M-Audio Ė Transit ($99.99)
by scott colburn
What it is: (from the website)
Small enough to fit in your pocket, Transit brings hi-resolution 24-bit/96kHz recording and playback to any USB-compatible computer. Digital I/O lets you transfer pristine audio between your computer and other devices such as MiniDisc and DAT. The digital output can deliver AC-3 and DTS from your computer to an external decoder such as a surround receiver. And the bus-powered design allows you play and record virtually anywhere your laptop can go.
How it works:
The soundcard in my Dell laptop is pretty noisy. I was looking for an inexpensive, small interface to bypass my internal sound card. The size of this item is the first thing that intrigued me. I scoot around town on a motorcycle and any way I can reduce the size of what I have to carry the better. The installation is quick and easy and indeed the box reduced the noise from my sound card substantially, it didnít eliminate it as I had hoped. There are many factors involved, so not all the fault is on the Transit itself. What it can do is amazing. It can transfer 24 bit digital information via light pipe in and out. It also has analog ins and outs. I was not able to record via light pipe and monitor that recording via analog lines. I also couldnít record via analog and monitor via analog. This could be a problem.
I was expecting a little more out of this box, but the price canít be beat. I did accomplish part of what I wanted to accomplish and added clean digital transfer to my laptop setup. I suppose thatís more than I bargained for.