ASIO Audio Interface
|The proprietary ASIO interface standard is essential on Windows (and to a lesser extent on Mac) for low latency recording and playback. It is usually the best way of making multi-channel recordings on those platforms.
ASIO is a proprietary audio interface standard in use on Windows and Mac which bypasses the operating system's mixing kernel, so providing low latency direct communication between computer audio software and hardware, and allowing multiple audio inputs and outputs to be accessed independently.
Audacity and ASIO
The ASIO technology was developed by German company Steinberg and is protected by a licensing agreement which prevents redistribution of its source code.
Audacity, as an open source program licensed under the GPL, is therefore currently unable to support ASIO, despite being ASIO-capable (providing the user's sound device is similarly capable). If ASIO support were distributed in Audacity builds this would either violate Steinberg's licence agreement if the code were included, or conversely would violate Audacity's GPL Licence if the code were withheld. There are persistent rumours of Steinberg opening up licensing, but without any apparent movement. Anyone who cares about this issue is invited to make their views known to Steinberg via their Contact page.
Non-distributable ASIO support in Audacity
With the current release of Audacity, support for ASIO under Windows is now included for individuals who are prepared to compile Audacity from source code with the optional Steinberg ASIO SDK (available from legacy versions 1.3.3 onwards). This support is provided strictly on the basis that it is NON-DISTRIBUTABLE, that is, you may NOT copy or distribute builds including ASIO support to any third parties. The build is strictly for your own personal (private or commercial) use. For the same reasons, Audacity can NOT distribute builds of Audacity including ASIO support, so please don't ask!
To compile Audacity from our source code including ASIO support:
- Download the Audacity source code from either the release tarball or latest SVN development code (SVN sources are much more likely to build out-of-the box on Windows)
- Download and install the ASIO SDK (a Steinberg account is required)
- Follow the instructions in win/compile.txt in our source code or online to download and build wxWidgets, define the ASIOSDK_DIR environment variable to point to the ASIO SDK, then build Audacity.