Thanks for the guidance and suggestions, and thanks for splitting the thread.
In addition to wanting to do a little of everything in terms of audio, I’m in the same situation with my computer. A professional studio studio wouldn’t be getting email, writing articles and Photoshopping on the same box. But in a home studio, where I already have a separate computer for home entertainment, it’s almost crazy to have yet another computer just for audio. But when I get a chance I’ll consider that option. Although cost is a factor, it more a matter of space, noise control and technical communications. Too many keyboards, only so much space for the box already (it’s in the next room), etc. But since I’m encountering the ASIO issue even after a clean install with no other software added (at that time), multitasking isn’t the basic issue. (I suppose at some point I may have to explain that to Pro Tools, but would be just as happy ignoring Pro Tools for something more suited to my needs.)
As I record voice-over, I need to interface and do justice to a Neumann TLM-49, which is my main VO mic. Two condenser mics at a time is likely as many as I’ll need. Or one mic, one electric guitar, or whatever. If I saddle myself with limited I/O ports, I could probably connect and disconnect stuff for whatever the situation. But that’s a real barrier to impulse creativity and workflow, so whether the board is software or hardware, I much prefer to just sit down and do.
I also use a headset mic, to participate in webinars, remote coaching, phone interviews, etc. There are various options for headsets today, but what I cobbled up several years ago was to take the electret mic off a cheap headset (e.g., Radio Shack VoiceStar, $35, but there are others). It expects to be used iwth a phone or computer, which supplies power, so added an Andrea APS-100 Battery Box between it and the mic input (thanks to a guy deep in Plantronics who explained the need for this). Over Skype it works like a charm when recording into TotalRecorder, which puts me on one channel, the other party on the other. But although TotalRecorder worked after one boot-up the other day, it’s back among the programs that don’t like E-MU. (BTW, Skype was at least saying my mic is okay, but now although it still lets me set up the E-Mu driver, Skype says it doesn’t see a mic, and the test icon is red, not black.) Installing a USB headset works with Skype, but obviously that’s not an overall solution.
I haven’t tried any version of Audacity lately except for the mainstream one I just downloaded and installed directly from the Audacity site. I’m reluctant to start messing with experimental stuff. I’m frazzled enough already, and have just freshly reinstalled Windows and everything. Don’t want to do that again for at least a year! Besides, getting Audacity to work is not the real problem, and not the only software at issue, as I’m just discussed. But as with all other suggestions, I’ll look into it.
I did try ASIO Bridge last February. It sort of solved the problem, but seemed to perform erratically, and the interface, while simple, doesn’t strike me as logical. Sorry, I uninstalled it and don’t remember the details. Will give it another try soon, though. Am willing to use whatever is the most practical, reliable and affordable solution to this driver problem. (UPDATE, July 28, 2014: I still haven’t reinstalled ASIO Bridge, but see my thoughts so far, below.)
BTW, I think above I mentioned ASIO4all. Yesterday I learned that it’s not an ASIO Bridge-type product. But if I’m understanding the function of ASIO4all correctly, it might be a solution to someday having more than one A/D interface? However, since it’s an ASIO solution, I suppose it’s not one that will get me back into operation with Skype, Audacity and TotalRecorder, etc.
Actually, my reason for focusing on Audacity, in addition to this being the Audacity forum and the fact that I know how to use it (a few months away from Pro Tools, and I’ve forgotten what little I knew of it … and it seems to be behaving differently.) Ultimately, I will probably settle on a DAW between these two extremes. Incidentally in January, I tried Sony SoundForge Audio Studio 10 and it was nice, but that simple version supports only two tracks. You’re right, I might wind up jumping back and forth between DAWS for awhile.
It all seems so complicated these days. I just have to remind myself, every so often, that losing a day to visit a studio for an hour, or manually starting and mixing a bunch of cart machines, a record, and a couple of 15 ips recorders in real time wasn’t exactly perfect, either. But it was in some ways more fun.