usb/midi adapter - which ones work well?

Larry David larrydavid07 at
Mon Jan 26 15:42:44 GMT 2009

Hey Atom (or is it Mr. Smasher? :-)

Since no one has offered anything on this thread, I'll give you my  
absolutely noobian $0.02, which maybe $0.005 more than you know, but  
at this stage I suppose anything helps.

 From what I've read online, any USB compliant device is supposed to  
work with Linux (not so with Firewire I guess, since device specific  
drivers are needed?  This is a guess based on my reading, its  
probably not completely accurate).  Here are some links I found useful:

an article in Keyboard mag with some useful links:

see in particular this one:

which has info about USB interfaces, including a list of supported  
"sound cards" - which translates to "audio interface" in my world.   
While that ALSA site doesn't mention MIDI interfaces specifically (I  
don't think) I get the impression they should be covered by the  
phrase "All USB devices that are standards compliant will work." on  
this page (

My guess is the el cheapo interface you have is the culprit - whether  
its a small buffer size as you suspect, or something else.

If I were in your shoes, I'd go with an M-Audio cheapish interface,  
maybe even the "retro" Midiman one they recently reissued - might be  
just the right combo of ancient (in computer years) design and semi- 
pro capability that seems to work best in Linux (again based on my  
lurking and scavaging for info.)

I'm following this thread with interest too, btw.


On Jan 26, 2009, at 3:59 AM, Atom Smasher wrote:

> On Sun, 25 Jan 2009, Atom Smasher wrote:
>> and i recently bought what seems to be the worlds cheapest usb-midi
>> adapter. when i connect it to my pc1600x, i have to add >40uS  
>> delay per
>> byte, or else amidi doesn't get to see all of what's coming in. at
>> least, a delay of 40uS/byte lets the computer receive a complete  
>> sysex
>> dump (~19K), but i'm still loosing a lot of CC info when i move  
>> sliders
>> on the pc1600x (verified with a few different midi monitors). this  
>> seems
>> like a problem with the usb-midi adapter having too small a buffer...
>> even using amidi to monitor the input from the usb adapter  
>> (pc1600x -->
>> usb adapter), and using the pc1600x just to send control change
>> messages, a lot of it is not getting past the adapter. if i use  
>> the usb
>> port on my controller keyboard (bypassing the cheap usb-midi  
>> adapter),
>> and turn a knob, EVERYTHING comes through. so, what should i be  
>> looking
>> for in a low-end/entry-level usb-midi adapter that can handle large
>> sysex dumps and plays well with linux?
> ====================
> it seems like that didn't get any attention with a subject "dumb midi
> questions", so here it is with a different subject.
> so, should i expect the problem, above, to disappear with a less  
> crappy
> usb/midi adapter? which ones are ya'll happy with?
> thanks...
> -- 
>          ...atom
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