Ableton Not Recognizing Your Audio Interface? (Solved!)

If you have an Audio Interface then it’s probably pretty central to your music production studio. 

But if you’re struggling to get Ableton Live to recognize yours, then this is a huge problem which will have stopped you in your music making tracks…

ableton live no input or output device

So you need to figure out why this is happening,  

And quick!

The good news is there are a few simple steps you can take to fix this problem. 

In this article, I’ll walk you through how to fix Ableton live not recognizing an audio interface.  

What is an Audio Interface?

selection of audio interfaces

If you don’t already know, an audio interface is a device specifically designed to convert analog audio signals into digital and vice versa, without compromising on sound quality. 

The built-in sound cards on computers are ok but if you require your audio to be converted as accurately as possible, then you’ll need to use an audio interface.

You can connect microphones, guitars, or whatever instrument you're using to the audio interface.

This will convert the raw analogue audio into a digital signal which your computer can process. 

It can then output sounds from your computer to speakers or headphones. 

In this way you can hear a pretty perfect recording of the music you're producing because the interface is much more accurate than using the computer’s internal sound card. 

Since the sound is going into your computer, you will need to use a specific type of software known as  a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to record the incoming audio. In this case we will be using Ableton Live.

There are many popular audio interfaces out there. The most popular coming from Focusrite, with their Scarlett 2i2 and the Scarlet Solo offerings.

There is a problem though, sometimes Ableton Live may not recognize the connected audio interface…

This is what we are going to learn to solve in this article. 

How to Fix Ableton not Recognizing Audio Interface 

After connecting the audio interface to your computer, there are three major steps required to make sure that Ableton Live is set up correctly to recognize it. 1. Make sure the interface is recognized by your computer, 2. update the driver, 3. ensure Ableton live is set to the right audio device.

Let’s get into the details for each of these steps.

Is The Audio Interface Working with your Computer? 

The very first thing you need to do is make sure the audio interface you’re using is actually being recognized by your computer. 

If your computer doesn’t recognise the interface, then there’s zero chance that Ableton Live will either!

You can check this by opening the Audio section of the system preferences on your operating system. 

  • On Mac: Click the Apple Menu (top left corner), click System Preferences,  click Sound, then click the Input tab to see all connected sound output devices.
  • On Windows: click Settings, System, Sound. Then click on the ‘Choose your output device’ menu to see all connected sound input devices.

Ideally, as soon as you plug in the audio interface, your computer should give a notification saying that a new device has been connected. 

However, that may not happen when you first plug it in. 

In that case, the best option is to try all the ports of your computer to see if it picks up the device on any one of them. 

You may also need to change the USB cable of the interface if all else fails. And even try it on another computer to check if your computer itself might be the issue. 

Note that you should always connect the cable directly to the USB port of your computer and not in-directly through other devices or cables. 

Once your computer recognizes the audio interface, you can move onto the next step.

Install the Latest Audio Drivers 

Ideally, the latest audio driver should be already installed in your computer or the computer should be able to update it automatically when the interface is plugged in. 

However, the best course of action is to pre-install the latest drivers for your particular audio interface. 

In general, the best driver for Mac is the Core Audio Driver and for Windows, it’s the ASIO (see asio4all). 

Set The Correct Audio Device In Ableton

setting the correct audio device

Lastly, if Ableton still isn’t automatically picking up on your audio interface, you will need to go into the Ableton Live’s settings and manually set it to your interface. 

To do this, click on the Audio tab in Ableton Live and select the Driver Types - 

  • ‘Core Audio’ for Mac 
  • ‘ASIO’ for Windows. 

Next, you can configure the inputs and outputs according to the specific audio interface you are using. 

Here, you can also adjust other things such as the sample rate and the buffer size to increase or decrease latency. 

This ensures you get the perfect setting for your audio, both in quality and response time. 


And that’s it. Hopefully one of these steps will have helped you to solve the issue.

Now you should have your audio interface correctly setup correctly on your computer and Ableton is able to receive all audio from it. 

All you need to do now is connect your headphones or speakers so that you can hear the audio. If you have no sound coming out, then find out how to get tyat working in this article.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Ableton Live from us, check out our blog here.

And finally, if you have any MIDI keyboards or controllers sitting around that you’d like to fully integrate into your Ableton Live setup, checkout our MIDI mapping tool Control Surface Studio.