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Chapter 1. Installing & Configuring Cubase SX 2 > Audio Interfaces and Drivers

Audio Interfaces and Drivers

Both Macs and PCs have system-level drivers for audio cards. They work fairly well for most people, but they don't always meet the needs of high-end users. If you are using Cubase SX 2, you're probably a high-end user, and you will want to get a card with an ASIO driver for use with Cubase. You can use only three kinds of sound-card drivers with Cubase, and if at all possible, you should use the ASIO driver for your card.

  • ASIO stands for Audio Stream In/Out, and it's the driver model created by Steinberg many years ago. At that time, system-level audio drivers were severely limited in the number of channels of audio they could play and record simultaneously, and they were also limited in the sound quality of those channels.

  • DirectSound, or WDM, is the most recent type of driver created by Microsoft for Windows multimedia. WDM drivers are quite good these days (earlier versions of DirectSound drivers were sometimes a horror show), but Cubase still works best with ASIO drivers, and you should use them if possible.

  • Core Audio is the new system-level audio and multimedia specification for Mac OS X. More and more manufacturers are providing Core Audio drivers for their audio interfaces. When you select an ASIO driver in the Cubase control panels for audio cards, Cubase actually “talks” to the hardware via Core Audio. Because of this, any audio interface with Core Audio drivers should work correctly with Cubase SX 2.


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