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USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening #3003228 08/14/19 06:38 PM
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Stephen Fortner Offline OP
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Rant alert. I found myself very frustrated and up against a deadline this week, with the simple need to run a connection from a USB-B port on the Casio Privia PX-S3000 I'm reviewing (for Larry Fine's excellent "Piano Buyer" publication) to the Lightning port on my previous-generation iPad Pro. This is because Casio has a cool learning app called Chordana Play that gives you "Guitar Hero" like graphics streaming towards a virtual keyboard, and can sync up with a variety of Casio instruments.

This is NOT a criticism of Casio. The USB-A port on the Privia is for a thumb drive, with which you can record audio or save and load data. The USB-B port is how you'd connect to a computer or tablet. That's standard procedure on just about any keyboard by just about any manufacturer.

Not a single store in the Burlington, Vermont metro area — which has a population of 214,000 — had an Apple Camera Connection kit. Not that I should have to pay $40 for one, anyway, as it's essentially a Lightning-to-USB-A adaptor (which would then let me use a regular USB cable to get to the piano). A straight-up Lightning-to-USB-B cable? At Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and even an Apple-specialist store called Smalldog, I got looked at like I had five heads. Of course, they did have a USB-C to USB-B cable, and so suggested I solve my problem by purchasing a newer iPad!

I finally ordered a custom cable on Amazon, and the product description says it's designed for MIDI, so fingers crossed. Of course, it arrives after my deadline.

In fact, I saw very few Lightning accessories of any kind in the stores. I know everything is going USB-C, but my iPad Pro is a beast. It's got another five years of service in it at least. Retailers just want to push people towards the very latest models of everything and stop offering accessory support for things that are even just a couple of years old. You can get 1500 flavors of cases and ear buds, though.

Perhaps my rant is about my home town. What I wouldn't give for a Fry's or a SuperMicro (enviously looking at you, Boston people) around here. We just don't have the population base to support anything but the lowest common consumer denominator. Power users, hackers, and DIYers? Or even musicians who need a specific cable? Yeah, not so much. Burlington is a wonderful place in so many ways, but if you're looking for more than to enjoy some Ben & Jerry's or perhaps excellent cheddar while possibly running into a member of Phish, plan ahead and order online!

Lesson learned ... Oh, and if you tell me I should learn to make my own cables, I'll buy you a pizza if you come over and do it for me.


"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

Stephen Fortner
Principal, Fortner Media
Senior Editor, Music Player Network
Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine
Content Creator and Behind-the-Scenes Writing Wonk, Damned Near Everyone
KC Island
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003240 08/14/19 07:26 PM
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davedoerfler Offline
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Mama Mia !

hope it all worked out in the end.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003243 08/14/19 07:28 PM
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samuelblupowitz Offline
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I hope to visit your beautiful town some day soon -- I've heard wonderful things, and more and more artists from my area have been playing shows up your way lately. Ben & Jerry's and chance meetings with Page McConnell would be a bonus.

I'll make sure to bring a cable bag. wink


Samuel B. Lupowitz
Composer. Arranger. Musician. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003247 08/14/19 07:33 PM
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Dr Mike Metlay Offline
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Dr. Steve, would you like me to buy or loan you a CCK? I'd be happy to.

And ultimately you will find that a CCK is by far the best way to go for applications like this. Grumble over the $40 if you must, but an Apple-approved Lightning/USB 3.0 connector with Lightning power passthru is such a vital piece of kit that every iOS musician should have a minimum of two of them. It's dead solid reliable, uses your existing Lightning cable and Apple wallwart to keep your iPad charged as you work, and will happily work with any USB-A cable (although a ferrite choke is a good idea if you're going to be using it near poorly shielded devices that pick up RFI).

Oh, and I'm not surprised that people looked at you like you had five heads. iConnectivity makes Lightning to USB-B cables for its interfaces, and they're heavily customized and costly beasts with line-lump electronics to make them work without blowing anything up. Anything beyond that is not something a sane consumer-electronics store would stock, and I'm hard pressed to think of applications for the ones electronics supply houses sell.

USB 1/2/3 is a dumb standard, not a smart standard like FireWire, USB 3.1/USB-C, or Thunderbolt. In every connection, there must be a master unit and a slave unit, with appropriate circuitry on each end. That's why just adding a USB-A port to host external controllers vs. a thumb drive for storage isn't trivial; you need an extra brain in there to handle that type of data flow intelligently.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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-- except for Bryce, who's, well, YOU know.
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003248 08/14/19 07:36 PM
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Toano88 Online Content
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I bought one at Best Buy in Williamsburg VA about a month ago. Amazon couldn't overnight one?


Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12
Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003249 08/14/19 07:42 PM
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Docbop Offline
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Have you checked OWC (AKA MacSales.com) They have all sorts of Mac gear, docks, and etc. There sales people have been good to me in the past and mainly just make recommendations, if you want to buy they just sent you back to their website to make a purchase.

https://eshop.macsales.com/search/?q=docks

Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003258 08/14/19 08:33 PM
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Stephen Fortner Offline OP
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Dr. Mike, a CCK would have been my first choice, as grouchy as I'm being. In fact I thought I had a couple in my all-things-Apple Tupperware, but the only one I could find was for the old dock connector! Still frosts me that no local store has something as recent and still-useful as a Lightning CCK, though. I got used to the Bay Area, where I could decide I needed something NOW and have it within a 20-minute drive (three hours with traffic).


"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

Stephen Fortner
Principal, Fortner Media
Senior Editor, Music Player Network
Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine
Content Creator and Behind-the-Scenes Writing Wonk, Damned Near Everyone
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003266 08/14/19 09:18 PM
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Joe Muscara Offline
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Whew! When I saw the thread title, I thought you might have fried the iPad or the Casio. I'm glad you didn't.

P.S. I think you missed this thread when it happened. Check it out, you'll be glad you did.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: USB and Lightning Very Very Frightening [Re: Stephen Fortner] #3003397 08/15/19 07:36 PM
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Stephen Fortner Offline OP
But who is number 1 ? ...
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Got it working. While I wait for my new CCK to get here, I combined my old Dock version with a Dock-to-Lightning adaptor that I use to hook my iPhone into the stereo of my 2011 Audi. Everything works like a charm.


"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

Stephen Fortner
Principal, Fortner Media
Senior Editor, Music Player Network
Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine
Content Creator and Behind-the-Scenes Writing Wonk, Damned Near Everyone

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