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How Do I Choose the Best FireWire® MIDI Interface?

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  • Written By: K. Reynolds
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the best FireWire® MIDI interface for your recording studio will depend upon the number of MIDI devices that one needs to connect to the computer at the same time. It serves no benefit to have the best four unit FireWire® MIDI interface if one has eight devices to connect to the computer. A good MIDI interface is a critical component of any recording studio as it is responsible for connecting and syncing multiple musical instruments and recording devices together.

MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Although MIDI data can be transmitted through the serial or joystick port on older computers, newer devices transmit this information through a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable or a FireWire® cable. The MIDI protocol is the standard in the recording industry as it enables electronic instruments — such as keyboards, drum machines, and computers — to communicate with one another. These instruments communicate data such as pitch and tempo through the MIDI protocol, and a FireWire® MIDI interface is the device that disseminates the information to multiple devices.

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Finding the best FireWire® MIDI interface will depend on the number of devices that need to be connected to one another. The commonly available MIDI interfaces generally allow a person to connect one, two, four, or eight devices at one time. The smaller interfaces generally connect to the computer through a USB cable as opposed to a FireWire® cable. Larger interfaces that connect more than four devices typically transmit MIDI data to the computer through a FireWire® cable as this protocol allows for larger bandwidth and faster data transmission.

Another thing to consider when choosing a FireWire® MIDI interface is the additional connections that may be present on the interface. Many FireWire® interfaces combine MIDI and audio connections in the same device. These interfaces allow individuals the option of transmitting MIDI data, in addition to transmitting audio data. The combination of FireWire® MIDI and audio interfaces in one device can be very convenient for quick and efficient music recording.

Individuals looking to purchase a FireWire® MIDI interface have a variety of choices from a multitude of vendors. This type of interface can range in price from $130 US Dollars (USD) and up, depending upon the number of MIDI connections it has and whether the device can also serve as an audio interface.

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