When to use what - ASIO/DirectSound/WASAPI - (Windows, Renoise 3.4)

On Windows there’s now a new WASAPI audio driver mode in Renoise’s audio prefs, which allows, compared to DirectSound, lower latencies and more stable audio processing. It’s basically a great alternative for those who don’t have proper ASIO drivers for their inbuilt soundcard or when the provided “pro” ASIO drivers suck.

When to use what - ASIO/DirectSound/WASAPI?

  • If you’ve got a proper ASIO driver for your soundcard, always use this one.

  • Then, try WASAPI in shared mode (exclusive mode disabled) first. This basically works similar to DirectSound but offers better performance and latency as DirectSound.

  • If you don’t need to use your soundcard for other apps while running Renoise, try WASAPI in exclusive mode. It will allow to use even lower latencies, but obviously will block sound output in all other apps.

  • If WASAPI doesn’t work for you, use DirectSound. It’s the most compatible and last option, which should simply work everywhere. This also should be the default in Renoise on Windows.

WASAPI full duplex modes (capture and playback devices enabled):

WASAPI tends to have problems synchronizing capture and playback devices - this is not only a problem in Renoise, but a general one. With a line-in or microphone device enabled, the required latency very likely is higher than when using a playback device only. This unfortunately is also true in exclusive modes and especially when the devices are from different drivers.

So if you don’t need your line-in or microphone device, don’t enable it with WASAPI.


Thanks for the hint about the mic-in. Behringer UMC 404 will perform ok, though.

What is probably more important for quite a bunch of Windows users: WASAPi shared is a good thing, when you want to operate Renoise and other apps or watching youtube in addition.