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Joined: May 2004
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RinTin Offline OP
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Does WASAPI in Exclusive Mode work with Garritan CFX (Aria Player) in Windows 10?
I'm reading that the latency is down to 3ms with WASAPI Exclusive mode?
Also need to find out if Scarbee EP-88s
(runs in Kontakt 6 Free) is compatible with WASAPI in Exclusive Mode.


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It works on my laptop with Garritan CFX. I never saw great latency performance from this. I think WASAPI generally underwhelmed the public unless something has changed recently.

With Garritan CFX, at 44.1 khz, the lowest buffer WASAPI allows is 128 on my laptop (vs. 44.1khz and buffer of 48 with RME ASIO).

WASAPI allows better latency with upsampled data but that is only at 48, 96, and 192 khz. In theory I can run lower latency at 192khz with 128 buffer. However, none of the sampled rates available are even multiples of what are presumably the original audio files of 44.1. Odd multiples will require additional CPU work and may deteriorate sound.

Your computer may offer different sample rates with WASAPI so who knows if you would get better or worse performance.

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I'm not at my computer now, but I'm not sure it's quite that low in practice, and it will depend on your sound card. From what I recall last time I used ARIA player, I could get the settings low, but in practice so could still feel the latency even with exclusive mode (non-ASIO)

But as I noted in another thread, a better solution might be to load garritan in a DAW that supports Window 10/11's new low latency mode. Here's Microsoft's documentation on it for the technically inclined: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/audio/low-latency-audio

On my PC, it is actually markedly faster than exclusive mode *and* it isn't exclusive, so you can play audio from other sources. I've tested that with garritan myself, and exclusive mode is slower than low latency mode on my Surface Book 3. Mine goes as low at 2ms on my laptops internal DAC, and it actually feels like it. It is more reliable than ASIO4all and more convenient.

The only DAW I've tested it with is Traction Waveform. They have a free version. I don't know which other DAWs do support low latency mode. Reaper which is normally my DAW of choice unfortunately does not.

Last edited by napilopez; 09/13/21 11:51 PM.
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2021 New Low Latency Audio - Windows
FAQ
" 1. Wouldn't it be better, if all applications use the new APIs for low latency? Doesn't low latency always guarantee a better user experience for the user?

Not necessarily. Low latency has its tradeoffs:

Low latency means higher power consumption. If the system uses 10ms buffers, it means that the CPU will wake up every 10ms, fill the data buffer and go to sleep. However, if the system uses 1ms buffers, it means that the CPU will wake up every 1ms. In the second scenario, this means that the CPU will wake up more often and the power consumption will increase. This will decrease battery life.
Most applications rely on audio effects to provide the best user experience. For example, media players want to provide high-fidelity audio. Communication applications want to minimum echo and noise. Adding these types of audio effects to a stream increases its latency. These applications are more interested in audio quality than in audio latency.
In summary, each application type has different needs regarding audio latency. If an application does not need low latency, then it should not use the new APIs for low latency.

2. Will all systems that update to Windows 10 be automatically update to support small buffers? Also, will all systems support the same minimum buffer size?

No. In order for a system to support small buffers, it needs to have updated drivers. It is up to the OEMs to decide which systems will be updated to support small buffers. Also, newer systems are more likey to support smaller buffers than older systems (i.e. the latency in new systems will most likely be lower than older systems).

3. If a driver supports small buffer sizes (<10ms buffers), will all applications in Windows 10 automatically use small buffers to render and capture audio?

No. By default, all applications in Windows 10 will use 10ms buffers to render and capture audio. If an application needs to use small buffers, then it needs to use the new AudioGraph settings or the WASAPI IAudioClient3 interface, in order to do so. However, if one application in Windows 10 requests the usage of small buffers, then the Audio Engine will start transferring audio using that particular buffer size. In that case, all applications that use the same endpoint and mode will automatically switch to that small buffer size. When the low latency application exits, the Audio Engine will switch to 10ms buffers again."

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"The only DAW I've tested it with is Traction Waveform. They have a free version. I don't know which other DAWs do support low latency mode. Reaper which is normally my DAW of choice unfortunately does not."

I take Garritan will run fine in Traction Waveform?

Last edited by RinTin; 09/14/21 12:25 AM.
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Yep, perfectly smoothly in my experience. Kontakt instruments also run well in it. I often use Embertone which is significantly more resource hungry than the garritan.

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I did not know about the 2021 note from Microsoft. I will update my soundcard drivers directly from Realtek and see how that works on my laptop.

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I tried WASAPI with Kontakt-based instruments a couple of years ago.

My impression is that it offers a very big performance improvement ... but still not quite as good as the performance of the Presonus ASIO driver that I use. So I continue to use the latter.

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Originally Posted by newer player
I did not know about the 2021 note from Microsoft. I will update my soundcard drivers directly from Realtek and see how that works on my laptop.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I tried WASAPI with Kontakt-based instruments a couple of years ago.

My impression is that it offers a very big performance improvement ... but still not quite as good as the performance of the Presonus ASIO driver that I use. So I continue to use the latter.

Again, just to be clear, it is up to both the system drivers and the application to support Windows Low Latency mode, and it needs to be manually selected from the audio menu. WASAPI encompasses a variety of audio pathways. So Mac, you used WASAPI but presumably not the low latency mode. Kontakt standalone does not currently support it, and it is a recent introduction.


If you want to give it a try and compare it to ASIO on your own system, you could download/open Pianoteq 7 (you can just use the trial version for this test) or if you have a UVIWorkstation instrument, make sure you're on the latet version. Then under Audio Device Type select 'Windows Audio (Low Latency Mode). Then change the Audio Buffer Size to as low as it can go, in my case 2.7ms for pianoteq and 2ms for Tracktion. On my system at least, forcing a setting any lower than what Window Low Latency mode allows by using ASIO4All either introduces audio artifacts or does not actually decrease the latency.

Unfortunately Low Latency Mode is not widely supported yet in alll audio applications but I expect it to become a lot more common soon. It finally recifities one of Windows' biggest disadvantages againt mac for audio purposes.

Last edited by napilopez; 09/14/21 09:16 AM.
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In PianoTeq, I can select the 'Windows Audio (Low Latency Mode)' using 2019 RealTek audio drivers. The best performance that offers is 48khz with a buffer of 192.

Maybe if I update the RealTek drivers, the latency performance will improve. Dell makes that a complete root canal so I need to review my notes on how to get around the Dell audio driver schemes.

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Originally Posted by napilopez
Yep, perfectly smoothly in my experience. Kontakt instruments also run well in it. I often use Embertone which is significantly more resource hungry than the garritan.

Originally Posted by napilopez
Kontakt standalone does not currently support it, and it is a recent introduction.

I'm confused. Do you mean Free Kontakt works well in Free Traction Waveform? And with the WASAPI Low Latency driver?

Last edited by RinTin; 09/14/21 01:49 PM.
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+1... On the pianoteq demo I have Windows Audio(low latency mode) but then it gets fixed at 48k, 512 samples. Unusable. This is a few months old Asus laptop with dreaded Realtek chipset (I think that today most if not all motherboards come with realtek chipsets).

If anyone has a way to get working drivers, I would like to know your steps...

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I have a 2017 Dell Laptop with the Realtek driver. I've been using the ASIO4ALL with Garritan CFX in Aria Player. I sense the latency may be around 7-9 milliseconds, otherwise no problems. I would like to lower the latency if possible. WASAPI has been updated this year and there are claims it's at around 3 ms of latency.
And separately, I use Scarbee's EP-88s in Free Kontakt 6

Should I convert to WASAPI or is that asking for troubl


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@RinTin : the (free) Kontakt Player works under ANY vst host… but per definition the standalone version of Kontakt works alone. When you install Kontakt Player you will install several version : standalone, VST, perhaps AAX (for protools) or even AudioUnit on Mac (for Logic Pro).

I don’t know the Free Traction Waveform. But since the free Studio One Prime doesn’t support VST plugins, I can’t guess if the free Traction support Kontakt or not.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 09/14/21 01:57 PM.

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Dell only supplies old, buggy audio drivers for my XPS 9550.

To install more recent RealTek audio drivers, the threads and links below can help.

The instalation has a learning curve. Dell continuously and automatically downgrades my RealTek drivers which is infuriating. So there are additional steps that may prevent Dell from automatically downgrading the audio drivers but I don't know if they are bulletproof. I finally gave up.

https://www.tenforums.com/sound-audio/182081-latest-realtek-hd-audio-driver-version-3-a.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comme...dded_realtek_audio_drivers_for/?sort=new

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Forget the built-in audio. Just drop $100 or so and get an external interface. Or else just suffer.

Years ago I suffered ... until I got the interface. And there's no more suffering.

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Originally Posted by newer player
Dell only supplies old, buggy audio drivers for my XPS 9550.

To install more recent RealTek audio drivers, the threads and links below can help.

The instalation has a learning curve. Dell continuously and automatically downgrades my RealTek drivers which is infuriating. So there are additional steps that may prevent Dell from automatically downgrading the audio drivers but I don't know if they are bulletproof. I finally gave up.

https://www.tenforums.com/sound-audio/182081-latest-realtek-hd-audio-driver-version-3-a.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comme...dded_realtek_audio_drivers_for/?sort=new

The process is rather complicated, but I've been using an external audio interface. I hope that would bypass the Waves Max Audio Pro software...

My situation is even more confusing, as I use the audio jack to plug in an external mic, too.

But this should be some useful resource for those who need it, and can navigate Bios / UEFI. As for me, since none of these have speech support, so goes the chances for me to modify any drivers... smile

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Interface isn't always ideal. I have one (plus a bunch of dacs), but I use my convertible laptop for sheet music/vst purposes and I don't want another thing to plug in every time I want to play piano =] with nice quality. But yes if you have a static setup it's certainly the ideal way.

Originally Posted by RinTin
Originally Posted by napilopez
Yep, perfectly smoothly in my experience. Kontakt instruments also run well in it. I often use Embertone which is significantly more resource hungry than the garritan.

Originally Posted by napilopez
Kontakt standalone does not currently support it, and it is a recent introduction.

I'm confused. Do you mean Free Kontakt works well in Free Traction Waveform? And with the WASAPI Low Latency driver?

Yep, when used as a VST, kontakt Player just goes through whatever your DAW is using for audio.

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
@RinTin : the (free) Kontakt Player works under ANY vst host… but per definition the standalone version of Kontakt works alone. When you install Kontakt Player you will install several version : standalone, VST, perhaps AAX (for protools) or even AudioUnit on Mac (for Logic Pro).

I don’t know the Free Traction Waveform. But since the free Studio One Prime doesn’t support VST plugins, I can’t guess if the free Traction support Kontakt or not.

Waveform Free does indeed support VST plugins =]. It's really quite versatile for free software.

Anyway, yes unfortunately the driver needs to support low latency as well. But mostly I just wanted to share it as an alternative for those who wanted a more flexible option than ASIO4All, and to note that Windows has come a long way in terms of audio.

Last edited by napilopez; 09/15/21 06:48 PM.

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