How do I optimize J.River with quality sound card

I've been doing a bunch of reading on this site and it's been very informative. I'm trying to wade into the PC audio arena and I would like to do so initially on a small budget.

I currently have a two channel setup with a Rotel CD/integrated amp and Linn speakers. I do not have a stand alone DAC and I would like to set up my PC using a quality sound card initially. I read a good article in the Absolute Sound on the subject and the author used an Echo/Mia Midi soundcard and Foobar2000.

I purchased an Echo Gina sound card which has an internal PCI card with a breakout cable to an external box. The external box has a DAC and both analog and digital I/O connections.

After messing around with Foobar, I find the user interface a little lacking. I think J.River is easier to use and I would like to use that as my software.

So, the question is what steps must I take to use J.River and bypass the KMixer in WinXP. Most of the other posts on this subject reference setup with USB DACs. I may go that route one day, but not yet.

Thanks to all in advance. This is a great site.
The ASIO4all should work with your sound card just like it does for USB Dacs.
Just download it and choose it as your output device in the J.River media center.
Thanks,I'll give it a try.
JRiver has a built in ASIO driver. I recommend using that one. JRiver has said that it does not modify the bits during playback - other ASIO drivers do. I've never used the ASIO4all driver, but I seem to recall reading in this forum that ASIO4all modifies the bits during playback (take that for what it's worth.)

When you use an ASIO driver, I believe you avoid the Kmixer. The other way to bypass the Kmixer is to go into control panel, find your audio hardware device, and uncheck the box for mapping through the device.

Send me an email if you have any more questions about optimizing jriver -- I've been using it for a few years.
BTW - if you bypass kmixer through the windows control panel, you don't need an ASIO driver. In this case, in jriver - options - output mode: select Direct Sound instead of ASIO. Direct Sound does not change the bits during playback, giving you an untainted bit stream to your dac.
Thanks Bigamp.

One follow up question...I downloaded the free J.River jukebox program. Does your advice apply to that version or to the version selling for 39.95 on the J.River site? Are there any worthwhile advantages to the pay-for version?
I was describing jriver media center (the one you have to buy), not jukebox. Sorry, I've only used media center, so I don't know the differences.
Thanks for the clarification. I think the media center is around 39.95 so I think I'll just purchase that version.

I was reading some info on Benchmark's site and it sounds like you can defeat the KMixer by optimizing WinXP settings (turning sound off, volume full, setting word length and sample rate, etc).

If you make those settings you might not need the ASIO driver. Something to experiment with, I guess.
One other question, I added the Echo Gina, should I also remove the original sound card? Or does setting ASIO for output on J.River know to use the Echo?

Your Echo should show up in the ASIO4all off line window. The difference in Juke box and the full version is the option to select different views. Like theater view ..which is VERY cool! Also you get the TV tuner capabilities with the full version.

From what I've seen so far you need the ASIO4ll or another ASIO driver to select ASIO in J.River. I haven't tried the mapping as yet. I use both USB-AUDIO ASIO and ASIO4all with very good results.The USB-AUDIO driver is close to $80 though.
Is there any way to bypass the KMixer in iTunes like in J.River? Or can anyone provide more detail on how to bypass the KMixer in the Windows control panel?

Is seems like if you can bypass the KMixer in the control panel then you are free to use iTunes or any other program. It seems like that would eleviate a major limitation of Windows vs Mac.
Hi I think you're making this more complicated than it has to be. Just rip your CDs with DbPoweramp using Apple Lossless.

The J.River recognizes apple lossless files and pretty much any other format out there. The only other player I've seen that can do this is Foobar. Not even Itunes has the versatility of J.River.

So my advice is to rip AIFF or Apple lossless and allow J.River to import the files. That way when and if you go to a Mac your files are ready to go.

Itunes sounds like garbage on PC..I would avoid it at all cost! Even though the full blown version of J.River isn't free. Pound for pound it is the best of the available playback softwares on the market right now IMO.

You may find that the PC in fact has more versatility in the real scheme of things when it comes to software choices and availability. Don't get me wrong Mac sounds just fine when it is setup properly..but no better than PC in the end.
If you're not using an ASIO device, which you're not, you shouldn't need an ASIO driver. ASIO drivers are used when you have an ASIO device. A lot of people use them because they have the added side benefit of bypassing kmixer. But you can bypass kmixer in control panel, so you shouldn't need an ASIO driver.

If your dac or usb device works with Direct Sound, then I recommend using that option and no ASIO driver. Direct Sound does not modify the bits during playback, unlike most ASIO drivers which will modify the bits. If you do need to use an ASIO driver, I recommend using Jriver's built in ASIO driver because it doesn't modify the bits (you don't need another driver like ASIO4all in addition.)
How to unmap your device in Windows XP to bypass the kmixer (and so you don't need an ASIO driver):

Control Panel - Sounds and Audio Devices - Hardware tab - Double click on your adio device - Properties tab - Double click on "Audio Devices" - Double click on your audio device (or click Properties button) - Check box for "do not map through this device" - Click Apply
Bigamp I'm confused on this ASIO thing in J.river. When I go to J.River tools and options for selecting ASIO. I select it in the output. Below that I have another ASIO option window. The only two options are ASIO4all and ASIO-USB. Both of which I have on my PC. I do not see another ASIO to select from.

My USB-AUDIO driver does a direct connection too my Bel Canto Dac. Do the other methods you've explain do the same thing?

Wavelength's website also encourages use of separate ASIO drivers? Do I have to remove both of my ASIO drivers to use J.River ASIO? I can't find anything else about this.
Bigamp was wrong about jriver MC 12 having an ASIO driver builtin. It has code to interface to an ASIO driver.

A real ASIO driver talks to the actual soundcard hardware. You usually get that driver from the company that made your soundcard. If the manufacturer didn't write an ASIO driver for their soundcard, you probably will have to settle for ASIO4all.

The ASIO4all driver doesn't talk to actual H/W. It talks to the normal Windows driver at a lower level than the Waveout or DirectSound interfaces.
Thanks Oldlistener for the clarification. This is what I thought from the start. My USB-Audio driver does what you describe. It talks directly to the Dac. It has something to do with the Burr Brown USB receivers..the USB-AUDIO driver recognizes them unlike the C-media receivers in some USB Dacs.
Bmdduck, check the echo website. I looked at the description of the driver package for one echo card and saw that it included ASIO.
Yikes! If I was wrong about the ASIO driver being built in, then I apologize. It's been over a year since I used an ASIO driver. I'm becoming and "old listener" too.

In any event, I still recommend using direct sound output if it works with your device. Otherwise, you're just introducing more overhead than needed.
Thanks to everybody. I plan to download JRiver MC 12 then see if it recognizes an ASIO driver for my Echo card. I think the ASIO driver was included with the software.

By the way, can anyone define ASIO?
Not sure if you listen too this type of music, but if you do.. once you get setup.. try out some of these free recordings Ryan Adams Live at Somerville Theatre .

Thanks for the unmapping info. My USB-AUDIO was already unmapped , but I did unmap my internal sound card for optical digital output use to the Dac. Seems to work great!
I finally downloaded the MC 12 version. In the player output options, it shows direct sound and ASIO as choices. Since I have not downloaded any other drivers such as ASIO4ALL I assume that must be the driver that came with the Echo.

Also in the output options, when I choose that device it brings up several Echo GINA choices. Analog 1-2, 3-4, etc and digital outputs. The external box for this sound card has several analog outs (using it's internal DAC) and also digital outs. I assume this means simply which connection I plan to use and not what driver is being used. Does this sound correct?

I still need to get a 1/4 inch to RCA cable to connect the device to the stereo and load some music into the computer. After that I'll do some comparisons using different settings. It's been some effort getting this set up, but I'm getting pretty excited to get it going!
> By the way, can anyone define ASIO?

Developed by a company named Steinberg. Here a starting link for you
Just a comment on Asio4all vs. direct sound. I was running my JRMC through a Scott Nixon usb dac using direct sound. Running it through Asio4all gave significant improvement.

Now using a Benchmark, which shows no difference when using Asio4all. I think because Benchmark has some sort of driver or other software built in, while the Scott Nixon uses the generic Windows Audio driver (in Control Panel the Nixon shows as a generic audio device, while the Benchmark is listed by name).

Not to dis the Nixon. Very musical. The Benchmark has more detail.
Audio Stream input Output
Jriver will run with some USB devices if the device is unmapped. This bypasses everything I believe. Other players such as WMP will not even recognize the device.


Steve N.
Empirical Audio
The MC 12 vs. Jukebox.. MC 12 on my PC plays protected iTunes files... and is supposed to play al the video formats, though my adaptive software prevents anything but Direct X video playback... while activevated. Only Power DVD works for me to play DVDs.

Using ASIO also prevents me from playing mp3's & WAVEs, I got to switch back to Direct Sound in the playback options for them to play. Or use Winamp.

For configuring ASIO in Fubar & Winamp I ran across these instructions online:

A very simple instruction For J River

Hope this helps.

Is there some freeware somewhere that allows for 'massaging' (blobally) the settings of ASIO Drivers?

I was told Native Intstruments by the sellers of ASIO for all but not which one of their free apps... and they've tons... and NI makes you jump through lots of hoops to get one of them too... Log in... get email to do the download.. antoher for the unlock key... another for a needed plugin... andother for that key.. etc. I gave up after the third deally, and uninsatlled it all.

... and truth be told I just want to see if changing any of the settings to the driver as pointed to int the ASIO for all, setup - config pdf actually will improve anything... those config options are NOT avilable to me as I have no installed HW which provides such options. hence the ? need ? for some/one.
Bmdduck, I don't know how old your Echo Gina is but there are new driver updates for these soundcards as of 2007. I have the Echo Layla 24(2003) version and just upgraded my driver yesterday and the sound quality improved quite a bit. The first thing i noticed was overall volume which didn't impress me but then it was seconds later that i realized i was also hearing more dimensionality and seperation too. Highly recommended to download the newer driver which you can find on the Echo website very easily. In fact here is a link- you are going to want the 7.3 at the bottom of the page if you don't already have it:
I just wanted to add that things were sounding great for me and then i realized i was running in direct sound as someone else mentioned they were doing in this thread. I then switched over to ASIO sound(which my sound card has installed) and the sound even improved further. I am so happy with this Media Jukebox thus far which i just downloaded yesterday!
It really is a quantum leap forward for me over using the WMP 9 that i have been using all of these years.