OP-Z and the Kingston Nucleum

So the latest firmware update is supposed to make USB connectivity (and USB powered hubs in particular) more robust and yet in the online manual, there is still only one USB hub on the whitelist: the Kingston Nucleum.

I ordered one thinking it might be the solution for me as I am currently trying to connect an Arturia Keystep to play the Z and simultaneously connect to an Endorphines Shuttle Control to sequence my eurorack stuff with the Z.

I just received it today and things aren’t going so well. Didn’t have the greatest first impression of the thing when I plugged it into the OP-Z and immediately a nasty whiney sound started coming out of the Nucleum. This is just an OP-Z and a Nucleum… nothing else plugged into anything. My intention was to plug power into it anyway so fine! I plugged in power and the whine went away.

So first: the things that worked:

  • Keystep worked just fine
  • OP-1 also worked fine
  • Keystep + OP-1 both plugged into the hub at the same time also worked fine

On to the bad:

  • Shuttle Control did not work through the Nucleum
  • 2018 MacBook Pro did not work through the Nucleum

I’m swimming in USB cables and adapters over here so I tried a lot of combinations. I’ve got the OP-Z USB-C to USB-A cable which works fine directly from the OP-Z to the Shuttle Control. No luck with that. I’ve got a not-often-seen USB-A to USB-A cable as well. I’ve got these little USB-C adapters too and no combination of the aforementioned worked with EITHER the MacBook Pro or the Shuttle Control.

Sidenote, with the MacBook Pro, directly connecting the OP-Z using its cable + that little Aukey adapter Iinked above ONLY works when they Aukey adapter is on the MacBook Pro side! Not very reassuring. The USB-C to USB-C cable I have from an iPad Pro works fine.

UGH… anyways… I didn’t really want to spend $50 for this Nucleum, but I was counting on it solving all my problems, but it turns out to be a big fail… and this is the ONLY powered USB hub that Teenage Engineering is putting on the whitelist?


The op-z can only see two USB devices simultaneously through the hub (it was one device before the latest firmware update). How many are you plugging in along with the mac?

Also, why do you need an adapter to connect to your Mac? Both the MacBook Pro and the OP-Z have USB-C, right?

In the situations I described, I was testing those devices (Shuttle Control, MBP) alone… not even simultaneously. And the point I was trying to make is that it’s worrying that those two devices, which work fine directly, do not work at all through the ONE whitelisted USB hub.

I find that the order you hook everything up is important too. Not that I can ever remember the correct order.

FWIW, USB-C seems to be a bit of a pain all round. I’ve tried several hubs on my iPad, and the Nucleum is the only one that doesn’t drop the audio connection, or fail in some other way. And these were all good brands - Anker for instance.

Is there an improvement here with the latest OP-Z firmware?

Good question

1 Like

I just got a Kingston and am testing out connecting OP-Z and OP-1. So far not much luck.

I’ve experienced one or both devices powering off or restarting and I have yet to get them to control one another. Maybe the order of connecting matters, as @Mistercharlie noted.

Also, when everything is connected the whine from both units drawing power is distracting. Setting both OP-1 and OP-Z to not be charging improves things but it’s still pretty bad.

I’ll spend more time on the setup today as I’m still thinking it might be my own user error.

I get the whine no matter how I connect them together — direct or via a hub.

Try plugging the power into the hub before connecting the OP-Z. And turn the OP-Z on last. You have the OP-Z connected to the permanently-attached cable of the Nucleum, right? That’s essential.

y’all need that ground loop isolator

Thank you for this tip. This helped solve my challenges, as I was mistakenly trying to connect the permanently attached cable of the Nucleus to my power source.

And, this solved the other part of my problem-- the noise. Once I added the isolator, the noise was relatively quiet, a massive improvement, and no longer a distraction. In fact, I even have OP-1 and OP-Z set to be charging, and the noise is still minimal to my ears.

Prior to getting the Kingston Nucleum I connected OP-1 and OP-Z via a USB-C to mini USB cable (link), which worked fine except the OP-Z lost its battery power with a quickness, and despite my having turned off charging on both the OP-1 and OP-Z. So, I’m thrilled to now have a setup working that allows connectivity and ability to charge.

I’ll now be testing further to see if all of the above removes true with more extended usage. Summary of setup, in case it’s helpful to anyone:

I tried to have a setup Keystep + OPZ + Ipad air 2 with the kingston Nucleum,
and I can’t send midi or audio through the hub (it worked previously with the camera kit).

Does it need a specific cable between the Ipad and the hub ?
Any idea to make this setup working ?

Here are shematics of the differents solution I tested