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Aggregate audio device possible in Windows 8.1
Old 21st March 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Aggregate audio device possible in Windows 8.1

Today I have found that Windows 8.1 supports use of 2 audio interfaces at the same time! So now it is possible to use one audio interface for playback, another audio interface for recording on PC.

Unfortunately, all the DAWs (except Samplitude ) that I know, support only ASIO drivers on PC, and my DAW Cubase allows use of only one ASIO driver. So I can't take advantage of aggregate audio device in Cubase on PC.
However, using ASIO4ALL, I can use 2 audio interfaces at the same time in Cubase too. Using ASIO4ALL I successfully managed to use the outputs and the inputs of 2 audio interfaces at the same time. Not just the outputs of one audio interface and inputs of another, but outputs and inputs of both the devices were working at the same time!

I hope Steinberg takes note of this development and allows use of 2 ASIO drivers in future versions of Cubase.
Old 21st March 2014
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
JimYoung's Avatar
Sonar supports WDM audio drivers. Back to the topic, I can't imagine a scenario where I would need to separate record and playback between two devices, and I wouldn't anticipate DAW software producers putting any effort into supporting that feature.
Old 21st March 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Non-ASIO drivers are probably high latency. The ASIOforALL driver will help many but usually is not the lowest latency driver available to use. You will find using an interface's specific ASIO driver will most likely give you the best latency. Real time low latency is one of the highest priorities for DAW use. Using multiple drivers/interfaces of different manufacturers will only result in a higher latency. Many interfaces will allow expansion so it's not about unreasonable I/O limits either. You can use 3 RME 9652 PCI card interfaces together to get 72 channels of I/O (really 78 I/O if you also use it's spdif). If you need higher I/O counts look at MADI interfaces (you can usually use 2 of them together). If you need uber high I/O counts look at the Fairlight for 256 channels I/O plus.

If you want to use different devices for recording and playback you are better off just getting the converters ONLY version of those devices and route BOTH sets of converters thru the SAME interface (the only thing I can think of where someone would do this is with using decent A/D converters for recording, then mixing ITB, and using a separate stellar stereo D/A converter for monitering).
Old 21st March 2014
  #4
Gear Head
 
DRC Music's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimYoung View Post
Sonar supports WDM audio drivers. Back to the topic, I can't imagine a scenario where I would need to separate record and playback between two devices, and I wouldn't anticipate DAW software producers putting any effort into supporting that feature.
Having 2 interfaces with 16 ins and outs combined for a total of 32 ins and outs... I can TOTALLY see a need for that. Mac users have enjoyed and used this feature for ever. It's built into OSX. Using ASIO4all sucks though... If Windows could do it at the OS level then it would be great
Old 21st March 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Of Light View Post
Unfortunately, all the DAWs (except Samplitude ) that I know, support only ASIO drivers on PC, and my DAW Cubase allows use of only one ASIO driver. So I can't take advantage of aggregate audio device in Cubase on PC.
Not true. Most DAWs do support WDM as it is the only format that is supported by all interfaces. Cubase puts it in an ASIO shell and calls it "ASIO generic interface" (or something like that, been ignoring it since forever).
Old 21st March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 
ChrisLudwig's Avatar
 

Hi,
In any Aggregate device setup the audio driver performance and stability will only be as good as the crappiest interface you are using.
So if one interface can only work reliable at say 512 buffer then that is the lowest buffer your Aggregate device will be.

WDM will support multiple devices but as mentioned above the whole thing is only as good as the worst interface you are using.

ASIO4All which acts as a WDM to ASIO wrapper has the same limitations. But because of the cool coding is able to work at latencies approaching the interfaces native latency. But again it will only work as well as the worst interface in the setup.


Also these devices will all need to be clocked to each other so any device you use will have a free digital I/O or word clock I/O for syncing.

Almost all of the better interfaces allow you to add multiples of that device or other devices from the same model series and the ASIO driver will see them as one device.
Any of the 16 ch interfaces already on the market will do this.

Thanks Chris
Old 21st March 2014
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Not true. Most DAWs do support WDM as it is the only format that is supported by all interfaces. Cubase puts it in an ASIO shell and calls it "ASIO generic interface" (or something like that, been ignoring it since forever).
I was talking about the ASIO drivers that are supplied by the manufacturers of the audio devices. Cubase allows use of only one such ASIO driver at a time. Cubase supplied ASIO driver is useless.
Old 21st March 2014
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
JimYoung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRC Music View Post
Having 2 interfaces with 16 ins and outs combined for a total of 32 ins and outs... I can TOTALLY see a need for that. Mac users have enjoyed and used this feature for ever. It's built into OSX. Using ASIO4all sucks though... If Windows could do it at the OS level then it would be great
The thing is, if I had a need for so much I/O I would just stack ADAT on my MR816CSX, and not bother with having to maintain two separate devices.
Old 21st March 2014
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKChris View Post
ASIO4All which acts as a WDM to ASIO wrapper has the same limitations. But because of the cool coding is able to work at latencies approaching the interfaces native latency. But again it will only work as well as the worst interface in the setup.
Yes I understand that. That's why I expressed my desire that future versions of Cubase will support use of 2 ASIO drivers at the same time. Then it will be possible to use the ASIO drivers that come with the devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKChris View Post
Also these devices will all need to be clocked to each other so any device you use will have a free digital I/O or word clock I/O for syncing.
That's my concern too. Only solution to this will be support of aggregate device at the operating system level by Windows.
But then again, Windows has nothing to do with ASIO drivers. It can at most supply an option to create aggregate WDM audio device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKChris View Post
Almost all of the better interfaces allow you to add multiples of that device or other devices from the same model series and the ASIO driver will see them as one device.
Any of the 16 ch interfaces already on the market will do this.
Yes. But for those, who are using audio interfaces that don't support expansion, the ability to use 2 devices will be nice, in my opinion.

Regards
Old 21st March 2014
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Of Light View Post
I was talking about the ASIO drivers that are supplied by the manufacturers of the audio devices. Cubase allows use of only one such ASIO driver at a time. Cubase supplied ASIO driver is useless.
Quote:
Unfortunately, all the DAWs (except Samplitude ) that I know, support only ASIO drivers on PC,
Ok, I guess I understood that part wrong.
What interfaces do you want to use, and why? I can hardly see a practical side to this.
Old 21st March 2014
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
What interfaces do you want to use, and why? I can hardly see a practical side to this.
I'm not talking about any particular interface. Made this thread just to bring into notice of interested PC users that maybe there is hope for aggregate audio device in PC platform.
Let me tell you about a possible scenario. One wants to record the USB out of one's Yamaha MOXF keyboard, and hear the playback on a separate audio interface. In that situation, aggregate device will be useful.
Old 21st March 2014
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Of Light View Post
I'm not talking about any particular interface. Made this thread just to bring into notice of interested PC users that maybe there is hope for aggregate audio device in PC platform.
Let me tell you about a possible scenario. One wants to record the USB out of one's Yamaha MOXF keyboard, and hear the playback on a separate audio interface. In that situation, aggregate device will be useful.
Ah, correct. I always found the USB port on "musical" devices a close-to-unusable feature. The same for mixers or guitar amps without a dedicated driver and/or monitoring options.
Old 21st March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Aggregates also allow you to access the SPDIF/AES ports on audio interface's that would otherwise be connected as dumb ADAT converters.

Also, on OS X you don't have to have all devices synced to word clock. You enable Drift (the Core Audio HAL's sample rate converter) on those interfaces that aren't word clocked. You don't get predictable sample accurate timing with Drift enabled though.
Old 5th October 2014
  #14
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
I can hardly see a practical side to this.
Expand IO, say for low-cost foldback channels, without having to buy another device from the same expensive series as one's premium recording IO, nor having to sacrifice sell a perfectly good one just to get another with more IO.

ADAT expansion doesn't always work.
Old 6th October 2014
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patanjali View Post
Expand IO, say for low-cost foldback channels, without having to buy another device from the same expensive series as one's premium recording IO, nor having to sacrifice sell a perfectly good one just to get another with more IO.

ADAT expansion doesn't always work.
Fair point, basically budget issues.
However, without having tested it, I do expect sync issues using any form of aggregate device on any OS as long as drivers report wrong latencies.
It is already hard to write a good driver for one device, but getting 2 different interfaces to run in perfect sync with a global driver comes close to magic IMO.

If anyone has tested this on Mac or with ASIO4ALL, feel free to slap me with screenshots of perfectly aligned slate signals on recorded tracks from different interfaces. Then I will be an evangelist...
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