Which interfaces support ASIO "direct monitoring" on Mac?

Hi Guys,

Having moved from Logic to Cubase 6, I noted in the manual that there is an ASIO direct monitoring option in the device settings.

I am using an RME interface (UFX) currently, and the direct monitoring box in Cubase is greyed out. I have just confirmed with RME support that direct monitoring (through Cubase) and ASIO drivers are not supported for Mac.

I’m wondering which interfaces DO support these features? (Apart from Steinberg’s MR and UR units)…

For example, would the MOTU 896 mk III support this? Or can you suggest others?


ASIO direct monitoring is not supported on mac. (I think!)

The MR816 does but I recently had issues with it losing connection because of the MR extension. Once I removed that then all was well but I lost direct monitoring. Instead I use the control panel.

Yeah, the MR does for sure.

But hearing that you had issues with losing connection is a problem!!

I’m not going to go with the MR interface though (for different reasons) - so I’m trying to work out which others will support ASIO and also offer direct monitoring…

Asio is not supported on OSX. CoreAudio is a fully functional audio API, unlike DirectSound in Windows…which is why Windows needs Asio.

Direct monitoring is supported via the control panel of every semiPro sound card I’ve ever used. steiny’s is the only seamless one because it’s proprietary connection to Cubase.

Thanks for this info!

So does this mean than when Cubse runs on a Mac, it is using Core Audio, not ASIO?

I always thought it had to convert from ASIO to Core when running on a Mac, while Logic and Digital Performer could run directly through Core?

Old thread, but I’m looking for a new (pro as possible) interface that supports ASIO Direct Monitoring now as well, but for windows.

I was running a MOTU PCIe 424/2408 mk3 rig for well over a decade, and never had any problem with ASIO Direct Monitoring working, but it recently started getting buggy, and I finally decided to upgrade to the Antelope Orion Studio that I’ve had my eye on, which I was told by Antelope supported ASIO DM, only to get it set up and have the box greyed out. After a lot of run around and contradicting answers from Antelope support (I never did get a straight answer), I’m giving up on it. Super cool piece of gear, and they preach perfect cross platform functionality, but like a lot of stuff these days, it’s clearly biased towards a Mac based DAW.

I tried working with jumping back and forth between cubase and their app, but after having ASIO DM for so long, and in a project studio setting where the control room and the live room are essentially the same room, it’s a real pain to have to not only switch back and forth between apps, but just remembering (or forgetting) to go back and open/close mics (since open mics and live monitors don’t mix and all) when it could all happen automatically, (tape machine style or how ever) in Cubase with ASIO DM. Truely surprised that more interfaces aren’t supporting this, and I can’t imagine anyone tha’s had it being able to live without it.

Any suggestions?

Any help is greatly appreciated

Old post, but still a useful resource to lookup. All the RME devices are supported devices in Cubase (Win) as direct monitoring devices. Also, the UR series are also supported.

“ASIO direct monitoring” and direct- or hardware monitoring are different things though.

I was referring to ASIO direct monitoring, meaning that the ‘Direct Monitoring’ option under Devices is not greyed out.

See this post :


I never knew what direct monitoring through cubase was.

I monitor through cubase because I want to use fx and amp sims etc.

My interface supports direct monitoring or zero latency monitoring so I can use that if I want to but I never do.

It works good though, I can have reverb and compression added to the signal in the interface and hear it directly, not through cubase.

Cubase would record the signal dry.

What would happen if you could check the box labelled ASIO direct monitoring?

Most low cost interfaces does not have this capability. So you can’t use ASIO direct monitoring with those. For them the check is grayed out in the Cubase or Nuendo ASIO device settings.

So in this case you get the monitoring through the DAW, with added latency, or you could use the interface analog mixer (typically a push button or a mix knob on low cost non dsp interfaces), or use an external analog mixer, or a digital mixer with low latency.

The later two solutions are better because they do allow to add a reverb to the direct monitor input. Some performers or songs cannot tolerate a dry monitoring.

Monitoring through the DAW is ok if your latency is very low and for recording non critical instruments / performers. This is a simple solution because there is no complication regarding effects on the monitored input. You get the effects you put on the DAW mixer and the cue monitor studio mix is exactly the same as the control room mix.

But as soon as the latency rise, for example because you have many tracks and effects and you need to rise the buffer setting a lot, monitoring through the DAW is not a comfortable situation for the performer anymore, or is a no go.

I’ve seen some performers that do not want or cannot play with such a setup. Specially for very fast guitar tracks.

So the pro solution for recording is to have an efficient and automated form of direct monitoring. ASIO direct monitoring with a DSP mixer inside the interface is quite a decent solution for that, keeping the i/o latency in the millisecond range, almost as good as analog direct monitoring, and allowing to add a reverb / EQ / compressor on the monitored input through the interface DSP mixer.

ASIO direct monitoring complete interface support (with DAW mix levels and pan positions copied to the DSP mixer) mark the difference between amateur and professional i/o hardware.

In the old days of analog mixing, armed track input monitoring was perfectly managed by studio consoles without any latency. Specially on larger consoles like SSL or NEVE where you had the option to send the tape output or the group output or mix the two together independently for each record armed track.

Since years 1995-2000, we started to commonly use digital mixing, with added latency. Because of that digital audio recording add a lot of complexity to get a good and easy to use direct monitoring solution. Only manufacturers that do have a good understanding of what audio recording is, do have the right hardware here even for large setups with more than ten or hundred tracks.

In those old years, i remember we had input monitoring latency problems with some performers, even with very high end hardware like SSL AXIOM digital mixing consoles who were using exclusively large multi DSP boards (running at 48 KHz).

For small setups with only a few tracks and effects, DAW monitoring with a small buffer count setting can be ok. But for larger recording setups, ASIO direct monitoring is certainly the answer.

This could change in the future if interfaces could integrate a high computing power DSP at a reasonable price, and all the computer audio computing was transferred to the interface computing. Actually this is the case only for very expensive hardware.

Thunderbolt, with PCIe support giving access to the host DMA system (direct memory access) as well as more powerful computers, could help as well to lower the latency even for high track counts without using interface DSP processing. This could reduce the need to use costly DSP hardware for mid range professional recording setups.

I’m not sure that actual Thunderbolt interfaces are using this PCIe embedded mode. So there is eventually some room for progress here. I would be interested to know if RME do have a driver using this mode.