E licence-which USB port?

Is it better to put my E licence dongle into a USB port directly into the computer or on a hub which I have running from my iMac?

It’s always best not to use a hub for the USB eLicenser because it is contantly checked by the application. I have also found (on Windows) that it’s best to use a USB2 and not a USB3 port as the USB eLicenser is USB2 only. That said, just try it out and unless you encounter a problem, just do whatever works. There is huge variation in the quality of USB implementations so you may have hardware and OS that “just work”.

I have had mine on a hub for a decade+ without problems. It makes it easier to keep the dongle out of the way so it doesn’t get damaged. Even if you use a port on the computer putting it on an extension cable is a good way to get it out of the way. If using a hub, go with a powered one.

+1, not quite ten years for me yet but no issues with several years on a cheap unpowered hub.

Also worth mentioning, the more recent USB eLicenser models appear to behave better:
Re: Cubase slow to start up, any ideas?

As far as I know, hubs aren’t supposed to be slower or anything like that.

I seem to have a small collection of dongles but am not sure how to tell which generation each one is. It would be nice to know their age order.

Many thanks for your input.The reason why I was asking about this issue was that when I was opening certain songs and the licence would fail on HALion Sonic 3. Ive since done a maintenance check on my dongle which appears to be OK and also moved it to the main USB outputs on my iMac and so far touch wood all seems to be working OK. Interesting that the dongle is made for USB 2-Ive had mine for years! I would have thought for compatibility there would be a new USB 3 dongle? OR is the difference not worth bothering about?

The older ones are in fact USB 1.1 and while there is probably not an issue with speed, there can be issues with the implementations of the older operational modes on newer host hardware, i.e. when a USB3 controller finds a USB2 device, it “falls back” to that mode, and it is this behaviour which can be tricky. I don’t know about Mac but on Windows, there can also be issues with the mainboard chipset and its drivers.

It would be great to have a scientific explanation for all of this, but in the end the only thing I can recommend is to always use the latest drivers, bearing in mind that sometimes an older version might get installed if for example you need to reinstall an older product. Every new release of a Steinberg software product comes with what was the latest version at the time of release, but you can get the drivers individually (along with a troubleshooting guide) from the eLicenser website.

Thanks Mrsoundman Ive often found that even the e license is out of date by one version there can be problems. Hopefully now Ive changed the input and done a maintenance check all will run smoothly


I actually plug it in on 3 different systems all the time and on 2 pc’s from front, back to hub ports? Never had any issue. So I think it’s save to say it doesn’t really matter where you plug it in? As long as it’s recognized.

Slightly off topic but the OP got his/her answer. :wink:

If I read the posted link right, the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th generation of dongles all have the same processor which is faster than the 1st generation… right?

So moving from the 1st to 4th (latest) generation dongle gets you the faster processor. And the only reasons to move from a 2nd or 3rd generation to the current 4th generation would be:

  • To have a spare
  • The older one broke
  • The smaller size is needed

Seems weird to me that the processor has not been improved since 2003.

Regards :sunglasses:

You should not think in terms of a ‘processor’ when it comes to an e-licencer dongle? A dongle is just a device that uses a form of hardware encryption/algorithm that needs to be recognized by the system in order to be used by the software that needs it to be able to operate? You can’t have a ‘spare’ dongle because every license is locked to a USB-elicenser ID. So you can only move licenses to another dongle. You can’t keep a backup copy of it on another dongle. That’s why it’s so important to make sure all your licenses are registered and synchronized with your ‘My Steinberg’ account in case you need to move to another dongle!

You need to look at it this way; These new ‘generations’ are more compatible with current USB versions? So the first generation was probably only 1.1 compatible and the 2nd’ 3rd and 4th can handle 2.0 and maybe even 3.0 for the latest version? However, the embedded encryption/algorithm will not change. So the ‘latest’ versions will not make your products faster. It will only ensure better compatibility with current USB versions.

Thanks for your responses. :wink:

FWIW…the reason I mentioned a faster “processor” was because that is what was described in the Steinberg link as the improvement between dongle versions 1 & 2. They list no “processor” improvement between versions 2 & 3 or 3 & 4 and they only list smaller size and an associated more “solid feel” as improvements between versions 3 & 4.

Still, I am a bit surprised that the “processor” has not been improved since version 2 as that version is now 10 years old.

I do have a “spare” 2nd dongle ready to be used as necessary if/when my 1st one craps out or gets broken or lost. I consider having the spare a necessity for taking advantage of the “Steinberg Zero Downtime” support.

Regards. :sunglasses:

I’ve replaced both my version 2 USB eLicensers with version 4’s because (a) one my main computer, startup is faster and (b) on my mobile rig, I can fit the smaller one inside the laptop. The version 2’s are kept as spares.

I recently had some trouble with my eLicenser, had to do a maintenance almost daily.
I then discovered that when I last did unplug my mouse and had to remove the eLicenser dongle in the process. I had plugged the eLicenser into an usb 3.0 port by mistake, moving it to a usb 2.0 port fixed the problem.
Some of the USB 3.0 ports on my motherboard are realized by using an additional Marvell chip, and I guess that was the main compatibility problem.

Ive just done some detective work and found out my dongle is 2nd generation so maybe its time to update?

Good question that I hope will get some answers.
The Steinberg website only mentions the improvements as “even more compact and thus more solid”. I was hoping to see an improved “processor” from dongle versions 2/3 & 4.

Regards :sunglasses:

Ive sent a message to Steinberg for clarification that if I did buy the latest dongle does it have any actual improvement worth upgrading for.