Cubase output not recognising headphones

Hi All,
bit of an odd one here.
I am running Cubase 10, running it on a fairly new laptop. All out put settings are okay, and I get audio output via the speakers no problem but nothing through headphones when I plug them in, the sound continues through the speakers? But before you say it is jack/plug fault it isn’t. The headphones work perfectly at all other times, it is just with cubase?

I have tried all the usual resetting, reinstalling, updating etc, but nothing. Cubase just doesn’t seem to recognise when headphones are plugged in even though the laptop itself does.

I haven’t been able to find anything on line; has anyone else experienced this or have any ideas, I am at a total loss.


I expect your laptop’s speakers and headphones are addressed as two separate outputs and you only have the speakers output setup.

Are you using ASIO4ALL? You’ll need to activate both outputs in there as a starter.

Once you have them activated, add them as separate control room outs, then you can toggle between them as you wish using the control room controls. (You can also apply room correction/sims etc. on headphones if required).

If you’re not using ASIO4ALL, it’s worth explaining which driver you’re using and Operating System.

I would add to skijumptoes that, if you use Generic Low Latency ASIO driver, yoy need to go to Studio → Studio Setup → Audio System → Generic Low Latency ASIO driver, and click on Control Panel.
There, you can switch the Out Port from Speakers to Headphones.

Last step, go to Studio → Audio Connections, and choose Headphones in the Output TAB → Stereo Out

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Also, I would add that I often switch from Speakers to Headphones and vice versa. I find that the described workflow is quite time consuming… Maybe there’s a way to speed it up?
Considering that using Generic Low Latency ASIO driver you can’t activate both Speakers and Headphones at the same time?

The preferred way is to have an audio interface with at least 2 stereo output channels and a proprietary ASIO driver. Using an on-board interface with ASIO4All or the Generic Low Latency ASIO driver is a last resort, one that works but not nearly as well as an interface purposefully designed for pro audio.

As above, if you use ASIO4ALL instead, it allows you to address the speakers and headphones as separate outputs, and then you can set them up via control room to quickly toggle between them.

You can also apply a bit of EQ/Gain using Control Room inserts too, which is quite handy with small speakers to get them to sound better.

However, if you use other applications while Cubase is running (i.e. try to follow a youtube tutorial or such like), you’ll find that the audio is locked to Cubase and your browser won’t play back.

I don’t know if the generic low latency ASIO driver acts like that too as never used it.

You also need some portable speakers is the downside though. Before you know it, you’re walking around with a laptop, USB Audio interface and a set of powered speakers. So something to be aware of, if you want to be compact/portable as possible.

For portability I would recommend headphones in either case. What good does the laptop speakers do?

@david_Thomas I ran into this on a new MacBook Pro.

Are you using a MacBook? If so, you need to create an “Aggregate Device” in the MacOS Sound control panel, and choose that as the output. The headphones output isn’t seen as a separate selectable output for some reason.

Mine did that today. I unplugged the headphones and then plugged them back in and it worked.

Macbook air M1 and yes the headphones option came up instead of the macbook speakers.

The whole point of this thread is that they want to interchange between laptop speakers AND headphones on the fly.

As for “What good does the laptop speakers do?”, using the internal speaker:

  1. Provides a break from fatigue that headphones can cause
  2. Allows you to play a section or track to someone out loud
  3. Provides additional mix reference

Whether you find that “good” or not, is irrelevant to what the OP wants.

Yes, but OP did not mention portability anywhere, you brought that up.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
I already use ASIO4All, anyway it’s not very stable on my system, sometimes it goes mad so, as a fast solution, I switch to Low Latency ASIO driver.
I don’t use a dedicated AUDIO interface on my laptop (as opposed to my desktop) because I need a very portable system.

Thanks all for the input, I will have a look at all the suggestions and information over the next couple of days and report back how I get on.

Cheers again