If you have never used the ASIO sound drivers in Windows, then you have not experienced high quality sound output experience yet. ASIO stands for Audio Stream Input/Output and is a standard developed by the German company Steinberg Media Technologies. The benefit of using ASIO is that it can access the hardware directly and thus avoids any issues usually encountered when using the regular sound card drivers. But one of the problems with using ASIO is that you can this interface only through an ASIO supporting application and not many such applications exist.
There is one music player application for Windows called Foobar2000 that does support ASIO and here is how you can configure Foobar2000 to use ASIO drivers:
- First of all install ASIO4ALL sound drivers in your Windows PC. These drivers do not replace your regular sound drivers, but are used only by ASIO enabled applications.
- Download the latest version of Foobar2000 and install it in your Windows PC.
- Download the ASIO Support component for Foobar and save it somewhere in your computer.
- Launch Foobar2000, click on File in the menubar and select Preferences from there. You can also use the hotkey Ctrl+P .
- In the preferences window, select Components and then click on the Install button. Choose the foo_out_asio.fb2k-component file that you downloaded in the step 3 above. It will install the ASIO support component and restart Foobar2000.
- Once again open the preferences like in the step 4 above. In the preferences, select Playback → Output and then choose ASIO4ALL as the output device. Click on the OK button.
- Restart Foobar2000 and you are ready to play the music through the ASIO interface. Make sure you use good quality headphones like the ones from Beats by Dre or Grado in order to experience the improvement in quality of the sound output.
When you play the music through ASIO4ALL sound drivers, you will see a small icon in the system tray of Windows desktop. You can click on this icon to configure the various settings for ASIO4ALL.