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Thunderbolt dock/hub performance for studio
Old 14th September 2014
  #1
Registered User
 

Thunderbolt dock/hub performance for studio

Hi guys!

I would like to know if someone has any experience using thunderbolt dock like this one CalDigit Thunderbolt™ station or an usb 3 powered hub like this one Belkin Review 2014 - TopTenREVIEWS in the studio?

I want to add more usb 3.0 ports to my macbook pro late 2011 but i don't know if there are performance issues using thunderbolt dock and usb hub with midi devices like analog synths, audio interface, midi controllers etc? Will they work fine or could be problems of latency, bandwidth etc?

thanks in advance!
Old 15th September 2014
  #2
Registered User
 

No one has any experiece using usb hubs with usb audio devices?
Old 21st September 2014
  #3
I'd also like to know if it's possible with the caldigit to use the HDMI port to make a three screen set up. I have a macmini server and thinking maybe this is possible?
Old 22nd September 2014
  #4
A week and no help?

Surely there are mac people who are knowledgeable about [drumroll] *THUNDERBOLT*and the amazing and varied protocol connectivity?

A 7 port POWERED USB hub[must be "powered" or you're wasting your time/money]that Iv'e been using for 6 or so months with W7 is the ORICO H7928-U2/U3 Orico H7928-U3 7-Ports 5Gbps USB 3.0 Hub with Power Adapter Black - Newegg.com

I'm sure there must be others equally reliable-however my first one was a local store brand 4 port-powered,and lasted less than a month,and it was the same price as the 7 port!...total junk.

Quite frankly I'm amazed at how I can fill 7 ports,with everything working,despite the fading condition of the computer.

1. NI-KA6 interface[though I really miss my cakewalk VS-100 that was fried by a locally made[I think?] 9v adaptor brick-$79 AUD metal case-5 individual 9v outlets,that **** the VS instead of blowing it's low rated"very obvious"- marshall head type-screw in cap- fuse"

2. WD 1TB USB 3.0 My Book external HDD 3. DVD Blu-ray burner 4. plugin alliance+waves 32gb thumb drive[stick]
5.Logitech K120 qwerty/6.mouse/7.m-audio keyrig 49,and use ALL simultaneously from 1 stupid wiggly USB 2.0/eSATA combo port on my W7 dell 2011 xps laptop bought new in april 2011 for $1299 AUD.

Even with 2 broken USB 3.0 ports-Laptop slid off my Bill Wyman hard cover Stones book I had it on,on top of my lap,and pushed in the interface's USB plug and obviously the port into the laptops abdomen.

The left side USB 3.0 port debacle-also killing the rear 3.0 port-they share the same controller.[and yes...although many have said NOT to use USB 3.0 ports for the V-STUDIO 100-it worked beautifully-until the soon obvious avoidable error of NOT using a powered hub...oh the humanity]

Now it's developed a non functioning Touch Pad,and an optical drive that will ONLY allow me to listen to an audio CD,but cannot read data from CD/DVD ROM's[hence the external]I'm still up and running with a 2nd monitor on mini display,so thats USB sorted.

Thunderbolt for Windows and audio hmmm,
I'm truly sorry[and] I can't help on that topic whatsoever.

EDIT: These noise issues mentioned[from the use of USB hubs],Iv'e never detected it,and if my laptop setup doesn't suffer from it,then it probably should,though I'm strictly a guitar player,and I only have a USB 2.0 audio interface,and the cheap[but perfectly adequate]USB connected Key Rig,that qualify as "audio specific",perhaps the kiss principle can have merits?

I did have computer noise-though ONLY on my desktop,and that was remedied when I flicked an interface "ground lift" switch,and changed interface out to monitors with balanced cables.

GS member Timur has lot's of knowledge about such issues... I don't get extraneous noise,due to"the noise floor" possibly being super extra low+ I monitor at pretty low/medium SPL only.

Last edited by rksguit; 22nd September 2014 at 12:14 PM.. Reason: revised info deal
Old 22nd September 2014
  #5
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I have the Belkin TB box... I have 2 usb3 hubs,a usb2 hub (off one of the usb3 hubs) running out of the box with no issues, apart from when i try to run 3, 2.5 ssds off 1 usb3 hub..
Old 22nd September 2014
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Mr.ToR's Avatar
Hi,

I have the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock. ($199.99)
I am very happy with it. It connects with thunderbolt and gives an adiitional thunderbolt port, 3x usb3 ports, 1x firewire800, analog audio i/o and ethernet. I'm not using it's audio and ethernet but all the other ports are in use.
I am using it with a full-spec Mac mini.

here is a big photo of it.

I am using it with a usb3.0-RGB display adapter as well as the thunderbolt to RGB adapter to make a 3 screen setup.

Apple's Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter ($29.00)
Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter - Apple Store (U.S.)

J5create's JUA310 USB 3.0 VGA Display Adapter ($61.99)
JUA310 USB 3.0 VGA Display Adapter



Old 22nd September 2014
  #7
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Mr.ToR's Avatar
I am also using two of Thunderbolt dock/hub performance for studiothese 7 port usb3.0 hubs. ($28.99)

They work fine without problems on data side.

However, i am having noise problems on my audio devices from some usb devices due to ground loop issues.
So my understanding is that the usb hubs in an audio studio must have some sort of isolation circuitry to avoid digital noise to leak into audio circuitry from common grounds.
I have lots of controllers and midi devices with usb midi connection so the usb ports are pretty much all used up.

For example, if APC40, Push and QuNexus is connected to the same usb hub with Analog Four usb midi, i get all sorts of digital noise from audio outs of Analog four, i can even hear the led lights lighting up on the usb controllers as digital noise. Disconnect usb midi and all noise problems go away. I haven't tried other hubs but partially solved problems by using noise creating controllers on one hub and audio devices on another hub.
Old 5th October 2014
  #8
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So it looks like the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock is still the best value for a computer with Tunderbolt 1.0, correct?

As far as a 4-port USB hub, does anybody have any thoughts on the
SIIG USB 3.0 4-Port Hub?
Old 5th October 2014
  #9
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thedomus's Avatar
I have used the Caldigit & the Belkin version 1 & both have seemed to work as advertised. Although I did read somewhere (I'm sorry I can't find the link) that the Belkins USB 3.0 ports are throttled to half speed.
I've had issues with ethernet not connecting on both occasionally but that is probably one of those idiosyncrasies that I will never work out!
Bearing all the above in mind Belkin has introduced version 2 which I would hope is full speed ...Thunderbolt
Old 5th October 2014
  #10
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^ Ah thanks for the heads up.. I seen the description for the Belkin being at 2.5Gbps while the Siig is listed at 5..

I think I'll go with the USB 3.0 Hub, since I'm using a desktop with dual Thunderbolt ports.. thanks!
Old 5th October 2014
  #11
Tui
Gear Guru
 
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I've asked this before...

Has anyone done speed tests with their USB3 hubs? I tried three different ones with my Mac, including a powered hub from OWC. All of them slow down transfer speeds to USB2 levels - which is about half - even when only one USB3 drive is connect. Obviously, this defies the purpose of using USB3 in the first place.

I'd really appreciate some input. Cheers.
Old 7th October 2014
  #12
Registered User
 

Thank you guys for all the precious informations!

Yes about the Belkin vs Caldigit there is the bandwidth factor, with the Caldigit you got the full speed of an usb3 device while the Belkins has half of that speed.

About the ground noise using hubs i don't know if there is any solution out there ?
Old 7th October 2014
  #13
Old 7th October 2014
  #14
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
EastWest Lurker, thanks for the link.
Old 8th October 2014
  #15
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EastWest Lurker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
EastWest Lurker, thanks for the link.
You're welcome. I am thinking of buying the Elgato myself in the next day or two.
Old 8th October 2014
  #16
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastWest Lurker View Post
You're welcome. I am thinking of buying the Elgato myself in the next day or two.
Cool. If you do, would you mind posting your experience with it on this thread? I am particularly interested in speed tests performed with the free Blackmagic app.

Also, latency figures would be REALLY interesting. I'm wondering if latencies would increase if I were to add such a hub to my chain Mac>Sonnet TB chassis with RME card>LCD monitor.
Old 15th October 2014
  #17
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terence's Avatar
 

I'm following this thread as I am getting a new Macbook pro with Thunderbolt 2 for use with a Lynx Hilo - USB, several hard drives and two HDMI monitors. Ideally I want fullspeed TB2. The newer version of the Belkin (Thunderbolt 2 Express) or Elgato looked pretty good, but then I noticed that neither of them offer any flavour of firewire. It appears Belkin dropped FW800 with their newer model. Also the Belkin has no HDMI out. I have a couple of legacy firewire devices, such as a Yamaha n12 mixer, that I use occasionally. Can anyone recommend a good reliable TB2 hub that has a full array of i/os, including HDMI out, and also includes a firewire port?
Old 18th October 2014
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terence View Post
I'm following this thread as I am getting a new Macbook pro with Thunderbolt 2 for use with a Lynx Hilo - USB, several hard drives and two HDMI monitors. Ideally I want fullspeed TB2. The newer version of the Belkin (Thunderbolt 2 Express) or Elgato looked pretty good, but then I noticed that neither of them offer any flavour of firewire. It appears Belkin dropped FW800 with their newer model. Also the Belkin has no HDMI out. I have a couple of legacy firewire devices, such as a Yamaha n12 mixer, that I use occasionally. Can anyone recommend a good reliable TB2 hub that has a full array of i/os, including HDMI out, and also includes a firewire port?
Well, I thought someone might know of a unit that ticks all those boxes. But, you know what - I've searched around and it appears that only the older Belkin model has both Firewire (and HDMI). I guess Firewire is completely passe now.
Old 19th October 2014
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastWest Lurker View Post
That Tidbits article is great. The author is a tech columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Old 19th October 2014
  #20
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
It is odd, though, that tech columnists don't routinely perform speed tests. Speed is arguably one of the most important aspects of any type of interface.
Old 17th January 2015
  #21
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My 2014 Mac Mini THUNDERBOLT / USB3 Setup

Greetings all!

Here is a photo of my Mac Mini Mavericks (bought in late 2013) studio. It has replaced my now DEAD Mac Pro 1.1 Lion Setup (EFI / ROM probs, won't boot, errrrrr)....... This is the previous version Mac Mini with Firewire & TB1.

I'm actually running/booting from my original MacPro 3.5" Hard Drive and booting via a "NexStar" USB3 Hard Drive Dock VIA the bus FROM the actual Mac Mini since the USB3 Hub or USB3 connections from the Thunderbolt Dock, I found out, are not bootable. Here is what I have connected currently (see attached picture to reference).....

1) DEVICE # 1: "Apple" Airport Express (connected to my Internet via Ethernet
& outputs to the Belkin TB Hub)

2) DEVICE # 2: A colorful USB2 Hub that has all my Dongles Hooked up (this is
connected to my Siig USB3 POWERED Hub (Device #6 )

3) DEVICE # 3: "Ultra Station" Powered USB3 Hub; This has HDMI & VGA (which
I have yet to try to connect), Ethernet (same), USB3 & USB2,
Power, and a USB2 "Wormhole" Connectivity (which
I have yet to try to connect) and finally 1/8" Headphone & Mic
inputs which I have yet to use.

4) DEVICE #4 : "Belkin" Thunderbolt 1 Powered Hub. It has Ethernet, TWO
Thunderbolt 1 i/o's, Firewire 800 i/o, 3 USB3, and
1/8" Headphone & Mic inputs which I have yet to use.
I run connect my Ethernet through here with no hitches.
I could easily connect through the Ethernet of my MM, but
use the Belkin Ethernet to simplify connections. Since I
backup large amounts of data via DropBox and Google Drive,
I prefer to connect via Ethernet/Airport than wireless.

5) DEVICE #5 : "Apple Mac Mini 2013"

6) DEVICE #6 : "Siig" Powered USB3 Hub (connected to Belkin). I use this to
connect my external USB3 Bus Powered HD's or USB Sticks.

7) DEVICE #7 : "Nexstar" USB3 Hard Drive Dock. Again, this is currently my
START UP DISK & the original disk from my NOW DEAD MacPro
1.1. It is connected to my MM.


With the above setup, having the external StartUp disk connected and booted via USB3, it actually runs FASTER than running via USB3 than it did via SATA in my Mac Pro 1.1 and start up and performance is faster than the MM's internal HD which is also run via SATA of course. It ( DEVICE #7 ) being a 2TB Drive with a large cache, I don't feel any performance decease from the MacPro 1.1......

OFF CAMERA, I have the Firewire 800 connection of the Belkin TB Dock connected to TWO rackmounted "Glyph" Hard Drives, daisychained via FW800, and at the END of the chain, my trusty "Metric Halo LIO8". One of the Glyph Drives is my Time Machine/Clone for my system as is the actual internal drive of the MM. The second Glyph Drive is my RECORDING DRIVE.

Also connected to the FW800 connection of the MM is my "LaCie FW800" Drive (in the picture, but not noted or numbered) which runs my VIENNA SYMPHONIC LIBRARY. I need to run a check for CPU and RAM speed/performance for my VSL composing project. I'll report back more when I do.

Also the "EMagic Unitor" connected to the MM (also pictured but not noted or numbered) which hosts my Roland V-Drums, & two keyboards. I also have a USB2 "M-Audio" 88-weighted MONSTER Keyboard running off of the Ultra Station.

ON THE WISH LIST is OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock ( https://eshop.macsales.com/preorder/...derbolt2-Dock/ ) and also a "Newer Tech Mini Stack " to add another HD and (missing from my setup ) a Blu-Ray DVD/CD Player/Writer.


So, there you have it. And THAT is from my 2013 Mac Mini running via Thunderbolt 1 mind you! I feel NO performance loss from my Mac Pro 1.1..... I just wished it wouldn't have STOPPED WORKING so I can have another Backup Station/Server. Oh well. I also have a MacBook Pro 13" mid 2012 with Thunderbolt, and I can use the same setup as above with just a switch of the Thunderbolt cable. The only switching I have to do is to switch the HDMI from the MM to the HDMI i/o from the "Ultra Station", and of course boot the NexStar USB3 HD from the USB3 of my MBP. I'll be putting this setup through the paces next week and report performance.

As stated above, Thunderbolt is merely a superhighway with plenty of lanes. AnD WHAT A HIGHWAY IT IS!!!!!! As far as my setup, I have yet to have any traffic jams. It's pretty impressive. This year I'll be doing some intensive MIDI Scoring and Composing and using my VSL ( Vienna Symphonic Library ) samples. That will really put my system to the test. I'll report performance soon. Hope this helps!
Attached Thumbnails
Thunderbolt dock/hub performance for studio-photo-mac-mini-studio-thunderbolt-usb-3-dock-pdf.jpg  

Last edited by DanRock101; 17th January 2015 at 02:46 AM.. Reason: grammar
Old 17th January 2015
  #22
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EDIT!!!!

This is in reply to my above post..... My studio helper ended up connecting everything to the MM (as you see in the picture). I have connected everything back to what my above post states, and, of course, all works as intended.


Oh, BATTERY BACKUPS! Don't forget those. EVER!!!!!!
Old 29th March 2015
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
ON THE WISH LIST is OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock ( https://eshop.macsales.com/preorder/...derbolt2-Dock/ )...
That one looks like the best one at this point.. also specifically lists the FF800 port as being useful with audio interfaces..
Old 11th June 2015
  #24
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I'd like to bump this thread to see if the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is still the best option for us audio folk (TI FW chipset, full throttled USB 3.0, ethernet etc..)
Old 11th June 2015
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by B-San View Post
I'd like to bump this thread to see if the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is still the best option for us audio folk (TI FW chipset, full throttled USB 3.0, ethernet etc..)
No experience with OWC, but I've been using a CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 and it's been working perfectly.
Old 30th July 2015
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.ToR View Post
I am using it with a full-spec Mac mini.
Hi, can you tell me please what model of Mac Mini do you have?
I got myself a thunderbolt interface and I am trying to figure out if it's going to
work if I use it with elgato or belkin dock.
I need to use 2 screens: one is connected to Mini via HDMI the other one I am
planning to connect to the 2nd Tbolt on the dock.
My concern is that Mid 2011 mini only has Tbolt 10Gbps and it might not be enough bandwidth or whaterever.
Maybe I should upgrade to a new mini with Tbolt x2
Pls share some advice. cheers.
Old 6th October 2015
  #27
TNM
Lives for gear
hi looking into the OWC also here:
https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thun...derbolt2-Dock/

If anyone has experience with audio interfaces.. this dock LOOKS just flawless for my needs. Firewire, powered usb ports, pass through.. I totally hope I can get this one so if anyone knows if audio interfaces work on both the FW *and* the usb ports on it that would be E P I C!
Old 7th October 2015
  #28
Here for the gear
 

No USB 3.0

The Mac Pro late 2011 has USB 2.0 so getting a usb 3.0 hub won't do much good. As far as Thunderbolt docks the OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock is way cool. You would be getting USB 3.0 from the Thunderbolt dock 5 x USB 3.0 plus just about every imaginable connection you can think of.
Old 29th October 2015
  #29
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Anyone else using the OWC TB2 dock?

First it kept losing the connection because of the supplied TB cabe.
It worked OK with an Apple TB cable.
But with some problems holding a connection when restarting or powering up my rMBP.

New problem this week is real connection hassle every time I plug in and, to compound my misery, midi latency :(

I tried a different Apple longer TB cable and it didn't work at all.

(I use the OWC TB2 dock just for Giga ethernet, keyboard/mouse, VMK keyboard, MPD232 - I am getting latency with just the VMK :( )

I think it might be the active electronics inside the TB cables that is the problem here and elsewhere - I understand there is a very high return rate. At least 2/3, possible 3/3 of the TB cables I have do not work :(
Old 30th October 2015
  #30
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Hi Mc_Deli, maybe it was you who I was speaking to a few months ago before I bought mine.
Tbh, I haven't had any issues whatsoever with mine....either with the apple cable that I bought after our convo or the owc cable it came with..... it does get a bit warm, but I have never had any disconnection.... and I leave it on 24/7 unless it is in my backpack when I am traveling :-)

Did you ever try another unit?
rsp
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