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Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

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Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:58 pm
by MarkyC
Hi All,
Sorry this is probably a totally stupid question, based on my very old school concepts of recording, but on that has been perplexing me for a while.

My desire is to record Audio and Midi in real time from two hardware sources via USB.

I have two hardware modules (a synth and drum machine) both have USB connectors which I have sent directly to my PC and hence DAW (Cubase). Both are work fine and send and receive data just as they would if I were using good old MIDI.

However, both companies (Access and Roland) say that you can record audio over USB. Great I’m thinking I can get more gear working without having to increase the size of my mixing desk i.e. sneak more gear in without it being that obvious. Also this would speed up workflow as currently I record to midi then have to re-record the audio (bounce to audio is not supported by these units apparently). But when I go into the setup for inputs I only see my sound card and no additional USB audio ins.

I can change the sound card settings to be those of the hardware connected (but only one or other obviously) and for the Roland have to change the project setup entirely hmm. This then does not give me the audio in’s for the other products.

Many years ago one of my first posts was why was audio not coming out of my midi jacks, I feel like I’m back to stage one again I’m either missing something so basic or my expectations have been somewhat over sold…….

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:06 pm
by Sam Inglis
Unfortunately one of the main limitations of the ASIO driver protocol on Windows is that it only supports a single device. There's no built-in way to 'aggregate' multiple devices with their own drivers in order that a single audio application can see them. It is supposedly possible to do this using a third-party utility called ASIO4ALL, but I've not tried this myself.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:28 pm
by MarkyC
Ah OK looks like selling the dream of audio over USB for multiple devices is a bit of a red herring then hmm.

I have the ASIO4ALL drivers installed, will look into it. Thanks will stop wasting my time trying to figure out another work around.

Many thanks as always.

M

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:37 pm
by desmond
MarkyC wrote:Ah OK looks like selling the dream of audio over USB for multiple devices is a bit of a red herring then hmm.

Not *everyone* is on Windows. :headbang:
Macs have a a system-supported built-in way to aggregate devices, for example, and this works fine... :thumbup:

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:53 pm
by The Elf
MarkyC wrote:I have the ASIO4ALL drivers installed, will look into it. Thanks will stop wasting my time trying to figure out another work around.
I've often heard this story about ASIO4ALL being able to aggregate, but I never got it working. If you do then come back and tell us about it, but I very much doubt you'll have any joy.

It seems to me that the market is wide-open for a hardware ASIO aggregator, but I suspect if it were simple it would be on the shelves by now.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:59 pm
by ef37a
Ok Marky, this will cost you nothing but time and you can swear at me if I have wasted it!

Download the 30 day trial of MAGIX Samplitude Pro X3 . Using MME drivers I am sure you will be able to setup two (X 2?) audio tracks and two MIDI tracks from the USB devices. They will not stay in perfect sync but will drift very little for a typical 3minute song and Sam makes it easy to "slide" things about anyway.

Or, do the MIDI devices have DIN ports? If so and you get a good interface such as the Native Instruments KA6, you can chain the MIDI into that and record 4 line inputs as well and all with the superb NI ASIO drivers.

Dave.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:27 pm
by MarkyC
OK that's interesting, so more of a Windows limitation rather than product hype.
I'll look at the ASIO4ALL, but not the greatest tech head... (I'll probably be quiet on this one Elf!)

MAGIX Samplitude Pro X3 looks interesting Dave, I'll definitely try this one out.

I'm rethinking the way everything works and interacts with each other. Like the KA6 Dave but really want to expand the number of sources in the future (sorry that was subtext not explicit apologies).

OK let the head scratching commence!

Cheers,

Marky

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:57 pm
by James Perrett
MarkyC wrote:OK that's interesting, so more of a Windows limitation rather than product hype.

It isn't a Windows limitation - if your software uses the native Windows drivers you can access multiple interfaces. Unfortunately Steinberg don't even try to conform to Windows standards so you won't be able to do this with Cubase. Reaper, Sonar and the various Magix programs were written by people with a better understanding of Windows so they support the different native Windows drivers (as well as ASIO).

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:07 am
by DC-Choppah
Dude, you need an audio interface if you want to record audio into your USB port.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:44 am
by The Elf
James Perrett wrote:It isn't a Windows limitation - if your software uses the native Windows drivers you can access multiple interfaces. Unfortunately Steinberg don't even try to conform to Windows standards so you won't be able to do this with Cubase. Reaper, Sonar and the various Magix programs were written by people with a better understanding of Windows so they support the different native Windows drivers (as well as ASIO).
A bit unfair. You *can* choose other drivers in Cubase (such as WASAPI - much improved, but still slower than ASIO). ASIO was designed and written way back when there was no other sensible Windows (and no cross-platform) option. Latency before the dawn of ASIO could be measured in trips to the kettle!

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:54 am
by jimjazzdad
I have ASIO4ALL driver installed on a WIN7 PC and Reaper recognizes two PCI sound cards at once...I will have to try plugging in a USB interface and see if it will allow that to run concurrently as well...

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:57 pm
by James Perrett
The Elf wrote:ASIO was designed and written way back when there was no other sensible Windows (and no cross-platform) option.

I think we're probably always going to disagree on this. My opinion on Cubase on the PC was formed after buying a copy and joining their email list. It was obvious from the company's postings when people complained about their unstable software that Steinberg felt forced into moving to the PC by its increasing popularity but, unlike Cakewalk, they wanted, nothing to do with Microsoft and the improvements that Microsoft were making to Window's audio performance with DirectX. Whenever anyone complained Steinberg always blamed Microsoft.

At the time I was developing software for Windows and, while the DirectX interfaces weren't simple, they offered a great deal of versatility to anyone who was prepared to work with them. Steinberg's refusal to acknowledge these existing standards left me feeling that they weren't doing a good job so I've not even considered buying any more of their software.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:27 am
by CS70
The Elf wrote:
MarkyC wrote:I have the ASIO4ALL drivers installed, will look into it. Thanks will stop wasting my time trying to figure out another work around.
I've often heard this story about ASIO4ALL being able to aggregate, but I never got it working. If you do then come back and tell us about it, but I very much doubt you'll have any joy.

It seems to me that the market is wide-open for a hardware ASIO aggregator, but I suspect if it were simple it would be on the shelves by now.

ASIO4All is a wrapper, it does nothing more than wrap the WDM driver(s) you have. It doesn't do anything else than present a WDM driver as an ASIO device for software that doesn't talk WDM natively.

It can easily receive data from any of the WDM devices you select. The author doesn't publish the code, and I have no time nor inclination to debug it, but it's very likely that It does not do any timing coordination between them - that would require building an entire timing subsystem, and figure out how to latch it on every connected device, which is far beyond the scope that the original author wanted (which was just to present a single WDM thru an ASIO interface).

So while devices can be aggregated, their relative timing will likely be all over the place, unless you're lucky. Without a sharing timing source which coordinates the devices, it will technically work but the result will be rather useless: all interfaces will send data when they want and ASIO4All at some random point will have to solve conflicts ("play this!", "play that!") and most likely simply picking one request at random and discarding the other(s). That'll mean random glitches and interference. However, if one were able to time-coordinate all the sources (like with an external hardware clock for example) it would likely work just fine.

Besides that, WDM processes data thru a bunch of standard components, such as the Windows mixer, that have their own buffer and so add quite a bit of latency. So using ASIO4All for recording it's not gonna be that useful anyway - even with a single interface. WDM is just too slow.

It is perfectly possible (and rather simple) to write a ASIO-ASIO aggregator. It would however face the same issue - either assume timing coordination from outside, or enforce a timing coordination scheme - something that ASIO doesn't provide for (insofar I remember, haven't read the spec in a few years).

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:58 am
by ef37a
jimjazzdad wrote:I have ASIO4ALL driver installed on a WIN7 PC and Reaper recognizes two PCI sound cards at once...I will have to try plugging in a USB interface and see if it will allow that to run concurrently as well...

That should work. Some years ago I ran a 2496 and a Behringer BCA2000 USB AI in W7 to get 4 tracks from a Teac A3440 OR machine. That worked with Samplitude SE8 and MME drivers for the few minutes son needed to 'dump' tape tracks. They were not, as said, perfectly in sync, neither did they even start exactly at the same time (a sample of two out) but this did not matter for his application. Latency was of course of no moment at all.

A later kludge was to use a Mdisc recorder as a gash analogue to S/PDIF converter. That of course DID sync everything to MD digital.

You can TRY just about anything! Might hum, might crack over but won't smoke!

Eventually I bought a 4 input AI in the shape of the NI KA6 but by this time son had sugared off back to France!

Dave.

Re: Recording audio over USB – possibly very stupid question…

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:02 am
by blinddrew
All this goes to prove that there is no such thing as a stupid question! :)