USB Audio - Will Mac/Linux/Android features come to Windows?


  • USB Audio Class 2 is an updated protocol for external DACs, microphones, loudspeakers etc. It enables high-quality audio in and out of a PC. In fact the quality of the hifi equipment becomes the limiting factor, not the PC.

    UAC2 is supported natively in Linux and Mac. Through the Linux kernel this means Android devices will soon be able to plug into home entertainment equipment and beat iPad etc. at audio quality. I hope this ability will also come to Microsoft OSes.

    If USB Audio Clas 2 gets native Windows support it will enable a lot of media applications and novel electronics. At the moment commercial drivers are available but they are expensive to buy into for manufacturers. And they bring unneccesary hassle to users. But what this also means is that the technology is available to Microsoft to purchase.

    Please let me know if Microsoft has any plans to include UAC2 in new versions of Windows.


    Best regards,



    Sunday, September 25, 2011 7:51 AM

All replies

  • Microsoft is not willing to talk about anything they plan or not plan to include in the future unless it is already publicly announced or they have already planned to announce it (in that case, you will not get it earlier than they have planned to annouced it).

    The only thing you can do is to post here as you have did and vote this way for your suggestion.

    • Proposed as answer by Dylan-Meeus Sunday, September 25, 2011 3:32 PM
    Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:09 AM
  • Agree completely, Borge.

    There was another thread started on this topic http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/zh/wdk/thread/76bc5603-52ef-4943-a0f0-0c390f6ae7ad

    And in it a link was given to a open question posed in 2009 by MS to users to specify why they would want USB 2 and/or what they would use it for : http://www.freelists.org/post/wdmaudiodev/Why-would-you-want-USB-Audio-20-in-Windows


    There are occasional questions on this list about USB Audio 2.0 support in Windows. We (the Windows sound team) are curious to hear specific reasons- scenarios, business, features, etc.- that would be enabled if USB Audio 2.0 support was included in Windows. Are any of you willing to share this? The more specific you can be, the better. If you do not want to share with the entire list then feel free to send a message to me directly. Frank Yerrace Microsoft


    Guess there wasn't enough demand??

    Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:34 AM
  • If they don't include the USB Audio Class 2 driver with the Win8 distribution, 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 5:19 PM
  • It would cost Microsoft $50K to have third party develop this for them (OK let's quadruple that, it is still inexpensive and enabling for consumer scenarios).

    Until recently, however, Microsoft has not been all that concerned with consumers. It has always been much more important to add 1000 group policy objects per year ...

    I have had deep contacts with Microsoft on this very topic for about 8 years now - was pushing very hard for a number of years including walking into program managers and developers offices unannounced. The sad story is that their USB Audio developer who actually contributed to the UAC2 standard quit the company, no idea what is going on now other than hearing through the grapevine that no UAC2 support is forthcoming for Windows 8.

    My history with Microsoft on this suggests that this will not be a feature of Windows 8, so if it is of interest to you, get yourself a third party driver (not even sure how to do that as a consumer without also buying hardware) with the benefits and caveats that implies, or switch to a platform that offers it.

    It is sad that this is so, because lack of driver causes fragmentation of driver model (a big third party driver vendor makes the audio driver a non-audio device ....) which in the longer term causes more problems for consumers.


    • Edited by Petter103 Monday, September 26, 2011 1:39 PM
    Monday, September 26, 2011 1:15 PM
  • Yes this is needed and last time I checked Microsoft replied that there were no plans currently to support USB Audio Class 2.0. This is critical and if Microsoft is serious about professional audio on Windows 8, they should support USB Audio Class 2.0 with generic drivers in Windows 8.
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 6:06 AM
  • In my opinion, the situation for UAC2 now looks like the time when Philips still charged big bucks to start selling you CD drives. When their patents timed out, nobody had to pay licensing costs, and everybody could buy a small quantity of drives. The result was a revolution in DAC and player quality.

    The same thing would happen to USB DACs if MS started giving away the driver. A lot of small vendors would ship high-end DACs, UAC2 would become more mainstream, and a large market pull would reach the volume manufacturers.

    Instead, large hardware vendors are today the only guys who can purchase expensive driver license packages.

    The second-best alternative would be if the driver manufacturers started offering single-license drivers at low cost. That would pave the way for smaller vendors.

    I totally understand MS who wants to relate to large manufacturers. But imagine you were a large battery manufacturer ten years ago, would you rather hurt yourself going head-on with GM, or partner up with Tesla and their likes? I believe you can't reach the first without the second.




    Monday, October 3, 2011 1:11 PM