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M-Audio's Midisport Uno

Small but capable 1-in/1-out MIDI interface for those on the go By Frank Moldstad

The increasing power of laptop computers has made them a viable platform for audio production not just on the road but in the home. And following right in step is a whole new class of recording devices designed for laptops.

These include external audio interfaces, internal sound cards and devices such as M-Audios Midisport Uno (MSRP $49.95), a 1-in/1-out MIDI interface. Occupying little more space than a mobile mouse, the Uno is a small blue plastic thing that resembles an elongated Easter egg. It has built-in MIDI I/O cables on one end and a USB plug on the other. No other cables or wires are needed (the Uno is bus-powered).

Even though its only a 1-in/1-out device, the Uno is still capable of streaming up to 16 MIDI channels in and out simultaneously more than enough for most laptop users. If additional  channels are needed, other MIDI interfaces can be added to the chain.

As a Mac OS X Core MIDI compatible device, the Uno does not require a driver installation on the latest PowerMacs. I connected it to a Mac G5 running OS 10.3.9 and it showed up in the Audio MIDI Setup properties page, ready to go. The Uno is compatible with both PCs and Macs, stretching back to Mac OS 9.2.2 (requires OMS) or higher and Windows 98SE or higher. The package includes a CD with drivers for these platforms and a brief PDF manual.

Speaking of the package, Ill digress for a moment to note that the Uno is sealed in a practically impenetrable piece of plastic clamshell packaging for retail display. I broke a pair of scissors and cut myself with a Swiss Army knife before finally resorting to heavy duty garden shears to extricate the Uno. To put this in perspective, the 10 minutes I spent opening the package was more than  twice as long as it took to install the Uno on my computer.

With the clamshell incident behind me, the rest was easy. The Uno is a very uncomplicated device all it does is route MIDI data in and out of your computer. It has no software control panel or elaborate routing possibilities, as do some of the bigger MIDI interfaces in M-Audios line. All of its functionality is controlled by the host application, according to the MIDI channels you select for recording or playback.

Three are three LED lights on the Unos 3 -in. long casing to alert you to its status. One is a USB active connection indicator, which is always the first thing to check if the device doesnt seem to be working (is it plugged in?). The other two are MIDI input and output signal indicators.

While the Uno works fine with a desktop computer, its size is  perfect for laptop use. Any musically inclined person who travels with a laptop should bring along an Uno and a miniature MIDI controller such as M-Audios 15.8-in. long 25-key Oxygen 8 v2 keyboard. Its certainly more entertaining than a hotel room television. Id recommend the Uno for its uncomplicated functionality, small size and price, which is equivalent to a tank of gas if you shop around.

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Related Keywords:Midisport Uno, M-Audio, MIDI interface, laptop, recording, OS X, audio production


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