ASIO4ALL - Essential software that shouldn't need to exist!
ASIO4All is simply a driver that emulates ASIO by translating them into "Windows Driver Model" calls. This fixes a plethora of issues, from the choppiness in Vista and x64 systems, to greatly reducing the processor overhead that seems to plague the default drivers. If you are trying to do anything resembling professional grade audio under windows, this is a must have.
The ASIO API was developed to bypass the normal OS sound subsystems to get lower latency for professionals working with audio - aka musicians and studio folks. Problem is the drivers from Microsoft and many soundcard manufacturers have NEVER worked right in the first place, if they exist at all!. Indeed the lions share of Windows platform PC's don't ship with or even have the possibility of ASIO drivers. This isn't usually a problem if you program for WDM, waveout or even directSound if you allow proper setting of the number of buffers and buffer sizes for the other windows API's.
The problem is, a lot of software -- like the Aria software that comes with the EWI USB, fails to do so! Much of this can be blamed on poor implementations of the proper sound API's for windows in those programs because they often rely on cross-platform Audio API's like PortAudio. You can get around this... kind of... by setting up Aria as a VST under an application that does properly support it, like Reaper -- but that's not a great option for someone who just opened up the box and expects their EWI to work.
Simple fact is, if you own a Windows PC, out of box the EWI USB's included software doesn't work right. Many other software packages like Kontakt Player or Reaper might have issues too if your sound hardware isn't up to snuff -- ASIO4ALL is the answer.
BUT: There's one big drawback.
Only one application can play audio at a time when ASIO4ALL is in use. No other programs besides the one calling ASIO4ALL can use the sound card... so if you thought you were going to play along with the EWI USB to a MP3, you better have a iPod or other MP3 Player handy.
Even with that drawback it's great that SOMEONE gave us an answer to at least make all these 'professional quality' audio programs work on normal hardware. Big thumbs up to it's author, Michael Tippach!