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Xitel MD-Port AN1 review: Xitel MD-Port AN1

Xitel MD-Port AN1

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Eliot Van Buskirk
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Eliot Van Buskirk

Evolver.fm Editor Eliot Van Buskirk has covered and occasionally anticipated music and technology intersections for 15 years for CNET, Wired.com, McGraw-Hill, and The Echo Nest. He is not currently an employee of CNET.

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2 min read

Easy as pie
Hooking up the Xitel to our Windows 2000 machine was a matter of merely connecting the player and watching the driver install itself automatically. Connecting the device to machines running Windows 98 and Me is only slightly harder. When you plug the AN1 into your computer, your multimedia preferences change, sending audio out to the AN1 via USB instead of your sound card. Thankfully, your preferences revert when you unplug the unit.

7.0

Xitel MD-Port AN1

The Good

Easy to use; clean sound; inexpensive.

The Bad

Could be replaced by a $3 cable and a good sound card.

The Bottom Line

If you're not satisfied with your sound card's fidelity, this USB connector is an inexpensive way to send audio to your MiniDisc player.
The Xitel AN1 does one thing and one thing only: send audio through your computer's primary USB port (no hubs) to an analog, headphone-sized plug so that you can record audio files onto your MiniDisc recorder via the analog mike input. The same thing can be accomplished by running an analog cable out of your sound card. However, the AN1 is supposed to deliver cleaner sound. The Xitel AN1 does one thing and one thing only: send audio through your computer's primary USB port (no hubs) to an analog, headphone-sized plug so that you can record audio files onto your MiniDisc recorder via the analog mike input. The same thing can be accomplished by running an analog cable out of your sound card. However, the AN1 is supposed to deliver cleaner sound.

Using the AN1 is fairly intuitive; just plug it in, press Record, push Play on whatever software you use to play audio, and the AN1 will pick it up and send it to your MiniDisc recorder. The box includes a registered copy of MusicMatch Plus (normally $20), which lets you rip tracks as fast as your drive can go.

A possibility for some
You can use the AN1 for other things besides recording MP3s to your MiniDisc unit, since it's just outputting analog audio via USB. For instance, the Xitel can join your computer and stereo or act as a substitute sound card. But no matter what you do, you're essentially replacing a $3 cable with a $40 gizmo. The AN1 did not deliver significantly improved quality over our fairly standard sound card. We recommend first buying an 1/8-inch-to-1/8-inch wire, plugging one end into your sound card and the other into your MiniDisc player's mike input, and recording your files that way. If you're dissatisfied with the results, then think about the AN1 as an option. But another $20 gets you the DG2, which does the same thing as the AN1 except with a pure digital connection that results in better sound.


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