Windows: should you use DirectSound(default), WASAPI or ASIO

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Note: this article only applies to Windows (specifically Windows 7 and above)

The general rule of thumb is: if possible try to select in this order: ASIO, WASAPI, DirectSound (default mode).

  • DirectSound - this is the standard audio mode on Windows (along with MME but we don't use that in FutureDecks). It always works but it almost always works only in stereo mode and outputs only. What this means is that even if you have a soundcard with multiple inputs and outputs, you will most likely get working only 1 stereo output (without the other outputs and inputs). The latency is extremely big (usually between 50ms and 80ms) so you can't properly scratch or do any true real-time work. Also, you can't use timecodes (since you don't have any inputs and the latency is very bad). Getting separate heaphones/speakers signals is tricky since you almost always only get a single stereo output (maybe you can use split mode -- use left channel for speakers and right channel for headphones). You should use this only if your audio device doesn't support the other modes.
  • WASAPI - this is a lot better than
  • ASIO - use this whenever you can. Not all audio devices (soundcards) have a driver for this. Alternatively, you can use ASIO4ALL but you might get mixed results - it might work perfectly or it may not.