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Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

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Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby Ken P » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:21 pm

I'm moving back to Windows for my next machine, almost certainly coming from Scan following the recommendations on the forum.

Is it possible to use multiple audio devices simultaneously on windows these days? I use two, and sometimes 3 USB audio devices on a mac laptop at the moment by using what mac calls an aggregate audio device and it works very well. I recall struggling with this on W7 - is there a solution in W10 or with a third party application?

I'm using Ableton Live and just getting to grips with Bitwig Studio but both applications only allow me to select one audio device.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:07 pm

No, in general you can’t. Most interfaces still use ASIO which allows for one device at a time. You can have multiple devices connected but use only one at a time for audo. So if you need many inputs, you need an interface with many inputs, or create stems via a mixer at analogue level, or switch interfaces at DAW level.

Note that for non audio use, multiple interfaces work fine, for example I have an Apollo twin that I use to run UAD plugins on the audio processed by the RME
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:15 pm

One more thing - there’s nothing in the hardware or OS that prevents aggregate devices, it’s just not something people particularly demand I guess.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:40 pm

Im using Sonar X1 & CbB on Windows 10.

I cant run 2 ASIO sound cards in my DAW but I can run my DAW & watch youtube at the same time on the same sound card, so it looks like theres some kind of sharing scheme going on.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:48 pm

If you can put up with a little more latency you can use a different driver model - the standard Windows drivers allow more than one interface although software often limits you to using one (or separate ones for input and output). ASIO4All will, in some cases, also support multiple drivers if your software doesn't.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:08 pm

James Perrett wrote:Windows drivers allow more than one interface although software often limits you to using one

yes, Cakewalk only allows for selecting one driver model. Then there is another menu to select which card to use, of which you can only select one.

I have used WDM/ks sucessfully in the past [latency < 5ms] but im using ASIO now on a Behinger box.

Traditionally ASIO was one device only so i was surprised I could Youtube & DAW on the same card.

I understand that ASIO4ALL is just a bridge in series to WDM/ks drivers for devices that dont have ASIO ?

Theres probably a Martin Walker article about this somewhere !
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:10 pm

N i g e l wrote:Im using Sonar X1 & CbB on Windows 10.

I cant run 2 ASIO sound cards in my DAW but I can run my DAW & watch youtube at the same time on the same sound card, so it looks like theres some kind of sharing scheme going on.

That's because they are two different things.

The ASIO driver provides a direct access to the hardware, hence minimizing latency in recording. Basically an ASIO driver keeps filling a memory buffer with what's coming into the inputs (read from the hardware), and an application (for example a DAW) can decide to read that buffer and memorize the contents (i.e. record) - or fill the buffer for the interface to play back to its audio outputs (i.e. play).

The ASIO buffer exists independently and in parallel with the standard Windows audio subsystem which in many cases is not the most direct access to the hardware, and introduces unacceptable latency in recording.

When you're using the DAW with ASIO and using your browser (which has to work with any sound hardware so uses the Windows subsystem) at the same time, you're using these two independent subsystems - they both read from the same hardware so - as long you have enough computational resources to do so - you are able to play them together.

With WASAPI is possible to have a driver which talks directly to the hardware as ASIO does.. but most interface don't yet come with a suitable WASAPI driver.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:12 pm

N i g e l wrote:I understand that ASIO4ALL is just a bridge in series to WDM/ks drivers for devices that dont have ASIO ?

Yes, Asio4All simply expose the kernel streaming into a buffer that conforms to ASIO specs - basically allowing them to be accessed via ASIO api calls.

It's all nice for playback, but obviously doesn't help much for recording as you will get all the latency of kernel streaming plus a little something due to the wrapping itself.
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:36 pm

Thank you, That all seems very reasonable and makes sense.

The other issue mentioned was setting up Windows for audio. I think all I ve done so far in W10 was turn off the beeps and set "Optimise for background processes" & "optimise for performance".
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Re: Aggregate audio device on Windows 10 64 bit?

Postby openaspace » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:53 pm

I'm really disappointed...

I used dante on osx to receive signals from the main workstation (32ch) to my laptop and make myself sound when playing drums... and using the integrated soundcard for headphones..

how is possible that in windows it's not possible??!!!

In the daw I can see only the dante audio interface without any possibility to listen what is arriving in the laptop :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:
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