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Troubleshooting 101: No Audio Output from Logic? No problem!

Rounik Sethi on May 27, 2010 in Logic Pro 16 comments

Logic is a wonderfully deep, creative piece of software! There's no doubt about that...  It has steadily become easier to setup and use since Apple acquired it from Emagic But, as any software user .

Logic is a wonderfully deep, creative piece of software! There's no doubt about that...  It has steadily become easier to setup and use since Apple acquired it from Emagic But, as any software user knows, there are times when something can go wrong. It could be a head scratching moment whereby you're unsure of how to achieve something creative... or it could be an error or a bug that in some way prevents you from recording, mixing or simply making music!

So, what can you do? Well, the tutorials and forums are often most people's first port of call. But what about if you want to try and diagnose the issue yourself? You don't need to be a tech genius to solve some issues... equipping yourself with a toolbox of  troubleshooting tips can prevent any niggling issues from getting in the way of the creative process.

One of the more common problems experienced by Logic users is when you can't get any sound output from a Logic project. Whether or not the problem is down to user-error (it happens to the best of us!), hardware based (audio interface, control surface, monitors, cables, bad ram...), or a software bug or feature, these tips will help you diagnose it, understand it and ultimately solve it!

I'd recommend reading the tips below these even if you've never encountered an issue like this in Logic.


Tip 1 - Check your Hardware & Cables

The 'root' step is to check that your audio interface is properly connected, the firewire/USB cables are connected from interface to Mac and all cables such as your Monitor and headphones are connected properly. Make sure volume levels are raised suitably and it's a good idea at this point to check that the cables are ok. Swap them out. If you're unable to swap them (what you don't have any spares?) then you can come back to this step later.

You should also check that you have the latest drivers for your audio interface and related hardware available on the manufacturers website. Always check before installing the driver(s) that they are compatible with the version of Logic and OS X you are running.


Tip 2 - Audio MIDI Setup

Audio MIDI Setup allows you to setup MIDI and Audio devices connected to your Mac. It's a good idea to check this little app out. It's located in your Applications/Utilities folder.

Choose Window > Show Audio Window if it is not already displayed. Check that you don't have any of the output devices muted.


Tip 3 - Output Device Setup

Another good test it to make sure sound is coming out of other applications on your Mac, e.g. iTunes... But once we've established that your Mac's audio is playing back fine, it's time to turn to Logic.

In Logic choose Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio

Under the Devices tab, you should see the Core Audio tab (which should be enabled).

In Core Audio you'll find the Output Device and Input Device. Make sure these are setup appropriately for your audio interface.

In the image above, I have my Apogee Duet set as the Output and Input device. If you have an audio interface select it. If not, use your Mac's Built-In Output as your Output Device.


Tip 4 - Check your Channel Strips

In Logic open the Mixer and make sure your channel strips' outputs are either being routed to the Stereo Out, or if you are routing them via a Bus, that the corresponding Auxiliary channel is begin routed to the Output.

In the picture above we are able to ascertain certain information:

  • Sound is being registered and played back in Logic's internal audio engine on the channel strips.
  • The signal from each channel strip is being routed directly to the Output channel strip.
  • The Output channel strip is not muted and we can see activity in it's level meter.
  • None of the instruments (Ultrabeat, EXS24, EVP88, etc) are bypassed (grayed out).
  • The Master Channel strip is neither muted nor is it's level low enough that we can hear the output from Logic.


Tip 5 - Check Mute and Solo's

There's different ways to mute and solo in Logic. It's possible to mute/solo at channel strip level, track level, region level and even MIDI Event level (a single MIDI note for example).

In the following Mixer picture I have a single channel strip in solo mode, so the signal from other channels will be stopped from reaching the output. You can tell this is the case as the mute buttons will be flashing.

If for some reason you can't find the Soloed channel strip, either click on the All tab in the Mixer and manually search for it, or Option-click any channel's solo button twice. No channel strips will be in solo mode now.


Tip 6 - Solo in the Arrange

When in the Arrange area you may wish to solo a region or group of regions while arranging or mixing. Most users reach for the Solo button in the Transport or select a region and press the S key.

The selected regions become highlighted with a yellow border. However, if you deselect a region (by clicking on the background of the Arrange area you will not hear any sound from your project because no region is selected and Logic is still in Solo mode).


The solution is to check the solo button in the transport is off. If for some reason you've removed it from the Transport, you can tell when solo mode is active as the Bar Ruler is highlighted in yellow.


Tip 7 - Check Automation

It could be that mute or solo automation has been written in your project. Choose View > Track Automation from the Arrange area's local menu and check for these types of automation.

You may also wish to check your Stereo Output channel for automation values... First you'll need to add it to the Arrange area, because by default Aux and Output channel strips do not display in the Arrange area.

Open the Mixer, Right-click on the Output Channel Strip and choose Create/Select Arrange Track from the drop down menu.


Tip 8 - The Prelisten Channel Strip

The Prelisten channel strip is used by Logic to preview Apple Loops and audio regions being played back in the Sample Editor.

It's normally reserved on Audio Channel Strip 256. Open the Mixer and click on the ALL tab in the top right. Scroll along until you find the Prelisten channel.

Now open the Loop Browser and click on any loop. You should hear some audio coming out of Logic and through your audio interface. If there is still no sound coming from the rest of your project, check the solo and mute buttons...

.

Tip 9 - Check your Stereo Output... Exists(!)

This is an interesting one, and was brought to my attention by a user on the macProVideo.com Logic forums. If you mistakenly delete the Stereo Output channel strip in the Environment or the Mixer you'll not hear any audio from your project unless you are routing audio to a different Output...

To remedy this, open the Environment and navigate to the Mixer layer. Here choose New > Channel Strip > Output

You should hear sound output from your project again!


Tip 10 - Final thoughts

It's unusual, but not unheard of, that a project can become corrupted. In this case try creating a brand new project and use the Prelisten & Output Device setup tips above.

Logic saves backups of your project file in the Project folder/ Project File Backups sub-folder.
Try opening one of these to see if your project can be recovered. If it can, save as a new project to a new location with a new name and continue working on that version.

You know, I won't let you go until I've talked about backing up your important files. So, go backup... use an app like Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper or Time Machine to backup your entire system... or copy your important files to an external drive or onto DVD.

And finally, here's some useful practical maintenance procedures that can help - and they definitely don't hurt!... The OS X Troubleshooting trinity:

  1. Restart your Mac (quit all applications and choose Apple Menu > Restart...)
  2. Repair Permissions (check out this thread on how to repair permissions on the Mac)
  3. Trash/remove the Logic Preferences file: Go to User Home folder/Library/Preferences/Logic/  and move the file: com.apple.logic.pro.plist  to the Desktop. Restart Logic...

Equipped with all the above Logic troubleshooting tips you'll not only be able to figure out some common and uncommon 'no sound' issues in Logic, but you'll come to be regarded as the Logic guru to all your friends.

Interested in learning more about Logic? These tutorials will help you to become proficient whether you are starting out or looking for advanced tips, tricks and techniques! We'd love to hear your tricks, shortcuts & opinions. Let us know what you think by writing a comment below!

Rounik is the Executive Editor for AskAudioMag.com & the quarterly print magazine by the same name. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic (and a self-confessed Mac fanatic) he's taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He is a Visiting lecturer at Bath Spa Univers... Read More

Discussion

Scott McGrath
One more item to check: I had a "no output" problem that defied, well, Logic. Old Logic files and GB files as well would load, with no output to the stereo bus. Individual tracks were registering signal, and all the routing was set properly. Turns out I had a plugin selected that required reauthorization. The only symptom was no output from the mains. Frustrating.
PIETROD
I'M STOP TO READ AT TIP 3!!
i think that this is the problem, i've shoot a photo to explain better:
http://img822.imageshack.us/i/schermata20101019a21560.png/

what i have to do?!?...it's a serious problem?!?
Rounik Sethi
Hi Scott, That's a good one to add! Checking that the Stereo Output's... output is set appropriately.
Rounik Sethi
Hi Pietrod,

I see from your screenshot that you are using Logic 8. That's fine, but my image looks different because of this. If you are not using a 3rd party audio interface (like an Apogee Duet, Presonus Firebox, etc) then choose Built-in as your Device.

Please continue reading the rest of the article. If you still cannot get any audio output from your project please contact me via the macProVideo forums here:
http://www.macprovideo.com/forum/logic/logic-pro-express

Thanks
Rounik
Pietro Donnini
on right a go on in the reading of the article then i wll know you if it works...
thanks, for no now!!
bye bye
Rounik Sethi
Good luck Pietro!

:)
PIETROD
hello....sig
i'm read the 4 and 5 tip, and the bar don't move also went i use the keyboard!!
so i've try to create a new one (in the tip 9), but i HAVEN'T THE BUTTON:
http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/5135/schermata20101022a15231.png
WHAT I HAVE TO DO.....!!
I HAVE DOWNLOADED THE WRONG CODE?!?!?
Rounik
Hi Pietro,

It's difficult to know what's happening for you in tip 4/5 without seeing your Arrange window too.
Everything looks OK in the Mixer, except that Audio 3 is muted...

e.g.

1. do you have any AUDIO regions on the audio tracks/channel strips?

2. Can you hear the metronome if you select it (K) and press play (space bar)?

3. Open the Loops Tab and select a loop, can you hear it?

I'll need a bit more information to help you....

4. What exact versions of Logic and OSX are you running?

5. Are you using an external audio interface / sound card? Which one?

6. What do you mean "I HAVE DOWNLOADED THE WRONG CODE?!?!?" I don't understand what "code" you mean.

7. If you re-launch Logic and open a brand new template and click on a loop in the Loop Browser, do you hear any sound at all?

8. Have you heard from sound output from Logic before... or is this your first time using Logic?

Thanks
Rounik

p.s. It might be easier to troubleshoot your issue on our Logic forums. If you like to, then you can start a new thread there:
http://www.macprovideo.com/forum/logic/logic-pro-express
PIETROD
this is the first time,
ooo, yes i heart the loop, thank you...so the
problem is more complex...mmmm
but i can't heart the metronome - i'm not sure, maybe i haven't start it...
i have no external audio cards..
i have the last version of OS,
with code i mean program, but it's a joke...
yes, maybe i will ask to the forum, but,
can you help me via skype with sharing sceen?!!?
so in a few minutes i resolve the problem.....i'm donpietrod...if you can (if you vote for obama you can.....ehehe)
Rounik
Hi Pietro,

Sorry I don't have time to help everyone by skype (for free ;)... But seriously, start a new thread on the forums and I'll be there to help you.

An even better solution is to invest in this Logic 101 macprovideo tutorial:
http://www.macprovideo.com/tutorial/logic9101
Which will take you through Logic from the very beginning step by step. There's a discount now on for 33% off on any tutorial download with this code:
http://www.macprovideo.com/cart/code/10GreenSaleExt33
It's good until 27th October... but whether you purchase the tutorial or not, let me know here or on the forums how you are getting on.

The first big question I must ask you is what are you trying to do in Logic - that you think it's not working?? And have you seen these beginner blog guides (free) that I wrote:
Part 1:
http://www.macprovideo.com/blog/logic-pro/complete-beginners-guide-apple-logic-9-part-1

Part2:
http://www.macprovideo.com/blog/logic-pro/complete-beginners-guide-apple-logic-9-part-2

Hope this helps :)
Rounik
Jason Vearing
I seem to have trouble getting an input signal. I use fast track and it works in garage band (after I go mono, monitor on - and I have preferences inout as fastrack, output as inbuilt output. At least I know my equipment is fine - Iopen up logic (using same in and out put preferences) I click on I and I get no input signal. Any ideas?
Rounik
Hi Jason,

Did you also try clicking on the audio track's "R" button so it turns red? Do you hear any input from your Fast track then?

Is the Input on the audio channel strip in Logic set to the correct input on your Fast track? e.g. "Input 1"
Rounik
oh, also do you have "Software Monitoring" turned on in Logic's Preferences?
Evan Richard
when i try to record or use my computers keyboard as the keyboard, all that comes out of my speakers is a very high-pitched whine. it is very irritating
Hello :)
I have a problem, of course.
I am recording audio from a Behringer Xenyx X1204USB so i have a USB input, but that is not the problem. The thing is that in Logic Pro 9 i can see the audiowaves in the track i can see (i mean the program shows me) the volume levels going up and down everytime i play a loop or a recording but the audio doesn't come out of the speakers (built-in) nor the headphones... So basically I can't hear the audio and to add up i did all the steps from above and still nothing...
I would appreciate very much if you could help me :)
Thanks, Octavian
Rounik
Hi Octavian,

Excuse the late reply.

1. Do you have the Behringer setup as the output in Audio Preferences?

2. On your Behringer device is there an output level control which control volume?

3. Switch to built-in output... can you hear sound coming from your Mac?

4. Is the Master Output fader in Logic's Mixer at a healthy level? (0.0dB).

5. What exact version of Logic are you using?

6. What version of OS X are you running?

7. Can you hear sound output from Logic if you start a brand new project?