multi-device drivers

Ways to use multiple audio interfaces together

If you want more audio interface, do you have to trash a fully satisfactory interface and purchase a larger interface? Perhaps it is not easier to find ways for using multiple audio interfaces together.

A lot of musicians asked recently how viable it is to add more inputs and outputs to an established audio device as the specifications for recording and playback become more sophisticated. For instance, if you switch from stereo to surround work, you may need six outputs rather than two, whereas others who suddenly face a live band or other ensemble recording can suddenly need half a dozen more micinput channels. Others want many interfaces that deliver high-quality micro preamps and integrated DSP effects.

micro preamps

You might, of course, purchase a new interface that contains all the functionality you need in a tidy hardware bundle. But many musicians are reluctant to leave the perfectly good link that they already have, especially as peanuts are probably worth it. After all, while PC technology typically advances in massive leaps and limits, the performance of audio interfaces is far more calculated. Many musicians are still perfectly satisfied with the performance and audio quality of the units, especially when they buy it for the first time.

And what are the possibilities of combining multiple audio interfaces? Well, some musicians fail on the first obstacle, assuming they can purchase the same second interface as their current one, doubling functionality. This may be possible, but specially written drivers that can understand and support multiple interfaces are required. Standard drivers which support a single device would be jumbled if two or more similar interfaces were presented. You could not distinguish them, and the second interface would be ignored, or your PC would (more likely) crash or not boot.

Fortunately, many manufacturers have built acceptable multi-device drivers, generally supporting up to four identical interfaces, or a combination of up to four similar models of the same range. The best advice (just as always) is to download the new drivers for your interface, so you can read the corresponding Read Me or Support file before you buy a supplementary product.

It is more difficult to search whether there are already multi-device drivers in a new interface you are thinking of purchasing. I have found over the years that multi-device support for new models is uncommon, but is always promised for potential driver updates.

We don’t keep our audio secrets.

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