Selecting input channel(s) when using multi-channel soundcard for recording?


I have a pro soundcard with 8 analog inputs (M-Audio ProFire 2626, old but still very good) and today I wanted to record some microphone input of a mic that is on input channel 8 of my card.
But I could not find any way to do this in Audacity…

In the audio settings, I can select any of the 3 “Host” types (MME, Windows DirectSound and Windows WASAPI), and then select my soundcard under “Recording device”, but no matter which Host type I choose, I can then only choose between “1 (Mono) Recording channel” or “2 (Stereo) Recording channels”.
I can’t find any way to select channel 8 of my soundcard.
Is this not possible with Audacity?

Also, I noticed that I don’t see ASIO as a “Host” option.
Usually, that’s what I would use in all my other audio/music software (Live, Cubase, Reaper, etc…), where I can then also select specific input and output channels to use.

Could someone tell me if there is something I’m missing here?
Or is this really a missing feature?


Edit: I’ve attached the audio device scan info for completeness:
deviceinfo.txt (10.5 KB)

Well, the problem is license distribution.

Many multi-channel devices require ASIO to support more than 2 channels under Windows. As there are redistribution licensing issues with ASIO, Audacity is not “distributed” with ASIO. So to do multi-channel recording with Audacity, you need to either switch to Linux, or to MacOS, or download your personal ASIO package from Steinberg and compile your own local copy of Audacity (which is messy and time consuming).

But as you mentioned, there are other DAWs available for Windows that do support ASIO out-of-the box.

OK, I see.

For software I produce myself (using JUCE), we have ASIO support, and have a license with Steinberg (like most other audio software), so that’s not an issue (but it’s closed source). I guess it’s related to incompatibility between Steinberg’s license and Audacity being GPL licensed most probably.

Have you ever considered talking to Steinberg and seeing if they could make an adjustment (or an exception) so it can be used and redistributed with Audacity?

I believe that at some point JUCE had obtained a special agreement with Steinberg where some VST2 headers could be redistributed along with JUCE in the repository (later on, these were removed again; can’t recall the exact sequence of events and reasons behind the changes; probably related to Steinberg pushing VST3 more heavily at some point).

I assume this section of the ASIO SDK may be the issue for Audacity:
“3. The Licensee will not sell, license, give-away and/or distribute the Licensed Software Developer Kit or parts of it for the use as software developer kit in any way, for example, integrated in any framework application, on any medium, including the Internet, to any other person, including sub-licensors of the Licensee or companies where the Licensee has any involvement. This includes re-working any part of the SDK or ASIO specification, or reverse-engineering any part of the SDK or any products based upon.”
But this seems like a problem at Audacity’s side, as it is GPL licensed, and thus requires all source code it is built with to be freely available and redistributable. Not a lawyer, but I wonder if Audacity’s license could make an exception for ASIO (by specifying some more relaxed terms related to ASIO, like not requiring that part of the code to be freely distributable; but I understand that could make things more complex license-wise, although easier for Windows users).

Well actually, the developers were just discussing this very issue a few days ago 4/22-23 on the #dev-general channel here: Audacity dev

Thanks for the pointer. I quickly checked the Discord channel there, and it seems like the issue is already known indeed, and that there is an intent to check what could be done about it. Hopefully at some point this becomes possible.

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