August 6, 2012

Help Desk: Data Cables


Welcome to the Help Desk with  In this video series we’re covering all things Pro Audio, starting with the most basic stuff and going from there. We get a lot of questions here at UniqueSquared about Pro Audio Equipment.  Here are some of the answers to the questions that so many of you are asking. In today’s Help Desk video we’re going to cover Data Transfer cables, with a focus on USB and Firewire. We’ll also touch on some of the newer data connection types that have been introduced in the past couple years, like Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.

Hello my name is Chris. Welcome to the UniqueSquared Help Desk. Today we’re going to be talking about some basic data transfer cables; specifically USB and Firewire. We’re also going to talk about some of the new stuff coming out. So let’s jump right in.

Here we’ve got our USB. This is the end that goes into your computer, I’m sure you’ve seen it plenty of times, it’s a very common sort of connection. Both PC and Mac users use it all the time. But the other end that doesn’t go into your computer can vary slightly. Here are two very common types, we’ll start with the fatter one. This is the connection that usually goes into your printer. This USB connection also can hook up to a lot of MIDI controllers like keyboards, drum pads, that sort of thing. Also DJ controllers, very common connection for those. This is usually used to connect to smaller electronic devices like, I don’t know, cameras, external hard drives, and maybe even cell phones.

Here we have our Firewire cable. Now this is used for connecting external hard drives and that sort of thing, sometimes some mixer boards, but this is getting phased out. Firewire 400 is no longer available on the new Mac Book Pros or the iMacs. What they have now is the Firewire 800 which, as you can guess from the name, is twice as fast as Firewire 400. So this will connect to a lot of external hard drives and like I said, twice as fast.

Now Apple’s coming out with something really cool, they’ve actually already announced it. There’s not a lot of applications for it yet. It’s Thunderbolt. Now I have here a dongle. This is a Mini DisplayPort dongle for my MacBook, but this little connection you see here is actually the same sort of connection that Thunderbolt will use. It’s going to be lightning fast. I can’t wait to see what it has to offer.

There’s also something that’s been out for a while called USB 3.0. What I showed you was USB 2.0. 3.0, I’ve seen it around here and there. I don’t think there’s a lot of use for it for a lot people because computers, most computers aren’t designed to use USB 3.0. They’re only designed to use USB 2.0 so when you plug the USB 3.0 into the 2.0 port it just acts like it’s a 2.0 connection. So what’s the point?

Anyways there you have it. That was a quick rundown of some of the data connection types that are out there. For some great prices on Pro Audio gear be sure to stop by and until next time, my name is Chris.