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Is there an informed comparison between sending MIDI over USB versus directly from a MIDI interface on a PC expansion card - would a MIDI interface on a sound card provide some useful system enhancement over using a plain USB 2.0 connection (perhaps to a MIDI converter anyway)?

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It is better to use USB, it saves having to buy and power a MIDI interface and you avoid the extra latency that is built into an old school midi port (3 ms.) Also in a ping it's easier to find a USB cable than a MIDI cable.

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    Using the ASIO driver reduces USB latency to 0.73 ms – Rob Kam Jul 4 '12 at 19:17

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