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Lightning iPad to USB-C audio interface?

Does anyone have a USB-C audio interface that they use with an older lightning iPad with an Apple adapter?

I have a Zoom F6 field recorder that takes USB-C and hope to use with my iPad Pro that has only lightning connector. Ordered a lightning to USB-C cable off Ebay that was represented as genuine Apple. It is white, but I don't think it's made by Apple. Certain minute details suggest it's not. Biggest (and only important) thing is that I can't get power through the cable from a USB-C wall wart to either an iPad or iPhone ... and if I connect directly to an M1 Macbook, nothing shows up under System Information > USB. I know third-party cables are more miss than hit with Apple products. Always have been. Initiated a return through Ebay on that one.

Got me thinking, before I spring for a genuine MM0A3AM adapter direct from Apple. Will I even be able to use with an audio interface, or is it only going to pass through power? Not an easy thing to google.

Comments

  • edited November 8

    I have a Steinberg UR22C which is USB-C (and can also be powered through USB-mini at the same time) and it connects to my iPad Pro through a usb-c cable to lightning dongle.

    I’ve recently realised that a lot of the white genuine actual Apple cables (which I got with various Apple products) aren’t USB-3 at all, despite being USB-C, they’re not rated as high as that, they’re USB-2 only. The clue is whether Apple describe it as a charging cable – in which case it’s probably not USB-3 speed.

    Whether a USB-C to lightning cable needs to be USB-3 is a question I ask myself, lightning isn’t supposed to be higher speed than USB-2 (depending where you read that) but on the other hand, I have Apple Lightning to USB-A USB-3 speed dongles, so I’m not clear what the actual limitation on Lightning is – maybe it varies with the kind of iPhone or iPad.

    In fact this evening I’ve been browsing EBay for some extra USB-C to USB-C cables which can do USB-3 speeds, for my ATEM Mini Pro and Roland V-02HD MkII as well as the above mentioned UR22C, for use with my MacBook Pro and also my new iPad Mini.

  • edited November 7

    Thanks for confirming. The F6 has it's own power, so I know that's not it. Takes Sony NP-F style batteries and AA battery backup :)

    Pretty sure the cable I got wasn't Apple, because it won't even charge on two devices, via two different power options.

  • edited November 7

    @kidslow said:
    Does anyone have a USB-C audio interface that they use with an older lightning iPad with an Apple adapter?

    I have a Zoom F6 field recorder that takes USB-C and hope to use with my iPad Pro that has only lightning connector. Ordered a lightning to USB-C cable off Ebay that was represented as genuine Apple. It is white, but I don't think it's made by Apple. Certain minute details suggest it's not. Biggest (and only important) thing is that I can't get power through the cable from a USB-C wall wart to either an iPad or iPhone ... and if I connect directly to an M1 Macbook, nothing shows up under System Information > USB. I know third-party cables are more miss than hit with Apple products. Always have been. Initiated a return through Ebay on that one.

    Got me thinking, before I spring for a genuine MM0A3AM adapter direct from Apple. Will I even be able to use with an audio interface, or is it only going to pass through power? Not an easy thing to google.

    From my reading of the description of the Apple MM0A3AM cable, it is for connecting the Lightning device as a slave to a USB host computer. This is the same way we have traditionally used the Lightning to USB-A cable for backing up an iPad. To connect to an audio interface, the iPad needs to be the USB host, and that requires an adapter to implement the USB host circuitry. Then you can use a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect your USB-C interface to the adapter.

    Edit: Just because a cable fits two ports doesn't mean it will work. Traditional USB protected us from this because cables had different connectors on each end. USB-C has broken this mantra, since it uses the same connector everywhere.

  • edited November 8

    This description says "syncing and charging" which to me implies bi-directional. But for audio the USB hosting is another level of madness!

    I have a lightning to USB-A adapter, which if what you say is true, will just go lightning > A > C and not buy another cable. Might have to do some tests with multiple channels of audio and see what happens.

    Ok, I found further discussion. So @uncledave you are 100% correct.

    For posterity, also adding this note from another reddit thread:

    Benson Leung, verified USB-C expert
    Apple's C-to-Lightning cable is a single role cable. The Lightning plug is always attached to the sink and USB device, and the USB-C side is always on the USB-C power source and USB host.
    This is in contrast to the simpler C-to-C cables, which do not care about roles on either side, and can accomodate the phone-as-host use case you are using.
    Apple's solution is highly proprietary, more complicated, and less useful than a standard passive C-to-C cable.
    So no, there's nothing you can do to make that C-to-Lightning cable do what you want in this situation.

  • @kidslow said:
    This description says "syncing and charging" which to me implies bi-directional. But maybe for audio the USB hosting is another level of madness?

    I have a lightning to USB-A adapter, which if what you say is true, will just go lightning > A > C and not buy another cable. Might have to do some tests with multiple channels of audio and see what happens.

    USB-C is weird. I have an SSK USB-C to 2 USB-C + 2 USB-A hub connected to my Macbook. Will not pass through power. Nor will it work with any audio devices. But it works with 4 USB sticks connected. Just don't try to copy large chunks of data from one connected storage to another. LOL

    If your iPad is lightning, I believe what you need to do is plug the lightning cck into your iPad. Run a USB-C to USB-A cable from the interface to the cck. You may also need to run power into the cck’s lightning port.

  • @kidslow said:
    This description says "syncing and charging" which to me implies bi-directional. But maybe for audio the USB hosting is another level of madness?

    Syncing in Applespeak means connecting the mobile device to a computer. It originated long ago when iPhones could not do downloads, so you downloaded iTunes to your computer, then synced the iPhone. The description explicitly describes only this type of connection, in which the iPad is the USB slave. You need the adapter for the iPad to assert itself as USB master. Remember, USB is a master-slave protocol, it is not "bi-directional". Data may flow in both directions, but the host is always in control. This applies to all USB devices you may connect to an iPad, not only audio, but mice, storage, MIDI controllers, etc.

  • edited November 8

    @uncledave said:
    Remember, USB is a master-slave protocol, it is not "bi-directional". Data may flow in both directions, but the host is always in control. This applies to all USB devices you may connect to an iPad, not only audio, but mice, storage, MIDI controllers, etc.

    I never knew this. Thanks for the explanation. Must be something about devices, because I've never known a computer to quibble about such roles. USB-C seems to take it to another level of frustration.

  • @espiegel123 said:
    If your iPad is lightning, I believe what you need to do is plug the lightning cck into your iPad. Run a USB-C to USB-A cable from the interface to the cck. You may also need to run power into the cck’s lightning port.

    So was able to connect this way. Needs power via the lightning port on the cck, even though the Zoom and the iPad each supply their own internal power. Very sensitive about the order in which the cables are connected too. Seems like lightning power needs to go to the iPad first, and then plug USB-C into the Zoom. Disconnect lightning power and need to disconnect and reconnect the Zoom in order to see it afterwards. So very inelegant. I have 2 adapters (cck, usb-c to usb-a) and 2 cables (lightning, usb-c) ... where a single cable could do.

    Does the USB-3 cck also need external power typically?

    The reddit thread mentioned Fiio LT-LT3 OTG Cable as an option, but lotta fine print that won't work with MFi-certified DACs.

  • @kidslow said:

    @espiegel123 said:
    If your iPad is lightning, I believe what you need to do is plug the lightning cck into your iPad. Run a USB-C to USB-A cable from the interface to the cck. You may also need to run power into the cck’s lightning port.

    So was able to connect this way. Needs power via the lightning port on the cck, even though the Zoom and the iPad each supply their own internal power. Very sensitive about the order in which the cables are connected too. Seems like lightning power needs to go to the iPad first, and then plug USB-C into the Zoom. Disconnect lightning power and need to disconnect and reconnect the Zoom in order to see it afterwards. So very inelegant. I have 2 adapters (cck, usb-c to usb-a) and 2 cables (lightning, usb-c) ... where a single cable could do.

    Does the USB-3 cck also need external power typically?

    The reddit thread mentioned Fiio LT-LT3 OTG Cable as an option, but lotta fine print that won't work with MFi-certified DACs.

    Whether the cck needs power or not depends on the device. The iPad doesn't supply a lot of power.

  • @kidslow said:
    Does the USB-3 cck also need external power typically?

    If you have the cck with both USB-A and Lightning power ports, you already have the USB-3 cck. The older cck did not include the power port.

  • @uncledave said:

    @kidslow said:
    Does the USB-3 cck also need external power typically?

    If you have the cck with both USB-A and Lightning power ports, you already have the USB-3 cck. The older cck did not include the power port.

    Gotcha. I may try one of those Fiio cables. They seem to be made for headphone DACs but why not? Reasonably cheap on Amazon and can return if it does not function as intended.

  • @kidslow said:

    @uncledave said:

    @kidslow said:
    Does the USB-3 cck also need external power typically?

    If you have the cck with both USB-A and Lightning power ports, you already have the USB-3 cck. The older cck did not include the power port.

    Gotcha. I may try one of those Fiio cables. They seem to be made for headphone DACs but why not? Reasonably cheap on Amazon and can return if it does not function as intended.

    Which cable in particular and what are you hoping it will do?

    I thought you said up-thread that you have things working. No?

  • If you call 2 adapters + 2 cables working, then I guess I do. :D I didn't even speed test it, but from a reliability standpoint there are multiple multiple points of failure, just from an adapter coming loose. Once that happens it's a chore to get back up. So I'm hoping to reduce the number of adapters in the chain to 0 and the number of cables to 1, which would be the optimal number.

    This cable.

  • Here’s something people might find interesting that I’ve only just realised in recent weeks

    This Apple USB-C cable:

    Says “USB-C Charge cable” on the box

    It turns out that that means it supports a maximum of USB-2 speed (ie, it probably only has power and data + & -, but not the twin differential pair for USB-3 signalling), a fact which isn’t really brought to attention on the product page nor the box, but on the page for their Thunderbolt cable (which I also bought – for my Blackmagic Ultrastudio mini 3G) it refers back to the USB-C cable pointing out that it can only reach USB-2 speeds:

  • @kidslow said:
    If you call 2 adapters + 2 cables working, then I guess I do. :D I didn't even speed test it, but from a reliability standpoint there are multiple multiple points of failure, just from an adapter coming loose. Once that happens it's a chore to get back up. So I'm hoping to reduce the number of adapters in the chain to 0 and the number of cables to 1, which would be the optimal number.

    This cable.

    Keep in mind, that if it does work, you won’t be able to charge the device while using the interface.

  • @kidslow said:

    @uncledave said:
    Remember, USB is a master-slave protocol, it is not "bi-directional". Data may flow in both directions, but the host is always in control. This applies to all USB devices you may connect to an iPad, not only audio, but mice, storage, MIDI controllers, etc.

    I never knew this. Thanks for the explanation. Must be something about devices, because I've never known a computer to quibble about such roles. USB-C seems to take it to another level of frustration.

    A computer doesn't quibble about such roles, because it's always a USB master. An Apple Lightning device does not include a USB bus master, so a separate adapter is required.

  • @espiegel123 said:

    Keep in mind, that if it does work, you won’t be able to charge the device while using the interface.

    That is an acceptable tradeoff. If I do need to charge, guess I would have to go with ck. Could get USB-C to USB-A cable and reduce 1 adapter that way. The only thing worse than cables is wireless. lol

  • @uncledave said:

    A computer doesn't quibble about such roles, because it's always a USB master. An Apple Lightning device does not include a USB bus master, so a separate adapter is required.

    Specific to lightning or does it carry over to USB-C?

  • @kidslow said:

    @uncledave said:

    A computer doesn't quibble about such roles, because it's always a USB master. An Apple Lightning device does not include a USB bus master, so a separate adapter is required.

    Specific to lightning or does it carry over to USB-C?

    iPads with USB-C can be either master or slave. So they can connect to USB accessories without an adapter, or they can be slave when syncing with a computer.

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