Multiport MIDI interface for Windows 7

since Cubase 6 will be supported on Windows 7 only, and since my discontinued emagic amt8 8in+8out-ports Midi interface doesn’t have win 7 drivers, now I’m going to need a new multiport Midi interface.

I need 7 Midi in + 7 Midi out. Also, I need drivers with multiclient capability (i.e. having the ability to manage Midi from/to multiple Midi applications opened at the same time), and lastly good and trustable SysEx streaming capabilities.

Anyone (with actual experience) can please suggest me some model/make?

Ah, I forgot: I don’t care about 64 bit, ATM 32 bits are enough to me.

Thank you all!


M-Audio (aka MidiMan) MidiSport 8x8 - if you can find one (this model is now discontinued).
The (new) MOTU MIDI Express 128 (8x8 USB MIDI interface).

Both are working fine here under Win7; don’t know if there are multiclients capable - both are managed by Cubase in my config; SysEx ready.

The (new) MOTU MIDI Express XT (8x8 USB MIDI interface) is supposed to work too - it has an additional MIDI internal routing (patchbay) capability.


+1 for the Motu Midi Express 128. Have 2 I’ve been using for years now with no real problems. Only occassionally I need to disconnect the USB cable and reconnect after a reboot. BTW - I occassionally have that problem with other USB devices, including my iPhone.


Thanks Bernard. Does that confirm SysEx work? May I ask what kind of SysEx messages you send/receive (hardware model)?

Thank Shaq, what about multiclient capabilities? Did you ever try to use 2 MIDI applications at the same time?


by definition and by nature SysEx messages are proprietary… including and not limited to bulk memory download/upload, system firmware update, specific real time parameter messages send/receive, etc…


I think more important is how a MIDI interface handles SysEx at Windows level, and the only diagnostic tool I know of that will highlight this is MIDITest. Have a read of the section “DirectMusic and SysEx” for an explanation.

The MOTU 8x8s seems to be the only real game in town at the moment but there’s a simpler device by ESI (the M8U XL) which has the advantage of being “class-compliant”, meaning it will work without any 3rd-party drivers on Mac, Windows and Linux. The downside is that class-compliant devices are not multi-client under Windows, but that’s Microsoft’s fault and not the fault of the device. On Windows these devices all show up as “USB Audio Device” which makes it a pain to manange if you’ve got more than one.

After all that I have to say I don’t own any of these devices although I’m thinking about the MOTU MIDI Express XT. It would be great if someone with one on Windows 7 would be so kind as to test it with MIDITest and let us know how it performs :wink:

Yes some years ago I tried MIDITest on the amt8, serial conection went very well, USB a little less well, so I ended up using serial connection.
Comparative overwiev on that page is really outdate now, It would be great if someone could try MIDI test on Win 7 and some currently available MIDI interfaces.


What I meant is: did you actually try any long SysEx transfers from/to the MidiSport 8x8 or the MIDI Express 128 and that worked (for example patches dumps from/to any Midi workstation)? I just need a yes or no.

Anyway I’ve found that the dedicated drivers (not the class complaint ones) of the Midiman interfaces are both multiclient capable and are able to transfer long SysEx : please see here: M-Audio

What about the MOTU?

I’m also interested in the Roland UM3G (3 ins + 3 outs, but you can chain three of them for a total of 9 ins + 9 outs). I’ve read they have a very good MIDI timing, but I haven’t found anything about multiclient capabilities or SysEx capabilities (I guess SysEx capabilities should be good though).




The E-MU Xmidi 2x2 is one device that is class-compliant, but if you load the Windows drivers it gets a proper “name” and becomes multi-client. It also performs well on large SysEx transfers (tested with MIDITest) but of course it only has 2 ports; I have however used two devices together to get a total of 4 ports, but I don’t know how many more can be used simultaneously.

Still considering a MOTU but I don’t like supporting manufacturers who refuse to develop Linux drivers or even supply enough information for the community to develop our own (hence class-compliancy is important to me).

Thanks MrSoundman, actually I already have an EMU XMIDI 1X1.

Anyway, for anyone interested here you are my findings so far:

  • M-Audio MidiSport 4x4 (x2): both Multiclient and long SysEx capable driver available:
    I’ve no idea about reliability, speed and jitter though;

  • Roland UM3G (x3): unfortunately, no good news. About multiclient ability, no definitive answer, but the driver “UM-3G Driver Ver.1.0.0 for Windows® 7 32-bit Edition” Readme file says:
    Cannot select/use the UM-3G device" … "Could the UM-3G be in use by other software?
    Exit all applications that are using the UM-3G, and disconnect/reconnect the USB cable of the UM-3G.
    If this does not solve the problem, use the procedure described in “To reinstall” to reinstall the driver.

    Means no Multiclient capable to me… I also have a Fantom X; I’ve installed USB/MIDI Win 7 driver for the Fantom, and I’ve found out they aren’t Multiclient. I suspect the UM-3G Win 7 drivers are based on the same code, so…
    Long SysEx: it seems there are serious problems here; see Cakewalk Audio & MIDI Interfaces Forum here: Bug in UM-1G Sysex Messaging | Cakewalk Forums

  • MOTU MIDI Express 128 (x1): according to Bernard Focquet they are SysEx capable, but I’ve found nothing anywhere about multiclient capability or about their speed and jitter.

  • EMU XMIDI 1x1 (x1) + XMIDI 2x2 (x2 or x3): so far they seem the best option. Since I already have a XMIDI 1x1, I’ve tried the Win 7 driver (on Win 7 Enterprise). I confirm they are both multiclient and long SysEx capable. Unfortunately, I can’t try MIDI test: the XMIDI 1x1 has male In/Out MIDI plugs; since I have no female/female MIDI cable available, I can’t connect the Out port with the In port to do the test. I could connect for example the XMIDI out to the Fantom MIDI in and the XMIDI In to the Fantom Thru, but I don’t know if that could screw the test.

Anyway, maybe I’ll buy 3 XMIDI 2x2, plus my XMIDI 1x1 then I’ll have the 7 In/out I need. I hope my PC has enough power for that, and that I won’t find inexpected problems.

Bye for now…


Useful research Paolo, thanks!

I have a MOTU 828MkII and the MIDI drivers for that are multi-client, have no SysEx issues and are low in jitter according to MIDITest, so I’d be optimistic about the Express 128.

That will work perfectly and will introduce no jitter or delay as they are electrically directly connected, apart from optocoupler isolation at the input.

That will use up 4 USB ports, but there will be no power issues as each USB port can supply up to 500mA, which is more than enough for each of the EMUs. The cost of 3x 2x2’s will be very close to the Express 128, though …

Thanks again MrSoundman, very appreciated and informative. About your MOTU 828 MKII, you mean on Win 7 of course, isn’t it? So I’ll have to reconsider MOTU…


Yes, Windows 7x64, but has also been used on XP … MOTU appear to have the same driver “package” for all. I just have a little bit of a thing about MOTU … their Windows support was flaky up to a few years ago, favouring Mac, but most of all they simply refuse to consider supporting Linux (but then again, neither do Steinberg!). The MOTU Express XT is even more useful if you want to edit hardware synths because of the patchbay functionality, and I think in the meantime may be unique on the market for that reason. Maybe I’ll grab one before MIDI is “obsoleted” entirely …

(By the way, there are many MOTU Express XT’s being offered second-hand, but almost all of them are the older parallel-port version, so if you’re in the market be sure you’re getting the USB version!)

Hi MrSoundman, unfortunately, I’ve just received this e-mail from MOTU:

Thank you for your interest.
The Express XT, MTP AV, and micro Express are currently out of production. You will not be able to find a new unit anywhere.
Currently in stock interfaces:
micro Lite
Express 128
I look forward to answering all your technical questions.
If I can be of further service, please let me know.

Damn, that was the one really closest to the amt8!


Just another consideration: no more 8 port MIDI interfaces/patchbay combos available on the market! :imp: :imp: :imp: Maybe that means something? :arrow_right: :question:


Thanks for that piece of research, Paolo – I find it amazing (and sad) that almost nobody on the planet makes a decent 8x8 MIDI patchbay any more!

its very sad , midex is out the window and if i can’t find a replacement i think i’ll follow it ! :cry:


Actually, 3 EMU 2x2 will cost me € 147,00 in total; € 254,00 for a MIDI Express 128 instead …

Anyway, I’m waiting for my Cubase 6 arriving probably next Monday, then I’ll try it on WinXp, if it performs well then I’m probably going to stay with my trustable amt8 for another while.


c6 runs very stable on xp more stable than c5 , of course there are the minor bugs haven’t all .0 got them but no issues after 4 days on this system which has saved loads on midi interfaces at the mo !