After years of attempting similar with ANKER hubs, I finally found a hub that allows me to connect up to 7 iOS devices, trickle charge them and connect them all to Ableton via the Studiomux server. I've only tested with 5 devices, but it works perfectly and finally allows me to use my iOS devices like any other piece of hardware kit in my studio, and most importantly, not worry about the charging status of said iOS devices.
Firstly, props to https://aud-ios.com/ for hinting at the possibility via a tweet. The hub in question is by APNAGE - here's an Amazon link for the UK store (but it should be available in other local Amazon stores as well as amazon.com):
If you do decide to take the plunge, a few tips that will aid success:
- Only use the hub for iOS devices. You can use the red charging slots for things like gen-1 Apple Pencil, graphics tablets etc (as long as they're low power devices they'll cause no interrupts to your iOS devices connected to Studiomux). The definite thing to stay away from is USB hard drives.
- Make sure you disable USB sleeping - accessible on Win 10 via Control Panel > Device Manager > USB Serial Bus Controllers > Right Click to access the USB devices properties > Power Management tab. I haven't looked into the OS X equivalent, my suspicion is that Apple engineers are far smarter with this stuff so you mightn't have to configure anything.
- This one's obvious; the red ports are charging only, the blue ports trickle charge and transfer data.
- I tested a 2018 iPad, second gen iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and an iPhone 8 Plus, all working concurrently. The iPhone was great with wired midi but for some reason the audio was glitchy via Studiomux (at all buffer latencies) but the audio came out fine via the headphone adapter (still very useful to have low latency Midi). I now have everything set with a 256 buffer and that provides a workable latency when streaming the audio into Ableton (you'll obviously need to tweak you track delays to compensate for the instrument/fx chains in use).
- I helps if you have Audiobus 2 and 3 installed as well as AUM and ApeMatrix (plus Studiomux or ModStep for the audio/midi streaming). As we all know, when it comes to iOS audio, it's full of idiosyncrasies where certain app combinations work smoothly and others inexplicably are a royal pain in the ....
However, just because it works for https://aud-ios.com/ and me, doesn't mean it will work for you; so be prepared to purchase, test and return to Amazon if your particular PC/Mac configuration doesn't work with this particular hub. Having said that, aud-ios had success with OS X hardware and I've had success with Win 10 hardware, so I think it's worth testing for the potential huge upside. It will definitely help if your desktop machine is well threaded and has plenty of RAM.
It's worth noting that some people have problems with Studiomux, but yet again, aud-ios has a great guide that will help you set things up smoothly:
And if you already own ModStep, you don't need to purchase Studiomux as well as ModStep works directly with the Studiomux server on your Mac/PC.
I'm aware this is a lot of information to digest but having the ability to have multiple iOS devices permanently wired to a desktop DAW whilst staying fully charged is pure gold! :)