Native Instruments have been making lots of cool devices recently. With their latest release of the Kontrol X1 mark 2, the Z1 and last years F1, we are being treated to lots of different options. This trend of making lots of different controllers that can be pieced together in different combinations allows for amazing customisation. This is a great direction for NI to be taking their product. One issue that befalls us, however, is the greater need for USB ports. Powered USB hubs are starting to become a necessity for the Traktor DJ. Here’s one option to remedy this issue.
Do I need a powered USB Hub?
Laptops are getting smaller and as such they are slowly losing USB ports. This is great for portability, but not so good when it comes to connecting all your DJ gear! Traktor controllers are quite involved meaning they need a good bit of juice to operate properly. Although they don’t often require their own individual power adaptor, they do require sufficient power from the USB port. Simply connecting a non-powered USB hub to your computer means that the power being sent to your USB hub gets split between the number of ports on the hub. This makes each port weaker and weaker the more devices you add. A powered USB Hub is an essential piece of kit for many Traktor DJ’s. I receive many complaints from people having issues with their gear not working properly, which is often fixed by introducing a powered USB hub.
How many ports does my powered USB Hub need?
The number of ports required obviously depends on what you plan to connect. The DJ world is going USB port crazy. Even some CDJ’s are now connecting up with USB ports. Many DJ’s use a USB stick for tracks, so having extra ports available for these DJ’s is a great idea. Bearing this in mind, the more ports you have available, the better. You do however want to be mindful of how much space the hub will take up, so moving into a 10 port hub may be a little excessive.
Last week I decided to purchase the Dynex 7 port powered USB Hub. Dynex has a choice between a 4 port and a 7, thinking about all the possible devices one might want to connect, I paid the little extra and opted for the 7 port.
The 7 port option has 4 USB ports on the side and 3 on the top. This makes it very accessible for connecting a USB thumb drive. The unit itself is very light and packs up pretty small.
Although I like to connect the Audio Interface, such as the Audio 8, directly to the computer USB; testing it through the USB hub proved successful. We even ran 2 Audio 8’s through 2 powered USB hubs, finding no problems.
- The connections feel solid which is very important when DJ’s start moving equipment around in the booth.
- The light indicator is perfect for knowing it’s connected.
- ‘Plug & Play’ functionality continued to work when connecting via the powered USB Hub. This means that DJ’s can still disconnect and re-connect controllers as DJ’s swap out.
- This Hub is USB 2.0 compatible, which is fine for Traktor gear as Native Instruments have not yet ventured into USB 3.
- The price varies depending on where you shop. Retail price is $39.99 however, amazon has some killer deals right now for just $25 or even cheaper for used ones.
Is it worth it?
Whatever price you find; having a powered USB Hub is a valuable addition to any traktor DJ’s set up. If you play with friends who connect different devices, or play music off their USB stick, you will certainly benefit from owning this powered USB Hub.
As a MacBook air user, I am limited to the 2 USB ports. Using the Audio 8 along with the X1 and F1, is impossible without a powered USB hub. I certainly recommend shelling out a small amount of cash for one of the most important additions to any set up.
(UPDATE: May 27 2014 – After 10 months of use my Dynex Hub stopped working properly. It wasn’t delivering power to the devices anymore.)