Audio On Windows

Audio On Windows

Overview

Roon supports two output mechanisms on Windows: WASAPI and ASIO
  1. WASAPI is Microsoft's recommended method for accessing WDM (Windows Driver Model) Audio drivers.
  2. ASIO is an alternative audio driver stack for Windows, built at Steinberg to support pro audio software.
Both are capable of bit-perfect playback. WASAPI is a more modern system, with stronger support for convenience features like volume controls and device identification, and ASIO is more bare-bones and minimal, with a fair share of historical warts.

In general, we recommend that you use WASAPI unless your device has a high-quality ASIO driver available, but since driver quality varies so much from device to device in, it's difficult to make a general recommendation. 
For an in-depth overview of the Audio Configuration in Roon, check out our Audio Setup Basics page.

This page covers a few Windows-Specific issues.

Using WASAPI volume controls with ASIO drivers

Many people prefer to use ASIO drivers, but ASIO doesn't have support for volume control. If you have an ASIO device that implements high-quality volume adjustments via WASAPI, we've got you covered. Inside the settings for the ASIO driver, just pick the WASAPI device that you want to use for volume control from the Volume Control Mode menu.

Workaround drivers that misreport device capabilities

This is one of the most confusing settings in Roon, but it's there for a good reason. Allow us to explain. On Windows there are two ways to determine whether an audio driver supports a particular playback format. 
  1. We can ask nicely--hey driver, do you support this? Yeah? Cool.
  2. Or we can be nasty ---hey driver. Play this. Ok you're gonna do it? Oops, never mind... 
Unfortunately, many drivers give incorrect answers when we ask nicely. And some devices make clicks and pops if we ask the nasty way. That puts us in a tight spot, because we really need to know what your device can and can't do so we can make the best decisions about how to set up the Signal Path.

So, by default, Roon asks nicely. If you go into the Audio Settings screen and you see some formats in red that should be green, try flipping this switch and see if it changes.

When this setting is enabled, Roon will ask the driver about its format support using the "nasty" method each time Roon is started.
If this checkbox doesn't make a difference, please leave it off. It isn't doing anyone any good.

Example: Without the setting


Example: With the setting


The Political Side...

We would like to live in a world where audio drivers are better than they are today. We are hoping that by putting driver bugs like these out in the open, device manufacturers will be able to see the problem, experiment with it, and fix it, in a way that is minimally disruptive to their customers.

If you see your device misreporting its capabilities, it's worth getting in touch with the manufacturer to show them the issue.

If you're not convinced that Roon is getting it right, it's worth comparing against Control Panel. See, Control Panel asks nicely, too, just like Roon:



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