You will have likely heard the term "ASIO" mentioned around home studio forums, but might be wondering what exactly the big deal is?
Basically having an ASIO capable soundcard or audio interface means your latency will be much much lower. Latency is most noticable as the delay between pressing a key on your MIDI controller keyboard, and hearing your studio software play the note.
Naturally we want this to be instant, or it will make playing/recording a melody practically impossible using a midi controller.
For those of you who don't have an ASIO capable card, you might be surprised how affordable the budget ASIO cards are, for example the always popular M-Audio Audiophile 2496!
If you just can't stretch to buying a new card, you should try installing ASIO4ALL, which are software drivers that emulate the ASIO performance. For most modern computers, these ASIO4ALL drivers can significantly reduce your latency - for example they might drop your latency from a horrible 120+ms, down to 25ms, allowing you to play your MIDI controller keyboard and record your melodies without all that delay putting off your timing.
ASIO4ALL is only a tiny download, and doesn't replace your existing soundcard drivers, it simply operates alongside them once installed. I should point out that you still need your cards manufacturers drivers installed.
Also remember to select the "ASIO4ALL driver" in your music software Preferences/Settings, otherwise it won't do anything!
If your card actually already supports true ASIO mode, check the website of its manufacturer, in the driver support/downloads area, for the latest driver file for you to install. You shouldn't use ASIO4ALL if you can use the real ASIO mode with your musicians soundcard - ASIO4ALL is intended for use with consumer soundcards which cannot run true ASIO mode.
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