Please note that this article is only relevant for Windows users, this information is not applicable to any other operating system (e.g. macOS)
Applies to: all products on Windows
Windows supports a variety of different audio driver types. Though all of them are slightly different, we can segment them into two rough groups "ASIO" and "WDM".
Focusrite drivers include ASIO and WDM support for all products (apart from RedNet PCIe card).
ASIO = Audio Stream Input Output
The ASIO driver specification was originally created by Steinberg. It allows for low latency recording and playback with high channel counts and is the preferred driver type when using DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) recording applications such as: Cubase/Nuendo, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Studio One, Reaper, Reaper, Reason, Cakewalk etc.
Some DAWs allow the user to select different driver types - where that is the case we would always recommend that you select ASIO.
It's important to bear in mind, however, that when using ASIO drivers the same device must be used for both input and output. This means that, if you use ASIO, you cannot use the inputs on your Focusrite device and the built-in output of your computer at the same time.
WDM = Windows Driver Model
Though they all perform differently, for the purposes of this article we will group the terms "Kernel Streaming", "WaveOut", "WaveRT", "KS", "WASAPI", "MME", "DirectSound" and "DirectX" together as "WDM".
Many non-recording audio applications (such as voice chat/video conferencing, media players etc) use one of these driver types rather than ASIO, primarily because the benefits that ASIO provides are not necessary in those pieces of software.
Though some of the above driver types offer some of the same benefits as ASIO, we would still recommend that ASIO drivers should be selected in applications that include ASIO support.