Connecting iPad Pro 2021 to a separate video and sound system

I brought my iPad Pro 2021 M1 over to a restaurant today to test it on their audio-visual system in preparation for a party we’re having next month there.

Their system has a separate HDMI projector and speaker system. So the USB-C to HDMI cable I had bought only worked for the video. There was no way to connect to the sound system. That required connected to an audio-jack.

If I get a USB-C adapter with lots of ports, including HDMI and an audio jack, like in the photo, should that work?

Anybody have one of those they can recommend? I just grabbed this while searching on Amazon.

That should work, but an audio extractor is a much simpler (and cheaper) solution. Currently, only $20 on Amazon. It works a treat. Either device requires external power through a USB cable, which is included with the extractor.

The device I mentioned is only $17 in U.S. dollars. I’m curious, though, why you say the device mentioned is simpler.

At the restaurant, they have two input cables: an HDMI cable to go into your HDMI port and an audio jack to go into your audio port. They say that people with computers and those ports never have any problems.

Wouldn’t the kind of adapter I mentioned simply provide the needed ports (which are on my MBP, but I don’t want to bring that if possible)?

What do you mean about requiring external power? The device I showed doesn’t just connect to the iPad’s USB-C port and Bob’s Your Uncle?



It’s returnable, but I went ahead and ordered the one I posted. It’s only 90 g. It plugs into the iPad’s USB-C port. In addition to the HTML and audio plug I need, it includes extra USB-C ports including one that’s just a charging port, so I can keep my iPad connected while using for the presentation - or for other charging.

I didn’t quite understand the advantages of the other suggested device in this case, but like I mentioned it’s returnable for 30 days so I can still change my mind.



I always feed video to the venue projector from an iPhone. No need to carry a laptop, or even iPad. Here is the kit I carry to every event where a projector will be in use. (The event technicians never have everything you need.)
From top to bottom:

  • 2 HDMI cables (one in, one out)
  • Audio extender cable
  • 2 types of audio cable
  • Audio splitter with its USB power cable
  • Lightning-to-HDMI Adapter (or your USBC-to-HDMI version)
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That audio extractor would be very useful for connecting to a projector and separate audio system. Most projector’s speakers are dreadful. I must pick one up.

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Wow. Looks complicated! :slight_smile: Plus I need to use my iPhone during the event. The device I ended up getting weighs just 90 g and requires nothing extra because the restaurant already has connectors ready to plug in to the HDMI port and audio jack.

I could bring my MBP with me, but I’d rather take the lighter - and almost never used (!) - iPad Pro.

Great. Please report afterward to let us know how it goes.

What is the black box?

Is their sound system wired to get audio from the projector? The answer might be as simple as that.

If you want to test this theory, here are two things you can try:

  • Try connecting your iPad to your home TV’s HDMI port. Do you get audio there? If yes, then it’s the venue. If no, then it’s your iPad.
  • Try connecting a DVD or Blu-Ray player to the venue’s projector (of course, it may be more awkward to try this test) and see if you get audio that way. If yes, then the venue is delivering sound. If not, then it isn’t.

If the iPad is not delivering audio via your USB-HDMI adapter, it is possible that it is not delivering audio, but it would surprise me. I would expect most such adapters to be mostly-passive, relying on the connected computer (iPad) to send video over the port via a USB “alternate mode”. Not an active video source generating the HDMI signal internally.

And this might be the actual cause of the problem. USB-C is documented to support a “DisplayPort Alternate Mode”. DisplayPort is not an audio-capable standard, so when a DP signal is sent over an HDMI cable (using DP’s HDMI-compatibility mode), it won’t have audio either.

So yes, a USB-C hub/dock that offers HDMI and audio-out should work. The DisplayPort signal won’t have audio, but you’ll have a separate port for that.

On the other hand, there may be exceptions to this rule. The Thunderbolt port on my old MacBook Air delivers audio to HDMI when I connect a miniDP-HDMI adapter to its Thunderbolt port (and then connect it to a TV). But maybe that’s a particular feature of Apple’s TB port. A USB-C port is, of course, a completely different interface.

The restaurant owner explained to me that the HDMI display and the sound system are just separate is all. He said they always connect their HDMI cable to the customer’s PC HDMI port and the sound system to the customer’s PC audio port.

So I’m hoping this provides me with the same features on my iPad is all. The problem was apparently just that my iPad doesn’t have an audio plug. Just a USB-C port.

I will try testing to the best of my ability with the limited equipment I have at home. For example, I don’t have DVD or BlueRay players or a TV set. For streaming, I usually watch on my MBP with an external monitor and sound coming from my MBP speakers.

It seemed to be just an issue of the iPad Pro not having the needed ports.




Excellent point, Dave! At your suggestion, I just connected my iPhone straight-through to my television’s HDMI port. The audio is there.
Yet the HDMI cable run to me by the event technicians (convention presentation, memorial service, hotel ballroom, etc.) always fails to carry audio. It seems that it’s the goofy setup at the venue every time. Moral: Always pack your own audio splitter.

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A lot of venues don’t run a HDMI cable all the way through. They add in an Ethernet cable for the bulk of the run with essentially HDMI adaptors/cables at the ends. Much cheaper.

I’d also like to see what they’re doing behind the scenes.

I suspect they’ve got some kind of video-input/switch that lets them run a variety of video cables (HDMI, VGA, composite, DVI, etc.) to the room, and the switch is video-only. So the audio gets discarded.

Or the audio isn’t coming from the TV/projector, but is a completely separate audio amplifier, which would obviously require a separate input.

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By coincidence, a friend dropped by today with his iPad Pro and an old WD hard disk that he had connected to his old iMac that no longer worked. He wondered if there were any old photos on it and if they could be restored to his iPad from the drive.

Since I had my new adapter, I tried and was amazed to see that it was a Time Machine drive and immediately mounted. I could easily maneuver into his account and go into Photos and find his Pictures from 2004-2009 album selected all the photos and download them to his iPad where they immediately appeared in the Photos app and synced to his iPhone.

He was amazed, and so was I. It’s been a long time since something from Apple “just worked” like that. :slight_smile:

Next time I’d like to help him move all his old music from the drive into the Music app. That either was not as simple or was just taking too long to finish.

But this opens up a whole new world of using the iPad for me.


I can’t seem to find that hub on Amazon. Could you post a link? TIA.

I got it from Amazon here in Japan. But this should at least tell you which model it is. And you should be able to see the details in English.


USB C ハブ 9-in-1【令和5年高機能版】4K対応HDMI出力ポー/PD85W急速充電対応/SDカードスロット/3.5mmオーディオジャック 搭載 Windows/Mac Air/MacBook/iPad Pro/ChromeBook他対応【高速USB3.0ポート】


Doesn’t appear that any XinWeiDa hubs are sold in the US, but there are many other USB-C hubs.

Interesting. There are probably copies of it under different maker names.

What I wanted mainly was the HDMI port and audio port. This one only cost like $20, seems to be good quality and very lightweight, and so far works in my testing.

In addition to those two ports it includes a USB-C port for data, a USB-C port for charging (needed when using with an iPad otherwise you can’t charge the iPad when using the hub!), three USB3.0 hubs (like for external drives), micro SD and SD ports.

I guess if you look through the offerings you can find ones with the same kind of specs.

I think this is one of those generic Chinese devices that gets sold by dozens of completely unknown vendors, with identical photos and product descriptions, which will vanish in a month or two, only to reappear soon afterward with completely new company names.

For example, do an Amazon search for “USB C Hub 9-in-1 audio” and looking for photos like the “XinWeiDa” device, I found:

This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the devices, but don’t expect any support if you have a problem with it, because the company may cease to exist in a few months.