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Question about configuration of RME ADI-2 DAC with Windows

andreasmaaan

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#1
I know bits and pieces of this question have been discussed on other threads, but I'm still a little stuck here as to how best to set up this DAC with Windows 10.

When I got this DAC, I installed the RME driver package and there has never been any problem with getting the device to play music.

However, I'm confused about how to set it up optimally. If I understand the manual correctly, the user must choose the sampling rate through the RME driver software, and the PC then sends all audio to the DAC at the selected sample rate, regardless of the original sample rate of the audio file being played.

This seems weird, but is it correct? If I just want the DAC to receive all audio at the original sample rate - is there anything I can do to make it do this?

And if this is not possible, could there be anything wrong with the PC upsampling everything to say 88.2KHz (which is the normal sample rate I use when producing music in Ableton Live).

Finally, the windows volume control in the taskbar still affects the volume of the audio going to the DAC. I've been leaving it on 100% and using the DAC's inbuilt volume ofc, but does the fact that the Windows system volume still works indicate that the data being sent to the DAC is not bit-perfect?

Help much appreciated :)

Andreas
 

maverickronin

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#2
Silly as it is, if you need to use ASIO for your DAW then that's pretty much how you have to use it.

The latest firmware update makes it UAC2 compatible with W10 (at least 1803 which I've tested) so you can use WASAPI instead, if your DAW supports it.

What player software are you using besides Ableton Live?
 

Krunok

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#3
Finally, the windows volume control in the taskbar still affects the volume of the audio going to the DAC. I've been leaving it on 100% and using the DAC's inbuilt volume ofc, but does the fact that the Windows system volume still works indicate that the data being sent to the DAC is not bit-perfect?

Help much appreciated :)

Andreas
Although I don't have this DAC I may be able to help with this one. As a general rule all DACs with ASIO drivers will be visible as a Windows sound device. What you should do is make sure that built in sound device is checked as a default so that Windows sounds don't interfere with your music. As ASIO driver locks the device exclusively once your player gets to use your DAC via the ASIO driver everything should work fine. And yes, Windows volume control for your ASIO DAC should stay at 100% but the data sent to DAC will be bit perfect.
 
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andreasmaaan

andreasmaaan

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Thread Starter #4
Silly as it is, if you need to use ASIO for your DAW then that's pretty much how you have to use it.

The latest firmware update makes it UAC2 compatible with W10 (at least 1803 which I've tested) so you can use WASAPI instead, if your DAW supports it.

What player software are you using besides Ableton Live?
Thanks :)

For playback, I use Foobar and Spotify.

Weirdly, with Ableton Live I don't see the ADI-2 as an option when ASIO is selected as a driver type (the items on the list are a bunch of other devices that I've previously had installed at one point or another):

1534261796503.png


As you can see, the ADI-2 is only available when MME/DirectX is selected as the driver type:

1534261706709.png


Although I don't have this DAC I may be able to help with this one. As a general rule all DACs with ASIO drivers will be visible as a Windows sound device. What you should do is make sure that built in sound device is checked as a default so that Windows sounds don't interfere with your music. As ASIO driver locks the device exclusively once your player gets to use your DAC via the ASIO driver everything should work fine. And yes, Windows volume control for your ASIO DAC should stay at 100% but the data sent to DAC will be bit perfect.
Good to know, thanks!
 

maverickronin

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#6
Thanks :)

For playback, I use Foobar and Spotify.

Weirdly, with Ableton Live I don't see the ADI-2 as an option when ASIO is selected as a driver type (the items on the list are a bunch of other devices that I've previously had installed at one point or another):
"MADIface USB" is the name of RME's ASIO driver so select that to use ASIO with it. I think they all have that name so you can mix and match channel mapping between different RME devices but I'm not 100% sure. Does Ableton Live let you select WASAPI as a driver type?

Foobar has both ASIO and WASAPI plugins available. Either one will be bit perfect and automatically change the sample rate but WASAPI will only work with the Windows Class driver so you have to uninstall the ASIO driver first. The ASIO driver will leave the Windows mixer sample rate set on whatever you last played through ASIO while WASAPI will leave it as is.

I don't use Spotify, but I'd bet it only plays into the standard Windows mixer and would probably sound (or at least measure) best if you kept the mixer rate at 44.1 and skipped Windows' internal sample rate conversion. If all the programs you use that need to change the sample rate use WASAPI that's pretty easy but if you have to use ASIO then you'll need to change things manually after using an ASIO capable program.
 
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andreasmaaan

andreasmaaan

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Thread Starter #7
"MADIface USB" is the name of RME's ASIO driver so select that to use ASIO with it. I think they all have that name so you can mix and match channel mapping between different RME devices but I'm not 100% sure. Does Ableton Live let you select WASAPI as a driver type?

Foobar has both ASIO and WASAPI plugins available. Either one will be bit perfect and automatically change the sample rate but WASAPI will only work with the Windows Class driver so you have to uninstall the ASIO driver first. The ASIO driver will leave the Windows mixer sample rate set on whatever you last played through ASIO while WASAPI will leave it as is.

I don't use Spotify, but I'd bet it only plays into the standard Windows mixer and would probably sound (or at least measure) best if you kept the mixer rate at 44.1 and skipped Windows' internal sample rate conversion. If all the programs you use that need to change the sample rate use WASAPI that's pretty easy but if you have to use ASIO then you'll need to change things manually after using an ASIO capable program.
This is super-helpful, thanks so much.
 
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andreasmaaan

andreasmaaan

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Thread Starter #8
For anyone interested, I investigated trying to get Spotify to work with ASIO and found what appears to be a functional workaround called ASIO Bridge.

Has anyone had experience with this?

I've set it up and it apparently works by creating a virtual audio device called "Hi-Fi Cable", which can be made the primary sound driver, which then routes the audio to the software (ASIO Bridge), which in turn routes the audio to your ASIO device.

1534301059893.png


It seems like it's working correctly, but the thing is, if there is a difference in SQ between it and Spotify running normally, it's subtle enough that I'm not sure if I can't hear it. It's not possible to A/B without a little pause, which doesn't help.

Out of interest, does anyone have an opinion as to why I should / shouldn't be able to hear a difference (assuming that it actually works)?
 
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maverickronin

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#9
Out of interest, does anyone have an opinion as to why I should / shouldn't be able to hear a difference (assuming that it actually works)?
If the Windows mixer is already set to the same rate as the source audio, all the Windows enhancements are turned off, the Windows volume is set to 100%, and nothing else is playing on that device's mixer then everything should pass through bit perfect and there won't be any differences to hear or measure.

If the sample rates of the source audio and the Windows mixer are different then Windows will resample the source to match the mixer's rate. That does have the potential to be audible or measureable. I've also heard people say that Windows' resampling algorithms are poorly implemented between certain frequencies but I've never seen any measurements on it and never bothered to test myself.

Personally, I think worrying about the differences is overblown, even though slight OCD tendencies compel me to use ASIO or WASAPI where ever I can.

I couldn't find a perfect solution to my situation either, but here's what I do. My main PC is Windows 7 so I have to use the RME ASIO driver instead of Windows UAC2. I leave the ASIO sample rate set to 96kHz because my video player's DSPs work best at the rate, doesn't support ASIO or WASAPI, and at least this makes the rates match. In Foobar I use the SoX plugin to resample everything to 96kHz because SoX is regarded as a good algorithm and so I don't have to manually change the rate back to 96kHz after playing something in Foobar. For Games/Pandora/YouTube/whatever else I just deal with Windows upsampling everything to 96khz. Even though I'd prefer to leave it out, I can't say I've heard any obvious differences from the Windows mixer with DirectSound content.

I haven't seen that ASIO Bridge program before though. I should give it a try. I've user some similar products before and while they worked, they had too much latency since I was trying to use them with video players.
 

bennetng

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#10
I've also heard people say that Windows' resampling algorithms are poorly implemented between certain frequencies but I've never seen any measurements on it and never bothered to test myself.
For Windows 7, while the bug only affects the old MME API, there is a permanent fix:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us...ed-after-you-convert-the-sample-rate-in-windo

...Windows 10?
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/11/measurements-windows-10-audio-stack.html
but...
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,114138.msg940216.html#msg940216

Therefore there are some uncertainties about Win10. Maybe MS fixed it in one Creators Update but not the others. Maybe it depends on other things, who knows. I am not using Windows 10, but linear interpolation resamplers can result in audible distortion.
 

maverickronin

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#11
...Windows 10?
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/11/measurements-windows-10-audio-stack.html
but...
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,114138.msg940216.html#msg940216

Therefore there are some uncertainties about Win10. Maybe MS fixed it in one Creators Update but not the others. Maybe it depends on other things, who knows. I am not using Windows 10, but linear interpolation resamplers can result in audible distortion.
With W10 it probably changes every 6 months with their stupid semi-annual service packs. I'm waiting for the next LTSC release so I'll have one which supports UAC2 drivers. I suppose I'll test it then. I tried copying them back to LTSB/LTSC 2016 but I couldn't make them work.
 

derp1n

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#12
For Windows 7, while the bug only affects the old MME API, there is a permanent fix:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us...ed-after-you-convert-the-sample-rate-in-windo

...Windows 10?
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2015/11/measurements-windows-10-audio-stack.html
but...
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,114138.msg940216.html#msg940216

Therefore there are some uncertainties about Win10. Maybe MS fixed it in one Creators Update but not the others. Maybe it depends on other things, who knows. I am not using Windows 10, but linear interpolation resamplers can result in audible distortion.
Archimago's results are for DirectSound... not relevant to most applications. Anything using WASAPI is doing it's own SRC rather than anything the OS provides. Hard to know what app uses what audio API, though, unless they're selectable.
 
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andreasmaaan

andreasmaaan

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Thread Starter #13
I think given all this uncertainty I'll be safest using this ASIO re-router driver I've downloaded... assuming that works correctly ;)
 

Vincent Kars

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#14
If the Windows mixer is already set to the same rate as the source audio, all the Windows enhancements are turned off, the Windows volume is set to 100%, and nothing else is playing on that device's mixer then everything should pass through bit perfect and there won't be any differences to hear or measure.
I'm afraid this not true.
This is true in case of XP
From Vista on the mixer always converts to float, dither and convert back to integer even if only 1 stream is playing.
This is when using WASAPI in shared mode (Direct Sound).
WASAPI exclusive mode bypasses the mixer hence allows for bit perfect playback assuming the bits are not altered upstream.
http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/KB/WASAPI.htm

In the past drivers for Win where neeeded as Win was only UAC1 compliant
Win10 is UAC2 compliant
I would suggest to try a media player supporting WASAPI in exclusive mode and use de Win UAC2 drivers
This allows for bit perfect playback and automatic sample rate switching as well.
As a bonus, due to the lock you won't have any other stream e.g. email notifications full blast over the stereo
 
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bennetng

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#15
Archimago's results are for DirectSound... not relevant to most applications. Anything using WASAPI is doing it's own SRC rather than anything the OS provides. Hard to know what app uses what audio API, though, unless they're selectable.
The HA member who disagrees with Archimago was also using DS in his test. foobar uses WASAPI exclusive mode and this mode will mute other sources, some people dislike it. ASIO on the other hand, depends on the hardware or driver, may be able to share the device to other applications (multiclient mode).
 

maverickronin

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#16
I'm afraid this not true.
This is true in case of XP
From Vista on the mixer always converts to float, dither and convert back to integer even if only 1 stream is playing.
That sucks. At least it still skips the SRC if they're the same. I guess I'm really going to have measure it and make sure it's doing well or find a workaround for programs that don't have WASAPI support...
 

derp1n

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#17
The HA member who disagrees with Archimago was also using DS in his test. foobar uses WASAPI exclusive mode and this mode will mute other sources, some people dislike it. ASIO on the other hand, depends on the hardware or driver, may be able to share the device to other applications (multiclient mode).
Another confounding factor is the behavior of the API can change depending on the driver (it can replace a fair bit of the functionality), so it's not that Archimago's results are wrong, just that the only apply to a subset of installs. It'd be simpler if the OS provided good quality base functionality like macOS (and Linux, depending on how you count it), but that's not the Microsoft way...
 

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