ASIO?
Apr 1, 2006 at 4:43 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

Chri5peed

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Sorry, but I've searched these boards to no help and googled to get some technical pap.
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I've been hearing all about ASIO in loads of threads, but no one says what it is. What is it?
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The specs on my soundcard say ASIO 2.0



Don't forget any good answers will help more than me. When someone searches for 'ASIO' this thread will come up.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 5:47 PM Post #3 of 30

Chri5peed

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^ I've read that. It obviously not only reserved for recording stuff.

Would it be worth changing to for headphone listening, i.e. would it make stuff sound better?

Would I have to install some driver for my soundcard? Is it like 'Kernal Streaming', not much use.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 6:56 PM Post #4 of 30

sgrossklass

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With ASIO you have low-latency, bit-perfect, exclusive access to all the in/out channels a sound card may have; it's a full-blown API as opposed to kernel streaming which is more of a hack. We audiophiles usually care about the bit-perfect (no kernel mixer involved) and possibly the exclusive aspect only.
For example, I'm using Winamp5 with Otachan's ASIO output plugin (enables bit-perfect playback and gapless output; PM me if you want 0.51(dll) or 0.53(exe) which I've found to be rock solid while newer ones may cause random hangs on skipping) with ASIO4All (seems odd to convert to KS, but I had issues with native ASIO implementations in the past, like outright system crashes when trying to access a blocked card via MME or Windows' audio subsystem going crazy apparently after attempting the same) which then interfaces to the ProDigy 7.1 driver via KS. Sounds a bit complicated, and it might take a while to find a good balance between ASIO buffer size and number of buffers (more and smaller buffers might actually perform better), but this way I have reliable gapless, bit-perfect playback at any sample rate I want - what more could one want? I could even enable good-quality resampling in the ASIO plugin if needed, but since it isn't and drains a lot of computing time, it's left off.
 
Apr 3, 2006 at 1:18 PM Post #5 of 30

Bones13

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ASIO is used to send the digital information straight from the music file to an external DAC with minimal, if any, alterations (ie resampling etc.)

If you have an external DAC, and an ASIO enabled sound card, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The XFi and EMU cards come with their own version of ASIO, and therefore ASIO4all is not required. You will need to configure Foobar, or Winamp with the ASIO plugin. Choose the ASIO for your card in the configuration panel. There are some peculiarities of each implementation, but I know the Creastive ASIO and EMU ASIO are pretty easy to get going.

If you don't have an external DAC, I am not sure that ASIO is of much use, but then I have not tried that.
 
Apr 3, 2006 at 2:32 PM Post #6 of 30

Chri5peed

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bones13
ASIO is used to send the digital information straight from the music file to an external DAC with minimal, if any, alterations (ie resampling etc.)

If you have an external DAC, and an ASIO enabled sound card, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The XFi and EMU cards come with their own version of ASIO, and therefore ASIO4all is not required. You will need to configure Foobar, or Winamp with the ASIO plugin. Choose the ASIO for your card in the configuration panel. There are some peculiarities of each implementation, but I know the Creastive ASIO and EMU ASIO are pretty easy to get going.

If you don't have an external DAC, I am not sure that ASIO is of much use, but then I have not tried that.



That bit in bold, if its right, sounds a lot like using the optical-out of a soundcard to an optical-in of a DAC. Which is what I might do in the future.
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 1:11 AM Post #7 of 30

Trogdor

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chri5peed
That bit in bold, if its right, sounds a lot like using the optical-out of a soundcard to an optical-in of a DAC. Which is what I might do in the future.


Correct Chris, though most computesr/notebooks do not come with an optical out to use. YMMV.

Also, note, that one post I believe was inaccurate. Kernel Streaming *should* be equivalent to ASIO. My understanding (I have not looked at code) that ASIO was a response to the fact that all audio signals at one point in the Windows family were forced into the mixer which would then be streamed out to the audio device. Bit-for-bit perfect stream was effectively unattenable. ASIO fixed this by bypassing the mixer part but was a custom subsystem that had to be installed. Kernel streaming is now the official way of doing this in the M$ world (I'm a UNIX guy anyway but realize that Windows is currently a far superior platform to play music).

I use foobar2k/ASIO with my Apogee MiniDAC with great success...
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 11:42 AM Post #8 of 30

Chri5peed

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor
Correct Chris, though most computesr/notebooks do not come with an optical out to use. YMMV.


Well my soundcard has an optical-out, one of the reasons I bought it.

I'm currently using the line-out(via RCA) of the card into my SM3 amp, what advantages would there be to replace the line-out/RCA stage with a DAC w/optical-in.
So ASIO is of no real use to me then?
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 1:29 PM Post #9 of 30

zsevgymko

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bones13
ASIO is used to send the digital information straight from the music file to an external DAC with minimal, if any, alterations (ie resampling etc.)


Sorry if my question sounds stupid, but that means you don't need ASIO if you don't have an external DAC, right?
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 5:39 PM Post #10 of 30

StevieDvd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by zsevgymko
Sorry if my question sounds stupid, but that means you don't need ASIO if you don't have an external DAC, right?


No!

ASIO is just as likely to be sent out analog. It's basically less likely to be messed around with by the operating system. You can direct ASIO out analog/digital or usb even.
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 6:43 PM Post #11 of 30

zsevgymko

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Quote:

Originally Posted by StevieDvd
No!

ASIO is just as likely to be sent out analog. It's basically less likely to be messed around with by the operating system. You can direct ASIO out analog/digital or usb even.




I see, thanks for the reply
 
Apr 4, 2006 at 8:00 PM Post #12 of 30

sgrossklass

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Trogdor
My understanding (I have not looked at code) that ASIO was a response to the fact that all audio signals at one point in the Windows family were forced into the mixer which would then be streamed out to the audio device.


Actually I think ASIO dates back to, umm, 1996 or so, no kernel mixer back then (this only came with Win2k/ME). However, the Windows audio subsystem was restricted to plain stereo in those days, with no low-latency access possible until DirectX came along.
 
Jul 6, 2006 at 8:42 AM Post #13 of 30

adhoc

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if i have a laptop and am streaming digital via a usb to spdif convertor, do i need ASIO?
 
Jul 6, 2006 at 11:27 AM Post #14 of 30

pho_boi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by adhoc
if i have a laptop and am streaming digital via a usb to spdif convertor, do i need ASIO?


Not an expert, but I always thought it was best to use ASIO so that nothing gets upsampled by windows and stuff (so bit-perfect output from the digital).
 
Jul 6, 2006 at 10:23 PM Post #15 of 30

Bones13

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We pretty much all try to use ASIO or KS (Kernal Streaming) in Foobar or Winamp (your personal music playback program) to obtain a "bitperfect" stream of data from the disk storage right to the DAC. If one of these methods is not used, and WindowsXP is used to handle the data stream, then KMIXER gets ahold of your data stream, upsamples it to its "common" frequency so it can mix in all the dings and beeps that come from your computer into your music stream. Then it will downsample the data stream to the 44.1 or 48 output that it wants to, or is set to use.

We try and avoid KMIXER, having computer sounds mixed in, and having resampling of our data done before it goes to the DAC for listening.

That is why we have all the talk about ASIO and KS.

We are also hoping its a lot easier, and more predictable in Windows Vista.
 

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