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Mainstage recognizes 'USB hub-connected' midikeyboards ?


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Hi all,


I recently bought a MacBook and I want to install Mainstage for performing live.


My question:


It has one usb-port but I want to use two midi-keyboards.

If I connect the two midi-keyboards using a multiple USB-hub (assigning a different midi channel for each), will Mainstage still recognize them as two separate midi-inputs ?


Hope my question is clear :-)


Thanks in advance.



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  • 2 weeks later...
I've had 2 keyboards, audio interface and iPad all running off one hub. Works perfectly! You don't need a powered hub unless your keyboards get their power via the usb cable. Even then, check the current draw per keyboard, most usb computer ports can power up to 500mA.
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I've been using this powered hub with good results:




I think generally speaking, most companies recommend using powered hubs when using more than one midi controller regardless of draw. Here is a good article outlining the pros and cons:



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If the devices used dont draw bus power from the USB port, or if the summed current draw of all devices doesn't exceed the USB port's output rating then there is no good reason to randomly apply external power to it. It may be worth buying one capable of external power for future expansion but unless the extra power is needed the hub can remain unpowered. Adding external power to it only clutters the keyboard rig with extra wires that serve no real purpose. It's like using a fire hose to fill a glass of water when the kitchen tap is more than adequate for the job. Retailers can make recommendations, but It doesn't change basic electrical theory.
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No argument here on how electrical theory works nor am I saying that if you're connecting a powered keyboard (Nord Stage, Motif, etc) you need a powered hub. Generally speaking though, when using two midi controllers requiring USB power, it's a good idea to have a powered hub on a gig to avoid draining the laptop battery (I also always connect my Macbook's power adapter at the gig to avoid running down the battery too often and in case the battery craps out -- good post on that here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5514839?tstart=0 ) and also in case you need to connect another device needing USB power.


For example if you (or more likely your bass player) need to charge your iPad or iPhone and you don't have a wall charger. This happened to me last week as a matter of fact. In my band we use iPads, for requests, obscure tunes, etc and the absent minded bass player forget to charge his iPad and bring his cable. Since I had a powered hub, it was no problem for him to use my extra lightning cable to power up during the set.


Also, since its the nature of electrical devices to break or for batteries to stop working or suddenly start losing their charge capacity/time, you're insulating yourself from any number of gig induced nightmares by having your laptop constantly connected and having a powered hub. Also, if you wind up having to add a USB license key to your rig/ or an interface requiring a different draw, then you are already good to go, no having to worry about calculating voltage draw.


A couple of other points: Websites/manuals can sometimes have incorrect information (ie, voltage draw, etc) and more than likely the average musician would get confused by this information anyway. Recommending that someone new to using a computer to perform live, also potentially try to figure out the draw of their keyboards, interface, and other devices, while setting up Mainstage for the first time, is probably not a great idea. Midi controllers are so poorly made these days that chances are if you're touring or playing frequently you could wind up having to hit Guitar Center on the way to the gig to replace part of your rig and maybe not have the time or mental acuity (under stress) to also calculate the correct voltage draw for what is by nature a pretty complicated and prone to problems keyboard rig. Not a knock on Mainstage, but it can be temperamental. Everytime I set up a new concert for performing live, it takes 3 or 4 gigs to get the kinks out. I also always carry a spare USB hub, (and it's power cable), and spare USB cables.


Regarding the complexity of cables for a keyboard rig, this is definitely a valid point, which I (and lot of other pro keyboardists) address by making a simple wiring harness using electrical tape, cable ties, etc etc. for USB cables, MIDI cables etc. Right now I have three wiring harness setups, one for my volume/sustain pedal which are mounted on a pedal board, a separate one for my MIO midi USB adaptor, usb cable, e-licenser, and USB interface (Radial USB Pro), and another for my Mogami cables ( one balanced XLR [to run mono out of the USB Pro] and one instrument cable to run out of my Nord Stage EX) This drastically reduces my set-up/ breakdown time at the gig. If the stage isn't overly crowded I can set up (or breakdown) my rig in 10-15 mins.


So yes, technically you don't need a powered hub to run certain audio interfaces and midi controllers together off a laptop battery; but is it a good idea to recommend that someone without Mainstage experience and your level of acumen regarding voltages try to figure this out ? In my opinion, definitely not.

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