Quite often, many novice musicians who are just taking their first steps in writing their own compositions, using computer programs for recording live sound or special sequencers for creating parts using virtual synthesizers, are faced with the fact that applications, as well as the sound equipment used in them, require the presence of ASIO components in order to work correctly. What is ASIO4ALL, then we will try to find out. However, it should be said right away that ordinary users who do not process sound in real time and do not use MIDI keyboards or hardware synthesizers do not need such a set (except for the Foobar player).
What is ASIO4ALL and what is it for?
First of all, you need to plunge into the history of creating programs that allow you to quickly create your own musicalcompositions with recording of "live" sound, the use of virtual instruments, applying effects and subsequent processing of audio in real time. Previously, to work with such applications, the most important condition was the support of the special Full Duplex Mode by sound cards, and sound cards of this type themselves were quite expensive. In particular, this was most noticeable when trying to install and use the notorious Cubase sequencer from Steinberg.
Over time, it became possible to get around these restrictions, since a special set of drivers was released. What is ASIO4ALL? In the most general sense, this is control software that allows you to somehow intercept the transfer of the sound stream from the program to the sound card, bypassing the Windows sound system, even if the sound card does not directly support the application. In addition, when using these drivers, it became possible to switch inputs and outputs from one device to another (for example, to record from a microphone or a connected synthesizer with the playback signal transmitted to one or even several sound cards). Finally, the package has become simply indispensable when working with instruments equipped with a MIDI interface, when pressing a key needed to get an immediate response in the program, and not with a delay (even if only in a fraction of a second).
Varieties of ASIO drivers
Especially noteworthy is that compared to the initial state of affairs, technology is constantly improving, andtoday you can find several main varieties of these drivers. The easiest way to explain them is with the example of the popular FL Studio sequencer.
If you call up the audio settings, it is easy to see that the following types of interfaces are used there:
- ASIO4ALL v2;
- Generic Low Latency ASIO Driver;
- FL Studio ASIO (Yamaha ASIO, Steinberg ASIO, etc.).
The first type is a standard driver, the second is software with a reduced load on system resources (in particular, we are talking about CPU and RAM), and the third type is, as it were, an average analogue of the first two, but was developed by the company Image-Line, who created the sequencer itself (as well as other packages of this type presented in the list).
What is ASIO4ALL, figured it out. The only question is which type and how to use for maximum performance and ease of recording or audio processing.
The nuances of using drivers in music writing programs
Here you can immediately give advice on using the preferred type of ASIO4ALL driver (in Windows 10, for example). In relatively weak configurations, it is best to use the second or third types from the list above, since they will not load the system so much.
In addition, if you are not going to play the connected electronic instrument, pay special attention to the paneldriver settings, where you can set the maximum buffer level (2048 samples), which will avoid the appearance of distortion and delays in playback when using a large number of virtual VST instruments or the same additional effects applied to each track, but not those that are preset in the program itself.
But if you connect an instrument or keyboard with a MIDI interface, the buffer level should be set to 512 samples. Higher values will cause the delay after a key is pressed to be too long, and vice versa. And one more tip: in Windows 10, to ensure maximum performance for the music program, you can enable a special game mode (Win + G), and then specify the location of the program's executable file.