Sternberg UR44 and Audacity

I’m having a challenge with a new interface and Audacity. I’m on Win 7 with Audacity 2.1.1.

I have a four channel AI (Sternberg UR44), but can only get a signal from channel 1 when I record in mono, and I only get a signal from two I record a stereo track (1 is right, 2 is left). 3 and 4 are apparently never available. Is this how it works with audacity? Is there any way I can assign a channel other than 1 to a mono track?

I record mono tracks for VO. My selfish interest is that I’d prefer to not have to switch mic cables at the AI when I change mics. I have four mics, four channels, so all should be cool, or so I thought.

As you read below, Sternberg support sent me to Audacity support. I reached out to Paul Licameli (at Facebook VO Audacity) and he said he didn’t believe Audacity supports more than two input channels at once. He suggested I reach out to the Audacity Forum.

Thanks,

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[My question to Sternbery Support:]

Subject: Using UR44 with Audacity DAW

I bought a UR 44 so I could have all four of my mics plugged in at one time, would not have to switch them out when using a different mic. My thinking was that I would just raise the gain on the mic channel I was using (after turning on phantom power, of course). I am using Audacity 2.1.1 as my DAW on a PC, and when I record a mono track, I am only able to get channel 1 to generate a signal. When I record a stereo track, I get a left signal from 1 and a right signal from 2, but nothing from 3 and 4.

Is there a way I can record mono tracks using any of the 4 channels? If so, how?




Hello Paul Ford,

Thank you for contacting the Steinberg US Support team. My name is Josh and I will be assisting you with your request.

Yes, you can record up to four microphones on mono audio tracks simultaneously with the UR44 however I am sorry but I am not familiar with the internal routing of Audacity and my recommendation would be to contact their support team for assistance with that. The way you do that inside of the included Cubase AI OEM software is to create four mono audio tracks and then set each of the audio channels to a different input on the UR44 hardware device using the VST Connections screen.

Various setup examples:
https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/audio_interfaces/ur_series/models/ur44/ur44_setup_examples.html

I believe this should resolve your request. You will be receiving a survey by email. Please let me know how I did today.

If you are still having the same issue, you can reply to this email and I will be happy to help you further. Thank you!


Steinberg US Support

It’s true. Audacity only supports one channel of sound. Many multi-channel devices (beyond stereo) configure their sound as blocks of stereo. Audacity sees each block as one channel. I think there’s a trick to getting 3 and 4, but you would only have 3 and 4. It drops 1 and 2.

Does support mention “ASIO” anywhere? Typically, ASIO is the interface software that allows you to “see” all four channels at the same time. Audacity doesn’t directly support ASIO, although you can build the Audacity program yourself with ASIO support. Ever build a program?

There is a forum section devoted to multi-channel.

https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/multi-channel-recording-in-audacity/15644/1

Koz

Wot? :open_mouth:

I sometimes record up to 16 channels with audacity. Never tried more. I just select the number of channels, click record and Audacity automatically starts recording with the required number of tracks. You don’t even have to set up tracks beforehand.

I’ve never tried uneven track numbers, though, except one mono channel. I don’t expect that to be possible even. When recording mono, just one channel, all inputs can be selected from.

It is true you can’t select channel 1, 3, 6 and 7 in Audacity, for instance.

And if you record stereo pairs, all DAW’s have their preferences. Some see 1 and 2 as a pair, others 1 and 3, 2 and 4 and so on.

Either there’s a big difference with Windows (I use a Mac), or there’s something weird with the Steinberg drivers. But that would surprise me, really as I had a UR44 here some months ago.

On the output side, however, Audacity can only use 2 channels. Stereo is what you get. No surround or ambisonics.

EDIT:

I checked Yamaha’s site. There is a CC mode switch on the back of the UR44 that lets you set the interface to USB class compliant mode. That should work with the Windows 7 built in driver.

I was sure it also supported wasapi, but as usual Steinberg/Yamaha don’t mention it.

Wrong word koz.
Audacity only supports recording or playing back from one device at a time.
For recording, Audacity supports as many channels as the device drivers make available.
For playback, Audacity support up to 2 channels (mono or stereo).

It is a terrible idea to use your e-mail address as username on a public forum. Spambots will harvest your address. Please log in with your modified username pauldford and your original password.


Gale

The difference is audio API, as Koz was saying about ASIO. CoreAudio on Mac supports multi-channel out of the box. On Windows, MME host won’t support multi-channel, Windows DirectSound and WASAPI are not likely to unless the device driver supports multi-channel without ASIO.

Class-compliant drivers are not going to help without ASIO in my opinion.

Missing features - Audacity Support.


Gale

So, am I better off returning the 4 channel UR 44 for a one channel UR 12, and save $150 in the process?

I’m very pleased with the quality of the UR series, and I can live with the minor hassle of switching cables.

Thanks, Gale.

I have several 4 and 6 channel class compliant devices USB 1.1 devices that work(ed) under Windows. Plug and play. That was with XP, I’ll admit and I haven’t done anything audio wise with Windows in the last ten years or so. Has Microsoft seen a chance to drop this functionality? Or is my memory going haywire again?

I mean, I know they dropped the class driver for USB2 in Win10, but AFAIK class compliant devices do not depend on ASIO. I didn’t have ASIO installed in any case, as no ASIO drivers exist for these devices.

Did some more research…

It seems Gale was right, as usual, and I was wrong.

USB2 class drivers are a mess. Not only on Windows, but also on Linux. To fix at least some of the problems, most driver implementations are limited to 2 channels in, 2 out.

OSX is largely unaffected, with the exception of El Capitan. That USB problem got fixed in 10.11.4, that actual version of EC.

I didn’t see these problems, because all my USB class compliant devices are USB 1.1. And that standard is simple and rock solid on most OS’es.

Steinberg only supports CC mode for ipads. iphones work too, but are unsupported. Not every app will be able to use more than 2 channels, though. That doesn’t mean it won’t work with other OS’es, but YMMV.

So, my advice to Paul is to test if it works with Windows 7 and if it doesn’t to return the interface, as he planned to do. It won’t work with Windows 10 in any case, since Microsoft decided not to include a CC USB2 driver. And I understand why they decided to do that.

The consumer and the interface manufacturers are out there, picking up the pieces. And there really isn’t anyone to blame…

You can’t stop progress, even if it kills you.

Most third-party drivers that allow multi-channel input without ASIO only do so on XP and earlier. There is some limitation on Windows 7 and later, as cyrano alludes to.

I think Paul could try Voicemeeter http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Voicemeeter/. It has an ASIO interface that can record up to eight channels. My understanding is that Audacity will record from Voicemeeter’s ASIO interface even without being compiled with ASIO support. I don’t know, but I assume that in Audacity you just use Windows DirectSound or Windows WASAPI host, and Voicemeeter as the recording device.

The author of Voicemeeter has offered us an API which would make it possible to configure Voicemeeter inside Audacity. If that happens then there would definitely be a Voicemeeter host choice in Audacity.

If you did not have an ASIO device (or were using the UR44 in class-compliant mode) then I understand you can use “Voicemeeter Banana” http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Voicemeeter/banana.htm to record up to eight channels, even on Windows 7 and later. As above, Voicemeeter would be the Audacity recording device.

This is just my understanding based on what the Voicemeeter author told me.


Gale