Ableton & Focusrite Scarlett No Sound? 5 Common issues (Solved)

If you’re in the world of music production, you’ve heard of the Focusrite Scarlett audio interface range. Paired with Ableton Live, the Scarlett is an affordable and solid option for any beginner to intermediate producer.

But what if you’re having trouble getting sound out of your Focusrite Scarlett?

Don’t fret, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll jump into some common issues with sound playback when using the Focusrite Scarlett and Ableton Live.

Here’s Why There’s No Sound Coming From Your Focusrite Scarlett and Ableton:

The most common reason for the sound not working on your Focusrite Scarlett is the wrong drivers. You should use Focusrite drivers, not ASIO or ASIO4all drivers. Make sure to download Focusrite Control (where the Focusrite drivers are included) and set up Ableton outputs accordingly.

Focusrite Scarlett audio interface on tabletop, connected to Macbook pro laptop

Read on for more reasons why your Focusrite Scarlett has no sound with Ableton:

Focusrite is Not Receiving Audio Inputs

The Focusrite Scarlett is a reliable and high-performing audio interface with some great preamps and a user-friendly interface.

Unfortunately, some users have had trouble with the Focusrite not receiving signals from its audio inputs. This can be incredibly frustrating and waste precious time that could be spent recording and producing.

Let’s dive into what could be causing the problem, and get you back on track with your tracking!

Since macOS 10.14 (Mojave), Ableton Live requires you to permit it to access your microphone or audio input.

This is because Apple introduced increased privacy and security features that require applications to request permission from the user before accessing certain resources.

To grant permission, simply follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click on “Security & Privacy”
  3. Select the “Privacy” tab in the Security & Privacy window.
  4. Scroll down the list of privacy settings on the left-hand side and look for “Microphone” or “Input Monitoring”
  5. Check if Ableton Live or any related audio applications, including Focusrite control software, are listed and have a checkmark next to them.
  6. If not, click the lock icon at the bottom left corner to unlock the settings. Then, check the box next to Ableton Live or related audio applications to grant them access to the microphone or input monitoring.

Now that you’ve granted Ableton Live permission, you should be able to receive input from your Focusrite Scarlet. Happy recording!

No Audio on PC Speakers When Using Scarlett

Sometimes when using a Focusrite Scarlett with Ableton Live, you’ll want to listen back through your computer speakers. If this isn’t working, you’re in the right place!

The first thing to check is that you’ve downloaded Focusrite Control from Focusrite’s website. Control gives you the ability to correctly set up your sound settings, all while using Focusrite’s specific drivers.

It’s important to note that when using Focusrite on Windows, routing audio through the computer speakers can be tricky.

The Focusrite interface acts as the default sound card for Windows, meaning that when you connect it, Windows will automatically route audio through the Focusrite outputs instead of using the built-in PC outputs.

Make sure to also try these extra steps when setting up your Focusrite to play through your computer speakers:

  1. Double-check that you have installed the correct drivers for your Focusrite; even if you have a Gen1 device, try using the Gen2 drivers as they might work better.
  2. Set your Windows default sound device to Focusrite, which should be listed as “Line Out” or something similar in the sound settings.
  3. In Ableton, make sure to select the same output as your Focusrite.
  4. Ensure that the sample rate and bit depth settings in both Ableton and Windows are the same. Usually, 24-bit and 44.1kHz are good options for production.

Another possible workaround, if you’re looking to work in a quiet space, is to use the headphone out of your Focusrite Scarlett when monitoring while you’re recording.

You can then playback through Ableton Live to your computer speakers, bypassing the Focusrite.

No Audio From Your USB Scarlett

USB Focusrite Scarlett is a handy and portable version of the Scarlett audio interface range, allowing for quick plug-and-play usage, as well as for on-the-go recording.

If you’re experiencing connection or performance issues with your USB audio interface, don’t worry! We’ve got some helpful tips for you to try:

  • Remove all other USB devices from your computer, except for your USB audio interface. Sometimes, having multiple USB devices connected can cause conflicts or performance issues.
  • Test different USB ports on your computer, and if possible, try a different USB cable. Sometimes, USB ports or cables can be faulty or incompatible, and switching them out can help resolve the issue.
  • Connect your audio interface directly to your computer, avoiding USB hubs. Some USB hubs can interfere with the performance of your audio interface or cause connection problems, so connecting directly to your computer is often recommended.
  • Avoid using USB cables that are longer than 150cm. Longer cables can sometimes cause connection problems, so using shorter cables may help improve performance.

Here’s how to determine which USB bus your audio interface is connected to on Windows:

  1. Open the device manager in the control panel
  2. Go to the view menu, and select “Devices by connection”
  3. Then, you can search through the different USB buses until you find your audio interface listed.

USB connections can often be quite sticky, so it’s good practice to be methodical when troubleshooting.

No Audio on External Speakers When Using Focusrite Scarlett

If you’re working with Ableton Live and a Focusrite Scarlett, it can be quite daunting when the sound isn’t working, as there could be multiple reasons why.

Don’t stress, though; we’ll run you through possible reasons for your sound woes for external speakers and headphones.

External Speakers

First, let’s run through a list of things to double-check for your external speakers.

Make sure you have downloaded and installed the correct drivers for your Focusrite Scarlett audio interface.

You can easily find them by searching online using the name of your Focusrite device, followed by the word “driver”. This step is important to ensure compatibility and smooth performance.

Keep in mind that different operating systems (such as Mac or PC) may have different requirements for audio interfaces. Make sure your interface is compatible with your computer’s OS.

Take a moment to check all your cables and connections, as well as the volume controls on your instrument. Sometimes, loose cables or incorrect volume settings can cause audio problems.

Confirm that the cable is connected to the correct input on your audio interface. This can be an easy oversight but can affect the audio quality.

If you’re still experiencing issues, try using a different cable. Faulty or broken cables can often be the culprit behind audio problems.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics when setting up an audio interface let’s look at how to get your headphones working.

Headphones

One of the main reasons for audio not working through your Focusrite Scarlett headphone output is that the Focusrite Control hasn’t been set up correctly.

Here’s a quick guide to help you get your software set up correctly using Focusrite control:

  1. First, install the Focusrite Control software on your computer from the Focusrite website.
  2. Connect your Focusrite audio interface to your computer via USB, and plug your headphones into the headphone output on your audio interface.
  3. Open the Focusrite Control software, and it should detect your connected audio interface automatically.
  4. Locate the headphone output settings in the software, which have the headphone symbol next to the line outs.
  5. Adjust the volume level and routing options for your headphones to your liking in the software.

Your headphones should now be set up and ready to use with your Focusrite audio interface using the Focusrite Control software.

Please also read my article about feedback problems on Ableton Live.

Crackling Sound on Focusrite

If you’re experiencing pops and crackles when trying to record or playback on your Focusrite Scarlett, you’re not alone.

This unfortunate and annoying issue can be caused by a bunch of different things, but don’t worry; we’ll cover all the possible reasons why this might be happening, and get you back to recording in no time.

The first thing we’ll need to check is your cables, as faulty cables can often be the cause of pops and crackles on an audio interface.

Here are some points to check when it comes to your cables:

  • Always check your cables first, as they are often the culprit due to wear and tear.
  • Wiggle the connectors and try swapping out suspected cables to identify the issue.
  • Invest in good quality cables to avoid future problems.

The next common problem for pops and crackles is your USB ports and sockets.

Here are some points to help you fix your possible port issue:

  • Make sure to always check your ports and sockets for loose connections or oxidization.
  • If a port is faulty, try using another working port as a short-term solution.

The next possible problem could be your audio drivers, so here are a couple of points to help you in the right direction:

  • Audio drivers are important for communication between the operating system and the audio interface, so make sure you use the correct one.
  • Make sure to download the latest Focusrite Scarlett drivers that match your interface.
  • ASIO (Audio System Input Output) for Windows and Core Audio for OS X are also common high-end audio drivers for music production.

For a more in-depth look into this issue, check out my article with more solutions to Focusrite Scarlett crackling on Ableton.

Pros and Cons of the Focusrite Scarlett and Ableton Live

The Focusrite Scarlett is widely popular and affordable, but can sometimes act up and cause problems. Let’s jump into some pros and cons of the Focusrite Scarlett audio interface.

Pros

The Focusrite Scarlet offers high-quality recording and playback, providing clear and professional-grade recordings for your home studio when using Ableton Live.

The Scarlett also provides low-latency performance, meaning you can record and monitor audio smoothly, and in real-time without experiencing any delays.

The Focusrite Scarlet integrates seamlessly with Ableton Live, allowing for easy setup. It also offers durability and reliability, making them great choices for long-term usage.

Cons

  • Focusrite sometimes doesn’t receive audio from inputs
  • No audio from PC speakers while using Focusrite
  • Possible problems with external speakers and headphones when using Focusrite
  • Crackling and Popping sound when using Focusrite

Check out our article about common issues with Logic Pro X and Focusrite – with solutions!

Sources

How to Install Focusrite Drivers on Windows