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ASIO and Audacity

ASIO and Audacity

Audacity is open-source software, which allows you to record and edit audios and tracks for free. It is a very useful tool for musicians. They can easily record, mix, edit, and split their audio using this software.

ASIO is an interface for audio software exclusive to Windows. This helps to reduce the latency time. And, this provides direct communication between the computer hardware and the audio software. ASIO helps to reduce the noise base and helps increase the sensitivity of the software towards the low volumes.

Windows is the only OS that can use ASIO. Linux and Mac operating systems use other APIs. Linux systems use API and ALSA. These days, by default Linux, makes use of PulseAudio. This provides a few more latencies than ALSA. Therefore, Jack API is the best option for Linux, as it has the lowest latencies. Mac systems use the Core Audio, which also supports Audacity. For better latency, one can also occasionally use Jack OS X.

ASIO and Audacity

Origin and protection

ASIO was developed by Steinberg, a German company. It comes under a licensing agreement that prevents its redistribution.  Audacity is an open-source platform, which has a license from GPL. There is an issue with both of them have a license. One cannot use the ASIO code in compilation with Audacity because one cannot redistribute it. To abide by both of the licenses, it was important to talk to Steinberg! Click here to learn more.

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ASIO with Audacity

Audacity supports ASIO, but this is not linked by default considering the ASIO license of non-distribution. Compiling of both is optional, and depends upon the Audacity user. This is because there are some drawbacks. If the user compiles both, then the build made using Audacity will not be allowed to copy or distribute to anyone else. And, these builds can only be for personal use. As a restriction, one cannot use these builds further.

Now, if you wish to compile Audacity with ASIO, then you need to first download the ASIO source code. Then, you will be able to integrate both. The following systematic steps are for integrating both:

  • First of all, download and install Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition IDE.
  • Then, download the ASIO SDK from Steinberg and then install it.
  • Download the latest source code of Audacity.
  • Download wxWidgets GUI toolkit and then install them. Then, open and build wxWidgets, using the already downloaded Visual Studio.
  • The last step, before finally building Audacity with ASIO, is to set the WXWIN directly to the directory where Widgets are present. Similarly, set the ASIOSDK_DIR to the directory where you have downloaded ASIO SDK and install it.
  • Finally, reboot the system and then build Audacity with ASIO.

You can now use the Audacity platform in association with the ASIO. Audacity always supports ASIO. But, you always need to keep its license in mind if you are using them in collaboration. If you build something using Audacity, you should not distribute or share it with anyone.  Please always abide with its license rules.


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