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Solve Playback Issues In Ableton: Quick And Easy Fix


Fixes for not being able to hear playback in Ableton include checking output settings, selecting the appropriate driver, installing ASIO, and configuring channels. Also, check the driver type selector and install ASIO 4ALL for better sound quality.

There’s nothing worse than sitting down, ready to start recording, and unable to hear anything.

Luckily in this article, I will provide simple solutions to help you, so you can get back to creating instead of wondering, “Why can’t I hear playback in Ableton?”

Why can’t I hear playback in Ableton – Simple Fixes

Ableton No Sound On Playback – Step-By-Step Fixes

Step 1: Check Your Output Settings

Check your output settings by going to Options (1), then Preferences (2), then Audio (3). 

Step 1 Check your output settings

If the Driver Type selector says No Audio, there’s your problem. 

Step 2: Select A Driver

This part depends on your setup. 

If you are using the soundcard built into your computer, select the MME/DirectX (1) driver. 

At this point, you will notice that Audio Input Device (2) and an Audio Output Device (3) options appear.

Step 2 Select a driver

If nothing is selected for the Audio Output Device, there will be no sound.

Go ahead and choose one of the speaker’s options from the dropdown list.

Hey presto, you should have Audio.

Step 3: Using ASIO 

Of course, it is not usually ideal to use your inbuilt soundcard. Often, a computer’s inbuilt soundcard is not optimized for music production.

Instead, it is best to install ASIO 4ALL, which is a free Windows low-latency sound driver.

If this is installed, select ASIO (1) as your Driver Type and ASIO 4ALL V2 (2) as the Audio Device. 

Step 3 Using ASIO

Often this is all you need to do to have your Live set playback smoothly and clearly, without latency or glitches. 

However, if there is no sound when you playback, do the following.

Step 4: Channel Configuration

Select the Hardware Setup (1) option on the Preferences panel.

You will notice a control panel pops up with devices listed. You want to make sure that the output device is selected.

To do that, select the little power icon next to the output device’s name (2).

Step 4 Channel Configuration

Typically, there should only be one output device listed.

Once you have turned the output device on, close the control panel and playback your live set.

There should now be audio.

Step 5: Configuring Your Audio Interface

If you have an audio interface (i.e., an external soundcard device) connected to your computer, you will need to select it as your audio output device.

To do that, make sure that ASIO is chosen as your Driver Type.

Then select the Audio Interface from the Audio Device dropdown menu.

Step 5 Configuring your audio interface

If you have followed these steps correctly, you should be able to hear playback in Ableton.

Can’t Hear Guitar In Ableton?

If you are struggling hear your guitar in Ableton, there are a few things you can check.

First, ensure that your audio interface is selected as the input device in Ableton’s settings.

Next, make sure that the track you’re recording the guitar on is armed for recording and that the input is set to the correct input on your audio interface.

Also, check that the input level for the guitar isn’t set too low and that monitoring is turned on for the track.

Additionally, you should check that the output routing for the track is set correctly and that your speakers or headphones are connected and all working as they should.

If you’ve checked all of these things and still can’t hear your guitar, there might be a problem with your audio interface or guitar.


Related Questions

How do you mute an instrument in Ableton?

To mute an instrument, select the yellow Track Activator button on the track with that instrument. If you want to only mute a section of that instrument, right-click on the clip you want to mute and select Deactivate

Why is your Ableton track muted?

Probably because you clicked on the yellow Track Activator button.

Why is Audio delayed while recording on Ableton?

That is a driver issue. If you use your computer’s stock audio driver, you will likely experience latency (delayed Audio). Either install ASIO 4ALL (free) to fix this issue or use an external audio interface. 

Why do you hear crackling or glitches while playing guitar?

This could be a latency issue. If you are running a live set with tons of tracks, you might be overcooking your CPU, making recording difficult. Otherwise, use a third-party audio driver like ASIO 4ALL or an external interface. Doing either will help this issue.

Do you hear your guitar through the track when you are not recording?

Yes, if you have the audio input option on that track selected to the input channel of your guitar (running through your audio interface). You may also need the Arm Arrangement Recording button turned on for that track.

How do you change audio output in Ableton?

Follow the steps above, one through five. 

Sound card recommendations for using Live with multiple instruments?

I am quite a fan of the Focusrite range. You can get Focusrite audio interfaces with 2 to 8 audio inputs. I use the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, which only has two inputs (enough for guitar and vocals). However, I have recorded an entire live band using one of the eight input audio interfaces. 

Final Words

Hopefully, by following the simple steps above, you have solved your issue of not hearing any playback.

In most cases, issues like this are relatively easy to fix and shouldn’t take long to get things rolling again.

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