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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 4 days ago #51939

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I tried Steinberg Cubase and Steinberg Wavelab with RME Multiface ASIO. The Windows Volume Control didn't appear when Cubase was active but did when Wavelab was active so it seems to be related to whether the application opening the ASIO driver requests exclusive access. Exclusive access just means the first application to open ASIO gets access and all other applications are refused access after that. Typically DAWs such as Cubase do request exclusive access.

This appears to mean that Traktor 3 that I was running with the SHD and whatever you were running probably just don't open the ASIO driver in exclusive mode. I'm not sure I can prove that easily but there isn't any proof that the minidsp ASIO driver is faulty either. The symptoms of the application not requesting exclusive access or the minidsp ASIO driver not granting exclusive access are the same, the Windows Volume control appears. Proof would be when an application that definitely requests exclusive mode isn't granted it on SHD.

Actually it seems Windows 10 audio stack is rather complicated, the Windows volume control appearing does not necessarily mean you are not in exclusive mode, apparently it can appear in exclusive mode if there is some hardware support for volume in which case the volume doesn't control the Windows mixer. Allegedly. It seems the same effect occurs with many other application/hardware combinations using both ASIO and WASAPI.

So I guess the way to test whether you are really in exclusive mode is to try opening a second application using the same ASIO driver, exclusive mode should refuse to open. If two applications can open it the Windows mixer must be getting involved because ASIO drivers are inherently exclusive access.
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Last edit: by entripy. Reason: expand

Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 3 days ago #51941

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Actually it seems Windows 10 audio stack is rather complicated, the Windows volume control appearing does not necessarily mean you are not in exclusive mode, apparently it can appear in exclusive mode if there is some hardware support for volume in which case the volume doesn't control the Windows mixer. Allegedly. It seems the same effect occurs with many other application/hardware combinations using both ASIO and WASAPI.

So I guess the way to test whether you are really in exclusive mode is to try opening a second application using the same ASIO driver, exclusive mode should refuse to open. If two applications can open it the Windows mixer must be getting involved because ASIO drivers are inherently exclusive access.

this is exactly what I'm used to with other ASIO / WASAPI devices. When you run Jriver or Tidal in exclusive mode, you won't be able to even open other media files throug another application. Even a youtube or netfilx video won't play untill you close the exclusive channel. And SHD gives space to other sources without any problem. Correct me if I'm wrong but I understand it has to go throug Windows sound mixer with all negative consequences of such solution.

I read it as MiniDSP design fault not taking care of exclusive mode - could you comment on this?

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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 3 days ago #51943

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I checked on another PC with clean install. the issue remains. I've just discovered that SDH control panel in windows tray displays status of ASIO. When playback from JRiver the status is "Asio is active", when playback from Tidal the status is "Asio not active". Regardless the status flag, ASIO remains inactive (I mean there is no direct exclusive playback to USB port). See attached screen.

This is very disappointing. JRiver is one of the most popular HiFi players. Tidal is definitely No1 HiFi streaming service in the world. Why MiniDSP is not able to properly operate with these is a big question to MiniDSP R&D Team.

I'll request R&D to repair this or I'll return the unit and ask money back. I think it's also worth to warn HiFi community about limitations of this product, clearly not design for such market.
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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 3 days ago #51945

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Unfortunately "exclusive" conflates at least three things: being the only audio client, avoiding Windows volume control and avoiding Windows Sample Rate Conversion.

The SHD audio driver seems to be exclusive in some respects. If I use ASIO at 44.1kHz the non-ASIO (DirectSound?) output will be mixed into the output if its also set to 44.1kHz. But the ASIO client is the only thing that can change the SHD sample rate. If I set ASIO to be 96kHz the 44.1kHz is no longer mixed into the output because the SHD is now at 96kHz. This seems to suggest that no sample rate conversion is ever done which suggest Windows mixer is bypassed. Rather the mixed driver seems to be overriding some of the exclusiveness if all inputs are the same sample rate. Other audio drivers are known to do the same thing, this isn't just an SHD issue.

So my view is that the SHD is exclusive enough, there is no real indication that the signal is being processed by the rather nasty Windows mixer. It is exclusive in that only a single application can output ASIO at a time. If you set your sample rates different for ASIO and non-ASIO it is exclusive to ASIO alone.

The UAC control panel always shows ASIO active, actually ASIO active (PCM mode), when I use ASIO applications. It only shows ASIO inactive with apps that don't use ASIO.

So in short, I think you are mostly wrong.
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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 3 days ago #51946

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So my view is that the SHD is exclusive enough, there is no real indication that the signal is being processed by the rather nasty Windows mixer. It is exclusive in that only a single application can output ASIO at a time. If you set your sample rates different for ASIO and non-ASIO it is exclusive to ASIO alone.

The UAC control panel always shows ASIO active, actually ASIO active (PCM mode), when I use ASIO applications. It only shows ASIO inactive with apps that don't use ASIO.
So in short, I think you are mostly wrong.


thanks for this deeper insight. From your words I understand suggestion, that regardless Windows volume control being in the signal path, the harm to sound quality should be minimized thanks to bypass of Windows mixer. This may be the case. I haven't had a chance to properly compare, but the quality seams OK at the first glance (there is some improvement when I switch on exclusive mode in Tidal. Also when I observe sample rates in SHD control panel, I see the sample rate matches Tidal track rate if Exclusive mode enabled and it matches the sample rate set in Windows Audio Device when exclusive mode is disabled.

I hope my previous statements were wrong, yet I don't know what impact Volume control itself may have on signal quality (I can't compare it directly as my DAC sounds differently on USB vs AES) I can only guess there is a reason as many leading audio manufacturers bypass it too. I wish I could get a competent response from MiniDSP support team on this matter.

thanks again for bringing some light to the subject

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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 10 months 3 days ago #51947

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Whilst I am fairly confident that the Windows volume control should be bit perfect at 100% it is annoying that it appears at all. With my RME it has no Windows volume control if ASIO is using it.

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Is there Real ASIO, WASAPI, KS in SHD USB driver?! 9 months 2 weeks ago #52179

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I got response from MiniDSP Dev Team. They claim it's all bit perfect and the volume control in Windows isn't changing it. It's just an annoying feature. I whish they bypass it in future driver updates.
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