Playback Engines in Pro Tools

By Tristan Klopp

One of the most common questions I get in the Creative Technology Center is "Why can't I hear anything in my DAW?" If you're a Pro Tools user, the first thing to check is your Playback Engine. If the wrong Playback Engine is selected, Pro Tools won't send your sound to the right place, which is why you can't hear anything. Here's how to fix that.

At the top of your screen, click Setup - Playback Engine and you'll get this window. 

Here you can see the various options you have for your Playback Engine - or to put it another way - where Pro Tools will send your sound.

If your headphones or speakers are plugged into an interface, you'll want to select that interface as your playback engine. If you are using the headphone jack on your laptop, you'll want to select "External Headphones". If you just want to use your computer speakers, you can make that selection as well. 

After changing your Playback Engine your session will refresh, this is normal. Once your Playback Engine correctly corresponds with where you want your sound to go, you'll be good to go. The Grammys are waiting for you.

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Training Subject
DAW Pro Tools Recording
Creative Technology Center Knowledge base Pro Tools Playback Engine
Last modified
Thu, Apr 14th 2022