Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Mark Williams
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by Mark Williams » Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:28 pm

No I'm afraid you are mistaken, not all ASIO drivers are equal.
Live 11, M1 Mac Mini, Push 2, KK S61 MK2, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 & ADA8200, Softube Console 1 Mk2, Deepmind12D, Eventide H9, Line 6 M5, Komplete 12, Hydrasynth, Cobalt 8M, NDLR, Bass Station2, MicroFreak, Alesis Multi Strike Pad

jestermgee
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by jestermgee » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:19 am

Seems there is some confusion in how things work. So for future Googlers who stumble over this... Please correct me if my years of research is incorrect.

ASIO is a simple 1:1 audio protocol which means 1 audio application can connect to 1 audio device with a "direct" path, bypassing the Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI). The reason ASIO was developed by Steinberg was because the Windows audio layer was not capable of handling the audio requests at the time especially when low latency processing was needed. This is still the case since WASAPI (shared or exclusive) is a layered audio solution running within a kernel to process requests when it is able to do so and run it through the windows mixing system with all the other requests it gets from other applications. This can be interrupted by other processes or delayed significantly with no real control over this.... ASIO bypasses all of that and offers a direct pipe with buffer control and a more stable process.

ASIO is a licensed tech meaning companies need to license its use from Steinberg and design the driver layer to suit their cards hardware specifically and this will differ in how this is done and how reliable the driver is.... Some companies are well known for their reliable and low latency drivers and cards (RME) as they invest a lot in how the hardware and drivers interact. There is a Multi-Client ASIO solution out there but not that is commonly in use.

Of course it is not logical that users these days wish to use only 1 application at a time, often users need to access web audio or other program audio so to solve this "most" pro audio drivers that offer ASIO will also allow concurrent WASAPI operation as a separate process allowing windows to operate as normal with audio but an application to also connect via the direct ASIO pipeline. Basically a dual driver system that just connects both ASIO and WASAPI together but they are still separated.

There are some catches here:
- Both ASIO and WASAPI sample rates must be the same to work.
- ASIO streams are still a 1:1 connection to the audio output so it is not possible to hook into the stream to record it using capture software.
- The ASIO connection will not be controllable from the Windows mixer, a separate utility for the audio card is needed

ASIO4ALL is a software driver solution, not a high level driver. It does not know the audio interfaces hardware, cannot guess the latency of different hardware and will "replace" the WASAPI driver when in use so using ASIO4ALL will result in only 1 application at a time able to access the audio system.

From ASIO4ALL FAQ:
CANNOT PLAY SOUND FROM ANOTHER APPLICATION WHEN ASIO4ALL IS ACTIVE
This by design. As close to the hardware as possible means that all the software mixing provided by Windows will be bypassed. Without any software mixing – and the associated latency and bit mangling – you are stuck with the hardware mixing capabilities of your audio device. Most of the time, there simply are no hardware mixing capabilities at all.
A workaround would be multiple audio interfaces which is a bit of a mess and rather unreliable plus adds extra system overhead and will probably degrade performance, but a proper audio interface with a shared ASIO/WASAPI driver capability is the norm these days. Do your research before hand and if a "pro interface" suggests the required ASIO driver is A4A then look elsewhere.

Again, if anything is incorrect or additional info is an advantage please (respectfully) share. Internet is full of info on this topic and it's not all that complicated to understand but it really is a thing you need to have some clue about or problems will arise.

just_in
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by just_in » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:21 am

jestermgee wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:19 am
There is a Multi-Client ASIO solution out there but not that is commonly in use.
This used to be true in the past, but for the last 5 or so years is no longer the case and drivers with multi-client ASIO support are much more common now.
Off the top of my head: RME, Behringer, MOTU, Native Instruments, SSL, Audient, Zoom... all offer products with multi-client ASIO drivers. Some of these use basically the same driver, provided by Thesycon.
Then there are some known absentees, like Focusrite and Steinberg, which don't support multi-client ASIO.
Note: the above doesn't necessarily apply to every product from these companies, I'm talking about their more popular USB sound cards here.

This functionality (multi-client ASIO) is rarely mentioned in the specs, though, so you have to rely on user reports. And users are often ill-informed and assume that we're talking about the ability to play Windows sounds along with ASIO, so you need to pay attention when scouting for info. I blame the popularity of ASIO4ALL for giving people the wrong idea about how actual ASIO drivers work.

Mark Williams
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by Mark Williams » Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:31 pm

just_in wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:21 am
jestermgee wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:19 am
There is a Multi-Client ASIO solution out there but not that is commonly in use.
This used to be true in the past, but for the last 5 or so years is no longer the case and drivers with multi-client ASIO support are much more common now.
Off the top of my head: RME, Behringer, MOTU, Native Instruments, SSL, Audient, Zoom... all offer products with multi-client ASIO drivers. Some of these use basically the same driver, provided by Thesycon.
Then there are some known absentees, like Focusrite and Steinberg, which don't support multi-client ASIO.
Note: the above doesn't necessarily apply to every product from these companies, I'm talking about their more popular USB sound cards here.

This functionality (multi-client ASIO) is rarely mentioned in the specs, though, so you have to rely on user reports. And users are often ill-informed and assume that we're talking about the ability to play Windows sounds along with ASIO, so you need to pay attention when scouting for info. I blame the popularity of ASIO4ALL for giving people the wrong idea about how actual ASIO drivers work.
Your wrong again Focusrite are multiclient asio.
Live 11, M1 Mac Mini, Push 2, KK S61 MK2, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 & ADA8200, Softube Console 1 Mk2, Deepmind12D, Eventide H9, Line 6 M5, Komplete 12, Hydrasynth, Cobalt 8M, NDLR, Bass Station2, MicroFreak, Alesis Multi Strike Pad

just_in
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by just_in » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:54 pm

I'm wrong again? What was I wrong about before? :o

Anyway, the latest (3rd gen) Focusrite Scarletts were definitely not multi-client ASIO capable at launch.
But it is possible that the functionality was added later, with an update. I trust that you have verified this to be the case, so I won't insist. :wink:

Mark Williams
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by Mark Williams » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:22 pm

My 2nd gen Focusrite works perfectly well with anything. Others have pointed out the inaccuracies you state. Perhaps try perusing the thread.
Live 11, M1 Mac Mini, Push 2, KK S61 MK2, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 & ADA8200, Softube Console 1 Mk2, Deepmind12D, Eventide H9, Line 6 M5, Komplete 12, Hydrasynth, Cobalt 8M, NDLR, Bass Station2, MicroFreak, Alesis Multi Strike Pad

[erm]
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by [erm] » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:26 pm

There’s no need to be snarky about this peeps.
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aklisiewicz
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by aklisiewicz » Fri Jun 25, 2021 2:26 am

Lots of technical info - that's nice but,..
the bottom line is how to make reliable solution to Windows users. I use BEHRINGER UMC-404. I want to play sound from LIVE and be able to switch to the browser, audacity etc without the need to close LIVE to hear the sound. Like I have said. I have spent 2 hours with the guy from Microsoft trying to resolve this. He was not an expert in sound but gave me few tips and finally this worked, but,.. only for a week or so.

I am not sure what I did that it stopped working for some time and not it is working again. Wired.

The problem with ASIO implemented with my device is that there is no Input/Output settings, so even if it is capable of multi-clients I see no wat to even monitor it. A4L at least has a GUI which allows to see what is going on.

I'm wondering if anybody really has some viable solution to this ?
Last edited by aklisiewicz on Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tarekith
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Re: Seeting up multiple sound sources and speakers

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:07 am

Save up for a better quality soundcard, you're not going to find an easy solution I'm afraid
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