Audio Solutions Question of the Week: What Is the Maximum Length for a USB Cable?

Audio Solutions Question of the Week: What is the maximum length for a USB cable?

Question: What is the maximum length for a USB cable? 

Answer: So you just purchased an Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB and you are ready to digitize some classic vinyl albums, but you have a problem. The provided USB cable is too short to reach the computer from where the turntable is sitting. Or perhaps you received an AT2005USB mic and you’re ready to lay down some vocal tracks, but again you are just too close to the computer. No problem: you just purchased a USB extension cable. But, still, nothing is working. What’s wrong? I guess you will just have to call the Audio Solutions team for help.

The Audio Solutions team will gladly help, but what we will ask is how long is the total length of USB cable you are using, including the extension and the original cable? When you tell us 20 feet we will immediately know the issue: the cable is too long. The USB 2.0 specification limits the length of a cable between USB 2.0 devices (full-speed or hi-speed) to 5 meters (or about 16 feet and 5 inches). Bummer!

So what are you going to do now? You just cannot move the turntable any closer. Well, all is not lost. It is possible to extend the length using some type of USB repeater, such as a powered USB hub or an active USB cable. These, in essence, repeat the transmission they receive and send it on to the other device. Please note that the cable on either end of the repeater cannot exceed 5 meters. So, you can extend the cable out to 10 meters (32 feet, 10 inches). But you need to go even farther, so you just keep adding cables and hubs. Hold on there, there are limits. The absolute maximum number of powered hubs you can use is 5, but it could get a bit kludgy using that many hubs. At that point it’s probably best to try another technology to accomplish what you want to do. 

If you have additional questions or would like a recommendation for an Audio-Technica product, feel free to contact the Audio-Technica Audio Solutions Department. We are always happy to help.


One Comment

  1. If you really need distance there are now USB via CAT cable extenders however I have not personally used them and do not know how they would work transferring audio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *