Helpful Reply(UPDATED!) USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer?

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vaultwit
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2012/10/30 11:48:27 (permalink)

(UPDATED!) USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer?

I'm thinking about buying a 32 ft USB extension cord to connect my audio interface to my computer so that the interface can be placed in the recording booth (aka my closet) without moving my actual desktop there.


The problems is, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that I use does not take power from an outlet, but instead takes power from the computer via the USB cable. And I've heard that these long extension cables cannot carry enough power to devices that do now draw power from somewhere else. So can I use my powered USB hub to solve this? I'm thinking: interface > original USB cable > USB extension cord > powered hub > computer... Would this work? I've also heard that hubs are not good to use with audio interfaces... Sigh


Any help would be appreciated! 

UPDATE:
So I received my extra long VGA and USB cables today from Amazon, and set everything up. WORKS BEAUTIFULLY!


My setup: interface -> powered USB hub -> 32 ft USB extension -> desktop. Absolutely zero latency, delay, dropouts, crackles, pops, nothing. Just a perfect recording booth.

For those who want to gives this a try, this is my USB extension cable, and this is my VGA cable. Please note that my Audio Interface is a light and portable Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, so this may not work for a more power-heavy interface. Good luck!
post edited by vaultwit - 2012/11/07 20:30:26

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#1
riojazz
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 11:54:24 (permalink)
I thought the longest that a USB cable could be was about 15 feet. Can you solve this instead by buying a snake and leaving the audio interface near the computer?

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#2
vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 11:58:01 (permalink)
riojazz


I thought the longest that a USB cable could be was about 15 feet. Can you solve this instead by buying a snake and leaving the audio interface near the computer?

I could, but the USB extension would be a cheaper route... All I would need is thy, since I have everything else.


They have 32 ft extension cords on amazon for like $10 bucks or so, and have 4.5 stars... So I'm really hoping to go with this route

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Bristol_Jonesey
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 11:59:01 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Longer mic cables might be a better option

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#4
vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 12:01:00 (permalink)
You think longer xlr and headphone extension cables would be a better option solution?

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#5
Cactus Music
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 12:16:58 (permalink)
There was a thread about this topic a while back. The 32' cable is probably #28 gauge wire and therefore serious voltage drop. 
So adding a Hub in the closet might be worth a try. 
Hey for $10 and if you already own a hub.  
But other than setting trim levels and adjusting the headphones, I would go with a longer mike cable and why not a little headphone amp with a volume control. 



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#6
Bristol_Jonesey
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 12:19:01 (permalink)
Yep, no doubt at all.

Just make sure you're using good quality cables.

You could go the whole hog and put a wall box in the closet and run your cables via some trunking to your interface/headphone amp.

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#7
scook
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 12:20:07 (permalink)
Yes, long mic and headphone cables would be more reliable.
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Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 12:59:11 (permalink)
I use a super long USB cable (not sure the length but over 20') that I use with my padKontrol because the one that came with it died on me (thought I had broke the pK but thankfully that was not the case) and it works. I would not however use it for my interface.

Also I didn't realize the 2i2 drew power via USB. I've got the Scarlett 18i6 and it has an adapter. I thought all the Scarletts did. Guess not.

#9
Psychobillybob
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 13:43:22 (permalink)
There is a industry standard limit to usb cable length and not dropping packets...

If all you send is control information this might not be a problem but if you are spinning audio data, I would avoid this option...

As a general rule US cables are at optimum length already...without a hub to power the extra distance you risk losing data.

Longer mic cables...and for simply tracking...

I like a wireless headphone in a booth, armed with an ipad and AC-7 (or an iphone)...

You can also use your laptop to remote control your daw (unless of course your laptop IS your daw in which case...? Just take it in with you)







I'm using SOnar Platinium on a 6 core Lynx Audio machine and a ton of vintage pre-amps/eq's/comps I build for fun and sometimes money, REDD.47/API/Neve I also use the UAD stuff, and also use a Macbook Logic 9 through Apogee...
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vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 14:18:44 (permalink)
Oops forgot to mention, in planning on replacing my laptop with a more powerful desktop. Yes, with my laptop I just take my laptop into the booth, but of course I can't do that with a desktop.

So does everyone agree that interface > powered USB hub > USB extension > computer will probably work?

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#11
ProjectM
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 14:28:20 (permalink)
IT may work. You'll have to try. But if you want to be fool proof - or fail safe as they say - go with longer mic cables and a headphone amp. I tried to connect some stuff on a stage once, requiring a looooong USB cable. It was fine for simple things like mouse and keyboard, usb memory stick etc. but we needed it connected to an interface. It worked but didn't quite get the juice it needed so we tried a hub. It was ok when a second hub was connected on the other end as well. But not reliable. It was a bad experience to be honest.

so in my own experience. I'd say no. But you may get lucky. This is a long time ago and different gear.

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Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 14:48:13 (permalink)
Yeah, it might work but it's another link in the chain that can screw up. Hubs and long cables are not recommended for interfaces. BTW... how do you intend to control the DAW while you are in the closet? Or is this a two person operation?
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vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:04:46 (permalink)
Beepster


Yeah, it might work but it's another link in the chain that can screw up. Hubs and long cables are not recommended for interfaces. BTW... how do you intend to control the DAW while you are in the closet? Or is this a two person operation?

I have an old dell flat screen monitor that came with my desktop several years back, so super long vga cable + wireless keyboard + wireless mouse ;)


This only works because I conveniently have an outlet inside my closet

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#14
Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:15:39 (permalink)
Do you happen to have an extra computer around? Even if it doesn't have a lot of horsepower you could install just the essentials of Sonar then export the tracks you need to a simple stereo wave, import it to the closet DAW and record your vocals. Doing it that way will use very little resources and you could get away with something far less than the minimum specs (in theory but others here have assured me even my crummy laptop could handle Sonar). You don't have to use Sonar to do this if you have a REALLY cruddy computer. Just get a resource light DAW like maybe Reaper and just get the tracks that way. It doesn't matter just as long as you get the performance down. I'm gonna probably be doing something similar soon.

If you do however go for the hub option get a really good one that doesn't fall asleep and keeps a good solid connection and make sure it's the proper USB version (IE: don't use a 3.0 or a 1.0 hub to run a 2.0 interface). 

Cheers.
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Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:17:14 (permalink)
But really... some really long XLR cables would probably be better.
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vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:32:19 (permalink)
Beepster


But really... some really long XLR cables would probably be better.

Well the whole point of my setup was so that I can record everything directly onto my main desktop DAW instead of transferring recordings from one computer to another. This way, I can just hop into my closet and record any time I want to with minimal setup time I really wish the USB option would work, so that I can adjust my mic gain and headphone levels on my interface from inside my closet.


For my hub, I have a simple Belkin 4-port USB hub (the white one) that I bought at target.

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Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:36:12 (permalink)
Well test it out. The worst that can happen is you'll get some dropouts. Good luck.
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Psychobillybob
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:40:46 (permalink)
What we really need is some kind of "virtual" R-Mix device that creates a cone of silence for everything "outside" the perimeters and emphasis for everything "inside" the perimeter...that way it would not matter what the noise level or interference was as long as you were inside the magical device you would have a clean recording...

We're probably a few years away from that though...so pillows, blankets, closets, sound deadening materials abound....

I'm using SOnar Platinium on a 6 core Lynx Audio machine and a ton of vintage pre-amps/eq's/comps I build for fun and sometimes money, REDD.47/API/Neve I also use the UAD stuff, and also use a Macbook Logic 9 through Apogee...
#19
Jeff Evans
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:41:28 (permalink)
The best and correct way to do this is to extend the audio not the USB interface. Leave that short and connected close to the computer.

I have seen  a few situations and what seems to work well was to have some sort of small footprint mixer in the booth. The VO microphone is connected via balanced XLR to the preamp it is feeding. (ie your interface) Long XLR cables pose no problems. 

The output from the interface and a zero latency split from the mic can be fed back into the small mixer in the booth giving the VO person lots of control over their own level and the playback level from the DAW. Software monitoring is not required from the DAW as it is taken care of via the split from the mic feeding back into the VO booth mixer. Behringer make a perfect mixer for the booth for very low cost. 

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bitflipper
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 15:56:28 (permalink)
The USB cable length limitation is not some arbitrary value, but is based on real-world physics that you can't get around. See the FAQ  at USB.org.

One alternative would be a local mixer or mic preamp and run line-level signals from there to your interface. But by far the most cost-effective solution would be a quality 50' microphone cable for around $35-$50. (Be sure to go to your local Guitar Center and have the helpful sales associate show you to their rack of Monster cables! No, this won't help you with your problem, but you'll feel much better after loudly announcing that you're not a frickin' idiot.)


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#21
vaultwit
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 16:17:34 (permalink)
Thank you all for your input, they have been very helpful. I'd like to point out that cost effectiveness is my primary target. The USB extension is $10, and I wouldn't need anything else in addition. So buying a mixer would be out of the question.

I think I will try the USB extension out, seems worth a try. Having a powered hub power the interface before the audio is sent through the USB extension to the computer should allow the interface to work properly, in theory at least. Remember that my interface is a portable 2-input interface that is made to require minimal power, which is why you only connect it to the computer instead of also to an electrical outlet.


If this doesn't work, I'll have to go with the long XLR and headphone extension cable, since this is the next cost-effective. Unfortunately with this, I won't be able to control mic gain and headphone level from within the booth.

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#22
riojazz
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 17:08:59 (permalink)
You asked if everyone agrees your plan will work, even though there are many other solutions perhaps preferred. I don't think it will, but please report back what you find. I run separate mic and headphone cables to the other room, and control the desktop via an iPad running V-Control Pro.

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#23
Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 17:29:13 (permalink)
You don't have a mixer to take into the booth with you? You can control your input level that way. I'm not sure how much, if any, coloring that would add (guess it depends on the mixer) but you'd have control.

  However if you just go for a long cable sit at the DAW and sing the loudest part(s) a little louder than normal, set your trim according to that and wander off to the closet to track and you should be fine. You shouldn't need to tweak after the initial level is set and if things DO get all clippy on you you'll see it on your screen. If so just wander back to the DAW and turn things down. 

And from what I understand there isn't much of a problem having things set "too low". You'll want extra headroom anyway so clipping really shouldn't be an issue. 

  Once I've set my input trim on my Scarlett I've never had to go back and adjust it until I'm messing with a different instrument. Cheers. 
#24
StarTekh
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 17:46:10 (permalink)
 vaultwit: you do not want a 32ft usb cable, you need to have a snake or cable run for inputs and headphones , please fell free to ask more !!
#25
Beepster
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 17:53:08 (permalink)
Oh... and I guess you'll need an equally long STEREO 1/4" cable and a female/female adapter for your headphones. Then you're set.

Seriously if you have all your computer peripherals in the closet (monitor, mouse) then get the long XLR and the long stereo 1/4" and set your trim before going in. That would be the cheapest and simplest way. Cheers and sorry if I'm being repetitive but you've got the back of my mind chewing at your scenario. Stupid brain... never shutting up. ;-)
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bitflipper
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 20:48:33 (permalink)
I have a nifty little box here, made by Samson, called the S-Monitor. I don't remember what I paid for it - I've had it for years - but it was very inexpensive. 

I've got it mounted on a short boom attached to my microphone stand so the controls are right at hand while I'm singing. This could be your solution for mic and monitor levels in your vocal closet. It's sure indispensable to me. 



One caveat, though: the mix input requires a dual-mono TS to stereo TRS cable, an unusual item that I did not have in my cable collection, so I had to make one. They can be purchased, though, if you don't want to build your own.



post edited by bitflipper - 2012/10/30 20:58:52


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Tom Riggs
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/30 23:58:41 (permalink)
The long link usb cables have a hub/repeater built into them and that is how they get past the length limitations. They might work but will introduce latency for each hub the usb signal goes through each direction. This might be ok for a printer but I have my doubts about using it for real time audio.

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#28
soens
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/31 09:20:00 (permalink)
ENOUGH already! Just move your studio into the closet. Close the door. Turn on the light. And don't wake the neighbors. Case closed...
 

#29
musicroom
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Re:USB extension cord (extra long) to connect audio interface to computer? 2012/10/31 10:00:29 (permalink)
If you do go the extended mic cable route - a good place to get decent cables on the cheap is:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=microphone+cable


I've have quite a few of their cables and have been surprised at the quality. I did have one fail and they sent me a new one right away. 

 
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