VCV Rack treating ES-8 outputs as speakers, outputs 3-8 not working

I’m not very savvy when it comes to audio routing so pardon me if I’m explaining poorly or simply missing something very obvious. Firstly, I’ll describe my setup, which is my modular signals being sent to VCV Rack 2 Pro as a plugin in my DAW (FL Studio), through Expert Sleepers ES-8 audio interface module. As my audio device, I’m usually using ASIO4ALL v2 or UMC Asio Driver, as I have the Behringer U-Phoria UMC204 as my standard, non-modular-dedicated interface.

So my issue here lies a little bit with the fact that the VCV plugin seems to have different audio routing options than the standalone version, and I am trying to optimize the experience specifically for the plugin version as I like to use it as an extension to whatever I have going on in my DAW.

In the standalone version, if I select ASIO as the driver, and Expert Sleepers USB Audio (1-8 in, 1-8 out), everything works perfectly. In that one singular Audio 8 module, everything works as intended; all 10 ins work (I have the ES-6 extension), and all 8 outs work and correspond to the out I am routing to in VCV.

Things change when working in the plugin version of VCV. Firstly, there is no ASIO option as an audio driver. My assumption is that this is because my DAW is using the ASIO drivers? But my DAW also allows the use of DirectSound drivers, which is an option in the Audio 8 interface in VCV, so who knows. The audio drivers available for selection are DAW, WASAPI, and DirectSound, so I have been using WASAPI. I then have to engineer a weird setup involving three VCV Audio interfaces (one for ins on the ES-8, one for outs on the ES-8, one for hearing audio in my DAW) and even then, the outs do not work as intended.

This is an image of what the setup generally looks like (I am physically routing the 2 outs of my ES-8 on my modular back into the first 2 ins for simplicity’s sake). The problem is that in the center Audio 8, the only device option available for any ES-8 outs is “Speakers (1-2 out).” This is rendering the extra 6 outs as ultimately useless. When I route a signal into 3,5, or 7, it comes out of 1. Same principle for 4,6, and 8 coming out of 2. It’s treating each pair as speakers essentially and funneling them back to outputs 1 and 2 on the ES-8.

I emailed ES-8 for help and was told to use ASIO rather than WASAPI, which doesn’t seem to be an option in the plugin version. Regardless, I tried setting my DAW device to “Expert Sleepers USB Audio” (which doesn’t allow me to hear any other non-modular stuff in my DAW which is not what I’m looking for). The setup is as such:

Screenshot 2023-09-01 140429

Anyways, using the ASIO Expert Sleepers device in my DAW still doesn’t seem to solve my problems. The ins no longer send a signal (I am routing an osc on my system straight into input 1, which should be read by the scope but is not, as you can see.) And the outs still function the same, in that they are treated as coupled speakers rather than individual outs and outs 3-8 do not light up. 9-16 in, 9-16 out as the device is the only one that allows any sound to come out of the device, 1-8 in, 1-8 out doesn’t seem to work.

All I’m looking for is for the plugin to function like the standalone. Maybe I am missing something painfully obvious but I would really appreciate the help if anyone has any advice. All my drivers for ES-8 are up to date, by the way. Thank you in advanced!

Hi Aya, and welcome to the forum!

I think you are hitting some known limitations with multiple audio interfaces on WIndows, and I’m impressed with how close you’ve come to a workaround. I have an ES-9 but since that has similar drivers I’ll try to repro and get back to you. Couple of things:

I think that’s right. As I understand it, ASIO’s performance comes at the cost of exclusivity. Theoretically ASIO4ALL allows creating a compound driver, but anecdotally that can create problems. Don’t let that dissuade you–you might try seeing if you can create a shared setup unifying the UMC204 and the ES-8 in the DAW, and then see if you can address all of those inputs and outputs from an Audio 16 or multiple Audio 8s all using the DAW drivers.

More soon, but I invite others to chime in as well–even after VCV Pro came out I’ve found that I typically reach for standalone, so I’m not as on top of the DAW integration issues as many forum members are.