Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface?

Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com

If REAPER is not recognizing your audio interface, this article should help you fix the issue once and for all.

REAPER is compatible with most audio interfaces. While the DAW recognizes and enlists the audio interface in its settings in most cases, it will fail to do so when the OS itself can’t connect to the interface. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix most of the time. I will be going through the various solutions you can try step by step in this article. We’ll first discuss the most typical reasons before going through the less common ones.

Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface?

The most common reason REAPER might not recognize an audio interface is an audio driver issue. Similarly, Mac computers might have compatibility issues, causing the audio interface not to work. Updating your audio interface’s driver software and ensuring compatibility should typically fix the issue.

Several other reasons could be causing this issue. Furthermore, the causes are typically related to the OS or hardware rather than REAPER. However, before we delve into the actual stuff, I’ll mention a few simple solutions for the sake of being thorough:

  1. Restart your computer. It’s still a simple but effective solution for most computer problems.
  2. Check your cable. Ensure you’re not using a damaged cable or extension cords/multiplugs. Similarly, check the jacks on the cable.
  3. Switch to another USB port. Damaged ports on your motherboard or computer case might result in connection issues.

Now that we’re over the basics let’s check out some other ways to get REAPER to recognize your audio interface:

Troubleshooting Your Audio Interface

Install/Update Drivers

A Windows PC requires you to install drivers after connecting the audio interface to your computer, although many interfaces require the same on Mac computers. You’ll find the audio interface’s drivers on the manufacturer’s website. However, if you’re using an old audio interface, you might have to find it on archiving websites or use WASAPI mode, which gives similar functionality as ASIO drivers. I’ll talk more about it in a later step. Here’s a list of sites where you can download drivers for the most common audio interfaces available today:



Solid State Logic SSL 2/2+


Universal Audio Apollo

Audient iD4

Audient Evo

PreSonus AudioBox



If you can’t install the driver due to some reason, try the following and retry:

  1. On PC, try installing as an administrator by right-clicking the installer and selecting “Run as administrator.”
  2. Disconnect the audio interface, restart your computer, retry driver installation, and connect the device. Connecting the audio interface before installing the drivers can sometimes cause issues during installation. However, you can connect first and then install the drivers if this step doesn’t help.
  3. Remove any old or failed installations from the app settings and retry.
  4. If your OS isn’t compatible because the audio interface is too new or old, try finding a compatible driver for your OS.
  5. Open the Device Manager and see if your audio interface is on the list. If it is, uninstall its drivers after double-clicking it to open its properties. And if it isn’t, update the universal serial bus drivers from their properties.


Windows Only

Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) is an audio system protocol that Steinberg developed to provide a low-latency interface between REAPER and your audio interface. Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) is Microsoft’s iteration of a similar interface system. Furthermore, WASAPI replaced the OS’s outdated DirectSound system, although not before ASIO was commonplace. The DirectSound system had a lot of latency thanks to features unnecessary for professional audio use. Hence, ASIO remains the standard driver protocol despite WASAPI’s similar performance.

As I mentioned earlier, ASIO is preferred if your audio interface provides proprietary drivers (it most likely does). If not, REAPER allows you to use WASAPI. So, once you’ve installed the drivers, follow the following steps:

  1. Open REAPER.
  2. Click on the text displaying your audio device’s information at the top right of your screen. If your audio device is yet to be selected, you might see “audio device closed” instead – click it.
  3. Alternatively, open the preferences by pressing Control + P, and click on Device under Audio on the left pane.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  4. Select ASIO from the “Audio system” drop-down menu. Select WASAPI if your interface doesn’t provide an ASIO driver or if your ASIO driver isn’t working/installing.
  5. Change the “ASIO Driver” to your audio interface’s driver. For example, the Focusrite Scarlet interfaces use the Focusrite USB ASIO driver. Skip this step for WASAPI.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  6. Select the correct audio inputs and outputs whether you’re using ASIO or WASAPI.
  7. You can enable “Request sample rate” to specify the sample rate. I recommend either 48000 or 44100; the prior if you intend to create releases on streaming and video platforms.

Check out the upcoming steps if your audio interface refuses to appear in ASIO and WASAPI mode.

Audio Device

macOS Only

Mac computers have a built-in protocol that makes selecting the audio interface in REAPER straightforward. Ensure you’ve installed the interface’s drivers, as mentioned above. Then, follow these steps to connect your audio interface to REAPER:

  1. Open REAPER.
  2. Click on the text displaying your audio device’s information at the top right of your screen. If your audio device is yet to be selected, you might see “audio device closed” instead – click it.
  3. Alternatively, open the preferences by pressing Command + , (comma), and click on Device under Audio on the left pane.
  4. Select your audio interface from the “Audio Device” drop-down menu.

Reset/Reinstall REAPER

A faulty REAPER installation can cause it to avoid recognizing your audio interface. For example, try using another audio application and check if the audio interface appears on the audio output list. If it does, these steps might prove useful:

  1. Open REAPER.
  2. Open the Options menu.
  3. Click “Show REAPER resource path in explorer/finder.”

    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
    This option opens REAPER’s resources folder.

  4. Close REAPER.
  5. In the folder that opened in step 3, find a file named “REAPER.ini” and rename it to “REAPER.ini.backup.” Click Yes if you see a prompt about renaming file extensions. This file contains the DAW’s configuration. When you open REAPER next time, it will create a new “REAPER.ini” file and reset REAPER to its default settings.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  6. Open REAPER and see if you can find the audio interface in the audio device settings. If not, you can close REAPER and rename the file back to “REAPER.ini” after deleting the replacement file REAPER created.

If the steps above don’t help, you can try reinstalling REAPER entirely. However, if you’d rather not try that just yet, I suggest the following:

  1. Download the REAPER installer.
  2. Start the installation, and enable the “Portable install” option.

    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
    Check the “Portable install” option.

  3. Continue installation to your preferred location. I suggest the desktop since it’s temporary.
  4. Open REAPER from this portable installation and see if the audio interface is available.
  5. You can delete the installation folder when done.

You should reinstall your main REAPER installation if the audio interface does show up. If it doesn’t show up, something else is wrong, and it’s probably not REAPER’s issue.

Disable Exclusive Mode

Windows Only

The exclusive mode allows one application to take over the audio interface, which can cause issues with other software. So, you can try disabling it to see if it helps. However, it’s fine to keep it enabled if it causes no issues. Here are the steps to deactivate it:

  1. Open Settings (Win + I).
  2. Navigate to the System tab and click Sound.
  3. Scroll down and click “More sound settings” to open the sound properties.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  4. Double-click your audio interface’s output on the Playback list.

    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
    Identify your audio interface by its brand/model.

  5. Go to the Advanced tab and disable “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.”
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  6. Click Apply and OK.

Go to the next step if you cannot find your audio interface on the Playback list.

Diagnosing Faulty Cable/Hardware

Hardware issues can cause your audio interface to avoid showing up. In this section, I will enlist the steps to diagnose whether and which hardware might be causing the issue. Before we begin, please ensure you’re not using a USB hub (multiplug) to connect your audio interface.

First, let’s see if your computer’s port works fine. You can test it by using it to connect to another device, like your phone. Similarly, you can switch your audio interface to another port to see if it works too.

After you’ve confirmed the port is working, connect the audio interface and open the Device Manager. You can search “device manager” in the start menu or right-click the Start button and locate Device Manager in the pop-up menu.

You’ll find a mention of your audio interface’s model or manufacturer under “Sound, video and game controllers.” If you can’t find that, you might see a subheading like “other devices” or an “unknown device” under the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” subheading. The latter typically suggests a faulty cable.

Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
A typical sign of proper installation is your audio interface showing up as a category and under sound controllers.

The best way to test a cable is by replacing it with another, preferably a new or verified working one. Alternatively, you might try another device that can use the suspected cable and see if that device works. For example, some audio interfaces use a USB Type-C connector, which is common among smartphones.

You can also try connecting your audio interface to another computer and see if it appears in the Device Manager. If everything fails, you should contact your interface’s customer support.

Let’s continue if you’ve ensured your audio interface, cable, and computer port are fine.

Power Plan

Windows uses the power plan feature to optimize and save power, typically most useful for laptops. If any hardware, like hard disk, USB devices, CPU, display monitor, etc., are unused, it turns them off. However, certain parts of this feature can sometimes cause problems and are best disabled on a professional computer. Energy Saver is the macOS equivalent.

For Windows PC:

  1. Search for “edit power plan” in the start menu and open it.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  2. Click “Change advanced power settings.”
  3. Expand “Hard disk” and change the “Turn off hard disk after” to 0 minutes to keep the power plan from shutting off the hard disk. We’re disabling it because it can cause drivers to stop functioning properly.
  4. Expand “USB settings” and disable “USB selective suspend setting.” Enabling this feature automatically shuts down unused USB ports. However, faulty systems may shut down even devices that are in use. So, the feature is best kept disabled.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  5. Restart your PC.

For Mac computers:

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu.
    Why Is REAPER Not Recognizing My Audio Interface? | integraudio.com
  2. Click the “Energy Saver” icon.
  3. Enable “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off” and disable “Put hard disks to sleep when possible.” Preventing the hard disk from turning off helps ensure the drivers stay connected to your audio interface.
  4. Restart your computer.

Resetting UEFI & NVRAM

UEFI stores various hardware configurations of your PC, from RAM clock speed to USB settings. Similarly, NVRAM stores data and configurations. Although both are essentially for storing information when the computer is powered off, we use the latter term for Mac computers. The main difference is that NVRAM holds even simple information like your computer’s last set sound volume to restore it upon a restart, whereas UEFI doesn’t.

Resetting the UEFI can be helpful in case some wrong configurations prevent your computer from recognizing your audio interface. Likewise, resetting the NVRAM on a Mac helps your computer “forget” previously unrecognized devices and reconnect properly. Here’s how you can do it:

For Windows PC:

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Power on your PC and repeatedly tap Del (number pad) until the UEFI or BIOS page appears on your screen. This page is usually black with white or light-colored text. Moreover, if it’s UEFI, you’ll find a mouse cursor. You can navigate the page using your keyboard’s arrow keys if it’s BIOS. Some motherboards use a different key command, like F2 or F10. So, if Del doesn’t work for you, try those two or search for the BIOS key for your motherboard specifically.
  3. Look for a button that says “Load optimized defaults,” “Reset to default values,” or something similar. Note that resetting your BIOS/UEFI will result in a complete configuration reset, which includes your RAM overclocking speed, CPU clock, voltages, etc. However, none of your files or boot will be touched.
  4. You have nothing to worry about if you know which configurations to tweak. If not, click the reset button/load default configuration, and note the confirmation prompt. Your computer should show you all the changes that resetting will cause. Then, you can note all of them down to reconfigure your PC later*.
  5. If you need to reconfigure or don’t want to reset, look around in the settings and try to find USB-related options. For example, I’ve seen some UEFI disable USB 2.0, which means audio interfaces can’t connect! So, we mainly want to get rid of such configurations.
  6. Once you’ve made the changes you want, click on “Save and restart” or something similar.

*Most computers run perfectly fine with their default configurations. A typical tweak is overclocking the RAMs using Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) or AMD Direct Over Clock Profile (DOCP), depending on your CPU brand.

For Mac computers:

  1. Shut down your computer if you have it powered on.
  2. Turn your Mac on and quickly hold Option + Command + P + R on your keyboard.
  3. Your computer should restart within several seconds. Release the keys when it does.

I like to set the volume to an arbitrary value, like 77%, before resetting. Then, after a reset, I can check if the volume has changed to a different value when it restarts, showing that the NVRAM has cleared. If you find no changes to the volume, repeat the reset, ensuring you press the key commands simultaneously.


Following the steps above should make REAPER recognize your audio interface. Once you’re done, make sure you check REAPER’s audio devices settings as we did in the second heading. However, if it turns out that your audio interface is faulty, you can use your computer’s built-in audio device for now.

To use your built-in audio device, select the speaker output on a Mac computer or use the WASAPI system on a Windows PC. Both offer low latency output, letting you work while you sort out your audio interface. Doing so will have no impact on your final render.

I hope this article has helped solve your issue. Furthermore, if you discover any other solution or problem related to audio interfaces and REAPER, let me know via the comments or email. I’d be happy to look into it and expand this article beyond my experience. Happy music-making!

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