M4 says I/O is "System Default" but that's not the device it uses for playback

• Jun 4, 2023 - 14:16

I'm just now starting to try to convert from M3.6 to M4, and -- as expected -- am hitting a fairly steep learning curve. Running on Windows 11, both M3.6 and M4 have eccentricities related to sound playback:

-- M3.6 from time to time (for reasons unknown) won't playback. But with help from this Forum I've learned that toggling the "MIDI Input" icon off and on will fix that. So far, I haven't hit that problem with M4.

-- Both M3.6 and M4 from time to time (for reasons unknown) choose an audio playback device different from the System Default. Usually they pick the headphone outlet on my RODE mic as an output device, even though the Win11 system default audio playback is a LG922 webcam. (Win11 has its own weirdness in this respect. Occasionally when updates are installed, it resets the default audio playback to the RODE mic -- even when there are no headphones plugged in.) With M3.6, when I recognize this error, at least I can correct it via Edit | Preferences, changing the IO device to the one I want.

But M4 stubbornly refuses to use anything but the Rode. Even after I change its Edit | Preferences IO from "System Default" to the LG922 (see attached example), it still directs sound to the RODE. (I even tried disabling the RODE speaker in the Win11 control panel, but M4 somehow finds a backdoor and plays on the RODE. Luckily, I happened to have my RODE headphones plugged in, but not on my head, so I could hear the faint output sound and figure out what's happening.) One difference I noticed is that the M4 Edit Preferences doesn't seem to have the "Restart Audio and MIDI Devices" button that M3_6 had.

I understand the reasons why from time to time it's necessary to completely overhaul a program in order to provide a platform for the future. I was fully prepared to endure the painful process of transitioning as a user. But now I'm totally discouraged. Mostly I just use MuseScore to create "fake book" type charts for vocal jazz (i.e. treble clef plus chords). For this purpose, it's been a wonderful tool . (Over the past several years, I've created charts for over 500 songs). But most of the announced improvements for M4 are for features I can't imagine ever wanting to use. So right now, I don't have the time to take a course covering the complete MuseScore features. I thought I'd be able to teach myself enough to convert to the latest version. I don't want to be one of the stubborn holdouts continuing to use an obsolete version for which it's not practical to provide support. But when I can't seem to get the simplest things to work properly, I'm not so sure.

Thanks in advance for any advice anybody can offer.


Check out this How TO. Especially the part about turning off "Exclusive mode" for you audio device. And just a reminder to not change audio devices while MU4 is running. For example, don't unplug your headphones while MU4 is open. It will probably crash.
I think many of the changes in MU4 are about things being in different places. Kind of like every time a new version of Windows comes out. It takes a bit of getting used to.

In reply to by bobjp

Thanks for the suggestion. But that doesn't explain why even though MU4 Edit Preferences shows it thinks the I/O Device is "LG922 webcam", the physical device from which sound is emitting is still the headphones attached to the RODE Mic.

As for crashes, in the several years I've been using MuseScore, I've had it crash from time to time, but it doesn't seem to destroy any files when that happens, so it's no big deal. Also, I'm careful (some might say paranoid) about saving backup files as I work, so I've never lost any significant amount of data. And of course, one of things I've tried to fix THIS problem was to close MU4 and start again, but that didn't help.

Yep, I realize that the main changes in systems upgrades are often just that "things are in different places", but the time required to FIND where those places are can be considerable. Having transitioned through multiple versions of Windows since 3.1, I always dread the changes. Last time, I jumped from Win7 to Win11 just to avoid one more (confusing) version of the control panel options.

In reply to by MandyWh

At least turn off Exclusive mode. I don't know everything that it does. But think about it. Do you want one audio device to take control of everything? Especially if you have multiple devices?
I learned about it from using Sibelius. I had to turn it off there, also.

In reply to by bobjp

Yes, I have turned off "Exclusive Mode" in the Win11 sound settings for both the LG922 speakers (which is what I want to use for MU4) and for the RODE mic headphones, which seems to be MU4's personal favorite, even when its IO preferences SAY it's using the "System Default" speaker. (Btw, it strikes me as idiotic that Win11 makes "Exclusive Mode" the default option for audio output -- thus giving any poorly designed app carte blanche to muck up the whole sound system. Then to add to the fun, Win11 buries the panel where you can turn the blooming thing OFF several layers down in "advanced" properties. Aaaarrrrrgggh!! [g])

Anyhow, I have given my best shot at getting MU4 audio to work properly, and for now I'll admit defeat. Currently, I need to use MuseScore to get things done, so I'll stick with MU3.6. In a while, I'll regroup and try MU4 again. I appreciate that it has been designed so that it doesn't wipe out the previously installed version, which would force everybody to upgrade in one swell foop. When I have more time, I'll give the upgrade another try.

But thanks again for the advice.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.