This guide provides detailed information on the Virtual ASIO to ASIO driver type (also known as ASIO to ASIO) - how to set it up, driver performance, virtual output device, and sample rate and buffer size adjustments.
- ASIO drivers (Audio Stream Input/Output)
- Setting up with Virtual ASIO audio to ASIO driver
- Why is a virtual audio device required in ASIO mode?
- Sample rate and Buffer size
- Safety buffer size
ASIO drivers are known for low-latency performance which is of incredible value when it comes to music production. To achieve low latency the ASIO driver protocol has a different architecture to WASAPI-based drivers. Windows Audio Engine is bypassed as ASIO establishes a direct link between the source audio and the output device.
With SoundID Reference (running in Virtual ASIO audio to ASIO mode) added to the flow, ASIO-compatible applications can take advantage of the SoundID Reference virtual audio device that will be using an ASIO driver. Simply select the output as SoundID Reference to route the audio signal to the SoundID Reference app for calibration. It's crucial for the application engine to be able to communicate or use the ASIO drivers, otherwise, the virtual output will simply be unavailable for selection.
NOTE! The Virtual ASIO to ASIO mode is not compatible with system-wide calibration as the Windows Audio Engine is being bypassed. For system-wide playback, Windows will always process the audio signal from the applications with WASAPI protocol and utilize a WDM driver for your audio interface.
For system-wide calibration, use one of the other driver types instead - Audio driver types in SoundID Reference app [WIN]
Setting up with Virtual ASIO to ASIO driver
With the SoundID Reference app launched, configure a Virtual ASIO to ASIO output preset, and then assign it as the output in your ASIO-enabled DAW or other playback software (Cubase, Audacity, Audirvana, etc.). As an example, we will configure this for Ableton Live 10.
- Add new output > Device type: ASIO
- Select your audio interface > Driver type: Virtual ASIO to ASIO driver
- Load the calibration profile
- Launch Ableton (make sure it's running in ASIO) > select Preferences > Ouput
- Enter the output/playback device setting for the app, and assign "Sonarworks ASIO-to-ASIO" as output
NOTE! If the option to select Sonarworks ASIO driver is not available as an option in your DAW, simply relaunch the application.
Here is an example of various software combinations:
[Ableton GIF] Slides DAW - Reaper, PT, Ableton, Audirvana, Audacity, Studio One
Pro/Cons - benefit of using a virtual output device
SoundID Reference needs to apply its correction curve to the audio signal coming from your DAW. 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.
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 digital audio workstation (DAW).
Bypassing physical limitations: allows the calibration to take place before it's sent to your physical audio device (like headphones or speakers)
In Virtual ASIO to ASIO mode, the SoundID Reference app operates at the sample rate of your ASIO output device. To change the sample rate use the control software of your ASIO output device.
Be advised, that changing the sample rate of the audio interface may not be possible or changes might not apply under the following circumstances:
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.
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.
Operating system rules: Some operating systems, like certain versions of Windows, don't let you change the sample rate for individual applications.
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.
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.
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.
A buffer size adjustment can be made if you experience any audible issues with the calibrated sound. The buffer size change can be done inside the audio interface control application to provide more time for the audio signal to be processed by the SoundID Reference app. Further buffer size adjustments can be done in the DAW preferences, this can resolve some of the audio processing issues when you're working on a large-scale project.
The buffer size can affect two things:
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.
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.