Use multiple audio interfaces on Windows

Under MAC-OS you can use more than one audio interface on the computer, with Windows this has only been possible with the ASIO4ALL driver so far. I would wish that Steinberg itself offered such a driver or the option of being able to use several audio interfaces under Windows .

Much hardware can now be used as an audio interface, but unfortunately not at the same time on Windows. That causes some problems.

For example I have a Boss Katana Artist, the amp can also work as an interface via USB and Boss did a really good job. The recordings via USB actually sound like they are coming from the speaker of the amp.

A return path, i.e. bringing the signal from the computer / from the DAW to the amp and listening to it, works, but it then runs through the signal chain of the amp and is changed.

So it would be great to record from the Katana’s USB and play it back from another interface.

I have a few examples of this that occur in my studio and I am certainly not alone in this.

But I don’t want to buy a MAC for such purposes.

So I would be very grateful if Steinberg takes care of this problem.

In my studio I have more than a dozen devices that could also be an audio interface. Times have changed, today we record and mix differently than a few years ago.

I can’t see them supporting this as tech support would be inundated with problems with different interfaces not working well together. Also lots of sync issues and not to mention increased latency which you get on a Mac also. Just because something comes with an audio interface it doesn’t mean you have to use it. The devices have to be synced to a single clock to work well. This can’t be done unless they all use the same clock which they don’t. For that very reason I can’t see this happening.

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In such cases I had never needed a watch, maybe you need it for other cases.

ASIO4All does it too and on a MAC it should already work from what is delivered to me with the OS.

I’m not an expert enough there, but a solution should be found, because more and more people are recording in a DAW, tape machines are out today.

Of course you don’t have to use what’s in a device, but especially with the BossKatana, the various multi-effects like the Boss GT 100, the Kemper, etc., you can record via USB and then what about the return channel?

Numerous discussion were held on this topic already and it seems there are reasons not to implement this (to my frustration, I am in your camp)
There are some workarounds though (indeed ASIO4ALL), but also Voicemeeter Banana can be helpful.

Yes indeed … same for me. At present we are forced to buy Audio interfaces (linked with ADAT ) to allow sufficient inputs. At the same time there is a “useless” DA and AD conversion that just puts noise on the signal …


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Frankly, I’d prefer the additional DA to the possible problems I’d get with combined interfaces, like additional performance cost and the added latency (no generic ASIO USB driver of all these guitar devices with builtin audio interface will ever be as performant as my RME…).
And especially for guitars, any theoretical and practical signal degradation through the added DA/AD is minuscule compared to the noise and distortion of the guitar :grin:
But for the vendors, it’s probably the easy and cheap way out. No further DA or jacks, they can just say “hey, it works on a Mac, on Windows, you are on your own, sorry, goodbye”.

Imho it should be done at the OS level anyway…

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I think every Cubase user has its own way of producing audio. As an example: I rarely use a Mic. So I can try keeping things as ‘digital’ as possible.

But I understand and feel that urge to be able to use a USB connected sound module directly in Cubase.

In the meantime, the possibilities for getting recordings into the computer/DAW have increased very rapidly.

The manufacturers have partly done a very good job and so very good recordings are possible via USB, directly from the devices.

I die in the studio:

  • Boss katana artist II
  • Boss Katana-110 bass
  • Boss ACS Pro
  • Boss GT-100 and GT-001
  • Boss Pocket GT
  • Hughes & Kettner Grandmaster Deluxe 40
  • Presonus StudioLive 32sc
  • Presonus Studio 192
  • ZOOM live track L-12
  • Yamaha MG16-XU
  • Magic Big KNob Studio+
  • further small interfaces

All of them can also be audio interfaces, the possibilities are manifold.

Of course I don’t want to use all of them at the same time, but at least two of them at the same time, one on the input side and one on the output side.

You wouldn’t even have to change anything in Cubase for this, there could be something like ASIO4ALL from Steinberg, in which, like the MAC, the interfaces are passed on to Cubase as one device.

After all, Steinberg would once again have the edge in the DAW race, in my opinion ahead.

So far, without ASIO4ALL, I have had to change the interface in Cubase again and again for different recordings, so I have created a preset for audio input, audio output and control room for each interface.

But every time I have to change the interface first and then the inputs and outputs in the studio settings. That’s enough of a nuisance. Even then I can only use the Katana Artist at the input because at the output the signal runs through the signal chain of the amp and is changed by it.

When recording via the Katana’s USB, I have to record blindly, because I can’t make the tracks that have already been recorded audible. for an experiment that was good, but for practice it is absolutely unsuitable. I could only record a playback and make it audible on another device so that I can hear what I’m actually playing to and then have to align the new track in the DAW later in time.

I will try to record the amps via the DI output or record them using microphones, but this will not work well with the microphone because I cannot record loudly in the rented apartment.

I also have a Grossmann isolation box, but it still doesn’t sound like a microphone in front of the amp in the room.

I think it’s a pity that the interfaces can’t be used properly or not at all. So far ASIO4ALL seems to be the only option under Windows.

Yes, if it were resolved at operating system levels, I’m sure only I would be very grateful.

Apple can do it with its MACs too, but Microsoft probably doesn’t understand musicians.

Oh, they do understand. It is a business decision: the musician market is just not big enough for MS to justify the expenses for developing such a solution.
For Apple the software is always a mean to sell the (expensive) hardware. That’'s why they bought Emagic back in the days and then incorparated the necessary audio streaming functionality on an OS level.

Every Cubase user has a different way of making recordings, I agree.

From my point of view, Cubase is the most advanced DAW so far, because many things can be done that are very complicated or not possible at all in other DAWs.

I produce in a home studio and am looking for ways to record quietly or silently. A lot has happened there and it would be possible in principle, but the digital interfaces, which are still available in many ways, would have to be able to be used.

This has long been a nuisance for me and certainly for many others, especially in the home studio.

It shouldn’t matter whether Seinberg, another manufacturer or Microsoft solves this at the operating system level, as long as it works.

So far, this is only possible with drivers like ASIO4ALL.

A pity!

AFAIK ASIO4ALL is a bridge between ASIO and the Windows Driver Model (WDM). In order to be able to utilize several devices with independent audio clocks it resamples the audio streams. That would basically be a (dirty) workaround that would not be acceptable for most professional users.

I don’t know whether a Windows PC can send a steady audio clock signal so that Cubase could sync its engine to that and slave all audio devices to this clock signal.
Maybe @Yvan can shed some light on this? S’il-vous-plaît?

Can you actually sync via USB? From what I’ve read, you usually use ADAT or wordclock/bnc. Theoretically, it should ne somehow possible, as USB is of course somehow clocked, too.
Didn’t knew about the resampling thing, but after reading up a bit on it, it seems to be the only safe way to prevent syncing problems and dropouts, if the interfaces aren’t synced externally. So that probably applies to Mac and aggregated interfaces via Core audio, too?

Would probably be easier if all those devices had an ADAT port for digital audio instead of the USB one…

Are you sure about this?
I see two cases: First is if all devices have the same sample rate. Second is if devices have different sample rates.
So (my polite question) is, could you elaborate on USB connections and the need on re-sampling?

He probably meant “re-clock”, not “re-sample”.

Of course it can be.
Hopefully MS doesn’t miscalculate, because it wouldn’t be the first time MS has overslept. I only remember the smartphones, Apple and Google are at the top today and the devices with the MS OS are very few or have died out in the meantime.

Re-reading the manual of ASIO4ALL I am actually not sure about this at all. It rather looks like ASIO4ALL doesn’t give a damn and if it works you are just lucky. USB devices can sync themselves to the computer’s clock but, of course, can also have their own little quartz-crystal. It seems to be up to the manufacturer of each device what they offer. I don’t elaborate on the sample-rate as it is always the user’s obligation to match the sample-rates of all devices.
I am not sure how clock-sync can be achieved when you have a USB and a non-USB (PCIe) device.
If anybody can recommend a good read on this topic, kindly post it.

What puzzles me a bit is this option:

as I was under the impression that Cubase always syncs its audio engine to the selected ASIO device and thusly always is externally clocked. So what is this good for?

The problem is that even if two audio interfaces are set to the same sample rate, say 44.1kHz, it is actually not guaranteed that it is always “precisely” 44100 samples per second, it may actually be 44101 for one interface and 44099 for the other. So if you don’t specifically sync the two interfaces (e.g. via word clock or ADAT…), they’ll will eventually run out of sync. An aggregating driver like ASIO4all then can decide whether to drop samples from one sample stream, add some to the other (all of which produce clicks), or maybe just brute force both streams to a common sample rate to provide those clicks or dropouts.

As @Johnny_Moneto wrote, USB audio devices can actually sync from USB , and apparently a lot of (especially cheaper) ones do that, so if you have two interfaces on the same USB bus, it might actually work. On other conditions, maybe not so much.

This whole topic is a minefield, the more you dive into it :wink:

Which is why it is unlikely to be adopted any time soon. Why allow something which will generate a huge amount of support requests. Macs suffer just the same sync issues and higher latency with the aggregate interface. As it stands there is no reliable method but you may get lucky and it work perfectly.

It would require a specification that all adhered to so they could sync. Just because it has a usb interface doesn’t mean you should use it.

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If ASIO4ALL isn’t stable for you here are some other options that might work out for you.

Wusik Audio Connect
Mileage may vary with this one (is the latency involved tolerable for your needs?), but it’s worth a try. While it will resample if devices aren’t set the same, I’d suggest making sure all of your devices are set to the same sample rate and bit width, and trying it with the smallest buffer size to start with if your system can do it.

In the least, you should be able to run it in stand alone mode and get a pipe out (perhaps to your mainboard’s speaker or headphone output) that could ‘hard patch’ back into your primary ASIO audio device with a ‘real cable’.

Another possibility:
ASIO Link Pro
This deep (and free) ASIO backend provides a very robust, stable, latency free patchbay that includes internal loopback rails. It also includes the ability to work input/output from WDM drivers into the matrix, plus it can stream audio via localhost, or over your LAN.

You have a couple of options in how to get it working. If your secondary device has ASIO drivers, you might can get ‘two instances’ of ASIO pro up and running independently with each of your ASIO devices (the first you should start in single client mode). You’d then use a localhost loopback ip to connect the two instances via network protocols.

If any of your devices do NOT come with ASIO drivers, then you might try using ASIO4ALL in one instance of ASIO Link Pro to aggregate those devices together. Use a second instance of ASIO Link Pro connected to your primary ASIO device. Use the networking protocols over a localhost ip to connect the two instances.

It’s also possible to get a bridge app going (again something like that Wusik Audio Connect in stand alone mode, and establish a WDM connection into ASIO Link Pro instead of going the network route.

Yet another Option
reaStream combined with some stand alone host connected directly to your secondary interface can send a stream to other apps that can also host an instance of reaStream.

Personally, I’ve done this with a stand alone instance of Bidule for years to get audio from my Roland Fantom directly on the mixing console of apps like Dorico, Sibelius, and Finale (since none of these can bring an external audio interface directly into their mixing consoles, but they can host ‘plugins’. It works like this:

  1. I launch a stand alone version of Bidule and connect it to whatever audio device my Fantom is plugged into.

  2. I host an instance of reaStream here in Bidule and wire it up. reaStream will use networking protocols to broadcast whatever audio/midi I send in here to any listening instances of reaStream running in other hosts.

  3. I launch the second DAW. Be it Dorico, Cubase, whatever (as long as they still will run VST2 plugins). Since we’re discussing Cubase…it’s important to realize that reaStream doesn’t come in VSTi form, so it won’t load directly into the ‘instrument rack’, but one can start a new FX track or Group track and host it in one of the effect slots that these types of tracks provide. Do this, and you should now have a jitter corrected stream from your secondary device into the DAW.

  4. If you require full duplex audio going in both directions…set up more instances of reaStream as required, but use a different ‘Identifier’ than you did for the initial inputs.

Note, it doesn’t have to be Bidule for that inital connection to your secondary audio device…you could try some other host that you might already have, or something really lean and simple like Nano Host that is capable of connecting directly with your secondary hardware interface.

Perhaps the whole thing could also be done with an external hardware solution that first brings all the data together and then transfers them together to the computer and the DAW via USB.

I have no idea how something like this could look like, I’m technically not good enough.