ASIO for OBS – Unlock the full potential of ASIO

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Many streamers incorporate the use of an Audio Interface within their streaming setup. With the ASIO for OBS plugin, you can utilize its full feature set.

What is ASIO?

You would be forgiven if you don’t know what ASIO is. Most people using a computer has never heard of the term before. ASIO, or “Audio Stream Input/Output” is an Audio Transfer Protocol developed by Steinburg.

ASIO was developed for use by the music industry and allows Audio Interfaces(otherwise known as external sound cards) to get access to its full capability of the multi-channel sound devices embedded in the hardware.

With the proper drivers attached to your Audio Interface, depending on the Interface you have, you can have anywhere between 1-20+ different channels that can be input into a pc.

Note: To use ASIO for OBS, you need to have an Audio Interface or a Virtual ASIO Device like the one provided by VoiceMeeter.

Why would you need 20+ devices into your sound card?

Using ASIO for OBS, you can unlock the full potential of your Audio Interface.

An audio interface with several XLR Connections.

Visible:

In 2-4(Unoccupied), In 5-6(Occupied), 7-9 Blurred out
In 10-11 Occupied, In 12-14 unoccupied, 15 occupied. All XLR connections. Red leds next to each input likely signifying phantom power is being sent.

Well, that would depend on what you are using it for. As our focus on Streamer’s Haven is on streamers, we don’t necessarily need an interface with that much I/O capability, but again, it depends on what you are streaming.

Say, for example, you are a Drummer with an Acoustic Drumset. A drum kit has about 7 total pieces that need to be captured. Well, you would need 7 microphones, positioned beneath/next to the drums to capture natural sound from it. See, a singular microphone can do the job okay, but as the sound travels away from the drum, it gets interfered with by the other drums and cymbals.

This leads to the sound being colored a bit differently, and even destructive/constructive interference that can drastically alter the sound we hear.

To combat this, we incorporate dedicated microphones, mounted as close to the drums as possible, and their sensitivity reduced to prevent overlap. The signal is remixed together into one on a PC.

VST on a Per-drum basis

If you had an interface with 7 Input signals. and 7 output signals, you can then control them on the pc. You gain the ability to apply Unique EQ to each signal, further enhancing the sound and getting closer to one that defines you as a drummer.

This is done VIA a VST plugin. Virtual Studio Technology is a format that audio engineers, musicians, and even big-budget movie productions use to create high-quality sound effects by modifying the sound wave in various ways. One of the most common ways is Equalization.

You’ve heard of “Digital Remaster” before, right? Basically, they took the recording and applied some VST effects to it. Either that or the more expensive hardware studio technology that does the same thing as VST, but is a bit more stable, and is subjectively higher quality.

Those devices tend to be out of the budget range of a streamer, so instead, we opt for Free VST effects and apply that to your audio to boost its quality in some way, maybe eliminating noise with a noise suppressor, or help prevent peaking using a compressor VST plugin.

Okay, So ASIO expands the functionality of an Audio Interface. What about ASIO for OBS?

Download ASIO for OBS

So, this plugin was developed by two people over on GitHub; Pkv and Andersama. Essentially, all it does is enable OBS to use ASIO devices as a source on OBS. You can do some pretty radical things with this setup, like a True Stereo microphone setup.

We have tested it extensively, and it is stable enough to utilize in your day-to-day operations. It is fairly straight-forward.

ASIO for OBS

A black box with a number of words in a list. 

From the top:
ASIO Input (Highlighted a dark blue color)
Audio Input Capture
Audio Output Capture
Browser
Color Source
Display Capture
Game Capture
Image
Image Slide Show
Input History
Input Overlay
Intel(R) RealSense(TM) 3D Camera GreenScreen
Media Source
Scene
Text(GDI+)
Video Capture Device
Window capture

Group

Depreciated
When installed correctly, it will show up in your source selector.
ASIO for OBS Device selector includes virtual ASIO Devices from DAWs like Reaper or other software.
You can even select virtual ASIO Devices that are created by VoiceMeeter Banana or other virtual ASIO devices.

Incidentally, using this method will also allow you to utilize a true stereo microphone setup if you have two microphones. One mic sends its signal to the left ear, and the other sends its signal to the right ear. Combined together, this gives the microphone signals an almost 3D feel to it. It sounds more natural to us.

ASIO for OBS Microphone device properties.

Device [ UMC ASIO Driver]
OBS Channel 1 [ UMC ASIO Driver 0 in 1 ]
OBS Channel 2 [ UMC ASIO Driver 1 In 2 ]
The Setup for True Stereo Audio using a Behringer UMC 204HD

If you don’t have two mics, Simply Set both OBS channels to 0 In 1 or 1 in 2, because otherwise, you’ll need to downmix to mono in the Advanced Audio Properties window, and, that isn’t needed if set up properly.

Going further, Setting up a 7.1 audio for that drum kit

If you were to go into the settings in OBS, and select the Audio tab, know that you can enable 7.1 surround sound capability, for anything that supports it.

Want full Surround sound to be output to stream? You can do that.
ASIO for OBS Microphone properties in 7.1 setup.

Device [ UMC ASIO Driver ]
OBS Channel 1-2 [ UMC ASIO Driver 0 in 1 ]
OBS Channel 3-8 [ mute ]
When you select 7.1 in OBS, the ASIO plugin knows! Now you are able to set up true 7.1 audio input for that drum kit, assuming your Audio Interface has 8 input signals.

This solution isn’t for everyone. Most of your audience will be limited to stereo or even Mono(If it is on their phone) simply because a 4.0+ system is fairly expensive and bulky. However, those who use Virtual 7.1 Surround Headphones will see a difference, and will greatly appreciate it.

Why should I use the ASIO plugin for OBS?

Apart from the complicated 7.1 setups mentioned above, ASIO inputs tend to have lower latency than typical sound devices found onboard motherboard sound chips. Lower latency means you won’t have as much sound syncing to lips issues, once properly set up.

Using the Audio Interface itself, even without the full benefit of ASIO, will result in a higher “quality” audio signal, if you are using its speaker output or headphone jack.

What should these settings be set to?

Setting up the buffer size & Data Format

You should select the Sample Rate that is what you set all of your audio devices to. The Limit for OBS is 48000, or 48khz. That is the format that DVD Audio is recorded in. We use 48Khz at Streamer’s Haven, but there is a negligible difference between that and 44.1khz, one that you can only perceive with speakers or headphones that are good enough to discern the difference. Whatever one that all of your devices support should be the one you choose.

We won’t go too in-depth on what sample rate is better(That is a major can of worms in the audiophile world.) but we can say that your buffer size should be set to 256 or 512. 8 is way too low, and causes occasional audible static noise. The reason is that your processor can’t process the audio signal fast enough, and as a result, it doesn’t do a good job of processing the audio. The result is audio artifacts in the form of popping.

The Data Format setting should be 32 Bit Float(If available), as that is the format that sounds best to us. You can play with these settings a bit to dial it in

Sticking to Stereo

Knowing you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. There is a saying in the web design world. “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Basically, it means not to overthink and just go with what works. In this case, unless you are that Drummer streamer, and have a passion for audiophile quality with a budget to back it up, Stereo is all you need.

Any musician knows that having more than one microphone positioned around your instrument will add a greater audio depth to it, as sound can only be captured from a fairly small part of the wave per microphone. Adding more microphones captures more parts of those waves.

But do you need them to record a song or talk to your audience on Twitch or Mixer? Nope.

All you need, really, is just one good microphone.

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