Unable to load audio driver

The problem I have is that cubase 10.5 will sometimes not play through my soundcard(s). Instead when I select the card in VST Audio System > ASIO driver it will give me a warning saying “The audio driver could not be loaded…”. That warning is a new thing (since a couple of weeks), but the symptoms are not new and have been around for months. Sometimes it will not give this error however no sound will come from any of the channels, even though all the routing is correct in Audio Connections (F4). I can see there are no signal lights in any channels so it’s not a routing issue.
Sometimes audio will be working fine but then I’ll click on another app like spotify or Chrome and immediately sound in cubase, and perhaps in spotify etc will stop too. I may then have to restart cubase or the computer 4 or 5 times before I can eventually get it to magically work again.
It happens when running 44.1 or 48kHz. Unchecking/checking “Release [ASIO] driver when application is in the background” doesn’t seem to change anything.
The problem can occur even if I restart the computer, make sure everything that could possibly use the soundcard is closed, then open cubase… IT still won’t find it. Sometimes if I turn the clock source to ADAT then back to Internal it suddenly works (but rarely).

I get the same issue with both a focusrite Scarlett soundcard and when using my A&H Zed R16 firewire mixer (support for this product is depreciated so it doesn’t surprise me I may have issues with this but the focusrite kit I thought wouldn’t behave the same but it does)

Everything I use is paid for, no cracks or anything like that and I think all up to date. I have a 2019 16" Macbook pro running Ventura 13.1, but I’ve had the same issue with previous versions of the os, at least for the last 9 months or so. But it seems to be getting worse, and that message “unable to load audio driver” is new this year I think. I can’t think of a moment when this problem suddenly occurred (like after installing a new product) although I guess this could be the case, but nothing comes to mind.

I use lots of kontakt libraries like damage 2, spitfire strings and brass, also Orchestral tools Omnisphere, Keepforest devastator. Lots of heavy synths and things which require good processing power, but then I can open a new, empty project and this doesn’t seem to change anything, so I’m not sure it’s dues to a lack of processing power.

Thanks so much in advance if anyone could help me out that would be amazing. I’m losing a lot of time to this!!! Any ideas?

Thank you


Hi and welcome to the forum,

What Audio Device do you use, please?

Hello! I have the same problem with 2 audio devices (Testing them separately, not connecting at the same time). A Focusrite scarlett 4i4, and also an Allen and Heath Zed R16 Firewire mixer.
Thank you
FYI, that’s the image I sometimes get. But not always. The problem can happen without this warning
Screenshot 2023-01-23 at 17.45.29


If it happens with 2 devices, I would double-check the USB cable. Do you use the same for both devices? And I would try other USB port.

Thanks for your response! But one device is firewire (A&H), the other is USB (focusrite), so both different types of cables. Changing the USB port does not make any difference either, I’ve just tried that. Also, I can get sound through spotify/youtube whatever, with both soundcards, it’s cubase who will not recognise them, or if it says it can see them in cubase which it sometimes does, it will still not produce any sound.

I do think a likely source of the problem is a mismatch between applications of 44.1 and 48 kHz which is causing some kind of a bug. But I’m not really sure what I could change to fix it.

In fact. Cubase can definitely see my soundcard. I just started it, and it gave me the “The audio driver could not be loaded” warning. Then I switched the sample rate on the focusrite control software to 44.1 Hz from 48 Hz and cubase suddenly gives me a warning saying that the sample rate has changed. It knows the device is there and is communicating with it in some way. But just won’t play sound.

I restarted cubase disabling 3rd party plugins and the problem seemed to go away. Perhaps its a plugin that’s doing this. I’ll have to work out which one. Thanks for your replies.

1 Like

It seems this is not a third party plugin issue and it was just a fluke that it worked when starting cubase with third party plugins disabled.
If anyone does have any ideas im all ears!

Update. The problem still exists. Ive restarted and fiddled with setting for 3 hours today with no joy. I think it is a project issue, perhaps my project being too big for my computer capacity. I only have 16gb ram.
If i open an empty project, and start working it will play fine from any audio driver (internal macbook or either of my two soundcards). If i open a big project with 50 channels lots of plugins it had this problem. Cannot load audio driver. Yet cubase sees the soundcard, any other app can play from the soundcard, just not cubase.
Last night the project worked. Today it wont.
Has anyone got any ideas?

I just had the same issue…it says “Cant load audio driver”…

Im using a new macbook pro internal sound card, this should not happen, right?
ive never experienced something like this, i had to reinstall CB 12 to make it work.

Is this another Ventura thing?

I experience a lot of new problems with this OS and Cubase 12

Hey. I suspect it to be me reaching capacity of the processor on my laptop. That is because if I freeze all the channels (about 90 of them including lots of strings, choirs, brass and drums like damage 2 and synths like omnisphere) the problem at the moment seems to disappear. The CPU usage seems to reduce doing this but also I end up using like 50GB of RAM (and virtual memory I guess as I only have 16GB of physical memory). But the problem goes away. Most of the time.
I haven’t found a good scientific answer to what causes the problem though so I don’t know for sure.
I tried to identify plugins or synths which could otherwise be responsible and I seemed to get more problems when using Berlin Symphonic Strings, but that could be because it’s more demanding on the processor, or because of something else.

I too have/had the problem on the internal soundcard as well as external ones. I don’t know what your computer is but mine’s a 16" 2019 macbook pro with 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 processor and 16GB RAM as stated above. I use cubase 10.5.

Good luck. Let me know if you find out anything which might be useful please!


P.S. I am freezing the instrument only so I can still mess with effects on the channel. Unfortunately I can’t do bulk freezing with this version of cubase (apparently available with later versions) so with 90+ channels it’s a big waste of time!

EDIT: I sometimes have to freeze the channels when the audio driver is not loaded, save the project and then restart at which point it manages to load the audio driver. i.e., it requires a restart of cubase to work.

i have that new maxed out m2 max pro, its very, very fast…so in my case i dont think its the cpu overloaded…i never heard of CPU overload causing this kind of error before
i also have the latest intel macbook, same as you but higher clock speed. I never experienced this problem with that macbook.

Ventura (and almost every new macOS) has a lot of “under the hood changes” that makes it hard for 3rd-party devs of big programs like Cubase and Ableton, to make a super compatible application.
So it really could be a thousand things from permissions to graphics to sandboxing processes and what not…

12.0.60 helped with me!

OK. No idea then. Sounds like you know your computers better than I do! I’ve really no idea what’s going on inside the laptop in relation to the software, memory etc…
I’m on Ventura 13.2. I haven’t had the problem for a few weeks. But I had it before with this version so I don’t think it can be that.

Oh the other thing which I suspected was conflicting sample rates. 44.1 vs 48. With my studio setup I’m always on 48kHz but I forgot to mention sometimes I had this problem immediately after opening up another app, like if I play a video on chrome, then click back on cubase. I wondered whether chrome was running in 44.1 for some reason and breaking my setup somehow. But again, lately that hasn’t happened.

Good luck!

And it’s back! I knew I’d regret saying that the problem had gone away!

Does it occur after a crash and Cubase restart? Whenever Nuendo (for me) crashes, wich thank God is happening less and less (knock on wood) it wouldn’t be able to reload the asio driver, it took a pc restart to come back to normal. Maybe it’s a matter of some process kidnapping the asio driver and not release it, so I wonder if it is like this on your machine.

me too!!!

12.0.6 was working, then, just now i had the Cant Load Audio Drive issues again!

but i just found out my issue this time, was with another driver:

my APPLE airbuds (2nd gen) were missing things up!

i deleted the bluetooth connection and set the airpods discovery to NEVER

then restarted, now everything works again


No its not a crash thing i dont think, the only correlation i have found is project size.
This only ever happens with big projects (the kind where i must increase buffer size to max to ensure no audio glitches). It may be because these big projects all also use a certain plugin or synth and that is the true problem (ie its a coincidence), but i dont think so because i have smaller projects which use my full range of vsts and synths too and i have yet to experience this issue.

Sometimes disbling program settings fixes it when i restart cubase. But not always. Yesterday it was working fine all day, then i went on chrome, did some other stuff and when i reopened cubase the problem returned. I tried restarting in all imaginable ways and nothing worked so after an hour i gave up!

Still working? Was it just the conflicting driver thing with the airbuds?

yes for sure its fixed with me…

at least this missing driver issue, after i unpaired and deleted the airbuds, thank god

only thing with Ventura that is still wierd, maybe related to this, is that Cubase keeps randomly flipping between headphones and speakers…but this can be some kind of suspend sleep mode when im away from the laptop…this is all part of the new seperate driver system for speakers and headphones, which is a total nightmare for DAW users worldwide…no idea why they implemented this drama in macOS.
i have to go to Studio/Studio Setup…/Build-In Audio/Control Panel and switch that tick box like 10 times per day…ugh

see this: https://helpcenter.steinberg.de/hc/en-us/articles/360000931359-Mac-Unable-to-switch-between-speaker-and-headphone-outputs

I tried aggregated device with Cubase 12.0.52 and Ventura, this was a big mess and crashed all the time with the Build-In Audio as ASIO driver…

Maybe this helps solving your problem?

Chrome is a huge memory nightmare on computers, it easts ram like a beast and is not really suitable to run in the background while producing with Cubase with maxed out projects…
(this also goes for Windows, unless you have a gazillion GB memory installed)

at least for me

Thanks for your responses. Great yours is fixed.
Re chrome, I deleted it yesterday to try and see if it was the problem but it didn’t change anything. I usually close everything on my laptop before working on cubase but it doesn’t fix the problem.

FYI I’ve just updated to cubase 12, and the problem is exactly the same! I’m in discussion with cubase about it now though as they wouldn’t provide advise for cubase 10.5 since it is no longer supported. Hopefully they can fix it by looking at log files etc.