MME vs. WDM vs. ASIO

Is one better than the other?

I’m using the MME ins/outs in my setup. Would I benefit more by using the Asio setup? And if I would, how do I get it to work. I’ve tried it, but it’s like my computer hates it.

And, what’s the difference between the 3?

Just trying to make this thing better.


Define "better."

ASIO is useful if you have need for low latency. Most n-Track folks don’t need it. If MME works, then keep using it. :)

There shouldn’t be any diffrence in the sound quality (ie. if you record a 16 bit 44.1Khz wav file using each driver).

The difference will be in system performance.
ASIO and WDM drivers usually require less system resources whilst MME drivers use more system resources (and result in higher latencies).

That said, if MME works for your purposes then there is no real need to try and get WDM or ASIO working.
If using MME you are experiencing latency or lag issues then perhaps WDM or ASIO drivers may give you better results.

Not all drivers are the same and some manufacturers ASIO drivers will have no problems at all for some people and some canbe very problematic.

MME = the original driver model for Windows 32 bit apps introduced in Windows 95.
WDM = the “new improved” driver model from Microsoft available in Windows 98. It was much more robust in a lot of ways than the MME/VxD model.
ASIO = a driver standard created by Steinberg specifically for the purpose of audio use with low latency.

At the end of the day they all sound the same. Use which ever one works. Personally I use ASIO as I do some real time synth stuff that is nice to have the low latency with, but for most uses, so long as it works, use it.

Right: the best one is the one that works for you. In different setups, you may have problems (like hickups or sync issues) with one driver but not another.

If you need low latency, ASIO is easiest, and is often but not always the best.

WDM can be configured for low latency, but you generally have to frog around with parameters more to get it working the way you want it.

MME is rarely good for low latency, but on some systems is reportedly more reliable. I think that’s a minority, though.

In any case, rule #1: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Make driver changes if you’re having a problem, or you develop a new need (like, you just started using plugin softsynths so now you need low latency).

When setting up a system the first time, I think most folks would advise trying ASIO first, then WDM, and then MME. If none of them works, then you do have a problem! :(

Oh, I forgot to add:

One of the advantages of low latency is that when you make a control change (e.g., move a fader), you hear the results right away rather than after 1/4 sec or so. To some folks, this matters not at all. But if it matters to you, try a low latency setup, and the easiest way to get that is just to pick ASIO drivers and don’t bother tweaking it.

Quite a few people have had major computer freak out issues with the ASIO drivers, I am one of those. I am using the WDM drivers currently and they work great with my system.


I actually got the Asio working on my system yesterday. I think I like it better than MME. But, I’ll have to play around with it some more to see if I need to tweak things.

Thanks to all of you who gave input on my other post about cloning tracks. I’ve just recently switched to recording in 24 bit. I was hoping this would improve the overall sound level. I’m no physics major, so explaining about the math principles doesn’t help much. I’m pretty much flying this by the seat of my pants; just going by what I hear.

I’ve recently ordered a book on mixing and mastering. I’m hoping this will help.


Which book?

The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook (Pro Audio Series) by Bobby Owsinski and Sally Englefried.

Found it at I took the look inside; the TOC looked fairly informative. Once I’ve read it, I will post a critique of the book. There may be others who could use this info.


Thanks. I’m not familiar with that book. One thing to note: a lot of books that cover digital were written in the days of ADAT, and some of the rules of thumb that apply to ADAT recording (often just called “digital recording”) do NOT apply to PC-based recording. (Most of these apply more to recording than mixing & mastering per se.)

We’ll be interested to hear what you think about the book. Thanks!


I tried using ASIO, although its faster than WDM, I find WDM doesnt have any pops noises when moving tracks in real-time.

I could choose between around 8 drivers. 3 of them were asio: Asio driver, Asio mulimedia driver and something like Asio direct…driver. My pc works the best with the second, Asio Multimedia driver. What’s the difference in easy theory?

If I remember correctly, the “asio multimedia” and “asio directx” drivers are the same as “mme” and “directx” drivers, but disguised as asio driver.
I don’t really know what good these are.
If you need low latency, you’ll need a “real” asio or a wdm driver. If latency isn’t important to you, you could just use the “plain” mme or directx drivers.