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Directsound vs WASAPI vs ASIO
Midiman
post Apr 8 2012, 05:10
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After reading many of the posts on this forum, it appears that there is no evidence that ASIO or WASAPI sounds any better than Directsound on Windows 7. I understand the importance of ABX testing - and I am interested in a way to do a double blind test of such claims. Let me first of all state that I cannot hear any difference. For me to be objective, I have used the same player for all tests - foobar2000 - and simply changed the Output from Directsound to WASAPI to ASIO. However, to do this, I have to stop the playback, change the driver, and then restart playback. This means comparions are doubtful at best due to the delay involved and my knowledge of what driver I selected.

How have others conducted such tests? Please note I am not trying to prove a difference exists - just to find a way to do the test properly. The ABX plugin for foobar2000 has been very useful to compare different WAV files. Obviously, one cannot use it for this sort of experiment.

Thank you for any suggestions or pointers to where this has been proved one way or another.
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nimd4
post Apr 8 2012, 05:23
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http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=92280

PS.
ASIO is direct-hardware, low-latency and Directsound is emulated, layered.

This post has been edited by nimd4: Apr 8 2012, 05:26


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Midiman
post Apr 8 2012, 05:59
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QUOTE (nimd4 @ Apr 8 2012, 14:23) *
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=92280

PS.
ASIO is direct-hardware, low-latency and Directsound is emulated, layered.


Thanks, I have read that thread. ASIO being "direct" and Directsound being "layered" is surely irrelevant? The point of a listening test is not whether ASIO "should" sound better/different - but whether it actually "does" sound different in ABX testing. In terms of "layers", one would expect ASIO to sound better than WASAPI which in turn would sound better than DS. I see no evidence presented anywhere to substantiate this claim. Therefore, my request for a suitable test to prove the claim one way or another.
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saratoga
post Apr 8 2012, 08:03
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QUOTE (Midiman @ Apr 8 2012, 00:10) *
How have others conducted such tests? Please note I am not trying to prove a difference exists - just to find a way to do the test properly. The ABX plugin for foobar2000 has been very useful to compare different WAV files. Obviously, one cannot use it for this sort of experiment.


I would get a really good sound card, and then record the output in both modes. With good equipment it should be easy enough to tell if there is any mathematical difference, and if there is, to then use any ABX tool you like to test audibility.

Another interesting thing might be to try both in 16 bit mode, recording with a good 24 bit A/D. That might exaggerate any differences introduced by the playback software while greatly reducing the requirements on the recording A/D.


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Nessuno
post Apr 8 2012, 09:02
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QUOTE (Midiman @ Apr 8 2012, 06:59) *
The point of a listening test is not whether ASIO "should" sound better/different - but whether it actually "does" sound different in ABX testing. In terms of "layers", one would expect ASIO to sound better than WASAPI which in turn would sound better than DS. I see no evidence presented anywhere to substantiate this claim. Therefore, my request for a suitable test to prove the claim one way or another.


A properly conducted ABX test can prove the existence of perceivable differences, but not the contrary, especially when a single or a few of testers are involved.

All the more, when testing a layer of software which interacts with other ones in a multitasking OS and that can run on very different hardware, to draw sufficiently general conclusions a lot of different use cases must be taken into account.

In my opinion, if you cannot hear any difference in your system in its usual working conditions, then it's OK: just enjoy the music!

HAPPY EASTER to all!!! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Apr 8 2012, 09:04


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Roseval
post Apr 8 2012, 10:58
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The difference between ASIO/WASAPI and DS is that DS always use the Win mixer.
All audio is dithered by the mixer.
If the sample rate of the audio differs from the one set in the sound panel, it will be resampled.

ASIO/WASAPI (exclusive) will bypass the mixer.
No dither and no resampling if the hardware is able to play the sample rate of the audio.
This is about the protocol. The media player might do all kind of DSP like volume control + dither.


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nimd4
post Apr 8 2012, 19:23
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Midiman I get what you're saying, sorz 4 being so brief. For listening, or reproduction, there really is NO (audible) difference. For recording, it's a whole different story. Google threw this my way:

CODE
http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/showthread.php?t=98447

So providing the CPU, RAM and the sound card are up to par, there is no replacement for ASIO (ofc).

Otherwise for a somewhat 'similar' comparison, I'd mention the argument over which version of the LAME encoder is the 'right' one to use. When there hasn't been an advancement in quality, it basically comes down to personal preference. That sort of thing, if you can agree.


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greynol
post Apr 8 2012, 23:42
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QUOTE (nimd4 @ Apr 8 2012, 11:23) *
For recording, it's a whole different story.

Depending on the application, sure. A bit misleading and ill-advised being presented as a general statement, even with a link, however.


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krabapple
post Apr 9 2012, 06:11
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If the stream is resampled and is no longer bit-perfect that WILL break some applications -- e.g., AC3 or DTS bitstreaming. The result will be noise, which I think anyone could ABX wink.gif

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item
post Oct 8 2012, 19:29
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ASIO, WASAPI and DS are different things. Which means they are different. In theory (for reasons outlined) ASIO and WASAPI are more satisfactory from the viewpoint of low-overhead, unmolested data transmission.

Whether or not that maps to a practical benefit is hard to make a general statement about.

If you could test your system with sufficient accuracy, those results would not be valid on a different machine running a differently configured OS on different hardware with a different cable and DAC. Given that it's tough to test every setup even indifferently well, we're in the realm of guesswork and supposition. Whether a blind ABX tells you much of genuine interest is also open to question!
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[JAZ]
post Oct 8 2012, 22:55
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@item: The possibility to have an unaltered, bit-for-bit output with either of those three methods exists, and in such case, neither ABX, nor guesswork and supppositions play any role.

In the event that they aren't bit-perfect, the election of one over another is most of the times about performance/usability than about quality. (Expecting very low latency, wanting to play multiple streams at the same time, sampling rates and bit depths supported, etc..).

There are only two scenarios worth mentioning about Directsound or MME failing:
The old "AC97"-compatible hardware/drivers that used to resample with low quality 44.1Khz signals to 48Khz, and the newer "MME waveout recording resampling with low quality, even when unneeded" in Vista and 7 (which was patched some time ago).

That's as much about quality that any Windows user should care when using the different audio APIs (Other than when requiring bit-for-bit signals)

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AiZ
post Oct 8 2012, 23:10
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[Not that fun mode on]

For me, ASIO is vastly superior. Evidence?
Currently, the whole sound subsystem of my Windows Seven is broken. Literally. How it has happened is still a mystery, four or five days ago, sound disappeared from my videos, etc. I've reinstalled sound card drivers, tried a restore point, nothing, nada, rien. The only thing that surfaced was a lot of chkdsk errors during restoration process which led to a total restoration failure. But Windows is happy with it, saying nothing about probably crunched system files.
That's quite frustrating:
- Using MME/DirectSound, usual programs output no sound without any error, playing anything I throw them,
- Players using WASAPI don't work, there's an unknown error when cueing music,
- Eventually my beloved Foobar2000 -> ASIO -> Musiland Digital Times -> S/PDIF -> Audio-gd Sparrow -> Superlux HD668B setup plays music flawlessly while I'm gathering information, downloading software updates and making backup of my documents in order to prepare Windows 7 reinstallation. huh.gif

ASIO, what else?

AiZ

[Not that fun mode off]


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item
post Oct 8 2012, 23:10
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QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Oct 8 2012, 22:55) *

@item: The possibility to have an unaltered, bit-for-bit output with either of those three methods exists, and in such case, neither ABX, nor guesswork and supppositions play any role.

In the event that they aren't bit-perfect, the election of one over another is most of the times about performance/usability than about quality. (Expecting very low latency, wanting to play multiple streams at the same time, sampling rates and bit depths supported, etc..).

There are only two scenarios worth mentioning about Directsound or MME failing:
The old "AC97"-compatible hardware/drivers that used to resample with low quality 44.1Khz signals to 48Khz, and the newer "MME waveout recording resampling with low quality, even when unneeded" in Vista and 7 (which was patched some time ago).

That's as much about quality that any Windows user should care when using the different audio APIs (Other than when requiring bit-for-bit signals)


The possibility exists that DS can be bit-perfect, but it's less likely. It is likely that if there is a positive difference, it will be on the side of ASIO / WASAPI.

As I said, whether there will be a practical difference in every - indeed any - system depends on many factors that are hard to rule in or out.

This post has been edited by item: Oct 8 2012, 23:12
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devhead
post May 6 2014, 19:42
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I have a Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card, and I can say that there is a significant difference in the sound quality between DirectSound and WASAPI (or with ASIO). I have the audio coming out of my digital coaxial output of the sound card and into my amp, and JRiver Media Center sounds much better using WASAPI and/or ASIO.
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db1989
post May 6 2014, 19:51
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Prove it with double-blind testing as mandated by our rules or keep your probably imagined claims to yourself.
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[JAZ]
post May 6 2014, 19:53
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@devhead:

First, Welcome to hydrogenadio.
Hydrogenaudio is a technical, factual, and informational forum. It is not a forum where to post opinions.

If you have a notable difference in that setup, first it is on your side to demonstrate that such thing happens. You might be able to record the audio in some way and then analyze and post samples for all us to verify the claim.

If that proves true, the most probable reason is wrong setup on your system.

If that proves false, then it demonstrates how easily it is to fool oneself to believe some things are better than the other.
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Porcus
post May 7 2014, 11:29
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QUOTE ([JAZ] @ May 6 2014, 20:53) *
Hydrogenaudio is a technical, factual, and informational forum. It is not a forum where to post opinions.


That was a bit strong. Rather, it is a forum which has ruled out - explicitely - certain unfounded opinions known to be biased by (and way too often nothing but) artifacts of imagination.

To devhead: that link tells you both what you have to conform to (or post somewhere else) and the rationale behind it.



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