Old 03-31-2020, 03:41 AM   #1
AtmanActive
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Default ASIO is not always ASIO

Hi there,

I just had an interesting experience trying to achieve complex ASIO routing on my windows machine and I wanted to share it with everyone.

I had many ASIO devices in my time. From Creative EMU chips in Sound Blaster cards, via Yamaha/Steinberg and such. A year ago, I bought my latest ASIO hardware: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd gen

And that one worked kind of OK, not achieving very low latencies, but generally working correctly.

Until I tried to do ANY operation involving ASIO chaining. When I say ASIO chaining, I mean ReaRouteASIO or Rewire or Voicemeeter. There is this specific situation where one audio program needs to sit on the ASIO driver, but then, some other program needs to slave via ASIO to that first program. This is where Focusrite miserably failed. And I was lucky enough to catch the culprit and have a solution at hand.

So, it turns out, not all ASIO drivers are born equal.
And there are two levels to this thing: first: running alone and second: running in a chain.

There I was with my Focusrite pulling my hear out why oh why can't I successfully connect two ASIO programs. I mean, they would connect, but I would always get crackling noise, no matter which buffer size I set.
Then Vincent Burel explained in his forum post here, that these problems all come from badly written ASIO drivers. Then I remembered that, about 10 years ago, I bought Centrance Mic Port Pro exactly because of excellent ASIO drivers that accompanied it. So, I gave it a try and ALL of my crackling problems are now gone.

I am not writing this to try to convey that Focusrite is bad and Centrance is good. I don't care about any of them. I'm just trying to convey my surprise when I discovered that there is one more, mostly hidden, layer to ASIO drivers quality.

So, the bottom line is: not all audio and crackling problems are due to CPU and DAWs. Until recently I believed ASIO is just ASIO. What more there is to it. But now I learned my lesson. There is home level ASIO, and then, there is pro level ASIO. And which one is which - you will have to test for yourself.

I know that everyone is saying that RME has superior ASIO drivers, but RME has always been too expensive for me.

You can read about this whole story here.

Cheers!

Last edited by AtmanActive; 03-31-2020 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 03-31-2020, 08:17 AM   #2
mschnell
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Did you try "ASIO Bridge" (by the makers of Voicemeeter) ?

I in fact did install it, but did nit yet find out how to use it.

-Michael
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:28 PM   #3
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Till this moment I wasn't even aware that there is such a thing as "ASIO Bridge".

I will definitely test it out.

I have previous experience with Synchronious Audio Router (SAR) and this ASIO Bridge sounds very similar to that. SAR's purpose is to enable additional plain windows ins and outs on top of your existing ASIO. In that way you can record Reaper's output in some non-ASIO windows program, and, vice-versa, you can send output of some non-ASIO windows program into Reaper. It's approach is to "hijack" your hardware ASIO (configurable, of course) so you can use your ASIO hardware as normal. So far I used SAR with Open Broadcast Studio to create video screencast Reaper sessions and it was working great for me.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:39 PM   #4
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Ah, no, no, now I remember.

VB-Audio's ASIO bridge is just a simple ASIO client. It's primary purpose is to enable users to use non-ASIO windows programs on their ASIO cards that DO NOT have their native routing software and/or WDM drivers. So, imagine a situation where you have some XYZ ASIO hardware with 8 outputs, and you got no mixer panel or routing panel or similar. Whenever you play a sound from your browser, for example, it is playing to outputs 1-2 and you have no way of playing it to, for example, 7-8. Then you can use this VB-AUDIO ASIO Bridge to bridge that gap and send normal windows audio to any ASIO output pair. From my understanding, it has nothing to do with a DAW and can't be used in DAW context.

Synchronious Audio Router is something completely different. It is an ASIO layer on top of your hardware ASIO and it's primary use is from inside a DAW.
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtmanActive View Post
I know that everyone is saying that RME has superior ASIO drivers, but RME has always been too expensive for me.
Cheers!

Buy used, like I & many others have done. With RME you are pretty safe saving money that way. Check out the price of a new Babyface. I paid 300gb pounds for mine less than a year old. Same for my elderly HDSP 9652. Paid £150 more than ten years ago & its still going strong.
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