfaces with some MIDI ports that run on Firewire, but for straight MIDI data a USB port is going to handle a ton of I/O before it even thinks about breaking a sweat. (MIDI runs at 32 KILObits per second, while even pokey old USB 1.0 theoretically runs at 10 MEGAbits per second.)
I've used the M-Audio MIDISport interfaces (2 in; 2 out) as well as "micro lite" from Mark of The Unicorn (MoTU). Both are absolutely easy to install and use. One small benefit of the MIDISport series is that there's a switch that allows you to use the device as a 'thru' box even if the computer isn't running or processing MIDI -- this is useful when you have a controller addressing one or two modules and you don't want to turn on your computer just to play around. The MoTU Ultra Lite is a 5*5 device, and it's served perfectly well for a few years now. Because my configuration has changed, I don't miss the 'thru' feature of the MIDISport interfaces.
I would suggest checking online prices at M-Audio, Sweetwater Sound, and Musician's Friend -- then go to your local shop and expect a decent markup.
WARNING: OLD FOGEY ALERT!!: Just to show my age here, I sorely miss the Opcode Studio-4 that I used to have: 8*8, with tons of patching and processing available in the box. Couple that with a Roland A-880 MIDI patchbay (also 8*8) and you've got oodles of power. Then there was the funny little Akai ME-25S and the wildly potent Yamaha MEP-4. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Back in the early 90s, I spent a huge amount of time with UltraMIDI and TweakIt on the wonderful Atari ST, at one point designing a pretty nifty two-player, four-controller, eight-module setup for a recital at Berklee.
For what it's worth, you can do a whole lot more with much less money using today's gear (put Cycling 74's Max onto a cheap laptop and !!!!!), but there was a certain beautiful adventurousness to those weird old devices. The MEP-4 was particularly nifty. Mine is probably still working in my brother's home studio years away and far ago. And UltraMIDI was a variant on Max -- anything could be mapped to anything else!
eMac 800mHz, MacBook 2gHz Mac OS X (10.4.7)