How do you use multiple interfaces with Reason?

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RobC
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Post 03 Apr 2023

Currently, I'd like to use the Topping E30 II DAC; and the Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface, at the same time with Reason.

While Topping would be fine with the simplest solution, aka. ASIO4ALL, I didn't find any way to bypass Focusrite's driver.

Now, most likely, the best way would be to use both Topping, and Focusrite's own ASIO drivers.

Question is, how do you do that on Windows? (I hear there's Aggregate Device on MAC.)
Can ASIO4ALL somehow handle two other ASIO drivers?

PhillipOrdonez
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Post 03 Apr 2023

What is the topping decide for? How do you intend to use it?

Normally, when you have an expandable interface, to get extra inputs, you use optical connections. Quick look at the topping device, I'm not even sure what's the purpose of that on a studio setting πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ please school me on why and how is that useful.

RobC
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Post 03 Apr 2023

PhillipOrdonez wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
What is the topping decide for? How do you intend to use it?

Normally, when you have an expandable interface, to get extra inputs, you use optical connections. Quick look at the topping device, I'm not even sure what's the purpose of that on a studio setting πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ please school me on why and how is that useful.
It's a dedicated DAC. Its quality covers the needs even for the best case human hearing.

The Scarlett's purpose is being a mic preamp, and ADC for me. Its built-in DAC and HP amp is much lesser quality than my Topping devices.

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mcatalao
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Post 03 Apr 2023

Assuming you're on PC:

To my knowledge you cannot load 2 different drivers in Reason. Your best option imho, is to load both the interfaces on Asio4all, this is usually doable, but performance might not be the same.
If you're on Mac:
Create an aggregate device, then it will appear in reason as the new agg device.

Finally you should sync the devices externally, if they allow you to do it, so that you don't have phasing issues later on.

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mcatalao
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Post 03 Apr 2023

Mmm... I went to see what is really the Topping, it in fact is a DAC, that you can connect throught Optical and works as an audio card if you connect it with usb.

So the best option in this case, imho, is to connect the scarlet digital output (if it has one) into the optical input of the DAC.

Anyway, have you read the specs on the topping dac? I have my doubts appart from the ability to convert at higher samplerates you'll notice a big difference between the focusrite's DAC and the Topping DAC. Chances are, they're even using the same hardware, since focusrite's dac's are really not that bad and almost everyone is using the same DAC chips with some minor different configurations. And as a matter of fact, some of the scarlet's are being used as DAC's alternatives by Hi-Fi folks (not that hi-fi folks should be taken serious, specially when talking about cables).

Anyway, i just checked and the Scarlet solo does not have a digital output, so you're a bit fracked.
So you can use the two in asio4all or interchange them (use the focusrite for recording and monitoring while recording, and the topping for mixing and mastering, if you really notice that big of a difference... ).

Cheers, and good luck.

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mcatalao
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Post 03 Apr 2023

Oh and if you get the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) stay away from DACs for awhile.
Anything on the ANalogue side of things will benefit you way more than a DAC, imho. As a matter of fact, DACs and Clock generators should be the last thing to buy in a studio, if ever! Like you kick a rock by accident and there's 1 million usd under it and you don't know how to spend it, you could get a dac and a clock generator, after beer and chicks of course. And a fridge for the beer. :)

RobC
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Post 03 Apr 2023

mcatalao wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
Oh and if you get the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) stay away from DACs for awhile.
Anything on the ANalogue side of things will benefit you way more than a DAC, imho. As a matter of fact, DACs and Clock generators should be the last thing to buy in a studio, if ever! Like you kick a rock by accident and there's 1 million usd under it and you don't know how to spend it, you could get a dac and a clock generator, after beer and chicks of course. And a fridge for the beer. :)
Oh dear, I guess the drawbacks of Windows will start showing.
That said, I'd be cool with ASIO4ALL - I don't care if the devices' own ASIO drivers have 1 ms better latency.

I'm the last person to hoard gear. I only buy what I need, and always what's worth its price.

When it comes to measurements and sound, that Topping E30 II DAC beat Scarlett. I also have the L30 II headphone preamp - now that was a major reason to go for Topping's boxes. It's crystal clear and noise free - that with professional IEM's (Audio Technica ATH-E70 ~ tripple driver, balanced armature - so not what "pro" engineers try to call crappy). Most interfaces are noisy as heck. Scarlett drives them okay, but not noise free. And I certainly noticed unpleasant things during sound design when I tested it to see if there really isn't a difference. Sadly, there is, so it was a wise choice to be patient, research, until I found the Topping gear.

Luckily, Scarlett is rather focused on recording, so it was worth it, until I get a dedicated preamp and ADC.

Hopefully, I can bypass the Scarlett's driver, otherwise I'd have to select it for each recording session. Not a big effort, but still uncomfortable to do.

Thank you for the informations!

You can compare these devices' performance on audiosciencereview.com it's how I found them.

Also, the Scarlett Solo matches my Rode NT1 microphone, so that was a reason, too to get that for now. Although the dynamic range could be a bit better, but for vocals, it's not all that necessary.

PhillipOrdonez
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Post 03 Apr 2023

RobC wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
PhillipOrdonez wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
What is the topping decide for? How do you intend to use it?

Normally, when you have an expandable interface, to get extra inputs, you use optical connections. Quick look at the topping device, I'm not even sure what's the purpose of that on a studio setting πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ please school me on why and how is that useful.
It's a dedicated DAC. Its quality covers the needs even for the best case human hearing.

The Scarlett's purpose is being a mic preamp, and ADC for me. Its built-in DAC and HP amp is much lesser quality than my Topping devices.
I still have no idea why or how it is useful and worth going through the hassle πŸ˜‚

RobC
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Post 03 Apr 2023

PhillipOrdonez wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
RobC wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023


It's a dedicated DAC. Its quality covers the needs even for the best case human hearing.

The Scarlett's purpose is being a mic preamp, and ADC for me. Its built-in DAC and HP amp is much lesser quality than my Topping devices.
I still have no idea why or how it is useful and worth going through the hassle πŸ˜‚
I spent 300 EUR instead of 3000 EUR for state of the art sound.

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QVprod
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Post 03 Apr 2023

Best bet. Buy a monitor controller and plug both into it as sources. You don't need the topping while recording or the Focusrite while mixing or just using midi (provided it has low latency). Switch the audio interface depending on what you're doing.

The only other reliable method is to go the traditional route and buy an interface that has both the desired A/D and D/A quality as for the price of doing what I mentioned above you probably could've just got a better interface.

RobC
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Post 04 Apr 2023

QVprod wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023
Best bet. Buy a monitor controller and plug both into it as sources. You don't need the topping while recording or the Focusrite while mixing or just using midi (provided it has low latency). Switch the audio interface depending on what you're doing.

The only other reliable method is to go the traditional route and buy an interface that has both the desired A/D and D/A quality as for the price of doing what I mentioned above you probably could've just got a better interface.
I did consider the expensive interfaces, but even so, the current setup came out as a far better deal.

However, I definitely didn't expect that Windows can't handle multiple interfaces.

I'll first try the ASIO4ALL way. Honestly, the latency is already so low, that in 2023 it's no longer a problem.
All I gotta do is getting rid of Focusrite's driver; disable its installer "drive"/memory, then hopefully it will work with ASIO4ALL. Luckily I can experiment, cause I'll switch to a new PC soon.

Thanks for the ideas!

RobC
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Post 04 Apr 2023

Update: worked for now! Although I just uninstalled Focusrite's software and driver.

Haven't tweaked it, but on 192 kHz with 512 buffer, you get 6 ms. Of course, when I record, I'll probably just go with 44.1 kHz, so I can record at even lower latency.

But yeah, Topping, Focusrite (and even my good ole Samson GoUSB mic, which will be a SIDE mic for experimental purposes) can all work together now.

The setup/use? Rode NT1 is the main (MID) mic, getting pre amplified and recorded by Scarlett Solo (I can use zero latency monitoring if needed). The Samson Go mic would be a SIDE microphone ~ an all in one USB mic with zero latency monitoring should I ever need that there. Then I could listen to a crystal clear live mix of the MID/SIDE mics inside Reason, maybe with some processing and low latency, through the Topping E30 II and L30 II combo. All handled by ASIO4ALL.

(Oh hey! I also have 2 speakers, and the recently bought 4K 50" LG TV also has 2 peakers, that works with HDMI out! More stuff to experiment with for fun! : ) )

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mcatalao
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Post 04 Apr 2023

RobC wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023

I'm the last person to hoard gear. I only buy what I need, and always what's worth its price.

When it comes to measurements and sound, that Topping E30 II DAC beat Scarlett.
Well, imho you didn't need that Dac considering the rest of the gear you have (samson, nt1, etc...). I'm just saying investing more on what really benefits your audio quality and clarity specially now that dacs are almost flawless even the "crappy" ones.

RobC
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Post 04 Apr 2023

mcatalao wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
RobC wrote: ↑
03 Apr 2023

I'm the last person to hoard gear. I only buy what I need, and always what's worth its price.

When it comes to measurements and sound, that Topping E30 II DAC beat Scarlett.
Well, imho you didn't need that Dac considering the rest of the gear you have (samson, nt1, etc...). I'm just saying investing more on what really benefits your audio quality and clarity specially now that dacs are almost flawless even the "crappy" ones.
Compare the two DACs:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... iew.36028/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... iew.10187/

That's 119 vs. 103 dB dynamic range. Admittedly, it cost me more to get premium quality with Topping, but I do sound design and engineering, I hear at least 0.1 dB EQ changes, panning-hearing is dead accurate, so is leveling/mixing. As such, I wanted the best quality for my ears. They say, about 116 dB is what the best human hearing's dynamic range is.
True, the difference isn't gigantic, but I wanted to max out the quality.
That, and there are other differences that make the E30 II a step better and worth it for me.

It's not just a chip, but a soundcard, that is ready for speakers, or headphone amplifiers.

Of course, most interfaces sound great, I can't argue that; but when you take the engineering/listening to scientific levels, then the differences start showing.

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QVprod
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Post 04 Apr 2023

RobC wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
Update: worked for now! Although I just uninstalled Focusrite's software and driver.

Haven't tweaked it, but on 192 kHz with 512 buffer, you get 6 ms. Of course, when I record, I'll probably just go with 44.1 kHz, so I can record at even lower latency.
Latency actually works the opposite way. Higher sample rate = lower latency. Maybe you meant a lower buffer?

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mcatalao
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Post 04 Apr 2023

10 db dinamic range, on full scale, thats down on the lowest level (because you start at 0), and even your amps will have noise over that threshold (whether they are monitors or headphones) . I'm just saying, you spent money where objectively you wont have an improvement over either your listening chain or your recording chain because your outboard gear wont be able to reproduce those 10 db difference at low levels, second you don't possible extinguish 116 db dinamic range in real world (for that you have to go from almost absolute silence to something like 120 dbspl (the soind of an airplane at 1 meter?) and have an ear melt in one sec).

But i digress. 😜

Glad my tips helped nonetheless.

RobC
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Post 05 Apr 2023

QVprod wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
RobC wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
Update: worked for now! Although I just uninstalled Focusrite's software and driver.

Haven't tweaked it, but on 192 kHz with 512 buffer, you get 6 ms. Of course, when I record, I'll probably just go with 44.1 kHz, so I can record at even lower latency.
Latency actually works the opposite way. Higher sample rate = lower latency. Maybe you meant a lower buffer?
Oh! That's something I never broke my head about, since Reason always ran on 192 kHz Sample rate for me.
Why I wanted to record at 44.1 kHz sample rate is, that frequencies above 22.5 kHz raise the noise peak, which I'd have to filter out in most cases. Though then again, it would be resampled in Reason to 192 kHz later anyway. And the Rode NT1 is 20-20000 Hz.
I guess I should make a test and see if the noise peak will be worse if I add a filter manually with 192 kHz sample rate.
I might just stick to the project's sample rate then... Or whichever gives the best latency without droputs when recording!

RobC
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Post 05 Apr 2023

mcatalao wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
10 db dinamic range, on full scale, thats down on the lowest level (because you start at 0), and even your amps will have noise over that threshold (whether they are monitors or headphones) . I'm just saying, you spent money where objectively you wont have an improvement over either your listening chain or your recording chain because your outboard gear wont be able to reproduce those 10 db difference at low levels, second you don't possible extinguish 116 db dinamic range in real world (for that you have to go from almost absolute silence to something like 120 dbspl (the soind of an airplane at 1 meter?) and have an ear melt in one sec).

But i digress. 😜

Glad my tips helped nonetheless.
I saw an ASR video which explained how momentary peaks can jump up to 130 dBSPL or so during a concert. Maybe even louder. Those are the peaks.
Example: When we record a snap, the clicky part is super loud, and we can compress a ton of it before it has a useful loudness. Most likely, we won't even notice the compression.

When creating a hat-alike drum, and setting the envelope, things can get really loud and clicky. Now imagine making a kick drum then - due to our insensitivity to bass frequencies, we will design (and later mix) a kick in a way that eats up a lot of that dynamic range.

The finished (engineered) sounds' dynamic range is of course a lot lower; and modern samples are compressed to death.

Anyway, when just using synthesizers on Reason, with the Topping combo I hear zero noise, turned all the way up.

Can't do the same with my Scarlett.

And one important thing I noticed on Topping, was that I heard extra detail in music, things I didn't notice before. Everything sounded better. I noticed better transient response, and better stereo image (mono sounds stay in center and don't randomly appear to move around in some frequencies, or at different volumes).

There are many factors to consider when it comes to DACs, Headphone Amplifiers, etc.

At least these are the things I read and noticed, too.

Of course, you're right that the initial listening difference isn't mind blowing, but what extra I paid for premium quality, is there. And yes, prices skyrocket the closer we get to the high/end level. A total of 300 EUR was doable IMO.

Look at the prices of RME, Apollo, etc, how much a professional DAC and HP Amp costs. The proper devices start even for RME around 1000 EUR.

Including Scarlett Solo, my 3 boxes total tops 450 EUR. (Even if the mic preamp and ADC aren't premium quality.)

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selig
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Post 05 Apr 2023

RobC wrote: ↑
05 Apr 2023
mcatalao wrote: ↑
04 Apr 2023
10 db dinamic range, on full scale, thats down on the lowest level (because you start at 0), and even your amps will have noise over that threshold (whether they are monitors or headphones) . I'm just saying, you spent money where objectively you wont have an improvement over either your listening chain or your recording chain because your outboard gear wont be able to reproduce those 10 db difference at low levels, second you don't possible extinguish 116 db dinamic range in real world (for that you have to go from almost absolute silence to something like 120 dbspl (the soind of an airplane at 1 meter?) and have an ear melt in one sec).

But i digress. 😜

Glad my tips helped nonetheless.
I saw an ASR video which explained how momentary peaks can jump up to 130 dBSPL or so during a concert. Maybe even louder. Those are the peaks.
Example: When we record a snap, the clicky part is super loud, and we can compress a ton of it before it has a useful loudness. Most likely, we won't even notice the compression.
An orchestra doesn't often go over 100 dBSPL, so you're talking about amplified audio. Meaning, the peak level can be almost ANYTHING just by turning the volume up/down. What you may be thinking of is crest factor, the DIFFERENCE between the peak and average level. With a raw drum kit I've easily measured over 20 dB crest factor on individual close-mic'ed drums. If you work with the drums this way you'll have a mix that will be around the same crest factor, and thus a similar LUFS. So unless you're producing classical or acoustic/jazz, you'll probably want LUFS higher than 18/20 (which means you want a LOWER number) since 18 LUFS would sound extremely small/wimpy next to just about anything in the pop/rock/RnB/HipHop/EDM etc. world over the last 30-40 years.

Bottom line - you're comparing apples to oranges here.
Selig Audio, LLC

RobC
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Post 05 Apr 2023

selig wrote: ↑
05 Apr 2023
RobC wrote: ↑
05 Apr 2023


I saw an ASR video which explained how momentary peaks can jump up to 130 dBSPL or so during a concert. Maybe even louder. Those are the peaks.
Example: When we record a snap, the clicky part is super loud, and we can compress a ton of it before it has a useful loudness. Most likely, we won't even notice the compression.
An orchestra doesn't often go over 100 dBSPL, so you're talking about amplified audio. Meaning, the peak level can be almost ANYTHING just by turning the volume up/down. What you may be thinking of is crest factor, the DIFFERENCE between the peak and average level. With a raw drum kit I've easily measured over 20 dB crest factor on individual close-mic'ed drums. If you work with the drums this way you'll have a mix that will be around the same crest factor, and thus a similar LUFS. So unless you're producing classical or acoustic/jazz, you'll probably want LUFS higher than 18/20 (which means you want a LOWER number) since 18 LUFS would sound extremely small/wimpy next to just about anything in the pop/rock/RnB/HipHop/EDM etc. world over the last 30-40 years.

Bottom line - you're comparing apples to oranges here.
I was just trying to explain what that recommended 116 dB dynamic range is good for.
But I made a learning topic, not a teaching one, so when I go incorrect, people can just correct me. It is a forum, after all.

I like that I can turn up my L30 II to the max and design sounds, without having to worry about ever going over 0 dBFS. All noise and distortion-free, too, with a stable stereo image, etc.
I assume a click can go up to 0 dBFS, and a tail/release/echo can be as low as -116 dBFS ~ my system will reproduce it without issues, and my hearing probably doesn't need more than that either.

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