Who Has Tried Windows Audio?

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:47 pm

You've probably noticed in recent years that Windows 10 has changed how audio shows up on PCs. We used to get MME/Wave or DirectX options for audio but now we just get one option - Windows Audio. I've been on a bit of a spending spree lately and installed quite a few standalone versions of the instruments I've bought and I notice that they are perfectly playable from my Roli using the default set-up, which is always Windows Audio. So I decided to try an experiment and run Studio One using Windows Audio instead of ASIO, just to see how it goes.

When I change drivers and open the control panel in Studio One, there is a single slider which is at about one-third of maximum by default and shows a value of "40". As you turn it down, it jumps in increments of 10, with the lowest value being 10. At the lowest value I can play our most demanding songs in S1 with very low latency and zero drop-outs or other problems. Studio One's CPU meter spikes all over the place but that doesn't translate into glitches like it would with ASIO and Task Manager shows much smoother CPU load. Resource Monitor also shows really good distribution of load between the 8 threads of my quad-core CPU. The stated latency in the control panel doesn't change, it remains at 44ms no matter where you put the slider, but there is no way that is the actual latency because I can play along perfectly well, even at the default "40", which I absolutely couldn't do at 44ms of actual latency.

This comes as something of a revelation to me. The first thing I always do when I install any audio software is configure it to use ASIO but I think I am going to keep going with Windows Audio for a while and see how it pans out. I might have to put a bit of tape over the CPU meter, though, to keep my confidence up.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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KVRAF
5752 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:16 pm

So did you record live audio anything?
I think there it might show up as wrong displacement of clips.

To make calibrations like this I sometimes have metronome out and loop back analog in to soundcard and you will see where clicks end up. So if any buffering is handled correctly.

StudioOne differ in handling midi in and you can see different latency for each.

What would benefit be with Windows Audio?
- able to use many audio soundcards and it handles that?

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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 10:39 pm

The benefit is that it's there, no need to install anything. Someone else might be interested in measuring the latency but I'm happy with my seat of the pants impression, which is that it's fine. I'm certainly not worried about how much latency there is when I record because even if it's just 1ms, I'll still have to adjust for it. In a way, a bigger, more obvious latency is easier to deal with.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRist
35 posts since 19 Jun, 2019

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 11:52 pm

Windows audio (aka WASAPI, since Vista) is still very much inferior to ASIO.
The only way to get low latency is if you use the "Exclusive" mode, but that locks the sound card to a single app, so you can't play any other sounds from anywhere, not even your browser or your media player.

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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:02 am

All well and good but I am getting low latency without doing anything.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

KVRAF
29533 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:51 am

I tried WASAPI a couple of times. Didn't give me any advantages over ASIO. On the contrary, I had to set bigger buffer sizes, and the CPU wasn't as low as with ASIO either.

Kind of the same as with the ASIO driver from my Ceative gaming sound card. I sometimes use that when I'm too lazy to plug in my studio monitors, but, it just doesn't perform as well as my USB audio interface's ASIO driver.

It's fine, no problem. I never understood why people are so keen on having a system like CoreAudio on Windows. I never saw a single person who's serious with audio who uses the internal Mac audio chip anyway.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRian
1372 posts since 16 Apr, 2004

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:05 am

BONES wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:02 am
All well and good but I am getting low latency without doing anything.
i agree, works great for me. and is convenient when traveling with the laptop but don't have your ASIO audio device with you. :tu:

i wish that Ableton would support it directly in Live. And Reason, as well (Waveform supports it and it works great, as do many stand-alone versions of soft-synths).

KVRist
35 posts since 19 Jun, 2019

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:25 am

BONES wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:02 am
All well and good but I am getting low latency without doing anything.
You're getting low latency at the expense of some functionality. If you don't mind that, great, but many people do. On the plus side, I guess being limited to one app can help against distractions. :)

I've nothing against using WASAPI, I just wish it was better, because I believe it could be. And I wish more DAWs supported it. Right now ASIO is still more common among "pro" apps.

KVRAF
22906 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:16 am

"I never saw"/"I never understood"
:roll:

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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:07 pm

Logga wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:25 am
You're getting low latency at the expense of some functionality. If you don't mind that, great, but many people do. On the plus side, I guess being limited to one app can help against distractions. :)
Except I don't think I am limited to one app (which is to say that I haven't specifically tried it yet). It's Windows Audio so, just like everything else in Windows, it should work with anything and everything else I have running at the same time. I know there is an "exclusive" mode for WASAPI but I'm not sure if that's automatically triggered and I haven't set it.
I've nothing against using WASAPI, I just wish it was better, because I believe it could be. And I wish more DAWs supported it. Right now ASIO is still more common among "pro" apps.
Again, it's Windows Audio, it just works, you don't need any specific support within your host application.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:38 pm

OK, I can confirm that I can play multiple audio streams simultaneously. I had Studio One playing, Zune and a tab in Edge, all together. I also tested different settings for the latency slider, which I realised is calibrated in milliseconds. At 40ms the latency is definitely noticeable but not so bad that it would put me off, although it would definitely affect my bandmate hitting drums. At 20ms it's fine, perfectly usable for both of us but it runs just as well at 10ms, too, so that's what I'm running with. After 5 or 6 hours of use, I am yet to have any problems. I'm going to keep using until I find a reason not to.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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KVRian
900 posts since 7 Apr, 2019 from Canada

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:56 pm

Studio One, Windows Audio; you've given Me a lot to think about, thankyou.
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KVRist
35 posts since 19 Jun, 2019

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:02 am

BONES wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:07 pm
Again, it's Windows Audio, it just works, you don't need any specific support within your host application.
Windows Audio usually, if not always, means WASAPI and it's not available in every host. Off the top of my head: Ableton, Renoise and Reason all lack WASAPI support. Instead, in addition to ASIO, they support MME and DS (aka DX). Now, MME and DS work similarly to WASAPI Shared, but the one with the low latency is WASAPI Exclusive.
Here's a nice overview of the audio APIs in Windows, if you're interested: https://github.com/dechamps/FlexASIO/bl ... ACKENDS.md


As for the latency, if you're happy with MME/DS/WASAPI Shared's performance, great. But objectively it's not in the same league as ASIO or WASAPI Exclusive. I've measured it at some point and it was around 40ms RTL at the lowest usable setting at 44.1k, IIRC. I just tried playing some notes with it now and it's not terrible by any means, but I can definitely notice it.

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12505 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:10 am

What you are saying makes no sense in the face of my actual experience. I have NEVER in my life been able to achieve acceptable latency with Wave MME or DirectX drivers. Most of the time I've been lucky to get it under 400ms. I think I may have once got it down to 280ms. However, with WASAPI shared I have just finished a run through of our current live set - 17 songs - and I've had no problem playing along via my Roli Seaboard Block and I've had no problems with dropouts. Just like it was for me yesterday.

Interestingly, I have had a few glitches while I've been futzing about with setting for instruments, effects and Studio One but once I got into rehearsal mode, pre-loaded all 17 songs and did a full run-through, it behaved perfectly. Maybe it doesn't like some of the GUIs on my plugins or something? Whatevs, it works perfectly when it matters. Oh, look, it's just gone beer o'clock, gotta dash.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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KVRAF
6629 posts since 13 Jan, 2003 from Darkest Kent, UK

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:46 am

More often than not if I'm just playing around on my laptop then I'll just have headphones plugged in and use WASAPI. I always use Shared mode in Reaper and can definitely hear, say, YT videos while playing softsynths. Latency isn't cutting edge (~20ms I think) but more than enough for bashing around on the laptops keyboard.

If I'm recording my guitar then I always use ASIO with an interface, that 20ms would be a noticeable slapback delay.
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