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USB and standards!

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Regardless of who already has chargers…


I’ve got a lot of stuff lying around over the years. I have USB cables of all shapes and sizes, IECs and all kinds from musical stuff for the studio. Some useful, some I should have trashed years ago. Who uses s-video or composite video?


Just got an iPhone 12 a few weeks ago. First new one in 5? years.

Don’t ‘need’ a charger. I have one type of cable for my mouses, my keyboard, iPads, phone.


But, as ever, there’s a few sides to every story.


1) don’t trust politicians who argue over tech stuff. Every guy over 60 is not half as clever as Woz and Bill.


2) all for standards. (For example, I know my XLR or RJ45 will get me thru any audio gig), but without Apple pushing and improving stuff, a lot of stuff would not have happened.


USB going mainstream, getting rid of floppy drives that were crap in the 80s, getting rid of 3.5 jacks that were crap even in the 70s, SCSI, FireWire, audio over network (which has now progressed to Dante, AES etc.) which powers every big gig in the world…


3) It’s not a culture thing, as MIDI, which was probably used in some way on every single song or video game you’ve heard in some form over the last 35 or so years, was a collab between Japan, UK, and US. Let's not talk about the 3.5mm jack for MIDI, please 😉


I’m sure Apple, Samsung, IBM, Philips, Sony, et al do together as the MIDI guys did. I'm sure they do and why not create a 40 year old standard that has lasted this long? Those guys are way cleverer than I will ever be (or is it really as underground as Nintendo/Sega was purported to be years ago now?)!

I’m sure there are business reasons not to wait till it’s right.

I wish even HDMI had a standard. USB, HDMI/DisplayPort, Thunderbolt are all still a mess, standards wise. 


4) Tech became cheap. People don’t look after stuff or each other.

Breaking stuff and throwing it away is what most do, and it's a crap idea.

We just expect things to just work - but buy the cheaper version. We know on this forum that that rarely works.

It's why we deliberate so much before spending good money on the latest stuff 'from a company you've heard of'.

As is the no right to repair! (connected argument!)

No one can wire up a plug these days. No one can be trusted not to burn a house or venue down.
I do fix up keyboards and audio stuff for people around me as it's not usually the best experience.

5) It took 100 years to make XLR a standard for analog audio… (with a few digital exceptions recently).
Video do have a few standards, but SDI can still be sent across a decent coax cable with BNC connectors. [More personal rant: HDMI is crap over anything than 2m]

We’re moving so fast. Governments cannot; but, crazy tech guys DO. The guy on the street, suppliers, and aftermarket manufacturers have to catch up.

How far have we come since audio in the 'talkies', thru Abbey Road (where they had techs in white coats), when everyone bought a computer in the 70s/80s, the actual Internet(!), to everyone having a studio at home?


Eventually, or soon, the amount of 4k recordings (cause every YouTuber got a free Mac which can do a seven camera shoot talking about how good the new Macs are about recording eight cameras cause they have to have one to capture the capture capturing all that and…) about this issue going into data centres from all these governmental meetings and YouTube drivel channels will eventually take over and electricity and bytes will eat themselves. Because the opposite is true: companies are slowing us down because there's NOT a high speed connection for their videos of videoing each other?

Change stuff, but the way the kids are eating up data, do you think that habit of uploading everything will change?

Apologies for the ranting essay. But, I do think that most of the drivel is making a mountain etc. I'd be happy if EVERYTHING was on a 1/4" jack or an XLR cable.

It's up to us to use the stuff that is relatively cheap and immensely capable these days responsibly, is it not? USB or Lightning. Don't care. Do still love my Macs which, to date, have never let me down since 1991. I did, and still do look after them and their cables. 

Keyboards usually die slowly after over use or environmental things here. Environment meaning either really hot and humid salty air, or the way the keyboards' environment was underneath a well-meaning driver's bus!

Apologies again.

Adam (annoyed) 

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HA!, I'm a crabby old guy too!!!😇

This will make you twitch... RCA plugs and jacks. Utter shite, especially the cast plastic plugs on "throw away WHEN (not IF) they fail" cables. 


Dante would be cool if Ethernet cables didn't have that crappy plastic "lock tab thingie" that fails with regularity. 

I'm with you on XLR and have had long service from 1/4" TS and TRS connectors as well. I will note that there are 4 and 5 pin XLRs, nifty. 


I've been a guitar tech for decades and a bit of a dabbler in other electronica (built a Heathkit stereo power amp long ago and recently built 3 Mic-Parts kits, all successful ventures). Some modern electronics are made to last a long time but many are made to last the warranty period and then all bets are off. 


Survival of the fittest, in business that means - who has the most consistent, substantial income stream. Sadly, it does not mean "who makes the most reliable product".


Now, get off my lawn!!!! 😜


It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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11 hours ago, KuruPrionz said:

Dante would be cool if Ethernet cables didn't have that crappy plastic "lock tab thingie" that fails with regularity. 

Most Dante and AVB gear has the ability to use Ethercon cabling, which looks like an XLR jack with an ethernet connector in it, and those are often made with similar jackets to a high quality XLR cable.  This standard fixes the clip issue that we've all had with ethernet.

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Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something

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As we used to say when I was working for software development tool companies...   The great thing about Standard is there are so many to choose from.    Even with standards nothing covers implementation.  A standard will define a set of if X goes in then Y needs to come out that in between X and Y is left the people making the end product.    


I software QA tester there were what we called two types of testers,  White Box and Black Box.   The white box tester had access to the source code and all the implementation details.   The black box testers were like an end user they created a matrix of the common ways or other top selling other products the product will work with and test that X and Y were what the standard said they should be.   Testing is very time consuming and expensive so that list of top selling products to test with is constantly shrinking.  With everything becoming more and more complex, global workforce with R&D and manufacturing spread all over the world to the lowest bidders.  Then a huge markets of backdoor business of knock-off version for low prices things are aren't going to get better.   


This is an area where the old saying "reality sucks" comes in to play.   Standards are nice to talk about but they really don't mean a lot. 

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One thing about USB, midi and or audio class compliance, and the like that is irksome.   Why are there still on occasion devices, interfaces that don’t play nice on a hub?  Have they not standardized hubs?  

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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10 hours ago, Anderton said:

USB is a mess. Thunderbolt is a mess. It will take at least a year before it's sorted out.

I blame marketing. Who thought "USB 3.2 gen2x2" was a good name? I make that USB7 in old money. But nobody wants to make USB3 "look old".


Cheers, Mike.

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On 4/24/2022 at 5:50 AM, GotKeys said:

Most Dante and AVB gear has the ability to use Ethercon cabling, which looks like an XLR jack with an ethernet connector in it, and those are often made with similar jackets to a high quality XLR cable.  This standard fixes the clip issue that we've all had with ethernet.


There are metal RJ45 plugs existing.

Google: Metal RJ45 Network Plug Connector 8P8C Modular Plug Head Assembly


So buy the tool, cable and plugs and crimp yourself when there´s no ressource for pro-cables w/ metal plugs.


When there´s more budget, Neutrik etherCON parts help too.



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On 4/25/2022 at 6:22 AM, ElmerJFudd said:

One thing about USB, midi and or audio class compliance, and the like that is irksome.   Why are there still on occasion devices, interfaces that don’t play nice on a hub?  Have they not standardized hubs?  

Don't know! That's one thing Korg got right with the Kronos (and maybe the Extreme, if I remember rightly!). Small two/three port hubs, nonetheless.
Easier with the Kronos, as it's a 'normal' PC.


USB EWI and additional keyboard controllers 'just worked' with a simple USB cable plugged into them for power and MIDI.
Same with the audio interface capabilities - class compliant. Unlike some Roland and Yamaha stuff.

Sure there's not a license to pay for this tech; just follow the chip makers' example circuits?

I'm guessing it's just cost-cutting or different 'implementations' by some cheaper manufacturers to get around IP, or whatever.

There must be a reason I have to use drivers for a Motif, say, and will that itself affect if a 'generic' hub is used? 

My X32 runs fine over a $30 5V powered hub from Amazon, as does everything I own (keys, hard/SSD drives, Ikea lamps…). The hub does have a very strange USB A - USB A cable, though.

Finish as I started. Don't know!

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USB is, I think, finally getting ready to achieve its "universal serial bus" goal:

Optimistically, I hope USB4, which includes Thunderbolt 3 technology donated to the standard by Apple and Intel, will actually be the standard to dominate the market and create some stability and sanity. It offers the USB-C connector, standards for power delivery, Thunderbolt data rates, overall cheapness and lack of licensing fees. Why is it taking so long for interface and other companies to implement? They say no one needs more channels than can be provided by the speeds of USB2, but that's not the reason I want to upgrade. I want one future-proofed wired connector for my devices and instruments, USB-C, hopefully using the TB protocol. Have them support MIDI 2.0 while they're at it! . I'd also like the smaller devices to be able to be powered by and provide power via USB-- a 4 pre desktop interface ought to be able to be bus powered by my MacBook. 



I'm in my 50's, and in general I wish the pace of technological change in the audio world was far, far faster. Watching USB and Thunderbolt in the audio world has been frustrating enough, but digitally networked audio is the one that really frustrates me.  Dante, AVB, Ravenna, Milan, AES67, arghh. This is VHS vs. Betamax, but going on for decades.  Networked audio can't take over the home studio market fast enough, imo. IP-based technology that comes to the corporate, computer and home office/consumer spaces cheaply and quickly takes a decade longer to ease its way into audio, and then it's firewalled in the pro audio/pro studio/broadcast market segment.



The market size of the audio manufacturers is so small that the pace of change is glacial. Manufacturers have very long product development and replacement lifecycles, and it seems that when new chips come out that it takes two product update cycles for that new technology to become integrated. Audio companies take years to implement wifi and bluetooth chips into their products that cost a dollar or two and are put into light bulbs costing $10.



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