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Tech Note #2: Using Windows Audio Programs with Mobile I/O via Parallels

By B.J. Buchalter

Revision 1.1 - June 27, 2007


With the recent introduction of the Parallels Desktop processor virtualization technology (, Mobile I/O users have an exciting new way of using their Mobile I/O hardware with their Intel-based Macs. Since Parallels allows you to run Windows at near-native speeds under Mac OS X on your Intel-based Mac, it also provides a path to allow you to use Windows-based software with your Mobile I/O.

How it Works

The Parallels hardware abstraction layer provides a standard Windows stereo audio driver to the Windows programs running in the virtualization layer. Parallels connects this virtual audio driver to the actual audio hardware using the CoreAudio driver running under the host OS (Mac OS X). This allows you connect an audio program running in Windows (under Parallels) to your MIO!

The Parallels virtualization technology provides remarkable levels of performance on the Intel-based Macs and allows audio programs to run in realtime while running virtualized under Mac OS X. Since the Mobile I/O CoreAudio driver and MIO Console are running natively under Mac OS X, they run at full performance. You can run MIO Console (and any other Mac OS X application) in parallel with the Windows programs running under the virtualization layer. This means that you have full access to +DSP, the Mixer and all the analog I/O controls in MIO Console.

What you need

In order to be able to use your Windows applications with the MIO, you will need the following:

  • An Intel-based Mac
  • A copy of Parallels (only $79!)
  • An install of the Windows operating system
  • The Windows-based audio apps you want to use
  • and, of course, a Mobile I/O

How to set it up

The first step is to acquire and install Parallels. The software can be purchased from the Parallels website. It is very easy to install; just follow the instructions provided by Parallels. Part of the Parallels installation process is a simple procedure for installing the Windows operating system on the virtual machine. Of course, if you already have Parallels and Windows installed on your Mac you are pretty much ready to go.

The next step is to install the Windows-based audio software on the Parallels virtual machine. This is exactly the same process as it is to install the software on Windows.

Finally, you need to select the MIO as the default audio input and output device for the Mac in System Preferences > Sound. Once you have made this selection, Parallels will route all the Windows audio to and from channels 1 and 2 of your MIO.

Now launch the Windows-based audio application and start working. The stereo output from the app will appear on DAW 1 and 2 in the MIO; Analog Inputs 1 + 2 will appear on the inputs to the Windows audio app.

You can also launch MIO Console (running natively in Mac OS X), and use it to control the patchbay, mixer, +DSP, mic pre gains, etc. – Just as you would if your audio app was Mac OS X native.

So grab Wavelab or Reaper or Nuendo and have fun!

Revision History:

  • Revision 1.1 - June 27, 2007 - Fixed incorrect use of article "an"
  • Revision 1.0 - June 01, 2007 - Initial Release