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Small portable dongle/dac with low latency/ASIO support?

Gershy13

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Hi everyone,

I recently got a new laptop, however the audio latency for running an instrument live is pretty bad unless i use something like ASIO4ALL, but then i cannot have my system audio playing (if i wanted chrome or spotify to play audio). My use case here is to be able to run a DAW or Instrument VST (such as Superior Drummer 3), and output that in low latency to my headphones. I also sometimes need to have music playing so i can play along.
I already have an audio interface, so i'm more looking for something that is quick and easy to setup such as a dongle or usb adapter of some kind (maybe something i can leave plugged into my headphones or in my laptop sleeve.

Basically just looking for any sort of cheap dac with low latency and ASIO support.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Looking for something comparable to a Behringer UMC204HD in terms of latency (~5ms?)

Thanks
Gershy13
 
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BeerBear

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For example, Sabaj Da2 or SMSL iDEA. Also Sabaj Da3, but that one is a bit larger.
 

ZolaIII

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Regarding steady and nice small ASIO driver support try with Tempotec/Hidizs CS43131 based dongles like Sonata HD Pro. A tip keep sample rate at basic and additional processing at minimum if low latency ASIO is what you are after. Keep in mind such dongles can usually output up to 2V and that CS43131 use plug impedance sensing (which can be broken on mentioned one's by flashing firmware that's not exactly their's so that it can output full power that it can disreging of impedance of plugged headphones). This is important to reed as you didn't mention which headphones you are intending to use.
Best regards and have a nice time.
 
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Gershy13

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For example, Sabaj Da2 or SMSL iDEA. Also Sabaj Da3, but that one is a bit larger.
Yes, anything of that size is perfect! Even the larger one is honestly fine. I just want something that isnt a box that goes on a desk (desktop style like most interfaces). Are there any measurements of latency for any of them? The da2 is £30 which is a great price.
Regarding steady and nice small ASIO driver support try with Tempotec/Hidizs CS43131 based dongles like Sonata HD Pro. A tip keep sample rate at basic and additional processing at minimum if low latency ASIO is what you are after. Keep in mind such dongles can usually output up to 2V and that CS43131 use plug impedance sensing (which can be broken on mentioned one's by flashing firmware that's not exactly their's so that it can output full power that it can disreging of impedance of plugged headphones). This is important to reed as you didn't mention which headphones you are intending to use.
Best regards and have a nice time.
Thanks, i assume anything with that chip would be good? The Shanling UA1 Plus? (its a bit cheaper than the sonata or hidizs s8). How is the latency with them, i cant seem to find any measurements.
Yeah intended use case would litterally just be running a drum VSTi (Superior Drummer 3 or EZDrummer 3) and possibly playing music from chrome or spotify in the background. I usually keep my sample rate at 48khz as i think it improves latency compared to 44.1 at the same buffer size.
Headphones i plan to use for now are Tygr 300r (but theyre open back so not sure if they would be any good for me playing edrums), and more likely my IEMs which are KZ ZS10 Pro.

For actual live use i would have an actual interface with TRS or XLR outs (looking to pickup a UMC202HD probably).
 

ZolaIII

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Tygr 300R are 32 Ohms rated and will work just fine with dongles able to push 2V. I honestly don't know about Shanling UA1 Plus. I know what I told you and TempoTec is OEM but if you can find Hidizs for a same price go for it, it have better shielding casing and measure little better. I think it's safe to say how there aren't any (to my knowledge) really broken designs with CS43131 DAC, trere were some with unsolved problems abandoned products from iBasso as much as I remember.
Just cuple minutes back I recommend motu M4/M2 as interfaces.
 
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Gershy13

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Tygr 300R are 32 Ohms rated and will work just fine with dongles able to push 2V. I honestly don't know about Shanling UA1 Plus. I know what I told you and TempoTec is OEM but if you can find Hidizs for a same price go for it, it have better shielding casing and measure little better. I think it's safe to say how there aren't any (to my knowledge) really broken designs with CS43131 DAC, trere were some with unsolved problems abandoned products from iBasso as much as I remember.
Just cuple minutes back I recommend motu M4/M2 as interfaces.
Thanks, Ill see if i can find anything else for a better price with that chip and then if its amazon i can always return it. I cant seem to find the sonata or hidizs in stock in the UK. If none of the other chips work out then ill probably have to get a sonata hd pro from aliexpress.

I would love to get a motu, but the price for me is just too much, especially for live use i dont think its worth it for me to get such a nice interface (maybe for home tho!).
Ive got a UMC204HD at my desk at home and havent had any issues with it. Really good latency too.
 

BeerBear

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Are there any measurements of latency for any of them?
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure those use an XMOS chip with a Thesycon driver. That's a very common combo used in many products (including the Behringers you mentioned), so I would expect the low latency performance to be at least not terrible.

For actual live use i would have an actual interface with TRS or XLR outs (looking to pickup a UMC202HD probably).
Just a word of caution, I guess: those Behringers don't have balanced outputs.
 
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Gershy13

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I don't know, but I'm pretty sure those use an XMOS chip with a Thesycon driver. That's a very common combo used in many products (including the Behringers you mentioned), so I would expect the low latency performance to be at least not terrible.


Just a word of caution, I guess: those Behringers don't have balanced outputs.
Awesome, thats good to know. I saw the xmos page about the drivers. If they're similar to what the behringer uses then it should be fine.

My 204hd has balanced outputs (the TRS jacks support balanced i'm pretty sure) (i believe the 202hd and even the cheaper and much worse umc22 does too). I think its the UM2 that does not have balanced outs.
 

ZolaIII

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Gershy13

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Interesting enough when I search for Sonata on Amazon UK it shows like this:
With shipping from China from this seller and a good price:
On Ali express Tempotec has officiall store but I am pretty sure Amazon costumer protection will work better for you.
Don't really like Behringer they rip off other people designs.
not sure about the quality of that amazon seller lol. I found tempotec official website have it in stock too, so as long as shipping isnt extremely expensive, getting it from there is an option.

Ive had quite a few behringer products, and while i agree they arent the best products, i cannot argue with their value. Especially for the Live/Pro Audio area. The X32 is still a console that i use today and its a great product. They definitely have their issues, but when starting out i think its a good entry point.
 

ZolaIII

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I left live gig's quite some time ago behind me. Consider getting a deacent closed design headphones with deacent isolation for such. I have even worser opinion about KZ IEM's, tho they basic memory foam ear tips are quite OK. Actually I don't like IEM's as I think they are bad for hearing health on the long run and have irritation problems with them. Prefer open earbuds on the go tho still use IEM's sometimes when in noisy environment.
Anyway have a nice time and happy hunting.
 
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Gershy13

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I left live gig's quite some time ago behind me. Consider getting a deacent closed design headphones with deacent isolation for such. I have even worser opinion about KZ IEM's, tho they basic memory foam ear tips are quite OK. Actually I don't like IEM's as I think they are bad for hearing health on the long run and have irritation problems with them. Prefer open earbuds on the go tho still use IEM's sometimes when in noisy environment.
Anyway have a nice time and happy hunting.
Yeah I know the KZ aren't the best but they were cheap a few years ago and I don't use them too often. They sound decent for music for my taste, but I'm sure there is much better now for similar budget or slightly higher.

I'll probably end up getting some DT 700 Pro X's (I simply cannot live without beyerdynamic comfort now lol) or similar if I really want to use them live.
 

goldenears

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Can anyone confirm a dongle that is as small as possible and is able to use Ableton with ASIO drivers while simultaneously playing audio from, eg youtube or foobar2k?

I sometimes want to watch youtube Ableton tutorials while actually trying it out on the laptop. My Focusrite audio interface at home does this without a problem.

I'm blown away that in 2023, the Realtek audio on my laptop is not capable of this.

So now I need to find a stupid dongle.
 
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Gershy13

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Can anyone confirm a dongle that is as small as possible and is able to use Ableton with ASIO drivers while simultaneously playing audio from, eg youtube or foobar2k?

I sometimes want to watch youtube Ableton tutorials while actually trying it out on the laptop. My Focusrite audio interface at home does this without a problem.

I'm blown away that in 2023, the Realtek audio on my laptop is not capable of this.

So now I need to find a stupid dongle.
This is exactly what i want to do. Supposedly the ones mentioned above can do this. The tempotec sonata is what im looking at as its the cheapest option in the UK.
 

BeerBear

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Can anyone confirm a dongle that is as small as possible and is able to use Ableton with ASIO drivers while simultaneously playing audio from, eg youtube or foobar2k?
I've never seen a dedicated soundcard that couldn't do that. The caveat is that the sample rate needs to be the same for both the ASIO stream and the non-ASIO stream, which you set in the Windows sound settings.

I'm blown away that in 2023, the Realtek audio on my laptop is not capable of this.
You're using the Realtek ASIO driver? I know that it exists, but it's less known, so I just want to make sure.
I tried it some years ago, but it was quite buggy/unstable, so I don't think I even tested that functionality.
 
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Gershy13

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I've never seen a dedicated soundcard that couldn't do that. The caveat is that the sample rate needs to be the same for both the ASIO stream and the non-ASIO stream, which you set in the Windows sound settings.


You're using the Realtek ASIO driver? I know that it exists, but it's less known, so I just want to make sure.
I tried it some years ago, but it was quite buggy/unstable, so I don't think I even tested that functionality.
For me the hardest part is trying to find dongles that have ASIO compatibility. Sometimes there's no info mentioned if the dongle supports it or not. (The driver download doesn't say ASIO, it could just be wdm)

I'm now looking for something that has a mic input too (with trrs or a seperate jack), as then I could use this one dongle for my Dayton imm6 as well.
 

BeerBear

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For me the hardest part is trying to find dongles that have ASIO compatibility. Sometimes there's no info mentioned if the dongle supports it or not. (The driver download doesn't say ASIO, it could just be wdm)
You can often find that info by extracting the driver installer (with 7-zip, for example). ASIO is usually mentioned somewhere, either in the file names or inside some of the files.
 
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Gershy13

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You can often find that info by extracting the driver installer (with 7-zip, for example). ASIO is usually mentioned somewhere, either in the file names or inside some of the files.
Great idea thanks! I'll keep that in mind.
 

goldenears

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I've never seen a dedicated soundcard that couldn't do that. The caveat is that the sample rate needs to be the same for both the ASIO stream and the non-ASIO stream, which you set in the Windows sound settings.


You're using the Realtek ASIO driver? I know that it exists, but it's less known, so I just want to make sure.
I tried it some years ago, but it was quite buggy/unstable, so I don't think I even tested that functionality.
Yes, using Realtek ASIO driver...

I'm playing a youtube video in Firefox in the background in this screenshot:

Screenshot 2023-08-25 085112.png

If I close Firefox I can use Ableton. But I can never use them together. Aargh.

I also have a DACPort HD, same problem:

Screenshot 2023-08-25 090318.png


DACPort only has 32 bit options in there.

Any ideas on how I can get this working or what I need to buy?

My Focusrite at home has both "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device" and "Give exclusive mode applications priority" ticked, but it's in 24bit. Works perfectly and can play from anything simultaneously while using Ableton with ASIO driver.

It shouldn't be this hard...
 
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Gershy13

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Yes, using Realtek ASIO driver...

I'm playing a youtube video in Firefox in the background in this screenshot:

View attachment 307757
If I close Firefox I can use Ableton. But I can never use them together. Aargh.

I also have a DACPort HD, same problem:

View attachment 307758

DACPort only has 32 bit options in there.

Any ideas on how I can get this working or what I need to buy?

My Focusrite at home has both "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device" and "Give exclusive mode applications priority" ticked, but it's in 24bit. Works perfectly and can play from anything simultaneously while using Ableton with ASIO driver.

It shouldn't be this hard...
I managed to get the realtek working, but I had unusable latency.

Have you tried starting the ASIO before playing in your other app?

For me I setup ASIO first, (make sure windows sample rate is the same) (realtek only allowed 44.1 for me), and then start playing Firefox.
 
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