[WIN] Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver (WASAPI to ASIO)

Detailed information on the Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver (also known as WASAPI to ASIO) - how to set it up, driver performance, virtual output device, and sample rate and buffer size adjustments.


In this article:


ASIO drivers (Audio Stream Input/Output)

ASIO drivers are known for low-latency performance which is great for music production. To achieve low latency, the ASIO protocol is designed to bypass the Windows Audio Engine (which is based on WASAPI driver architecture) to establish a direct link between the source audio software and the output device.


However, this architecture is limited to ASIO-supported apps and devices, such as DAWs and advanced playback software, etc. Most of the consumer software products on Windows (for example, Spotify, Chrome), are unable to take advantage of ASIO and are instead based on the WASAPI architecture (running through the Windows Audio Engine).


The Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver in SoundID Reference can establish a bridge between WASAPI and ASIO. With this driver mode selected, WASAPI source audio can be routed from the Windows Audio Engine to the output device ASIO driver. To achieve this, SoundID Reference creates a WASAPI-based virtual audio device to receive and process the incoming audio signal, and then send it to the ASIO output driver.


IMPORTANT! The Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver is not a full ASIO driver. Instead, it's a WASAPI-based driver with an ASIO output mode. This means that it will only work with WASAPI source audio and won't be available as DAW output if DAW is running in ASIO mode. 


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This driver type is recommended for system-wide calibration. The expected latency performance is 40-100ms. Note that this is the only solution for systemwide calibration for ASIO-exclusive devices. 


Setting up with Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver

With the SoundID Reference app launched, add a new device and select the device type ASIO. Select a dedicated ASIO driver type for audio signal processing.

  1. Add new output
  2. Device type: ASIO
  3. Select your audio interface from the list below
  4. Driver type: Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver
  5. Load the calibration profile



Why is a virtual audio device required in ASIO mode?

SoundID Reference needs to apply its correction curve to the audio signal coming from your computer. The way it does this is by creating a virtual audio device on your computer. The Virtual Audio Device is required because:

  • Audio signal processing: used to apply calibration.

  • System-wide application: adjusting the sound from all audio sources on your computer.

  • Preventing double processing: ensures the sound is only processed once. This avoids issues that can occur if other software modifies the sound before SoundID Reference.

  • Compatibility: works well with most audio playback software, so you can use it with your favorite music player or other audio playback applications.

  • Bypassing physical limitations: allows the calibration to take place before it's sent to your physical audio device (like headphones or speakers).


Sample Rate

SoundID Reference app operates at the sample rate that your audio is being played at. If you change the sample rate on your audio interface or inside the control application, the SoundID Reference will adjust to the newly set parameters. The sample rate can also be changed inside the SoundID Reference app:

  1. Open the SoundID Reference app
  2. Click on the '. . .' option to the left of your audio interface
  3. Select Device Settings
  4. Click on the Sample Rate box to change the value



Be advised, that changing the sample rate of an audio interface may not be possible or changes might not apply under the following circumstances:

  1. Driver Limitations: Some audio interface software doesn't let you change the sample rate, or only allow certain ones. Check your audio interface details to see what it allows.

  2. Application Control: Some programs, like music production software or media players, can take full control of the audio interface and decide the sample rate. If a program is using the interface, you might not be able to change the rate.

  3. Operating System Rules: Some operating systems, like certain versions of Windows, don't let you change the sample rate for individual applications.

  4. Incompatible Hardware: If your audio hardware doesn't support the sample rate you want to use, you won't be able to set it. Older interfaces might not support higher sample rates.

  5. Active Audio Stream: If audio is playing, you might not be able to change the sample rate. You'd need to stop the audio first.

  6. Shared Mode: If the audio interface is being used by multiple programs, you might be limited in changing the sample rate, as it has to work for all the programs at once.


Buffer Size

Buffer size in audio software like SoundID Reference is the amount of audio data the software can handle all at once. Think of it like a tray of audio that the software prepares ahead of time to play smoothly. Be aware, that the change will take place in the SoundID Reference app and your audio interface. 

The buffer size can affect two things:

  1. Latency: How fast the audio responds. A smaller buffer size equals faster response, which is good for recording or live audio. But it also needs more computer power.

  2. CPU load: How hard your computer works. A bigger buffer size means your computer can prepare more audio ahead of time, which is easier on the computer. But it also makes the audio response slower.


The best buffer size depends on your computer power, the type of audio, and whether you're recording or just listening. If a change is required, it can be done inside the SoundID Reference app:

  1. Open the SoundID Reference app
  2. Click on the ... option to the left from your audio interface
  3. Select Device Settings
  4. Buffer size box


Beyond the normal buffer size, the SoundID Reference offers a Safety Buffer adjustment. This can help if you are experiencing audible artifacts or clock drift. Adjust the Safety Buffer value to ensure smooth audio playback even in situations where the system might be under heavy load or experiencing unexpected interruptions. This change is applied only to the SoundID Reference application.


Depending on the hardware in use, the Safety Buffer should be applied to all possible buffer size variations, there is no golden rule, and applying maximum buffer size with the safety buffer may not resolve audio interruptions or audio artifacts issues that some may experience.


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