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Troubleshooting Playback Audio Issues

Here are the steps to take when dealing with Playback audio issues, from dropouts to disconnections.

Trevor avatar
Written by Trevor
Updated over a week ago


Stability is the number one priority of our iOS tracks app Playback. However, all live audio setups can encounter issues with audio quality that come from a variety of causes. This article will look at some of the most common audio problems encountered when using Playback to run tracks, and how to solve them.

Is your Playback device up-to-date?

  1. iOS and MacOS Devices: See the Playback supported and recommended devices for iOS, iPadOS and MacOS here. As is true with other software; the older the device, the less reliable it will be when performing high-functioning tasks. In order to alleviate potential performance issues with the oldest supported generation of iOS devices we limit certain features that require considerable processing such as Multi-Outs and MIDI Cue editing. See if your device is supported to run Playback.

  2. iOS Software Update: Our team tests each apple software update to ensure compatibility with the latest version of Playback before it releases to the public. Check to make sure that your device's operating system is up-to-date and that we have confirmed Playback support for it. See the latest updates on Playback iOS support here.

  3. Playback updates: Our team is constantly releasing updates to ensure that stability is Playback's most important feature. Make sure that Playback is up-to-date on your iOS device by checking the iOS or Mac app store.

Optimize your iOS device Performance

  1. Clear your RAM: Like any computer or mobile device that performs high-functioning tasks with audio, video, or other media, an iOS device can lose performance stability when running out of storage or having too many background tasks performing at once. It is important to regularly clear the RAM (random access memory) of your iOS device running Playback. Here is a guide on how to clear your iOS device's RAM, which will improve Playback performance as well as your device's overall performance.

  2. Close all background apps: Background apps consume your iOS device's precious processing power and take away important performance power from Playback. Make sure to force close all background apps before opening Playback.

  3. No Multi-Tasking: While it can seem like an efficient use of your iOS device to run both Playback and other important apps during a service, we highly recommend against it due to Playback's need for uninterrupted audio performance. While using Playback in a live performance, refrain from multi-tasking on your iOS device with other apps.

Check your USB Connection

For MultiOut setups, a USB connection is likely being used to connect your iOS device to an audio interface or USB hub. The most important piece of this setup is the USB Cable connecting Playback to any external devices. The USB connection is the most common cause of Playback audio issues. Here are a couple things to check to make sure your USB connection is as reliable as possible.

1. Apple iOS to USB Adapter

All iOS devices require an adapter to connect to a USB device. An official Apple adapter is required for a secure connection between your Playback device and any accessories. Here are the available adapters, depending on which connection your iOS device supports.

  • Lightning to USB3 Adapter: Lightning connection iOS device adapter that supports simultaneous USB connection and device charging

  • USB-C to USB3 Adapter: USB-C iOS device adapter that supports simultaneous USB connection and device charging

2. USB Cable

  • The maximum USB 2.0 cable length for optimal performance is 16 feet

  • The maximum USB 3.0 cable length is 3 meters (9 feet)

The general rule of thumb for a reliable audio setup is to use the shortest possible digital connection (USB cable between computer/iOS device and audio interface) and longer audio connections (XLRs and 1/4" cables from audio interfaces to DI boxes and the live audio console)

Powered USB Extension Cables

One way to extend your USB connection is by using a powered USB extension cable. There are a couple of requirements to successfully use a powered USB cable.

  • The connected USB cable must follow the above required lengths

  • The USB active repeater must be powered by an external power adapter

  • The USB 2.0 extender length cannot exceed 25 meters

  • The USB 3.0 extender length cannot exceed 15 meters

3. Powered USB Hub

Powered USB Hubs are a very useful tool for connecting multiple devices to interact with Playback, such as an audio interface, MIDI controller, and ethernet adapter for sending MIDI Cues over a network. However, there are important things to take into account when using a USB Hub.

  • USB Hub must be powered to work with Playback

  • USB Hub cannot exceed 7 USB accessory ports

  • Only 1 audio interface can be connected to the USB Hub at once, to ensure that Playback sends audio to the correct device

Check Your Audio Connection

  1. Auto Pan Cable: If you are using Auto Pan to send the click/guide out of the left channel and the tracks out of the right channel, then an audio splitter cable is likely a part of your setup. Make sure that you are using a high-quality cable with as few adaptor connections as possible. Here is a troubleshooting walkthrough for checking your AutoPan splitter cable connection.

  2. Audio Interface: Playback supports multiple USB audio interfaces for sending multiple audio outputs to an audio system. While Playback is generally compatible with most Class-Compliant USB audio interfaces, we recommend looking through our growing list of audio devices tested and confirmed for compatibility with Playback. Find the list of supported audio devices here.

Still encountering audio issues with Playback? Please reach out to our support team and we will do our best to help you solve your issue.

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