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I've discovered that (I believe) there's a limitation to ASIO in that multiple sound cards/devices cannot be used together (at least as far as Adobe Audition, N-Track, and Vegas Pro goes): what I was trying to do was use ASIO drivers for my input-to-track mappings for recording, but use my Realtek built-in sound card for the "master" output as I do not have powered monitors and therefore can't take advantage of the Delta 44's discrete outputs.

Are there any real gains for quality with ASIO for recording analog multitrack on balanced TRS inputs from an analog mixer? I can still achieve 96KHz/24-bit sample rate without ASIO; not sure there's any benefits to using ASIO drivers (the MME or DirectSound drivers allow me to use the Delta 44's inputs as L/R pairs, and just as importantly allow me to use my built-in sound card/speakers for monitoring).

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3 Answers 3

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ASIO is a technology designed for low-latency. You shouldn't see any quality improvements (or indeed, any quality difference at all) using ASIO over, say, Directsound. It's not about quality, just about how close to the hardware the software is.

Where you will see a quality difference is in using different hardware. Your Delta 44 is most likely going to have much better preamps and converters than your built-in soundcard, so you are wise to try and find a way to use it.

If you can't get ASIO to use multiple devices (I've never tried it, don't know if it's possible), and you don't need the improved latency, then MME or Directsound is a great solution for your situation.

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Actually @WarriorBob, this isn't quite true. ASIO provides accurate synchronisation and clocking mechanisms that other driver interfaces don't provide (including MME and Directsound). These are essential for accurate, high quality playback. –  JayP Dec 29 '11 at 10:41
    
@JayP Oh wow, I didn't realize that; do you have reference link handy? If so please feel free to edit my answer to correct it. I scanned the link in your answer but didn't see anything about better sync or clocking. –  Warrior Bob Dec 29 '11 at 19:00
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Give ASIO4ALL a shot.

There's a good chance you can use it to run both your interfaces with the same audio driver, to use the outs of your internal and ins of your external in any of your software.

http://www.asio4all.com/

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There is an excellent article from SoundOnSound on this matter here.

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