Xitel MD Port AN1 Review

Thomas James
May, 2000


The Xitel MD Port AN1 is a USB device that turns a USB port on a Windows 98 or 2000 PC into an analogue line out jack.


Here are my impressions of this piece of MD kit that I've recently acquired. I'd like to preface this by saying that my laptop has no line out in case anyone is wondering why the heck I would buy this thing.

The device itself comes with a rather long USB cable (PC to MD Port) and a rather short 3.5mm stereo cable (MD Port to MD). The MD Port unit is a bit larger than I expected (10cm long x 2cm tall x 3cm deep), although it is very light in its plastic (metallic coloured) casing. It also comes with the full version of MusicMatch Jukebox which is apparently pretty good for encoding and playback (although I have never used it).

The MD Port is plug and play right out of the box. When I plugged it into my Windows 98 machine for the first time, Windows informed me that it had found new hardware and that it was installing the necessary drivers. It installed three sets of drivers (as the manual suggested it would) directly from my hard drive, with no need for the Win98 CD (which is good since I can't find mine!). The MD Port comes with no software of its own to install. After approx. 2 mins. of driver installation, it was up and running, providing a quality line out to MD (relative to the laptop headphone jack I had being suffering with).


  1. You can't use your PC's normal audio output (e.g. the soundcard) and the MD Port simultaneously so any monitoring has to be done via your MD recorder (or whatever the MD Port is connected to). The good thing is that when you plug in the MD Port, the PC configures itself to output via USB and when you remove it, the PC automatically reverts to its standard audio output setup (e.g. soundcard).

  2. For some reason, USB audio output (via this device anyway) seems to be so taxing on my system that Winamp sort of freezes up when I use the slide bar to advance within a given track. Nothing crashes but I have to recommence playback from the beginning of the track. This never happens when the MD Port is not plugged in.

  3. The MD Port doesn't seem to output from the CD-ROM drive. It continues to output via the standard setup (e.g. soundcard), even when the MD Port is plugged in (I tried Winamp and Windows CD Player). I noticed that when the MD Port is plugged in and the system has configured itself to output via USB, the CD volume control is not accessible in Windows Audio Properties (as it normally would be) so I assume it was not meant to output CD audio. This is not a problem for me as I do all my CD to MD stuff digitally, away from my PC, but I could see this as being a problem for many people.


This device has provided me with the highest quality audio output from PC that I have experienced to date (N.B. All of my experience is in the analogue domain) and sounds great to my ears (indistinguishable from the source). At the same time, I would only recommend it to someone fitting this profile:

  1. You have no PC line out or have a really poor line out.
  2. You have some other means to achieve CD to MD recording, or don't require the capacity to achieve this.

Editors note:

-Eric Woudenberg

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