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This article describes the process of creating an 'Aggregate Device' with the Audio MIDI Setup utility in Mac OS X computers.
Creating an Aggregate Device is a way to group multiple audio interfaces into one virtual device so that an audio application can speak to a single, solitary virtual audio interface.
Certain audio software cannot interface with multiple audio device drivers. In these cases, it is necessary to create an Aggregate Device if you wish to use multiple interfaces.
For example, interfacing with Live simultaneously via a device using optical and another device using USB requires an Aggregate Device to be created encompassing these two devices.
This new group of devices appears as a single Aggregate Device to the audio application.
For more information, we recommend having a read of the dedicated article from the Apple Knowledge Base.
However useful, this solution cannot be expected to perform as well as a configuration based on a single hardware audio device: under certain circumstances, clocking errors can take place, resulting in audio drop outs and generic performance issues.