Two audio interfaces at a time?

Hi there,
I’m thinking about replacing my old audio interface with a Presonus studio 192.
My old interface is an Emu 1820m which has been working fine so far but is a little outdated (made in 2005; the drivers’ latest updates are from 2011 and the unit gets more and more unstable as the windows versions’ numbers keep growing…)

The Emu provides many nice details I’ve found, at least in combination, in no other (affordable) interface so far, e.g. routable inputs and outputs, speaker management, internal FX, ADAT etc.
The S192 has it almost all. Paired with the assumption that 10 years of audio gear development may bring some general improvement to the sound, I’m willing to give the Studio 192 a chance.

Now I’d like to test the Presonus before buying it but I’ve heard it’s no good idea to have two audio units running at the same time under windows. So, before I’ll connect the S192 to my PC to test it, I think I’ll have to disconnect the Emu? - Since it is connected via a PCI Slot inside the PC Tower, I’d have to open it, remove the card, and so on. I wonder if there is an easier way - can I just deactivate the PCI slot in the BIOS or, even more convenient, deactivate the interface in Windows’ device manager (or in the audio device menu in Windows’ system settings under “Sound and Audio”)? Would that do?

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you in advance!

It shouldn’t matter, I think you can just leave it plugged in.
Cubase can only use 1 ASIO driver at a time, so if you select the presonus driver it’ll just ignore the EMU alltogether.
If you want, you can disable it in device manager. That should do the trick, but like I said it’s probably not even necessary.

I saw my son running two sound cards in Reaper with a driver called ASIO4All.

Yes, that’s also possible, but it’s generally better to use a dedicated ASIO driver for your audio interface.
In the scenario of the OP, he’s not even trying to run both simultaneously, he just wants to test his new interface. Because the Presonus is meant to replace the EMU, it’s better to test each with their own drivers.

Have a look at Dante Via…

There’s no problem whatsoever doing this. Just plug in the S192 (having followed any instructions regarding installing its ASIO drivers) and when you next start Cubase, switch to the S192 ASIO driver. If you decide not to buy it, just uninstall the S192 drivers. There’s no need to touch the Emu or its drivers at all.

The only thing that is an issue is that Cubase can’t operate two ASIO drivers at once; you’ve got to decide between one or the other.

Cubase can only handle one ASIO driver at a time, but some manufactures allow multiple devices to operate with that driver.

I used to have RME Fireface 800 and 400, and, both being the same class of device (Firewire), they could both be used at once, but only because RME designed it that way. The maximum number of devices recommended was three FF800s, but that really required FW800 all round.

Note that generally having multiple audio devices requires a reliable and stable clock source for all systems. Those RME devices had stable explicit clock inputs and outputs, so it was relatively straightforward to sync them.

To slave devices without explicit clock IO, generally requires one feeding a digital signal into the input of the other, but the connection layouts that will work may not be suitable for what you want.

Dante Via is a software networking platform that can accommodate a variety of legacy hardware. I don’t know how they manage clocking across devices, but I suspect that they might be free-wheeling and relying on software cleaning up the disparities. That might be why it is limited to only two 44.1k channels per device, why its base minimum latency is 10ms (plus what USB devices add), and is incompatible with their hardware PCIe cards.

The full Dante setup (PCIe main card) can handle up to 64 192k channels, carries all audio streams, clock, and even power over a single Ethernet cables, and at sub-ms latencies, or under 4ms round-trip, which is what I was getting with the RMEs clocked together. Audinate have Virtual Sound Card software, but it operates at higher latencies as well.

The real advantage of the full Dante setup is that it uses one ASIO driver, but allows audio devices from any manufacturer to be used together, allowing you to incrementally add devices as your needs grow, without having to dispose of what you already have to maintain compatibility for drivers. The real problem is that there is a dearth of studio-fit 2i/20 and 4i/4o devices that would be perfect for hobby/project studios to start with, and add on to later.

Most OEMs are making devices for large IO purposes, like stage and PA, or small IO devices for burying in walls for building audio distribution, and it is the same with the other AoIP player, RAVENNA. Focusrite seems to be the only one now getting into more modest IO studio devices for Dante.