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USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

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USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:12 pm

I only have three USB 3.0 ports on my laptop Docking station and could do with one or two more.
What are the general issues when using a Hub in terms of power delivery and also for using audio or MIDI interfaces?
I figure it best to plug my USB audio interface directly into the Dock but will a MIDI interface and also a Keyboard with a USB be okay into a Hub?
For flexibility I suppose a powered hub makes sense! I will need to power an external drive from at more than likely.
Any brands that people can recommend from experience?

This is the sort of thing I presume I will require:
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/newlink ... b-plus-psu
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:19 am

I can't recommend any, as I don't tend to make much use of them, however as a general guideline anything timing sensitive like audio interfaces or realtime video streaming/capture devices should be directly attached to the laptop itself as the hub can hold things up where it shouldn't. Things like keyboard, mice, scanners, printers, coffee cup warmers however you can feel free to hang off a hub.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:20 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:however as a general guideline anything timing sensitive like audio interfaces or realtime video streaming/capture devices should be directly attached to the laptop itself as the hub can hold things up where it shouldn't. Things like keyboard, mice, scanners, printers, coffee cup warmers however you can feel free to hang off a hub.

Excellent advice there from Pete! 8-)

A hub after all is designed to merge the serial signals from several USB devices, so you're always dependent on it to do the job neatly while holding anything up as little as possible.

Therefore it's far safer to connect 'real-time' streaming devices directly to your PC rather than rely on any hub! :headbang:


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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:36 pm

Thanks guys.
As stated I will connect my audio interface directly to the Dock but was wondering as much about non Audio equipment plus possibly MIDI only devices if they are basic.
So I was thinking more in terms of how much juice I should look for in the power supply?
Are there any optional features of the USB spec that I should check to see if they are implemented?
And a brand or model or chip-set recommendation is always welcome along with anecdotal input.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:56 am

Agharta wrote:Thanks guys.

So I was thinking more in terms of how much juice I should look for in the power supply?

That I suspect is entirely down to what devices you are intending to power :headbang:


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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:50 am

I've been using USB2 hubs from Startech and Belkin together with the built-in hubs on various Dell monitors for a while now with no problems. However, like you I'm not sending time critical audio through them - only mice, keyboards, storage and possibly the odd bit of MIDI.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:00 pm

James Perrett wrote:I've been using USB2 hubs from Startech and Belkin together with the built-in hubs on various Dell monitors for a while now with no problems. However, like you I'm not sending time critical audio through them - only mice, keyboards, storage and possibly the odd bit of MIDI.

Thanks James. What sort of MIDI data have you sent via the Hub as that's the grey area for me in terms of possible increased latency?
I'm thinking in terms of a keyboard or a control surface.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:28 pm

I've been using a 13 port hub to connect to the nine pieces of gear that are USB MIDI. Although there's likely to be some sort of disruption to the timing, I've never 'felt' it.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:07 pm

Rich Hanson wrote:I've been using a 13 port hub to connect to the nine pieces of gear that are USB MIDI. Although there's likely to be some sort of disruption to the timing, I've never 'felt' it.

Thanks. Do you know the manufacturer and is it a USB 3 or 2 Hub?
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby jaminem » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:07 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:I can't recommend any, as I don't tend to make much use of them, however as a general guideline anything timing sensitive like audio interfaces or realtime video streaming/capture devices should be directly attached to the laptop itself as the hub can hold things up where it shouldn't. Things like keyboard, mice, scanners, printers, coffee cup warmers however you can feel free to hang off a hub.

So am I going to have a problem connecting my Scarlett 6i6 AND Steinberg dongle to the 1 USB3 port on my surface then...?
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:29 pm

jaminem wrote:So am I going to have a problem connecting my Scarlett 6i6 AND Steinberg dongle to the 1 USB3 port on my surface then...?

Depends how your doing it... it's the hub that can be the problem, not the devices.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:39 pm

Agharta wrote:What sort of MIDI data have you sent via the Hub as that's the grey area for me in terms of possible increased latency?
I'm thinking in terms of a keyboard or a control surface.

I think it was mainly mixing desk automation so not particularly time critical.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:46 pm

Agharta wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:I've been using a 13 port hub to connect to the nine pieces of gear that are USB MIDI. Although there's likely to be some sort of disruption to the timing, I've never 'felt' it.

Thanks. Do you know the manufacturer and is it a USB 3 or 2 Hub?

It's USB2, I've had it a few years. No brand on it, though the part number is A67HJ if that turns up anything.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:50 pm

Thanks for the input guys.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:51 pm

It appears to be this one: https://www.amazon.com/Koutech-13-Port- ... B0015BR7KO

Some mixed reviews there, but it's worked for me for over five years now.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Agharta » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:23 pm

Rich Hanson wrote:It appears to be this one: https://www.amazon.com/Koutech-13-Port- ... B0015BR7KO

Some mixed reviews there, but it's worked for me for over five years now.

Thanks, but I need USB 3.0 as I am connecting an SSD.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:44 am

I had been using this 10 port USB3 hub too without any issues on the MIDI side. It's currently in storage which is why I'm not using it at the moment. The only issue I had with it is that my audio interface (Behringer UMC404) wouldn't work reliably through it, but all MIDI devices were fine.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby robinv » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:55 am

I don't think hubs have to be the source of trouble Pete and Martin suggest. It's all very well if you have a load of available USB ports but increasingly there are devices out there with just a single port. Those with a couple of ports are very likely to be using internal hubs through a single gateway into the system.

I run a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - it has just the one USB port. I gigged on Friday night with it running a Keith McMillen K-Mix, Novation Circuit, Bass Station II and a MIDI interface all connected and powered via the same USB powered Hub. It was an overnight gig running for 12 hours where it was on and working the whole time - no issues. I usually have the odd dongle and thumb drive connected as well when at home. I've run performance tests with an audio interface directly connected to the port, connected via a passive hub and via a powered hub and i can't find a difference.

Of course if you're having trouble then the hub is certainly one thing to look at. And there's so many out there that making an informed decision on what's going to work in your situation is very hard. Mine is a HooToo hub - however i do have an issue where when the hub is plugged in the wi-fi on the Surface sort of forgets how to work - i plan to try an alternative hub when i can find the time. The best thing to do is get it from Amazon, try it, if it doesnt work then return it. Try it and see is always the best option :)
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby damoore » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:27 am

I use a powered USB 3 hub in my live setup with two keyboards, a pedal to (USB) midi convertor and my USB interface all attached and have seen/heard no problems at 128 sample buffer size (the interface won't go any faster even directly connected)

I was expecting the interface to not like being driven via the hub but it seems just fine. Of course, I am only running two channels of audio.

Can't compare to a USB 2 hub - my other hub is only USB 1 and that definitely would not handle it.
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Re: USB 3.0 Hubs for general and DAW usage. What are the issues?

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:19 am

I think there is a danger here of the "old guard" tarring new things with the same brush as old?

Certainly it was the received wisdom that you did not connect a USB AI via a 2.0 hub but a USB 3.0 hub should be some 10 times faster? It seems reasonably to this wittering, PC numpty that a modern hub, from a good manufacturer should work with any USB device?
Otherwise we have to conclude that the industry has learned nothing and/or the AUDIO fraternity has sat on its hands and not complained.

I might well buy a decent USB 3.0 hub, not a cheap anonymous one and I would fully expect it to run my KA6 or 8i6 interfaces. Should it NOT do so I shall moan like a drain!

SoS do short reviews of all sorts of audio gizmos. Maybe there is a few bob down the side of the office sofa that could buy a couple of USB 3.0 hubs and they could report?

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