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Confusion with asio, wasapi output.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So I have the Asus Xonar Essence ST audio card.

The beta drivers support bit-perfect audio, which as far as I know means that it automatically selects the sampling rate depending on what audio is being played?

Okay, now while using kernel stream, wasapi (well this one is obvious) or asio, I can only hear stuff from foobar2000.


Now I'm thinking it's kinda useless, since all my audio is in 44.1kHz anyway, so can't I just use the default non asio/wasapi/ks outputs so that I can hear everything (skype, youtube, foobar2000, windows itself) without any quality loss?

Assuming my audio files are 24/44.1, and driver is set to 24/44.1?


Somehow I think there is still a difference, or am I just imaging the sound difference in foobar2000?

The mind can play tricks sometimes.

post #2 of 22

afaik, in super easy general terms, when foobar uses asio/wasapi/ks etc to give you the signal, it is obtaining exclusive lock on the hardware, ie. system sounds and the like do not get to access the hardware and play their dings and clicks. at least it's that way in xp. in win7 they redid the audio stack, and i'm not exactly sure of the changes, but i do notice when i use wasapi in foobar it is doing the same thing (disabling system audio).

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I'm 100% sure wasapi does that, but I wasn't sure about the others.


Is there a way for everything to use say wasapi or asio?

Or is there no difference in using wasapi, or just setting the settings manually and using the default configuration.

post #4 of 22

well there's no real benefit to making the rest of the system use these specialized drivers. we only do it for our music because we audio nuts think that outputting bit perfect signals to the rest of our gazillion dollar hardware will make the music sound better.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

So it's one of those things in quality that apply in theory but have no difference in practice?

Basically your saying theres no difference in quality using bit-perfect or non-bit-perfect?

post #6 of 22

i'm saying there's no benefit to having system sounds go out of their regular way of traversing the audio pathway in windows to become bit perfect (which isn't the only benefit to using the specialized drivers). but for example if you play games that use eax or a3d or whatever you wouldn't be able to utilize that if you forced every program in your computer to go through one of these specialized drivers. at least i'm pretty sure that's the case.


as for the music, it's really up to your ears and your hardware. some people like making sure what's coming out is as "pure" as it gets so they can use their gazillion-dollar hardware to manipulate it. some people feel like it's not such a big deal and use their player's EQ to manipulate the signal. it all depends on what you like to hear.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

I don't know if I'm imaging or not but somehow the wasapi sounds better than the default thing.

But my problem is that if i use asio or wasapi, basically anything else than the default drivers, I can't hear anything else, like system sounds.

Is there a way to change this?

post #8 of 22

not that i am aware of. that's the whole point of using wasapi and foobar. it locks up your hardware and says, "i'm only playing music through this now. everything else, too bad."


now if you had more than one audio device, like your mobo's audio chip, and say, another sound card. you might be able to specify and direct sounds through each. i dunno. just guessing here. since win7 allows me to do that with video cards.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hmm, I still didn't understand whether using wasapi or asio etc has any difference to the normal sound thing? Where I can play everything at the same time.

Like quality wise.

Edited by naike - 6/16/10 at 12:43pm
post #10 of 22

when I'm listening to music I don't want to hear anything else anyway.  How can you listen to music and listen to the audio from a video at the same time anyway?  Do 1 or the other but not both at the same time.  Just common sense

post #11 of 22

ok, in simple terms, unless you have awesome ears, a ding or click played through the normal drivers vs wasapi/asio/etc should not have perceivable differences in "quality." as for youtube etc, honestly, you're not really gunning for quality here are you? same goes for other compressed video stuff. now, if you're watchign bluray with dts-hdma at the same time you're listening to music and can appreciate the quality of both, well then props to you and it probly will make a difference. otherwise, you really aren't doing much on your computer besides listening to music.

post #12 of 22

There is one thing that kills any difference (real or fake) - DBT. In Double Blind Test repited 10-20 times you finally coudn't differ your girlfrind from another one.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

You didn't get my point, I want to be able to start/stop listening to music when I want (when someone is calling in skype or links me a youtube link or something) it's just kinda stupid to open foobar and change the output each time I want to do something, be it listening to music or do something after listening to music. I also very often listen to music, then I decide to check my youtube subscriptions for example, or want to tell my friend in skype something.

But each time I want to do something I have to open foobar, as said, and change the output.


That's my problem...

post #14 of 22



I don't know if I'm imaging or not but somehow the wasapi sounds better than the default thing.

But my problem is that if i use asio or wasapi, basically anything else than the default drivers, I can't hear anything else, like system sounds.

Is there a way to change this?


WASAPI and WASAPI are two

  • shared mode, the output of WASAPI is routed through the Windows Audio Engine. This is the mixer so it is possible to play multiple audio streams
  • exclusive mode: the output is send straight to the sound card. Bypassing the mixer is what might yield a benefit in sound quality.


As exclusive mode bypasses the audio engine:

  • the mixer is bypassed so you can only play 1 stream
  • no SRC (sample rate conversion) is applied, what you send to the sound card must match its capabilities. If not it will yield an error


WASAPI in shared mode make no sense to me, you might as well use DS, the Windows default.

I do hear a difference between WASAPI in exclusive mode and DS. WASAPI sounds a tat more transparent.

As YMMV, do a listening test and compare DS with WASAPI exclusive.

If you don’t hear a difference, stick to DS for a hassle free operation.

If you do favour WASAPI exclusive, you have to live with the fact that anything not matching the capabilities of the sound card won’t play.


If you have 2 audio devices, say a DAC and the system speakers you can have WASAPI in exclusive mode and hear system sounds.

Simply set the onboard speakers to default playback device and in your media player choose WASAPI to your DAC

More details:


post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

I guess I wasn't imagining the difference between ds and wasapi afterall.

Well, I guess I'll have to live with it.


And I do have a onboard soundcard, but I only use 1 pair of headphones so it's going to be a problem.

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