WMD vs ASIO drivers

My sound card (Lexicon Omega) supports both WDM and ASIO
Is one more suited for use with n-track? Info about the pros and cons of both would be very much appreciated. I thought it was hard enough learning to play multiple musical instruments…wow, this is a whole other can-o-worms !!! I’m alternating between elation and frustration !
Any advice much appreciated.

ASIO has the lowest obtainable latency, i.e. the shortest delay between what you put in when you record, and what you hear. I would go for ASIO anytime.

WDM does work adequately for most purposes, though. It might have too long a latency for proper overdubs. In some unfortunate cases, WDM is the only choice, even if ASIO drivers are present. It depends on the hardware.

Remember, ASIO channels are stereo. Period. Be careful when assigning channels to tracks in n-Track when setting up for recording. Here, you have the choice of stereo, stereo=> two mono tracks, or mono. This depends on what you want to record, how you want it recorded, and the limitations of the soundcard you are using.

You may, for instance, record a live piano in stereo, two performers tracking simultaneously as two mono tracks, or one vocal in mono, all in different takes from one ASIO channel. It depends on your goal.

If you use VSTi instruments and midi, remember to always render them as audio tracks in stereo. Most VSTi instruments sounds like $#!+ if rendered in mono…

regards, NIls

Hi, I second what Nils said except when overdubbing if you can monitor your new incoming “live” sound directly through the lexicons Monitor path you should have no problems with delay using WDM drivers which some people find to be more reliable than Asio.

Use the monitor mix control for this.

I use WDM and do a lot of overdubbing. I’ve never found latency to be a problem. For my soundcard (Delta 1010) WDM drivers are more reliable and seem to work better but I know that a lot of people prefer ASIO. You should try both and decide which is the best for your system.

Careful, posts about WMD are likely to catch the attention of Homeland Security!

Latency should not be an issue for overdubs in a correctly working system. If it is, something else is wrong, and configuring low latency can hide that problem. (And there’s nothing terribly wrong about this, I’ve run on systems with this problem. It does mean you’re not getting accurate sync, though.)

BTW, there’s no difference between “overdubs” and simply recording multiple tracks while monitoring already laid tracks, which is what most of us do most of the time.

On a correctly working system, latency is only an issue for LIVE mode. LIVE mode is only necessary for the following cases:

- when using softsynths (VSTi/DXi plugins)
- when you choose to listen to effects while recording

I recommend against the latter in general, except for cases (like guitar amp/cab sims) where the effect is a crucial part of the sound being played, not just a postprocessing effect.

In any case, it is possible to configure WDM for very low latency on most systems. Any difference in lowest latency for ASIO versus WDM is not significant in normal circumstances. Any latency below 10 msec is fine for most purposes. Would you be bothered if your monitor speaker was 10 feet further away? Since sound goes at roughly 1 msec per foot, it’s the same thing.

As mentioned above, try both. I recommend trying ASIO first; if you need low latency you’ll get it immediately without extra configuration (in all cases I’ve seen, default ASIO config is reasonably low latency). If you have any problems (e.g., dropouts), try WDM. If you need low latency with WDM, change the n-Track buffering config for low latency. And go with whatever works best on your system.


People, hear learjeff, he’s nailing it perfectly.

One thing more however. ASIO settings have to be configured from the soundcards settings. This may cause a problem if the setting options are restricted there.

For example in M-Audio fw 1814 I can’t get big enuff buffers from it’s control panel to satisfy my needs. With WDM drivers I’m able to control the setting from N-track as I please.