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Feedback: We would very much like a 32-bit audio mixer in Windows

    General discussion

  • My friend noted that WASAPI is significantly better than DirectSound. I didn't believe him, because I hadn't realized that WASAPI Exclusive Mode transports 32-bit floats, whereas mmsystem/dsound adds an extra 16-bit dithering operation.

    Even to a non-audiophile playing 128-bit mp3s at low volume on on-board sound with $40 headphones, the difference in quality is enormous.

    WASAPI provides 32-bit transport in Exclusive mode, but there is no 32-bit audio *mixer* that would make it possible for multiple applications to all talk to the sound card at once without the current drastic loss in audio quality.

    We saw >2-channel audio addressed by Windows, and I would very much appreciate if >16-bit audio is also addressed. Though people aren't aware of what they're missing out on, because more multimedia applications are supporting WASAPI, it will soon be obvious to everyone.

    I believe that addressing this would provide a strong incentive for home theater enthusiasts, gamers, musicians and audiophiles to choose Windows PCs (and tablets) -- especially if this would enable applications such as Windows Media Center to have 32-bit audio.









    Wednesday, June 22, 2011 12:02 AM

All replies

  • If the device supports 24-bit audio, you can change the default device format to 24-bit in the control panel.  I haven't seen any consumer audio devices that natively support 32-bit audio.


    Matthew van Eerde
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011 12:37 AM
  • There's a known audio quality issue with the waveOut sample rate converter that you might be hearing.  Do the quality issues go away if you change the sample rate of the default device format (in the Sound control panel) to match the sample rate of the content?
    Matthew van Eerde
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011 12:53 AM
  • If the device supports 24-bit audio, you can change the default device format to 24-bit in the control panel.  I haven't seen any consumer audio devices that natively support 32-bit audio.


    Matthew van Eerde
    32 bit floating point audio is the transport format that WASAPI and ASIO allow. 24 bit audio is an improvement, but it still causes dithering because there's an extra conversion being made -- and not many programs support it.
    There's a known audio quality issue with the waveOut sample rate converter that you might be hearing.  Do the quality issues go away if you change the sample rate of the default device format (in the Sound control panel) to match the sample rate of the content?
    Matthew van Eerde

    That's also a different issue. When the sample rate doesn't match what an application is outputting, it'll often blip unless it's properly interpolating.

    If you have the time, I invite you to try Media Monkey 4 (beta) or foobar2000 with WASAPI Exclusive Mode. It's as much a noticeable quality difference as going from 11khz to 44khz.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011 2:07 AM