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I’m trying to choose which audio output device to use with my audio player (XMPlay). It has various output plugins, including DirectSound and ASIO (don’t even get me started on the MIDI device selection!)

When I look at the output configuration list, I find the following devices.

ASIO - Creative ASIO
ASIO - SB Audigy 2 ASIO 24/96 [DF00]
ASIO - SB Audigy 2 ASIO [DF00]

DirectSound - SB Audigy 2 Audio [DF00]
SB Audigy 2 Audio [DF00]

…

By simply adding some whitespace it really becomes clear how similar the devices, and thus why I am so confused:

ASIO        - Creative ASIO
ASIO        - SB Audigy 2 ASIO 24/96 [DF00]
ASIO        - SB Audigy 2 ASIO       [DF00]

DirectSound - SB Audigy 2 Audio      [DF00]
              SB Audigy 2 Audio      [DF00]

…

Obviously using an ASIO device would be preferable (the non-ASIO devices sound much quieter), but which one? I’m fairly sure that the first and third sound the same, but the middle one (“24/96”) sounds different (not better or worse, just different, eg “wider”). Can anyone tell me what the difference between the three ASIO devices on the same card are or what the difference is between the bare card and the DirectSound entry for it?

(Also, why is it that the hexadecimal number (address?) seems to change whenever I move the card or reinstall the drivers?)

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1 Answer

Well, normally, sound cards tend to run at 16 bits and 44.1 or 48 khz or 16/48

I'd guess that that the first and third are 16 bit, and the other one is 24 bit - and you have it set to resample the output, and for some reason its making a difference. The 96 refers to the sampling rate it supports of 96 khz (the sampling rate of a cd is 44.1khz, and many devices support 48 khz)

ASIO is supposed to have lower latency than directsound (ASIO bypasses the usual sound system) and subjectively sounds better.

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So what’s the difference between “Creative ASIO” and “SB Audigy 2 ASIO” or “SB Audigy 2” and “DirectSound SB Audigy 2”. I imagine that the same situation exists for other cards, with a different name (eg Audigy 4/X-Fi/etc.), so it’s not a card-dependent issue, and thus probably a generic question that should have a definitive answer. –  Synetech Jul 4 '11 at 5:29
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