Who make the best ASIO driver?

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legendCNCD wrote: Thu Feb 15, 2024 4:56 amBut what is the latency at 32 samples with core audio?
For onboard (Headphone out) Cubase reports 96kHz/32 samples is 0.896ms in, 2.250ms out. FWIW, RME @96kHz / 64 samples is the same input latency (This seems to be a Mac OS input limit) but 1.339ms output. That output beats the very best Windows results on the DAWBench chart, though I haven’t verified that with a loopback test. That’s over Thunderbolt (tested with the Driverkit drivers).

ASIO, of course, is just a layer on top of Core Audio on the Mac. But it’s a tale of two driver types. A KEXT based ASIO driver is more like ASIO on Windows, in that it can place itself ahead of what the Mac OS kernel thinks is important in terms of priority. In theory, this means it will hold its performance better when the system is under a heavy CPU load. Soundcards which go the standard “device compliant” route, or via “Driverkit” cannot do this, and aren’t “really” ASIO in the same sense as for Windows devices. RME offer both types.

I use the DriverKit version since Apple will remove KEXT support at some future date, so there’s little point in getting used to something you know will be removed. Also situations, where that last extra few percent is required, just haven’t been common for me with Apple Silicon.

The bottom line is, unless you require more I/O, you don't really need anything beyond the onboard audio for low latency usage on the Mac.

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PAK wrote: Sat Apr 20, 2024 10:13 pm The bottom line is, unless you require more I/O, you don't really need anything beyond the onboard audio for low latency usage on the Mac.
This has not been my real world experience. Maybe it has changed, also on Windows we got more headroom on the same machine, on same project.. and the measurements back then supported it (dawbench win7 vs osx).
Soft Knees - Live 12, Diva, Omnisphere, Slate Digital VSX, TDR, Kush Audio, U-He, PA, Valhalla, Fuse, Pulsar, NI, OekSound etc. on Win11Pro R7950X & RME AiO Pro
https://www.youtube.com/@softknees/videos Music & Demoscene

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legendCNCD wrote: Mon Apr 22, 2024 2:12 amThis has not been my real world experience. Maybe it has changed, also on Windows we got more headroom on the same machine, on same project.. and the measurements back then supported it (dawbench win7 vs osx).
The same machine tells me it wasn't Apple Silicon. MacOS tends to stay responsive, regardless of load, on AS (at least with Cubase.) Does that mean MacOS isn't pushing every last ounce it could? Probably.

The reality is it matters less and less as processor ability improves, as you're increasingly less close to any limits. If you've watched any audio related videos (of Apple Silicon) on Youtube, then you'll have seen people deliberately pushing to reach limits. Even synths tend to take silly amounts of polyphony with an Ultra processor. EG Softube's Model 80 would be somewhere going towards 500 notes..

If someone's still able to push things (EG huge orchestral templates running Vienna locally) then processors like the Extreme (double Ultra) are coming down the line, some saying with the M4 generation. So we're rapidly getting to a point where other categories, like gaming, arguably are already. Some might overclock to get diminishing percentages. But are the differences enough for most people to care at this point? Nope.

Overall it's a good thing that individual drivers are starting to matter less, in terms of the performance and stability you can expect to get from a system, provided the performance remains good enough. I'd say things are now at that point, even with the onboard audio, on Mac OS..

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PAK wrote: Mon Apr 22, 2024 8:31 am
legendCNCD wrote: Mon Apr 22, 2024 2:12 amThis has not been my real world experience. Maybe it has changed, also on Windows we got more headroom on the same machine, on same project.. and the measurements back then supported it (dawbench win7 vs osx).
The same machine tells me it wasn't Apple Silicon. MacOS tends to stay responsive, regardless of load, on AS (at least with Cubase.) Does that mean MacOS isn't pushing every last ounce it could? Probably.
Yep it was not arm cpu. On the same machine whole macos got stuck for 10's of seconds when we ran out of CPU. On windows it just carried on as it had more headroom, and when we ran out of it the OS still worked fine, audio did not.

Good the things have progressed.
Soft Knees - Live 12, Diva, Omnisphere, Slate Digital VSX, TDR, Kush Audio, U-He, PA, Valhalla, Fuse, Pulsar, NI, OekSound etc. on Win11Pro R7950X & RME AiO Pro
https://www.youtube.com/@softknees/videos Music & Demoscene

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legendCNCD wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2024 3:37 amYep it was not arm cpu. On the same machine whole macos got stuck for 10's of seconds when we ran out of CPU. On windows it just carried on as it had more headroom, and when we ran out of it the OS still worked fine, audio did not. Good the things have progressed.
I think the ARM Mac OS desktop got some benefit from the whole mobile / touch response thing, and avoiding lag. Not that it can’t ever lag (it can).

Part of the reason it tends not to is likely that hosts, like Cubase, struggle to use anywhere close to 100% CPU (even though it appears to distribute evenly across cores), and Logic won’t use efficiency cores at all. It’s rumoured Apple might remove efficiency cores entirely, from their highest end chips, in the future. I guess that’s one way to deal with complaints software isn’t using all of your available CPU ;)

So, yes, I'd say things are pretty good at this point. But, perhaps, more thanks to the hardware engineering side than the software.. :)

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