You are here

Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby zekeyheathy » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:46 pm

Hi everyone,

Just a quick music technology question I wanted to ask out of curiosity as I can't find the answer elsewhere...

I currently use two USB audio interfaces: one for my general I/O, MIDI, monitors, headphones etc. and another one installed in my small eurorack modular for sending CV and audio to/from my DAW. I've always unplugged one before using the other as I've always for some reason assumed you should only have one connected to the computer at a time. Is this right or wrong?

Can you in fact have two interfaces plugged in at the same time and just switch between them in the DAW's audio settings. That's what I would ideally like to do but didn't want to potentially cause any damage to equipment before finding out. Thanks in advance :)
zekeyheathy
New here
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:29 pm

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:40 pm

Can't see a problem, that is exactly what you do when you use a USB interface instead of the computers onboard sounds. You certainly won't do any damage to the hardware (other than possibly overloading the USB's power and it should be pretty robustly protected from such things). You might run into software or driver issues (I'm long out of using Windows but IIRC you can't use two ASIO drivers simultaneously,But if you are switching maybe that would be fine. As you've posted this in the Mac forum I guess you're running a Mac? I haven't done it but I'm pretty sure you can use more than one audio device on a Mac ("aggregate device" is the phrase that springs to mind).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11513
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby CS70 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:41 pm

I assume you are talking about Windows? No problem. You can have as many as you like, but if you use ASIO drivers only one will be seen by the DAW at any given moment.

I have usually two - the RME and an UAD which I use to run their plugins, but which normally carries no audio.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4937
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby The Elf » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:52 pm

A lot of devices, incuding drum machines, workstations and synths, will report themselves as audio interfaces. I have at least 6 devices connected to my PC that are effectively audio interfaces. It's no problem. As the others have said, you can only use one ASIO driver at a time on a PC, but other than that it's a non-issue.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13718
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby Kwackman » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:00 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:As you've posted this in the Mac forum I guess you're running a Mac? I haven't done it but I'm pretty sure you can use more than one audio device on a Mac ("aggregate device" is the phrase that springs to mind).

Yup, in Finder, under the "Go" menu tab choose "Utilities", then open "Audio MIDI Set-up".
Bottom left of the dialog box is a "+", click there and you choose to "Create Aggregate Device".
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1529
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby zekeyheathy » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:12 pm

Cheers for the quick replies guys. I'm on a mac setup, not windows, but am open to learn about both. I suppose it shouldn't be a problem then, I'll look into the aggregate device settings. As long as there's no bad reactions I'm open to experiment with it
zekeyheathy
New here
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:29 pm

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:26 pm

For a long time I had an Apogee Ensemble which for some reason wouldn't turn on when power was applied but had to be turned on specifically which was a pain, not a big one but a pain nevertheless. So in the end I got an Edirol UA25 to do all the usual sound stuff plus MIDI (which the Ensemble didn't have), then I would turn on the Ensemble whenever I wanted to use it for recording. Both interfaces worked alongside each other fine. This sounds similar to your setup. On a Mac from my experience I would expect both to work fine if left on all the time.

I never used aggregation but I would expect that to work fine too. The Mac isn't quite as "it just works" as it used to be but it's still pretty good on that score.

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8270
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley, recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
If you want me I'll be down on Sound on Sound on Sound.

Re: Two audio interfaces connected to computer....problem?

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:15 pm

From what I understand, also with a Mac to get two interfaces to work correctly as an aggregate device you need them to be able to receive a master clock signal (there is some attempt to compensate drift from software but it’s not, I understand, that reliable).
So in practice there shouldn’t be much difference.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4937
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page