If you use DJ Software with Windows and don’t require pre-fade listening (headphone cuing) and simply use your built-in audio output device (sound card) you should try using the Microsoft WASAPI driver option as an alternative to Direct Sound.
WASAPI, which is an acronym for Windows Audio Session API, is Microsoft’s most up-to-date method for communicating to your audio output device (AKA ‘sound card’).
Windows Vista through Windows 10 come equipped with WASAPI, which delivers an unmodified bit-stream to your audio interface providing benefits similar to professional ASIO drivers (the majority of pro-level DJ controllers we support ship with ASIO drivers). That means lower latency control and better performance for you (typically around 30ms of latency vs 60ms of latency for standard Direct Sound) since WASAPI allows DJ software to have exclusive access to your audio device, bypassing overhead caused by the system mixer and other audio processing elements that using Direct Sound and the native audio device drivers often force upon you.
WASAPI also allows for multiple audio streams and some DJ controllers on the market, such as Numark’s popular MixTrack Pro 3, have adopted WASAPI as the native supported driver. Using an audio device with more than one stereo output with WASAPI means you can have both a headphone cue channel and main output. Of course, in the case of using your Windows computers built-in audio output device you only have the single stereo output and thus a single audio stream.
As often the case with Windows machines, results can vary from environment to environment. However, in most cases WASAPI will provide you with snappier control over your DJ software, better sounding output (no filters, just the pure audio output generated by the DJ program) and better stability.
The image below shows you what the option will look like under the “Select Audio Device” drop down menu in any of our DEX 3 DJ software applications. It does depend on what built in audio device you have in your Windows DJ computer, but the name of your audio device will be listed first with WASAPI in parenthesis immediately after.
USING WASAPI IN DEX 3, DEX 3 RE OR DEX 3 LE
If you’re a DJ that prefers to use your built-in audio output device your Windows computer comes equipped with we suggest giving WASAPI a try. You will likely notice some visual improvements right off the bat as well, such as smoother waveform graphics.
However, if you have the opportunity to use a USB pro audio device such as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 or a DJ controller with a pro audio device built-in that would be preferred. In most cases you’ll be able to utilize ASIO drivers for even better performance (around 5ms of latency), and due to multiple outputs you’ll have the added benefit of headphone pre-fade listening.
Have questions about using WASAPI drivers with our DJ software? Please leave them in the comments section below!