Dongle Hell - USB C to USB C, USB A, and 3.5mm?

I've been really happy using NS2 on the new iPad pro for a month or so now and it's absolutely perfect for my needs, so I'm planning on getting a USB MIDI controller keyboard next paycheck since I could do with a physical keyboard. My issue is that I'm entering dongle hell and I'm a little apprehensive of compatibility issues with USB C adapters.

Ideally, I want one adapter that takes me from the iPad's USB C port to one USB C (for charging), a 3.5mm headphone, and one USB A for connecting the controller, but no luck. I'd rather avoid one of those sketchy every-port-under-the-sun hubs on Amazon since it seems they're full of compatibility issues and tank your audio quality. Anyone been through a similar process? I'd really appreciate some advice!

Big thanks in advance.

  • James

Comments

  • Get yourself a Kingston Nucleum hub... has everything you need in one device. It does not have the 3.5mm headphone jack, but it does have an additional USB-C port (besides the dedicated power port) that I use with the Apple USB-C-to-3.5mm jack dongle to plug in headphones. It has 2xUSB-A ports, 1xUSB-C for power, 1xUSB-C (for headphones), SD/MicroSD slots, and an HDMI port. It has a sturdy 6-inch lead that attaches to the iPad Pro (so no issues with cases etc). Works like a charm!

  • @sch said:
    Get yourself a Kingston Nucleum hub... has everything you need in one device. It does not have the 3.5mm headphone jack, but it does have an additional USB-C port (besides the dedicated power port) that I use with the Apple USB-C-to-3.5mm jack dongle to plug in headphones. It has 2xUSB-A ports, 1xUSB-C for power, 1xUSB-C (for headphones), SD/MicroSD slots, and an HDMI port. It has a sturdy 6-inch lead that attaches to the iPad Pro (so no issues with cases etc). Works like a charm!

    Sounds great - looks there's a review on Amazon saying it doesn't work for the exact thing I want to use it for, but I can always return it... Thanks!

  • @stringerrrrr said:
    Sounds great - looks there's a review on Amazon saying it doesn't work for the exact thing I want to use it for, but I can always return it... Thanks!

    I've been using mine with my 3rd Gen 12.9 iPad Pro and my Arturia MiniLab Mk2 keyboard with my wired headphones with no issues whatsoever. The audio is fine, the MIDI connections work flawlessly and the unit itself is sturdy and well made. (I learned of this unit from the recommendations of others using it with the same iPad etc.)

  • @sch said:

    @stringerrrrr said:
    Sounds great - looks there's a review on Amazon saying it doesn't work for the exact thing I want to use it for, but I can always return it... Thanks!

    I've been using mine with my 3rd Gen 12.9 iPad Pro and my Arturia MiniLab Mk2 keyboard with my wired headphones with no issues whatsoever. The audio is fine, the MIDI connections work flawlessly and the unit itself is sturdy and well made. (I learned of this unit from the recommendations of others using it with the same iPad etc.)

    Oh great, that's the controller I was going to get - good stuff!

  • @sch said:
    Get yourself a Kingston Nucleum hub... has everything you need in one device. It does not have the 3.5mm headphone jack, but it does have an additional USB-C port (besides the dedicated power port) that I use with the Apple USB-C-to-3.5mm jack dongle to plug in headphones. It has 2xUSB-A ports, 1xUSB-C for power, 1xUSB-C (for headphones), SD/MicroSD slots, and an HDMI port. It has a sturdy 6-inch lead that attaches to the iPad Pro (so no issues with cases etc). Works like a charm!

    But without a headphone jack.... it's sadly useless of me.
    The newer iPads or iPhones don't have one, so the interface needs to provide it.

  • I’ve been using this:
    UGREEN USB 3.0 Hub 3 Ports USB Sound Card 2 in 1 External Stereo Audio Adapter
    US Amazon for $18.59. Nice in that it provides headphone jack and mic jack. I cannot attest to the auality of the mic input, since I don’t use it, but the headphone jack is nice.

  • @tja said:
    But without a headphone jack.... it's sadly useless of me.
    The newer iPads or iPhones don't have one, so the interface needs to provide it.

    The Nucleum hub has two USB-C jacks... one for power-thru and an additional one that you can use the Apple $10 USB-C-to-headphone dongle. Works a treat!

  • @sch said:

    @tja said:
    But without a headphone jack.... it's sadly useless of me.
    The newer iPads or iPhones don't have one, so the interface needs to provide it.

    The Nucleum hub has two USB-C jacks... one for power-thru and an additional one that you can use the Apple $10 USB-C-to-headphone dongle. Works a treat!

    Ideally, I would like an interface that allows to connect both to USB-C and the Lightning port as inputs, also offers a head jack, maybe a mic connector and can be connected to USB and some audio ports. Maybe even MIDI?

    Anybody ever saw such a thing?

  • No. There is a big lag between what iOS musicans wajt and hat the industry is currently producing. There will likely be some of those features together in the future, but all of them seems unlikely to me. It’s sorta like choose your dongle/adaptor/hub poison. Work around it’s shortcomings. IMO.

  • edited February 6

    I took delivery of an iPad Pro 11" a couple of days back, but so far I haven't done much with it as it didn't come with a cable to connect to my Mac (which is USB-A) and didn't come with an adapter to connect my headphones, which crazily use a totally non-standard 3.5mm jack.

    I want to charge it, have it connected to my Mac via USB for debugging, get some analogue audio out of it and have one or two USB ports spare for testing external MIDI and audio interfaces. It took me hours to research what might be a working solution and close to another £80 on a tangled pile of future landfill in the form of cables, hubs and USB audio interfaces.

    In short, I've gone for this hub:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KJ1HEV2

    ... and this cable to extend the distance from the iPad to the hub so I don't drag the whole mess around every time I move the iPad on my desk:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K21PWJJ

    The downside with this is that it still doesn't give me an analogue audio out. However I have a couple of audio/MIDI interfaces (Steinberg UR-44 and a much smaller/cheaper Behringer UCA222) and I'm hoping one of these will work when connected to the hub.

    There is an iPad Pro hub which also has a DAC and 3.5mm jack built in:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Satechi-Aluminum-Adapter-Charging-Headphone-Space-Gray/dp/B07K6YFW7X

    ... but it has less USB ports, I don't trust the mechanical load it's going to put on the iPad's USB-C connector and you still drag a load a spaghetti around every time you move it. I'm also suspicious of the quality of built-in DACs. It might be fine, but at least with an external USB DAC connected to the hub you can swap it for another.

    Basically it feels like a right old mess. The crap I've ordered to potentially make it work is yet to turn up, so I'll tell you how I get on!

  • The reviews on that Satechi thing are scary 🥶

  • The reviews on that Satechi thing are scary

    Yes, they're a bit contradictory - some say they can't charge and hear audio, others say they can. But they helped to make the decision a 'no' on that one!

  • @Blip Interactive said:

    Basically it feels like a right old mess.

    It is. However, while you’ve chosen a USB 3.1 cable (10 Gbps) you also chose a USB 3.0 hub (5 Gbps), so now people will have no choice but be to point and laugh at you.

  • Thanks, @SlapHappy

    And @Blip Interactive as you are free from the cellar for a short time (before programming again), maybe you could add two Categories to the forum?

    "Feature Requests"
    "Bugs"

    Or whatever else you feel.

    Your mods could then start to sort things :) :) :)
    It's a bit messy right now.

  • That is a good request and it is well under way.

  • edited February 6

    We should improve our internal clarification and approval processes, because all this embarrasing story about new categories beign added last 3 weeks starts looking like we are bunch of incompetent bureaucrats...

    ... and btw WHO RELEASED MATT FROM BASEMENT ?!?!

  • edited February 6

    my plan was to buy new ipad pro very soon - but after reading this ... probably i should buy older model with lightning and audio jack ...

  • tjatja
    edited February 6

    @dendy said:
    my plan was to buy new ipad pro very soon - but after reading this ... probably i should buy older model with lightning and audio jack ...

    I'm so happy with my (used) Pro 12.9 2017 and 512 GB!
    And head jack B)

  • @dendy said:
    We should improve our internal clarification and approval processes, because all this embarrasing story about new categories beign added last 3 weeks starts looking like we are bunch of incompetent bureaucrats...

    ... and btw WHO RELEASED MATT FROM BASEMENT ?!?!

    Sorry, I had to. He was starting to eat the bugs instead of fixing them. And there aren’t enough to go around, I need my protein.

  • @tja said:

    @dendy said:
    my plan was to buy new ipad pro very soon - but after reading this ... probably i should buy older model with lightning and audio jack ...

    I'm so happy with my (used) Pro 12.9 2017 and 512 GB!
    And head jack B)

    Exactly, I have the same one. I haven’t run out of cpu yet.

  • @dendy said:
    incompetent bureaucrats...

    Redundant.

  • @SlapHappy said:

    @dendy said:
    incompetent bureaucrats...

    Redundant.

    true, sorry :)

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