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I recently purchased a USB interface and, as almost every other home musician on the planet, I wanted to use it for all of my audio needs and of course concurrently shared between my Windows applications.

The steps taken for installation were the following:

  • I installed its ASIO drivers from the manufacturer.
  • I made it the default device in both Playback Devices and Recording Devices.
  • I unticked the options for allowing application to take exclusive control of the device both in Playback Devices and Recording Devices.
  • I disabled all other audio producing and recording devices incorporated within the motherboard via the Windows Sound configuration.

Still, unfortunately, every time my DAW started, I could no longer use the device to listen to anything else like Youtube, Media players, etc, resulting to both apps crashing. Sounds familiar?

Long story short, a few nights down the road and following each advise provided in forums around the world, I installed several of the below tools:

  • Virtual drivers
  • Virtual bridges
  • Virtual mixers
  • Virtual wires
  • Every other "virtual everything" I found online.

No luck with most of those and the ones that did provide a result with concurrency, would really mess things up with latency. Though described in a few words the whole process took long nights without any results.

So what is the correct way to set up shared ASIO in Window 10?

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To retain some structure, I continue here with the "answer" part
to my own question. 

All in all I was both fed up and giving up until...

Following several utility installations I decided to clean up my system from all the Virtual This & That in order to start fresh the next day. During this cleanup process I executed the typical uninstall routines of the utilities I had tried, but also went manually to delete any left over files, folders etc.

One of the utilities installed a virtual audio device to help route the signals in order to supply some sort of mixing tool. To confirm this was fully and properly uninstalled, I went into the Device Manager and checked the remaining audio devices. Everything was clean and the only devices found were the motherboards audio device and my usb interface.

Exactly at that point, it struck me! The onboard audio devices were set as disabled within Windows Sound configuration, but were still "visible" by Windows as existant and operable devices.

I then disabled them withing Device Manager and rebooted... Test... Voila!!!

The single available Audio Device within Windows Device Manager was now my USB Interface. It behaves super fast using my DAW, while concurrently playing videos on YouTube. Not clear if it matters but for all good reasons I have kept my settings to not allow exclusive use of my device by one application within Sound configuration for both Playback and Recording.

While I am still speechless by the result and the process to get there, I can only guess that this is somehow a bug within the Windows audio subsystem.

Working further to improve my system, I disabled the onboard audio from the BIOS. Additionally, working to minimize latency, I have installed ASIO4ALL which handles the ASIO and then routes to my interface.

The final result gave me a latency of around 2.75 ms. The USB interface is an Alientek D8 DAC/Headamp and the DAW is Ableton.

That's all folks! I salute you hoping that this info will prove helpful to many of you struggling with this issue!

All the best, Savvas

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