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I wanted to make one big post of audio troubleshooting solutions I've found over the years. There are many posts on here regarding "Audio engine failed to load," from every version of Finale going back a number of years. Many of the suggested solutions advise to move a folder or delete preferences and start from scratch.

What works for me may not work for everyone, but it's worth sharing (and some of these solve Kontakt and Aria Player issues too). I'm running a new PC with Windows 10 Home 64-bit and Finale v26.3.1.520. I literally built the PC last night - Windows is brand new, Finale is brand new. And these are the steps I went through today dealing with the inevitable audio engine crash:

1.  Change Finale audio output to DirectSound. Finale menu, MIDI/Audio>Device Setup>Audio Setup. Switch Audio Driver to DirectSound. Make sure the other drop-boxes populate with your main output/speaker/headphone jack that you use. Depending on what you encounter in the next few steps, Finale may undo your changes...

2.  Check which audio devices are set to default versus which ones are actually receiving signal. Go to your system Sound properties. Play some sample audio from anything, and see which devices show activity in their volume meters. In my case, this revealed that a device which wasn't set to default was intercepting the signal (optical audio output in spite of nothing plugged into it). I disabled the interfering device and double checked that my main output was set as the default device.

3.  Check your audio devices for Exclusive Mode. In system Sound properties choose a device, go to Properties>Advanced tab, and un-check Exclusive Mode. I've had issues with this where no other programs can play audio if Finale is open.

4.  In system Sound properties, in the Recording tab, see if you have a Stereo Mix device. Not all sound cards have this, but if you do, make sure it's enabled and set as the default device (and go to Properties>Advanced tab, and un-check Exclusive Mode).

5.  If you have Realtek audio, like many people do, you may find that it likes to rename audio devices as you plug or un-plug things. Just keep yourself apprised of device names in the Realtek Audio Console. I've seen it rename "Speakers" to "Headphone Jack," as well as change the primary rear audio port to "secondary headphone."

Hopefully these are helpful to someone. If anyone has more solutions, go ahead and add them.

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Changing to direct sound worked great!  Thanks for that.

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