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USB 2.0 Audio Driver in Windows 8

    Question

  • Did a class complaint USB 2.0 Audio Driver make it into Windows 8?

    Or do we still have to write such drivers ourselves?

     

    This was under consideration by the Windows Sound team during the planning phases of Windows 8.

    http://www.freelists.org/post/wdmaudiodev/Why-would-you-want-USB-Audio-20-in-Windows

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 7:42 PM

Answers

  • greggp wrote:
    >
    >Any speculation on why Microsoft hasn't provided a native UAC2 driver?
    >I've read that it is because Microsoft doesn't want to pay licensing
    >fees or royalties for USB Audio Class 2. Aren't they paying for UAC1,
    >why not UAC2??
     
    No, that's silly.  USB does not charge a licensing fee.  Its class
    specifications are all available for free.  You can get them yourself.
    Further, Microsoft is a member of the USB Implementor's Forum, so even if
    there were a fee, they wouldn't have to pay it.
     
    They haven't provided a UAC2 driver because there hasn't been any demand.
    It's just that simple.  No one has presented a convincing business case
    that justifies the development and testing effort.  Remember that 95% of
    their customer base is just interested in listening to viral YouTube videos
    and the soundtrack from American Pie, and UAC1 satisfies that need.
     
    >If they don't include the UAC2 driver with Windows 8, I'd be happy if
    >a driver were included in the future App Store.
     
    How could that POSSIBLY work?  You wouldn't pay for UAC2 hardware if it
    didn't come with a driver would you?
    --
    Tim Roberts, timr@probo.com
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
     

    Tim Roberts, DDK MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Monday, September 26, 2011 4:27 AM

All replies

  • anon30524 wrote:
    >
    >Did a class complaint USB 2.0 Audio Driver make it into Windows 8?
    >
    >Or do we still have to write such drivers ourselves?
     
    I haven't seen that mentioned in the public information yet.
    --
    Tim Roberts, timr@probo.com
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
     

    Tim Roberts, DDK MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Friday, September 16, 2011 5:38 AM
  • I tried yesterday using this device in UAC2 mode: http://www.qnktc.com/ab_11/

    The behaviour was just like in Win7. I'd love to see driver support in Windows, though!

     

    Borge

     

    Sunday, September 25, 2011 2:47 PM
  • Any speculation on why Microsoft hasn't provided a native UAC2 driver? I've read that it is because Microsoft doesn't want to pay licensing fees or royalties for USB Audio Class 2. Aren't they paying for UAC1, why not UAC2??

    If they don't include the UAC2 driver with Windows 8, I'd be happy if a driver were included in the future App Store. It shouldn't cost more than US$25 and that should cover Microsoft's reluctance to pay royalties or licensing fees.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011 5:23 PM
  • greggp wrote:
    >
    >Any speculation on why Microsoft hasn't provided a native UAC2 driver?
    >I've read that it is because Microsoft doesn't want to pay licensing
    >fees or royalties for USB Audio Class 2. Aren't they paying for UAC1,
    >why not UAC2??
     
    No, that's silly.  USB does not charge a licensing fee.  Its class
    specifications are all available for free.  You can get them yourself.
    Further, Microsoft is a member of the USB Implementor's Forum, so even if
    there were a fee, they wouldn't have to pay it.
     
    They haven't provided a UAC2 driver because there hasn't been any demand.
    It's just that simple.  No one has presented a convincing business case
    that justifies the development and testing effort.  Remember that 95% of
    their customer base is just interested in listening to viral YouTube videos
    and the soundtrack from American Pie, and UAC1 satisfies that need.
     
    >If they don't include the UAC2 driver with Windows 8, I'd be happy if
    >a driver were included in the future App Store.
     
    How could that POSSIBLY work?  You wouldn't pay for UAC2 hardware if it
    didn't come with a driver would you?
    --
    Tim Roberts, timr@probo.com
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
     

    Tim Roberts, DDK MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Monday, September 26, 2011 4:27 AM
  • I agree that Microsoft must feel that there has not been enough demand for a driver to warrant implementation.

    However, I say this is a distorted view of the world - there is "enough" demand unless you want to check demand after the fact in a chicken and egg world which seems to be what has been going on for almost a decade now.

    I believe customers are voting with their feet purchasing alternative platforms.

     

     


    • Edited by Petter103 Monday, September 26, 2011 1:50 PM
    Monday, September 26, 2011 1:48 PM
  • Petter103 wrote:
    >
    >I agree that Microsoft must feel that there has not been enough demand
    >for a driver to warrant implementation.
     
    Well, it's more than a feeling -- I've actually heard the audio team say
    this.  If you are involved in high-end USB audio, I strongly suggest you go
    sign up for the [wdmaudiodev] mailing list.  There are lots of knowledgable
    people there.  The Microsoft audio developers listen in, and even
    participate occasionally.  If you have a business case, they would be more
    than happy to hear it.  Seriously.
     
    >However, I say this is a distorted view of the world - there is "enough"
    >demand unless you want to check demand after the fact in a chicken and
    >egg world which seems to be what has been going on for almost a decade now.
     
    Microsoft listens carefully to its big customers.  If its big customers
    were demanding UAC2 support, believe me -- it would be made available.
     
    >I believe customers are voting with their feet purchasing alternative
    >platforms.
     
    The evidence does not support your belief.
    --
    Tim Roberts, timr@probo.com
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
     

    Tim Roberts, DDK MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:41 AM

  •  
    >If they don't include the UAC2 driver with Windows 8, I'd be happy if
    >a driver were included in the future App Store.
     
    How could that POSSIBLY work?  You wouldn't pay for UAC2 hardware if it
    didn't come with a driver would you?
     

    Tim Roberts, DDK MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

    Sure, I might purchase the hardware if I could also purchase a compatible driver.

     

    If the UAC2 driver was included with Windows 8, as a native driver, I wouldn't have to worry if a proprietary driver was included with my UAC2 hardware. I would just need to make sure the hardware was compatible. If the UAC2 driver wasn't included with Win8, but was available for a price from the new Win8 app store, wouldn't the same scenario work? I'd just need to make sure the hardware was compatible with this Microsoft purchased driver.

     

    Please explain why this would be impossible.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 6:23 AM
  • Well, if Microsoft won't move unless a big mover starts moving, how about this:

    Let's opt in for single-user licensing of UAC2 drivers. I believe the first vendor who supplies a $40 driver to single users (tied to DAC or to PC) will have a great business and become the de-facto vendor.

    What do you think?

     

    Borge

     

    Monday, October 03, 2011 1:03 PM
  • Borge-san wrote:
    >
    >Well, if Microsoft won't move unless a big mover starts moving, how about this:
    >
    >Let's opt in for single-user licensing of UAC2 drivers. I believe the first
    >vendor who supplies a $40 driver to single users (tied to DAC or to PC)
    >will have a great business and become the de-facto vendor.
    >
    >What do you think?
     
    Since you asked, I'll tell you.  I think Windows users will not pay for
    drivers.  I think there are not enough customers for a generic UAC2 driver
    to make it worthwhile.  I think no hardware manufacturer will release a
    piece of hardware without a driver that exploits its capabilities fully.
     
    And if the driver did find a following, Microsoft would release one of
    their own.  As soon as there is demand, they'll release one.
    --
    Tim Roberts, timr@probo.com
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
     

    Tim Roberts, VC++ MVP Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 3:13 AM
  • Well it is in part Microsoft's business model to release something as soon as there is a demand. That is not to say that it cannot be a great business model not only in the interim period, but also after Microsoft were to catch up, it is simply a matter of staying ahead with enough features/functionality/quality to let customers continue.

     

    Case in point: Look at Citrix. They licensed tech to Microsoft, and they have been in lockstep ever since. Price of Citrix is super high yet customers keep buying it, why I have no idea after all these years, but they still manage to stay highly relevant. What is it now 10-15 years and still going strong as far as I know?

     

    Microsoft could also release such a driver as Windows Ultimate Extra if they wanted to monetize it in other ways.

     

    Anyway it is becoming a mute point since Apple supplies it "for free", Linux supplies it for free, and soon all kinds of tablets, phones, MP3 players and so on will supply it for free. It might be Windows Phone which eventually forces Microsoft Windows desktops hand.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 4:22 PM
  • Here's a disruptive idea:

    Microsoft open-sources their UAC1 drivers and let the community improve on them for UAC2 support. I _know_ there are coders out there who would jump on this opportunity.

    Borge

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 7:18 AM
  • @Borge-sane, my neighbor and I carpool often. He codes primarily for linux with a home automation company. He also contributes open source code on occassion. The code he gets paid to develop and refine is far better than his side contributions. Therefore I believe that it is likely that we will get the best experience if Microsoft provides a driver.

    Also, @Tim_Roberts, there are some hardware companies that supply UAC2 interfaces with no drivers. They just market alongside the Apple community. Apogee is a great example of that. The dirty little secret is that there are ways (purely experimental in terms of license validity, of course) that you can get another hardware's driver to work with Apogee's equipment.

    Microsoft is missing a great opportunity to appeal to the budding audiophile crowd. If you think about the fanatics that are buying headphones (like Skullcandy) and even the pricier stuff (like Beats by Dre) they'll turn around wanting to follow the next trend of that fad. Microsoft could implement better audio features into their OS and market to these people and compete on college campuses much better than they are currently.

    Friday, April 20, 2012 8:42 PM
  • I just went to the Hi-End show in Munich. There are lots of manufacturers large and small who offer USB DACs. But the market is confused, primarily because proper unified drivers are still lacking.

    Driver availability would be an enabler for a large market of hi-res downloads.

    Børge

    Wednesday, May 09, 2012 9:28 PM
  • I just went to the Hi-End show in Munich. There are lots of manufacturers large and small who offer USB DACs. But the market is confused, primarily because proper unified drivers are still lacking.

    Driver availability would be an enabler for a large market of hi-res downloads.

    Børge

    But that's the problem... The market for hi-res downloads is still pretty small when compared to the overall market. Just like vinyl, hi-res audio is a niche. I'd like to see the sales numbers for hi-res downloads. I'm guessing it isn't growing very fast, maybe even less than the sales of vinyl LPs.

    If someone like Apple were to start offering 24-bit/96KHz tracks and albums on their iTunes store and they became profitable and the market size started growing more rapidly, maybe that would get Microsoft's attention. However, since they seen to have conceded the music market to Apple, maybe they won't bother to respond with equivalent technology.

    I've always thought it would be a good strategy for the music producers to start offering music at high resolutions, especially the indie labels. For example, there's one online indie label, http://magnatune.com/, that offers downloads at CD quality (both lossy, lossless and maybe even WAV formats), but, I think they should start offering 24-bit /48 or 96KHz and maybe even surround formats for their electronica music. That might make their music, which is from artists that are basically unknown but very good, more appealing to people who've invested in higher end hardware. Maybe they don't bother because the market isn't large enough. Besides, they may think it's a waste of time and resources given the overall market failures of SACD and DVD-Audio.

    If USB 2.0 Audio drivers were available, it would help and maybe more of these labels would offer high resolution (and maybe surround) formats. Then more people would buy higher-end hardware and the market would grow, but at this time, I wouldn't say there is a large market and Microsoft doesn't seem to be interested unless it is a large market. Too bad they don't like to help small markets grow. I also suspect they've done enough market analysis to determine that the potential market isn't large enough for them.

    In the late 1990s and 2000s, I worked for Sonic Foundry, a company that developed audio and video applications for the Windows market. Our flagship product was Sound Forge, which was a pretty good audio editor. We expanded into the video market with a program called Vegas and also developed a very innovative audio creation tool called ACID. I worked on a CD burning application called CD Architect and a media player called Siren Jukebox. We released our first version of Siren before iTunes and Windows Media Player came out. We also charged for it, so after WMP and iTunes were released, we could no longer generate any revenue with Siren and it was dropped. Anyhow, I remember going to conferences and the big topic was about music downloads and how to make money given the fact that there was so much pirating. The portable MP3 players were relatively new and only available from a handful of companies like Creative Labs. There were a handful of fairly large electronics companies at these conferences, like RCA/Thomson, Panasonic, Pioneer, etc. and a few of them had MP3 players to kind of test the market. None of them were putting a lot of resources into the market because their market analysis told them the potential was limited. Then Apple came along with the iPod and iTunes and contrary to any of their analysis, blew the market wide open. There was something wrong with their analysis or approach to the potential market for downloadable music and portable players. Apple's approach was obviously very different and successful.

    I sometimes wonder if there is a lot more potential for high res (and surround) formats that the big players just can't figure out and it will take someone like Apple to make it work. It won't be Microsoft.

    Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:28 AM
  • Hello, guys.

    It's been a year since the publication of this topic.

    Tell me, is there any progress in supporting universal UAC2 driver by MS, or even for Win8 and on future the MS is not going to do it??

    Best regards,

    Denis

    Thursday, January 10, 2013 2:13 PM