How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC?
[ Quick Guide ]

In this quick guide you will learn in a few easy steps on how to quickly install and enable ASIO drivers on ANY sound card or USB DAC in Windows through the free tool - ASIO4ALL.

Step 1: Download and Install ASIO4ALL

Go into the ASIO4ALL author's official website and download the latest version of ASIO4ALL:

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

After downloading, launch the file and click "Next".

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

Don't select anything else besides the driver unless you really know that you will need it (this is the default):

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

After installing nothing really fancy will happen - just a shortcut to the ASIO4ALL Instruction Manual will be saved on your desktop. But don't worry, you will see everything in a moment.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

It's a nice idea to read through the manual in some later time, or if something won't work on your PC - there are plenty of useful tips and troubleshooting advices. But for now, let's carry on.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

Step 2: Launch your music player

ASIO4ALL doesn't have any dedicated program through which you can configure it. Instead, a little system tray icon will appear every time your audio player or audio software is using ASIO. Then let's launch my favourite music player - AIMP4 - to check it out.

After launching AIMP4, go into preferences by clicking on the Menu button, and selecting Preferences. Alternatively, press Ctrl + P.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

In the Playback preferences, a new option will appear, called ASIO: ASIO4ALL v2. Select it from the list.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

After selecting it, automatically a little dark yellow / gold system tray icon should appear in the system tray, with a "pause" symbol on it:

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

If the icon didn't appear, it means that your current audio application/music player is not currently using ASIO through ASIO4ALL. If you want to utilize ASIO, your music player must have support for ASIO. Check in the help of the music player you are using, if your player supports ASIO.

Step 3: Configuring ASIO4ALL

If the icon in the system tray appeared, click it once with your left mouse button. You should see a list of all supported devices (your sound cards that you have currently installed on your system). In my case it is the built-in DAC on my USB Microphone Samson Meteor Mic.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

If the icon didn't appear, don't worry. You can do it also manually doing steps shown here (hopefully it will look clear):

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

Now click on the lower right wrench icon to bring up the advanced configuration.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

You can now expand the list under all your devices using the + icon. This is important, as through this you will see which of your current devices is currently active and enabled to be used by ASIO4ALL for sound Out/output (playback) and/or In/input (recording). For example I can use my USB Mic not only for recording through ASIO, but also for playback through ASIO.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

Enable or disable a device by clicking on the blue on/off switch near to it. Try to keep active only the device that you intend to use ASIO on.

The little blue play button near a device indicates, that this device is currently active and using ASIO through ASIO4ALL.

Recommended ASIO4ALL settings (for music playback):

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

Asio Buffer size:
Maximum (2048 Samples) (highest for music playback, lowest for recording)
Always Resample 44.1kHz -> 48kHz:
Disabled (mostly only useful for very old sound cards)
Force WDM Driver To 16bit:
Disabled (like above)

The rest of the settings will largely depend on your specific device and drivers used. Therefore I really recommend reading the ASIO4ALL Manual for more details about them.

However, as a general rule:

For music playback higher buffer sizes are better (more latency).
For critical audio recording the lower the buffer sizes your system can bear without artifacts, the better (less latency).

Hardware buffers and Allow Pull Mode (WaveRT) are always recommended over software, if your device and drivers support it without problems.

Step 4: Restart your music player

After you are done with the configuration, you should always restart your music player or audio application. Otherwise the new settings will not take effect.

PS. ASIO4ALL configurations are separate for every music player or audio application that you use. As the author himself stated: it's a feature, not a bug.

Step 5: Start playback of any file

After restarting the player, you can now launch any music file in the program so you can hear if it's playing correctly.

Guide: How to install and enable ASIO for ANY sound card or DAC Windows ASIO4ALL screenshot

The green icon in the system tray with a play symbol will indicate that everything is working correctly. After hovering over it with your mouse cursor you will also see the current ASIO Buffer Size being used, as well as current sample rate (not of the current file being played, but being used by ASIO4ALL for playback).

If something isn't working correctly, please be sure to check the Instruction Manual for many tips and advices.

Congratulations! You have just enabled ASIO on your device. I hope it will serve you well.

Thank you for reading

Feel free to share a link to this guide to help more people enable ASIO in all their sound cards and DACs.

Guide and screenshots created by rezno[R].
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