Hardware Review

April 15, 2002
USB Audio Hub
Griffin Technology - 4-Port USB Audio Hub
Price: $39

Review by Ken Stone

Okay, so why am I reviewing a 4 port USB hub for a Final Cut Pro web site? As you know, with the advent of the G4, we lost our microphone input port. There are just a few choices for bringing audio into and out of our Macs. You can purchase an unbalanced audio PCI card for around $200. You can spend a great deal more for a balanced PCI audio card, or you can purchase the little USB iMic ( iMic Review ) from Griffin Technology for $35, which works quite well. So now we have an inexpensive way to input and output audio from our Macs.

As you know our Mac keyboards must be plugged into one of the two USB ports on the back of the Mac. The iMic and other USB audio devices, as well as some other USB devices, need to be plugged directly into the USB ports. I have tested plugging both the keyboard and iMic into a number of different powered USB hubs on the market. No go, neither device worked properly running through a hub.

So both my USB ports are taken, one with the keyboard and the second with the iMic. That's fine if you don't have or need any other USB devices. But I have other USB devices like Card Readers and a USB Zip drive. . . . and no place to plug them in.

Very recently Griffin Technology released a 4-Port USB Audio Hub. It's called an Audio Hub because this hub does work with audio devices as well as with all other USB devices. The hub can run from the power supplied by the USB port (for Power Book users) but also ships with a power supply as well.

The hub is a very small device, tiny in fact. I unplugged my iMic from the back of my Mac and attached the 6' cord from the hub to the USB port and used the included power supply to power the hub. I then attached my iMic and my Zip drive to the hub. I first tested my audio playback from FCP (output), and then tested the Voice Over tool (input). I also inserted a Zip disk and opened the disk on my desk top and then went back into FCP and tested the audio again.

Everything worked as advertised. This just might be the best USB Hub on the market.



Copyright Ken Stone, 2002.


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