You are here

Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Moderator: Moderators

Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby manwilde » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:09 pm

Hi all. I´m on Win7 64 bits, RME Babybface, Reaper.

So, I´ve been really chasing my tail here for a quite a while, and after browsing the Reaper forums and whatnot I believe I´ve eventually found the correct way to set things up. Just wanted to check with you. :thumbup:

I use the Sonarworks plugin on my monitoring effects in Reaper, since audio from the DAW, when using ASIO drivers, doesn´t seem to go through the Systemwide app, which takes care of the rest of the audio (Windows media player, VLC, Adobe Audition 1.5 Edit window).
BUT... It seems that Systemwide has to be turned off when using Reaper even if it´s not registering audio activity from the DAW. Doing so is leading me to achieve good translations for my mixes elsewhere at last. (Hopefully. - I still have to test more material to make sure).

Before, I was getting tons of mud and boominess on "real world" checks, precisely, I think, on the areas where Sonarworks was doing the most significant cuts. This was happening whether I used monitors or headphones for mixing, which made me think that maybe I was having my audio processed twice by Sonarworks, and this mud and boominess was the result of my EQ moves trying to compensate for that.

It all now seems to be coming out better...

How dou you go about this? Does it make any sense to you?.

Thanks a lot for your thoughts and comments, as always.
manwilde
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:21 pm

It really shouldn't (pass thru Sonarworks twice) since ASIO drivers and "the rest" are two completely independent signal paths. From the point of view of Windows, ASIO streams simply does not exist as audio, but it's just some data traveling thru the USB controller.

But: insofar I see, Systemwide installs itself as an audio output endpoint (i.e. Windows sees it as an hardware audio output) and bridges to the "real" endpoint (that is, your interface's speaker outs) - so that when you send audio to it, it processes it and then sends it over the the interface (and thus the speakers).

Under the disclaimer that I am not a Reaper user, I suspect that Reaper will "see" this output, exactly like any other output.

And usually a DAW, at startup, will by default route the master bus to the current Windows (WDM) output device, which is usually the interface. or better the ASIO equivalent of the current WDM device, if the configured driver model is ASIO.

If you have Systemwide set up, that default will be.. Systemwide.

So if you then put the correction plugin on your master bus and the master bus is routed to Systemwide (as opposite to the interface) then yes, you will process the audio twice.

If that's the case, the solution there would be either to disable Systemwide as you say (so that the WDM main is once again the interface, and when you open the DAW it defaults to that) or simply manually force the DAW's main outputs to go the interface device, and not the Systemwide device.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6944
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:39 pm

I use Sonarworks and Reaper but not the systemwide version I'm afraid.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12930
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby Ramirez » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:23 pm

I have Sonarworks set up in Reaper’s Monitoringn FX to only output to my Babyface Pro’s headphone output, so my speakers don’t get it.

I also have Systemwide set up, but I haven’t explored it fully. From recollection, when Systemwide detecs that the VST version is in use, it disables itself.

Also, Systemwide has had ASIO support for a few versions now, so it might be possible to configure it all there and not have it loaded as a VST in Reaper anymore. I shall have to investigate.

Aled
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1198
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Pwllheli, Cymru
www.stiwdiosain.cymru

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:17 pm

Ramirez wrote:I have Sonarworks set up in Reaper’s Monitoringn FX to only output to my Babyface Pro’s headphone output, so my speakers don’t get it.

I also have Systemwide set up, but I haven’t explored it fully. From recollection, when Systemwide detecs that the VST version is in use, it disables itself.

Also, Systemwide has had ASIO support for a few versions now, so it might be possible to configure it all there and not have it loaded as a VST in Reaper anymore. I shall have to investigate.

Aled

Like Aled, I also run Reaper and Sonarworks, with the Sonarworks VST plug-in placed in my Reaper FX monitoring chain so it affects playback but doesn't get included in any project renders.

Systemwide does indeed detect whether or not its VST plugin is active, and if so disables itself. However, despite the fact that the Systemwide utility has been available with an ASIO driver option for a few versions, I've left that alone, letting Systemwide run with WASAPI drivers.

This seems to avoid conflict, and also lets me play back other audio apps (Internet browser audio, YouTube, foobar2000 etc..) if necessary, while still keeping Reaper up and running in the background (or indeed, running in tandem). With ASIO of course, only a single application can use it at a time.

Hope this helps!


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 16943
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby manwilde » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:59 pm

Thanks all for your responses.
Still not sure about what´s going on, and I don´t wanna bore you with all the things that are different in my setup. It looks like my version of Sonarworks doesn´t have ASIO support, so Systemwide is not registering any Reaper audio regardless of my activating the plugin on monitoring effects. Whether it is doing something in the background or not, I´ve yet to find out...

Thanks anyway! :clap:
manwilde
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby manwilde » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:02 pm

@Martin: So, you use WASAPI for everything but Reaper, and run Reaper under ASIO, both things at the same time?. Excuse my ignorance...
manwilde
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:09 pm

Have you dropped Sonarworks an email? They've been pretty responsive the couple of times I've had to contact them.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12930
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:36 pm

manwilde wrote:Thanks all for your responses.
Still not sure about what´s going on, and I don´t wanna bore you with all the things that are different in my setup. It looks like my version of Sonarworks doesn´t have ASIO support, so Systemwide is not registering any Reaper audio regardless of my activating the plugin on monitoring effects. Whether it is doing something in the background or not, I´ve yet to find out...

Thanks anyway! :clap:

Just to clarify: do you see Systemwide as a possible audio output in Reaper configuration?
That's really the critical thing.

It installs itself as a Windows device (so obviously Windows sees it) but are you saying that you don't see it when Reaper is configured to use ASIO? (in other words, that Reaper's master bus goes directly to the interface device)?

If that's the case - assuming your default Windows audio device is Systemwide, you will be fine, because:

- when Reaper is configured to use ASIO devices and you use the plugin on the master bus, you will be going directly to the interface and the plugin will provide the correction.
- when you listen outside the DAW, Windows apps will use the default Windows audio device which as of the assumption will be as Systemwide, so Systemwide will be providing the correction.

It's only if you have both the plugin on the master bus and :

- either Reaper is configured with ASIO and "sees" Systemwide via ASIO (and sends the master bus to that device)
- or Reaper i configured to WASAPI (and sends the master bus to the default device)

that you will have double correction.

So in a way that fact that you don't have an ASIO driver for the Systemwide device is good - so long you use ASIO for Reaper and put the plug on the master bus - or you use WASAPI for Reaper, Systemwide is the default Windows Audio device and you don't put any plug on the master bus.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6944
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby manwilde » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:26 pm

Yes, that´s exactly how my system is working: ASIO for Reaper, which doesn´t see Systemwide as an audio device, and the latter for all the remaining Windows audio.
Maybe my problems with muddy mixes are only due to my incompetence and the fact that I´m still getting used to the calibrated audio. :headbang:

Still, if I try to change my buffer size from RME´s app that field is greyed out, whether I access RME settings from the desktop icon or from Reaper. I can only change the buffer from the Systemwide Settings window...

Also, I´ve tried contacting Sonarworks support when first installing the app at the project studio (this post is about my home computer) but they never got back to me, so I gave up. Their FAQ hasn´t been of much help either...

Anyway, I´ll keep you posted as I continue testing mixes.

Thans a lot for your help!.
manwilde
Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby Ramirez » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:42 pm

CS70 wrote:Just to clarify: do you see Systemwide as a possible audio output in Reaper configuration?
That's really the critical thing.

It installs itself as a Windows device (so obviously Windows sees it) but are you saying that you don't see it when Reaper is configured to use ASIO? (in other words, that Reaper's master bus goes directly to the interface device)?


This doesn't sound right.
If you're using the plugin, Reaper will not see it as an output device. You should set your output device to be your interface, as normal. The plugin is just that - a plugin that processes your audio before passing it on.
In my case, my ASIO inputs and outputs in Reaper are my RME Babyface Pro.
I have the Sonarworks plugin in Reaper's Monitoring FX, and I've set up the plugin's I/O window so that it receives on channels 1/2, but only outputs to channels 3/4 (ie the Babyface's headphones outputs, thus leaving my main speaker outs free of correction). Reaper still sees m Babyface as the only input and output device.

Under WASAPI, Reaper can see Sonarworks as an output device, but this is a bit pointless if your using a good interface with good ASIO drivers.


If I were you'd disable Systemwide to begin with, and work on getting the plugin working in Reaper. Try the plugin on your master track (not Monitoring FX) first- does it work there?

Aled
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1198
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Pwllheli, Cymru
www.stiwdiosain.cymru

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:11 pm

Ramirez wrote:
CS70 wrote:Just to clarify: do you see Systemwide as a possible audio output in Reaper configuration?
That's really the critical thing.

It installs itself as a Windows device (so obviously Windows sees it) but are you saying that you don't see it when Reaper is configured to use ASIO? (in other words, that Reaper's master bus goes directly to the interface device)?


This doesn't sound right.

Well, the manual says as much: Systemwide is a virtual audio device software that will process your system audio and apply calibration to it when it is set as the default output of your computer.

I think you're mixing up the plugin (which indeed is not, rather obviously, an output device) with Systemwide - which is.

Sonarworks' architecture is actually rather clever, as described above... exactly because people usually configure the DAW to use ASIO and thus to go directly to the interface (and therefore using the plugin on the master bus, since ASIO doesn't see that specific virtual device); but they use Windows Audio for everything else (since Windows, via WASAPI and other WDM driver models, can use the virtual device as an audio output). So you have correction regardless if you are in a DAW or not.

The only problem is if one does not understand the above and uses WASAPI in the DAW but also places the plugin on the master bus. But probably the two can recognize each other and thus ensure one gets automatically disabled - that's what I'd do at least.

It's also worth mentioning that there's nothing wrong or inferior with using the WASAPI Exclusive driver model instead of ASIO (and thus, for Sonarworks taking advantage of the virtual device and getting rid of the plugin altogether): they do literally the same thing - establishing in and out buffers and talking directly with the USB controller and doing DMA over USB... and arguably WASAPI could do it even a little bit better, being nearer, so to say, to the operating system internals and following an unified development path, as opposite to the myriad different implementations of ASIO drivers produced or customized by each chipset/interface manufacturer; ASIO is simply more "traditional". If I were to use Sonarworks I'd probably go Systemwide/WASAPI instead of ASIO (as I would certainly forget to disable the plugin every now and then).
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6944
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:18 pm

manwilde wrote:Maybe my problems with muddy mixes are only due to my incompetence and the fact that I´m still getting used to the calibrated audio. :headbang:

Ahah don't know but I guess it's possible to do muddy mixes even when using Sonarworks. Our head has a prodigious ability to take any midrange content and consider it perfectly ok after a few seconds of adaptation.. :D
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6944
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby Ramirez » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:32 pm

CS70 wrote:
Ramirez wrote:
CS70 wrote:Just to clarify: do you see Systemwide as a possible audio output in Reaper configuration?
That's really the critical thing.

It installs itself as a Windows device (so obviously Windows sees it) but are you saying that you don't see it when Reaper is configured to use ASIO? (in other words, that Reaper's master bus goes directly to the interface device)?


This doesn't sound right.

Well, the manual says as much: Systemwide is a virtual audio device software that will process your system audio and apply calibration to it when it is set as the default output of your computer.

I think you're mixing up the plugin (which indeed is not, rather obviously, an output device) with Systemwide - which is.

Yes, I know SW can be seen as an output device (hence my comment on WASAPI and Reaper). I was under the impression that the OP wanted to use the plugin with his RME drivers. My bad if I misunderstood!
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1198
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Pwllheli, Cymru
www.stiwdiosain.cymru

Re: Sonarworks Systemwide, ASIO drivers: what´s the right setup?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:30 pm

CS70 wrote:I guess it's possible to do muddy mixes even when using Sonarworks. Our head has a prodigious ability to take any midrange content and consider it perfectly ok after a few seconds of adaptation.. :D
Can confirm! ;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12930
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Next