Most of the Windows users who listen to music on their computers just use the official device drivers provided by the device manufacturers like Realtek or HP etc. While these are great, they are not as good as the ASIO4ALL – a universal sound card driver for all the WDM audio devices. Since almost all the computers manufactured after the Windows XP era have some sort of in-built WDM sound card, it works with all of these computers. The only computers it might not work with are from 90’s (the ones running Windows 95/98 and Windows Me) and are perhaps already recycled.
ASIO4ALL uses the ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) interface to access the audio hardware directly which means that any latency that was being caused due to the regular audio device drivers is totally eliminated. But it is not like a regular audio device driver – it works only with the applications that support ASIO interface. For example, if you play an MP3 file using Windows Media Player (that does not support ASIO), then it will be played through your regular audio device driver. But if you use an application like Foobar2000 and configure it to use ASIO, only then the MP3 files will be played through the ASIO4ALL driver.
In fact, after you install ASIO4ALL in your Windows PC, you won’t notice anything at all. It is only when you start playing music (or recording sound) through the ASIO interface, you will see the small green or red icon in the system tray of Windows taskbar. You can click on this icon to view the ASIO4ALL settings window. From this settings window, you can change the ASIO buffer size (default is 512 samples), change latency compensation settings, allow resampling of the audio data, and view the WDM audio device list for which ASIO4ALL is being used.
Conclusion: ASIO4ALL is universal device driver for all the sound cards and provides you high fidelity and latency free playback of your music. But it works only with the ASIO enabled applications like Foobar2000.
You can download ASIO4ALL from http://www.asio4all.com/.