ASIO newbie - can someone please give me a hand?

Discussion in 'ASIO' started by Shaamaan, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    I sincerely apologize for this possibly extremely newbie question, but I just can't seem to figure this stuff out.

    First, a small bit of back-story (perhaps you'll recognize that my whole approach is wrong and can suggest something better - I'm open for suggestions).

    I've bought an electric guitar yesterday, and now I would like to get a signal into my PC and out through my old NAD amplifier (connected to the PC, obviously). The reason being - I don't want to buy an amp specifically for the guitar itself when I have a perfectly fine pair of columns already. Instead, I'd rather get a piece of hardware like Line 6 POD UX (or, likely, the smaller version of that device). My guitar teacher let me borrow his UX2, actually, so that's what I'm testing at home at the moment.

    Everything works well if I connect headphones to the UX2 directly - but this bypasses my PC, and as mentioned - I'd like to use my PC and connected speakers.

    One option is to use "record to this device" in Windows using the added recording device, but there's a notable delay - it'd be fine for recording purposes, but it's not so ideal for playing.

    There's an option in the POD software to use a kX ASIO device. Sounds OK - I like kX, you can do lot's of cool stuff with these drivers, and I could probably get rid of that latency! ;)

    Alas, all I hear is silence. I've downloaded an ASIO test signal generator (http://www.tropicalcoder.com/ASIOTestSigGen.htm) to see how that'll work. Again, silence - and I've tried all the possible device outputs (kX out 00 / 01 to kX out 14 / 15).

    So, my guess is, I'm not routing the signal correctly in my DSP. I was under the impression, that each ASIO output corresponds, by default, to each FXBus. Since I'm using 2/3, my guess was that using kX out 02/03 would let me hear something. That, or I'm missing some other vital piece of configuration...

    What am I doing wrong?

    Here's a screenshot of my current DSP setup:
    http://imgur.com/aUukLo5

    EDIT:
    I've managed to take a step forward. I've ditched the ProFX plugins in my DSP and instead loaded the FXBusX (used by default). Now I can hear the test sounds generated by the ASIO test signal generator. Unfortunately, I still can't get any sounds from the POD. :(

    Here's the (rather simplistic) screenshot of the POD's preferences:
    http://i.imgur.com/QfRuZnZ.jpg

    I'm not entirely sure what input channel refers to. I'm guessing the Output channels are the equivalent of ASIO output devices in the test application (with the slight exception that the numbers don't quite match - the test application starts from 0, while the POD starts from 1).

    Any ideas what could still be wrong?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  2. peate

    peate Active Member

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    You need to load the ProFX:Asio plug-in in your DSP and connect your source to that.
     
  3. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure that kX ASIO is necessary here. I am guessing the UX2 has it's own ASIO driver, so I would suggest using that, and connect the Line Out of the UX2 to Line In of the sound card (or maybe use the SPDIF connections, etc) if you want to send the audio to the speakers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  4. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    I'm not sure I understand - the ProFX:Asio plug-in has inputs... I just tried it, connected Src (FxBUS 10/11) to all possible inputs on the Asio plug-in with my old DSP setup (using ProFX Src, rather than FXBusX) with that test app and I've still got silence.

    This is what I ended up doing. My own Asio problems aside, the POD Farm application seems to have issues using anything besides it's own driver (won't remember the setting). So I ended routing the signal back to the PC using a simple mini-jack - mini-jack cable.

    The problem is it's really quiet, compared to plugging headphones in directly to the POD, despite having the volume knobs on my guitar and the POD Studio turned all the way up. Amplifying it using the DSP also causes lot of noise. :( Initially I was hoping I could use the POD's USB to get a clear signal into the PC and then put it out onto the speakers with as little latency as possible using kX Asio drivers. For some reason, if I try to lower the latency of the PODs asio driver to minimum it stops working at all - it DID work on my laptop, which is a far weaker machine. So that's a bit weird.
     
  5. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    What version of kX are you using and what OS (e.g. XP, 7, 32 bit or 64 bit, etc)?
    From your picture, it appears that your sound card is an Audigy 2 (SB0244).

    The bundled version of ProFX is old/buggy and should not be used.

    If you want to use kX ASIO, then you need to connect the UX2 to your sound card in such a way that it sends the (pre-amplified (line level)) clean guitar signal to the sound card's Line In, and then you connect Prolog's AC97 pins to whichever ASIO channel you want to use on epilog.

    Unmute the AC97 slider on the Ins and Outs page of kX mixer and set level to 0 dB.
    Select Line In as the AC97 source on the AC97 page of kxmixer.

    In the DSP, disconnect any connections between the top 2 pins of Prolog and xrouting.
    Connect the top 2 pins of Prolog to whichever ASIO channel you want to use on epilog (the bottom 16 pins (I would suggest just using ASIO 0/1 to start with and it is probably how it is connect by default)).

    Select ASIO 0/1 (or whichever ASIO pins on epilog you connected to) as the input in your recording app (or ASIO 1/2 if the numbering starts at 1).

    Use whichever ASIO output channel you want, but make sure that it's associated FxBus pins are routed to the speakers in the DSP.

    I also suggest connecting a peak plugin to the top 2 pins of prolog and use it to check the AC97 signal level. Adjust the level so that it is as close to 0 dB as you can get without going over. Adjust the level using the AC97 slider on the Ins and Outs page first, and then the Gain slider on the AC97 page if more amplification is needed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  6. peate

    peate Active Member

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    Not sure about the Pod software, but if I understand correctly, you're connecting the output from the Line6 unit into your sound card using Line-in on the back of the Soundblaster, correct? This signal comes out from the ADC plug-in, not FX Bus. Open ADC and choose line as rec source and see if there's a signal, also make sure line-in is selected from the AC97 page of kX mixer and raise the gain if needed. On the record page of kX, make sure AC97 slider is unmuted and up. Now route the signal from ADC to Asio plug-in. That should work, anyways when I do it it works. If you're not recording, you don't really need Asio though. Just route the ADC output directly to your speakers and put any plug-in you want, like effects or gains, in that signal path.

    I just read Russ's reply above, try his suggestion if using the default DSP, if using a custom built one, try mine, both should work.
     
  7. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    Russ:
    I'm using kX version 3551 on Windows 7 x64. You're correct as to what kind of card I have.

    If the bundled ProFX plugins are buggy, where should I get a better version? Admittedly, the only reason I'm using ProFX in the first place is because they make the whole DSP a lot easier on the eyes, and if forced I could use other plugins.

    Finally, I know I can connect my guitar directly to my PC, but I'm not sure this is a good idea. First, the signal is bound to be rather weak and I kind of WANT the effects provided by the POD. When I wrote I want a clean signal, I mean clean as in clean and crisp after it was process by the POD without hums and cracks.

    If I set Windows to play back the digital input from the POD, I get good sounds, but they are delayed. After I saw ASIO options in the PODs preferences I was hoping I could somehow get rid of the delay while still using the USB connection instead of an analogue one (most of my cables are basic, unshielded, and rather crappy).

    peate: Where's the ADC plugin?
     
  8. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    There is no x64 version of ProFx, so you either have to use the 3551 (32 bit) version with the 32 bit kxmixer or just use prolog/epilog/fxbusx, etc.

    ADC is a ProFX plugin used to access external inputs (it is called AC97 in older versions of ProFX), similar to Prolog (but with more functionality).

    Sorry, I am not familiar with the UX2, does it have onboard effects, or is it just a hardware interface to the software on the PC? I was thinking it was just a hardware interface, and the effects where added in software. i.e. Clean (pre-amplified) guitar signal into the pc from the UX2, routed to the POD software over ASIO where effects are applied, etc, then routed to the speakers (or back to the UX2) via ASIO, etc.

    If it has onboard effects than I am not sure why ASIO is needed at all (except for recording, etc).

    As for the USB interface, (I would guess) that can only be used with it's ASIO driver, and to get to the speakers, the only option (unless your ASIO host software lets you use more than one ASIO driver at a time) is to connect the UX2's output to Line In of the Audigy 2, and configure kX to rout Line In (AC97) to your speakers.

    Sorry if I misunderstand your setup, again I am not familiar with the UX2.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  9. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% sure what the POD Studio's (GX being smallest, UX1, UX2 being the one with most bells and whistles in the form of extra inputs for microphones and such) are. I THINK they're a mix of a hardware and software containing a pre-amp and some form of processor which is controlled from the PC. They seem to be designed to offer amateur recording options (being advertised as computer interfaces) and allow the user to add a wide range of effects to the signal (notable guitar amps, distortions and so on).

    I can certainly say that if I connect headphones directly to the POD Studio there's no delay at all - or if there is any delay, I certainly can't hear it. Of course what I hear via headphones is affected by the effects I choose on the PC using the POD software. This is why I think it's a bit more than just an interface for sending a clean guitar signal. On the other hand, without the POD software running the device doesn't work at all.

    I think you're right and the Studio's own ASIO driver is mainly for recording purposes. Once the Studio is plugged in a new recording device appears in Windows. As I wrote previously, the sound coming from that recording device is pretty good, albeit delayed. That said, I'm not entirely sure why there's an option to pick a different ASIO driver in the PODs software if the only valid one is the original. It was this choice that made me hope I could get a signal without the use of extra analogue cables and delay.

    Anyway, I've managed to get the analogue signal from the Studio to my PC using line-in. After some tweaking of sliders and turning of knobs the sound is relatively loud and clean and delay-free. I've also ditched the ProFX plugins in favour of the more. This is my current DSP setup: http://i.imgur.com/ElnrYGh.jpg (I've still got to test using using my mic and line-in at the same time with MonoMix as the AC97 source and how that affects the guitar sound if the signal's routed through the dynamics processor... if that goes to hell, I can always bypass the processor.)

    EDIT: Whops, I'm still using k2lt! I'll replace this with epilog as soon as I'm home.

    I do however have a small follow-up question (not related to ASIO any more): if I have volume knobs on the guitar, the Studio, then volume sliders in my PC and finally a volume knob on my NAD amplifier (or headphones), which ones should be set to maximum (if any) and which ones can be tuned for best signal quality? As it is, the signal goes like this: Guitar -> Studio -> PC -> speakers / headphones I've also tried plugging my headphones directly into my guitar and couldn't hear a damn thing - as such, I'm not sure plugging the guitar in directly to the PC is a good idea - there's a signal there no doubt, but I feel I'd get a terrible amount of noise amplifying it on the PC without a preamp.

    Also - is there any difference between using the mic port and the line-in port in quality?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  10. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    The volume settings in this case are a little more complicated because you are going to have different settings related to getting the signal into the PC and to the POD software, and back to the UX2, and then another set of settings getting the Line Out signal of the UX2 into kX, etc. Also, volume may change a little depending on which pickups are being use on the guitar, etc.

    The guitar volume knob should be all the way up for your initial setup.
    UX2 volume knobs related to amplifying the clean signal of the guitar should be adjusted to give you a signal as close to 0 db as possible (without going over). I guess you will have to use peak meters (on the input) in the POD software for reference here.
    Volume settings on your (software/plugins) effects are going to be related to the sound you are trying to get, etc.
    Output volume settings from the POD software should again be adjusted to get as close to 0 dB as possible without going over.

    On the kX side of things.
    AC97 slider should be a 0 db.
    GAIN slider should be at 0 (all the way down), but not muted.
    Any UX2 volume settings that effect Line Out should be adjusted to give you a signal as close to 0 dB as possible without going over. Use a peak plugin connected to Prolog as reference. If the UX2 controls do not give you enough volume (on the peak meter), then I would adjust the AC97 slider first (Ins and Outs page), and then the GAIN slider (AC97 page) if necessary.

    Adjust kX Master volume however you want.
    Edit: Or set it at full volume and use the volume knob on the AMP.

    Your setup is a little more complicated than a typical setup (using only the kX driver), but it should not be that bad, once you get the hang of it. And once everything is setup, just play the guitar as you normal would, using the guitar's volume knob as you normally would, etc. You probably will not have to adjust kX settings once everything is setup, and probably will only need to tweak the settings in the POD software when changing effects, etc.

    Quality of all the AC97 inputs are going to be the same. Just use the appropriate input for whatever the source is (e.g. Line In should be used with Line Level signals, etc).
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  11. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    BTW: With that sound card you should be able to get a little better quality (on the kX side of things) using AC97 2.

    e.g. (it has been a while, so hopefully I remember how to do it correctly without ProFX)
    Use the AC97 2 slider instead of the AC97 slider, and the AC97 2 pins on Prolog.
    Enable the AC97 <--> I2s switch on the AC97 page of kxmixer.
    Unmute the Line In slider at the bottom of the AC97 page and set volume to 0 dB (or 100%).
     
  12. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    Many thanks for the hints regarding the volumes. I'll do that, but I need to sort out the DPS first.

    Again, I apologise for what is probably a very basic question, but there's something I don't quite understand.

    I wanted to get rid of the the ProFX plugins (as suggested), and I'm having some trouble grasping the concepts behind prolog and epilog and their settings (i.e. the screens in kX mixer), as well as xrouting (and its screen in kX mixer). Oh, and then there are the sliders on the AC97 tab, which just makes things even weirder.

    So... let me write how I think it is, and please correct me when I'm wrong... which will probably be soon. :p

    The AC97 page comes first, before the DSP is even taken into effect, and selects what's used as the input and adjusts the levels of that input.

    prolog is for getting the signal into the DSP, and I'm guessing its configuration page allows one to set volumes in the DSP (isn't this a bit redundant considering the AC97 page?). EDIT: Than again, the microphone slider in the AC97 tab doesn't seem to affect anything...

    xrouting is where I'm most confused as far as recording is concerned. Which input pins should be used for AC97, which is visible on the xrouting configuration page? I can, of course, bypass xrouting in the DSP, but I'd like to understand what I'm doing, rather than avoid the problem. Especially since it seems to have sliders for AC97 2 as well (with regards to your last post).

    epilog is probably the most obvious - there's the RecL and RecR for the standard Windows input, and then the ASIO inputs (which can be used by recording applications - something I'm not using at the moment).

    In any case - I know I can just connect the AC97 pins of prolog directly to epilog, but I can't shake the feeling xrouting is supposed to be in the middle.

    PS. That trick with AC97 2 is AWESOME. Quality aside (I need to test that) It means I don't have to use the MonoMix setting, and can handle the guitar input separately (for example - the dynamics processor is for the mic, not the guitar). Thanks! :)

    EDIT: I've tried setting up volumes as you suggested (albeit bypassing the xrouting for the time being and just using a normal mixer for the time being). I've had a bit of trouble as it was difficult getting 0 db on prolog pins. I've turned the guitar volume knob max then the UX volume knob max and finally had to add some gain using the Line-in slider on the AC97 page. Only then did the peak get close to 0 db, and that was only when I made a lot of noise by strumming all the strings at the same time. There's a small problem when fiddling with the "virtual" knobs inside the POD software, as most get changed from preset to preset. I did turn the ones that don't change all the way up.

    Than again, the AC97 2 trick really does seem to improve quality, so perhaps setting up volumes won't matter and I'll just be able to adjust them to taste rather than to quality from now on. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  13. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    It is a little complicated when including the AC97 2 stuff but it is basically as follows:

    The AC97 page: This has nothing to do with the DSP. It controls the AC97 codec.
    e.g.
    Which AC97 input is routed the analog to digital converter, and how much gain is added to the signal (at the codec level), plus things like MIC boost, etc. The sliders at the bottom of the page control which inputs get routed to the AC97 mixer, and are only used when mono mix or stereo mix is selected as the AC97 source (or for basic (direct) monitoring of the input(s) on some cards)). AC97 2 gets it's input from the AC97 mixer, so on cards that support AC97 2, you use the sliders at the bottom to select which AC97 input to send to AC97 2 (when the AC97 <--> I2s switch is enabled). The volume levels here are all done inside the AC97 codec itself.

    Prolog has access to all the cards inputs and is (one place) where these signals enter the DSP. In the default DSP config, prolog is used for ASIO recording, and for monitoring the signal via the DSP. The volume controls at the bottom of the Ins and Outs page are inside prolog and control the initial volume level of these signals when they enter the DSP. 0 dB means the signal is not modified (no gain or attenuation, which is ideally what you want), but in reality the signal is divided by 4 to give headroom for DSP effects, etc, so if the signal is not strong enough, raising the volume using these sliders does not really add any gain, but instead reduces the amount that the signal is divided, and thus is (a little) cleaner than applying gain using the GAIN slider (as any GAIN will also amplify any noise).

    xrouting is basically a big mixer that routes signals to different places. As far as the inputs go, xrouting only routes these signals to the speakers for monitoring. You can find more info about xrouting in kX help, or here: http://www.hardwareheaven.com/effects-dsp/79582-xrouting-info.html. It is usually not needed in a custom DSP config.

    epilog is a little complicated but is basically used for signals leaving the DSP (to the speakers, to an ASIO host, to WDM recording, etc). epilog also contains code similar to prolog that is used for WDM recording of the card's inputs (in the default DSP config) and the associated sliders are at the bottom of the Recording page of kxmixer (it is basically an exact copy of prolog, inside of epilog, and thus functions the same).
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  14. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the answer! :) That certainly clears things up. I had was under the impression that since the xrouting is part of the kx mixer then its somehow more important.

    I've seen that link before, but there's no mention of the elements visible in the bottom row on the xrouting config page - like AC97 recording or CD recording (two first items from the left).
     
  15. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    No pages are specific to only one plugin, and some plugins (e.g. ProFX) have built in controls that replace kxmixer functionality.

    I assume that you mean the Recording page of kxmixer when you say the xrouting config page. The sliders at the bottom and the Master Recording level are part of epilog. The rest are part of xrouting.

    Similarly, on the Ins and Outs page, the sliders at the top are part of epilog while the sliders at the bottom are part of prolog.
     
  16. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    I understand the ins / outs page and what each slider does now. :)

    But I'm even more confused when it comes to the recording page. :duh: epilog only has pins for a basic recording channel (R/L), for ASIO and then the physical outputs on the card. So... what exactly does the AC97 (for example) slider on the recording page (bottom row) control? :confused:
     
  17. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    As I mentioned previously, epilog (among other things) contains the same code used by prolog (with it's sliders at the bottom of the Recording page), and thus can access all the inputs (same as prolog does). It is all internal to epilog, so there are no input/output pins and it is only used for basic WDM recording from the cards inputs. Obviously since it is internal to epilog you cannot add DSP effects to the signal, etc (thus why I say basic recording). For more advanced setups you would instead use prolog (or ProFx) and connect the end of the signal chain to the RecL/RecR inputs of epilog instead (i.e. prolog -> DSP effects -> RecL/RecR) similar to how you would do ASIO recording.
     
  18. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    I just checked and I got what you meant.

    I.e. I disconnected the AC 97 connections from the prolog to the epilog, and turned the slider up on the recording tab, and the whole thing still worked. It was one of those "ooooohhhh!" moments. :w00t:

    Thanks for all the help! :)
     
  19. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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    Hehe :cool:
    Right, the connections from prolog to epilog (in the default DSP config) are only used for ASIO. And the connections from prolog to xrouting are only used for monitoring (i.e. they are routed to the front speakers and NOT to RecL/RecR as one might think).

    Basically inside of epilog (among other things) is code that does:
    WDM Recording = ( RecL/RecR + (AC97 * AC97_Recording_Level) + (CD Digital * CD_Digital_Recording_Level) + (... etc) ) * Master_Recording_Level
     
  20. Shaamaan

    Shaamaan New Member

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    True. :)

    But I kind of want to use the DSP and epilog pins for Windows recording rather than "just" the record tab as I can slap on a dynamic processor on the microphone input to eliminate noise (and prevent doing a "Darth Vader" impression) or add some pitch for comedy effects. :rofl:

    Unless I can use ASIO recording in things like Skype as well... :hmm:

    EDIT: I HOPE I can't use ASIO for Skype. I'm happy with the current setup. I fear if I start tinkering I'll break something... :p
     

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