[WIN] No sound / no calibration effect

If there is no calibration effect or no sound present when the SoundID Reference standalone app is launched, check our suggestions below to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.


In this article:


No Sound / No Calibration

The calibration effect is usually quite dramatic and cannot be missed. If you can't hear any change (or any sound at all), that indicates a fault in the audio settings. 

To give you a better idea of where the problem could be, here are the basics of how it works: SoundID Reference works as a middleman between the audio sources on your computer and the hardware output device. The audio from various sources on your computer is routed to SoundID Reference, gets calibrated, and is then sent out to the physical output device selected in SoundID Reference.


Essentially, there is a signal going into the SoundID Reference app and a signal going out of SoundID - input, and output. To solve the problem, we must make sure that both input and output are set up correctly. 


General troubleshooting tips

  • Check audio signal levels at every point of the signal processing chain. At no point in the signal chain the audio is too low or muted  - check the following:
    • Audio source app;
    • SoundID Reference master fader and the Dry/Wet knob;
    • Windows sound settings and mixer;
    • Audio interface (virtual mixer software I/O channels and/or physical outputs);
    • Final physical output (monitor controller, speakers, headphones).
  • Check if the signal is successfully routed into the SoundID Reference app. If you can see that the VU meters in SoundID Reference are not reacting to the playback, the signal doesn't reach Reference and the input part of the chain should be checked. If the VU meters in SoundID Reference are reacting to the playback, but there's still no sound, the output part of the chain should be checked.


  • Calibration in the SoundID Reference app is enabled.


Driver-specific troubleshooting

Depending on which audio output driver type you selected in SoundID Reference output settings, there are different additional troubleshooting steps that you can try. You can read more about the different audio driver types here.


Windows audio device insert (APO)

If you select the Windows audio device insert (APO) driver as the output driver type in SoundID Reference, no additional settings are necessary for all system sound to be calibrated.  If there is no sound when playback is initiated, please ensure that:

* The correct output device is selected in Windows sound settings - it should be the same device that was chosen as the output device in SoundID Reference. Note that in some output devices, every output channel pair is seen by Windows as a separate device. 

* There are no applications that are currently using your physical output device in exclusive mode, preventing different applications from using it.

IMPORTANT! When first selecting this driver type, it can take up to 25 seconds to initialize on each device you select. During this time, some playback issues can be noticed. 


Virtual Windows audio driver

If you select the Virtual Windows audio driver as the output driver type in SoundID Reference, a SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device is created and can be found in the Sound control panel and when clicking on the sound tray icon. In order for SoundID Reference to process the sound, SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device has to be selected as the Default playback device in Windows Sound control panel. You can do so in two general ways:

  • Click on the speaker icon in the system tray (bottom right corner of the screen) and click on the ⌵ drop-down arrow to see the currently available playback devices. Select the SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device as your playback device:


  • Go to Windows Settings > System > Sound and open the Sound Control Panel on the top right side of the window. You will then be able to set the Sonarworks Virtual Audio Device as the default System output:




You can also ensure that SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device the Default playback device as long as the SoundID Reference app is running by enabling the Keep Reference the default system output device option in Reference app preferences.


In case you want the sound that is coming from your audio/video communication software to be calibrated by Reference just like the sound from other sources on your computer, please note that some 3rd-party audio and video communication applications use the output that was set as the Default communications device. Unless you want to specifically use different devices for communication and other audio playback, it is recommended to make SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device the Default communications device as well.



In some cases, 3rd-party audio applications with extensive audio processing capabilities will attempt to take exclusive control of the Default output device. It may prevent other audio applications from using that device. If that happens unintentionally, disabling the Exclusive mode checkbox in the SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device properties may help. To do that:

  • Go to Sound control panel
  • Right-click the SoundID Reference Virtual Audio Device and click Properties
  • Go to the Advanced tab
  • Uncheck the Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device checkbox
  • Click OK 




Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver

The same troubleshooting steps as the ones for the Virtual Windows audio driver apply to the Virtual  Windows audio to ASIO driver. Those two output driver types are very similar. They both create a virtual output device, which should be selected as the Default output device. The only difference is that the Virtual Windows audio to ASIO driver is meant to be used with hardware output devices that support ASIO. This driver type translates the Windows WASAPI audio signal format into the ASIO signal format.

Note that this driver type doesn't create a native ASIO virtual device, but rather a call translator. Therefore, it does not feature any native ASIO benefits, such as low latency. It is recommended to use this output mode only with ASIO-exclusive devices that don't have a WASAPI driver (certain interfaces from Steinberg, Helix, etc.) as there is no alternative for systemwide calibration for these devices.


Virtual ASIO to ASIO driver

First and foremost, note that this driver type will not calibrate system audio. This driver type creates a virtual ASIO audio device, which can be selected as the output in DAWs or certain media players.

This driver type is pretty straightforward. In case the audio signal isn't reaching SoundID Reference (VU meters are not reacting), please ensure that the Sonarworks ASIO Driver ("physical device name") output device is available and selected as the output in your DAW/player. Sometimes, a computer restart is necessary for the Virtual ASIO to ASIO driver to be correctly seen by other software.




3rd-party Virtual Audio Device compatibility

If any additional 3td-party virtual audio devices get involved in the signal chain (virtual cables, systemwide mixers, etc.), the signal path may become too unpredictable and overcomplicated for regular troubleshooting techniques. In such cases, please send a request to the Sonarworks support team as well as the support team of the other involved application - we will review and troubleshoot such cases individually. Make sure to include as much detail about the signal path as possible.


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