Serial, Parallel, and Joystick Ports
Before USB and FireWire, personal computers were all generally equipped with serial, parallel, and (possibly) joystick ports, all of which have been used for connecting MIDI-equipped instruments (through special adapters). Though not always faster than MIDI-DIN, these connectors were already available on computers and that made them an economical alternative to add-on cards, with the added benefit that in general they already worked and did not need special configuration. The High Speed Serial Ports such as the "mini-DIN" ports available on early Macintosh computers support communication speeds roughly 20 times faster than MIDI-DIN, making it also possible for companies to develop and market "multiport" MIDI interfaces that allowed connecting multiple MIDI-DINs to one computer. In this manner it became possible to have the computer address many different MIDI-equipped devices at the same time. Recent multi-port MIDI interfaces use even faster USB or FireWire ports to connect to the computer.