Which USB Hubs are best for USB MIDI?


I just read the following thread of an USB Hub not working properly:

I have the same issue with a HAMA USB Hub (see picture).

The problem is not the BomeBox, because I had the same issue with a Blokas MidiHub (that I have replaced by the BomeBox now). Interestingly, the BomeBox recognizes the devices from the USB Hub but MIDI data cannot get through. Connected directly, the MIDI data is recognized. The Blokas reacted differently and needed about 30 seconds to recognize the HAMA Midi Hub.

Well, I have to buy another USB Hub, but which one? Any recommendations?

I’ve heard elsewhere that some USB Hubs produce noise. Which ones do not?
Can I use an USB Hub with data AND power slots and supply power to my Mini Mixer with the latter?
Would it be save to buy a USB 2.0 Hub?
Are there USB Hubs designed for USB MIDI data transfer?


Hi, most powered hubs should work. I haven’t had any issues with powered hubs. You might want to check if your powered hub is getting sufficient power from it’s source to ensure it can power all attached USB devices. Some USB devices are someone power hogs so if you are having a problem, unplug one device at a time, from the hub, then disconnect and reconnect the hub to BomeBox to see if it works. You don’t need USB 3.0. USB is sufficient to handle MIDI traffic rates. With that said, USB 3 will drop down to USB 2 rates automatically (should be backward compatible).

How are you powering your BomeBox? I’ve found that using a POE adapter is generally more reliable than USB power sources for you BomeBox. Especially if you have multiple USB devices attached to your BomeBox via a hub (powered or not).

I think that regulating down from 48v (POE) to 5v instead of powering via USB which is 5v, makes things less susceptible to various power fluctuations from the interaction of multiple devices.

I would recommend that before you invest in another hub, you get your BomeBox powered by POE first. Then I think it is a matter of trial and error on the powered hubs you use but in general, I would not use one that had dedicated charging ports.

Here is what I have for a POE device. I would occasionally have issues with hubs when powering BomeBox with USB 5v.

I also bought a USB power tester and found that a few of my MIDI devices were somewhat power hogs. The Novation LP MINI surprisingly used a lot of power.

Again, once I went POE my problems with USB went away. Most of the time if I’m using only 2-3 devices, I can even use and unpowered hub.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services: bome@sniz.biz

Thank you, Steve, for your reply.

In my case, I have a Blackstar PB-1 Powerbank with 5V/2A and 12V/3A (for the Ketron SD-2 only), because I want to perform not only without a computer, but also without a power outlet.

I need 5V power for:

Piano de Voyage uses ??? mA
The Maker Hart Just Mixer uses max. 650 mA
BomeBox uses max. 150 mA
Subzero Mini Control max. 100 mA¨

This is 900 mA maximum plus the power requirements of the keyboard (which generates no sound). Should be sufficient. Otherwise I can have two power banks, one for the power only inputs (Bome and Mixer), and one for the MIDI data (Bome) and MIDI data plus power (Keyboard and MiniControl).

I’d appreciate if anyone can recommend a good, powered USB Hub.

Yeah, maybe someone else can chime in. You might need two power banks though. As I said, I really didn’t have issues except occasionally and when I power my BomeBox with POE then I have not seen any issues. The main issue I had on 5v power for BomeBox is when I used a USB charging port from a powered hub to power the BomeBox and the charging port was not providing consistent 5v power. It assumed it was charging something.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services: bome@sniz.biz

Hi, unfortunately, I cannot recommend a specific USB hub, either. We have tested dozens of USB hubs, and they all work. We’ve had received non-working USB hubs from customers, and they were all very very old and no-name.

Regarding power consumption:
Current is the first factor. You seem to be keeping track of that. Still, know that the BomeBox passes on at max 1A on the USB host port. Also USB hubs may have internal fuses, or may not “dare” to use the full 1A of the BomeBox and restrict themselves to 500mA.

However, another important factor is voltage. Because of the required fuses, the BomeBox lowers the incoming voltage via micro USB by 0.1V-0.2V. So if your power bank provides 5.0V, the BomeBox USB host port will only provide as little as 4.8V. The USB hub may (or may not) lower that even more. Some USB-MIDI devices work fine with less than 5V, others are picky.

So, it’s usually better to either power the BomeBox via PoE (which provides stable 5V at the USB host port), or to use a powered USB hub.

Now I guess so far, nothing new, as you’re looking for a powered USB hub anyway. I have a couple of powered Delock hubs in regular use. They require 12V input. But pretty much all other brands should work just as well. You can also power the BomeBox via one of the powered USB hub ports, so not sure why Steve says that you would need an additional power bank for the hub.

Also, could you post the kernel log (from the BomeBox Advanced config) when the MIDI device is not recognized correctly?


I was thinking that perhaps the keyboard was taking more power than the power bank could handle and to put it on a different one to be sure. Maybe overkill though.

As far as picking a powered hub, only the old no-name ones have been problematic for me so I got rid of them. I usually by my hubs from Amazon.com. That way if they don’t work, I have no problem in sending them back. Fortunately, I haven’t had to send any back. I have this 16 port hub on both of my PC’s but use POE on BomeBox. Some power banks output 120vAC (more expensive ones) and you could put a POE adapter on that.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services: bome@sniz.biz