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PortAudio is a cross-platform, open-source C language library for real-time audio input and output.


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PortAudio - portable audio I/O library

PortAudio is a portable audio I/O library designed for cross-platform support of audio. It uses either a callback mechanism to request audio processing, or blocking read/write calls to buffer data between the native audio subsystem and the client. Audio can be processed in various formats, including 32 bit floating point, and will be converted to the native format internally.


  • Documentation is available at
  • Or at /doc/html/index.html after running Doxygen.
  • Also see src/common/portaudio.h for the API spec.
  • And see the examples/ and test/ directories for many examples of usage. (We suggest examples/paex_saw.c for an example.)

For information on compiling programs with PortAudio, please see the tutorial at:

We have an active mailing list for user and developer discussions. Please feel free to join. See for details.

Important Files and Folders:

include/portaudio.h     = header file for PortAudio API. Specifies API.	
src/common/             = platform independent code, host independent 
                          code for all implementations.
src/os                  = os specific (but host api neutral) code
src/hostapi             = implementations for different host apis

Host API Implementations:

src/hostapi/alsa        = Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA)
src/hostapi/asihpi      = AudioScience HPI
src/hostapi/asio        = ASIO for Windows and Macintosh
src/hostapi/audioio     = /dev/audio (Solaris/NetBSD Audio)
src/hostapi/coreaudio   = Macintosh Core Audio for OS X
src/hostapi/dsound      = Windows Direct Sound
src/hostapi/jack        = JACK Audio Connection Kit
src/hostapi/oss         = Unix Open Sound System (OSS)
src/hostapi/pulseaudio  = Sound system for POSIX OSes
src/hostapi/sndio       = Small audio and MIDI framework (sndio)
src/hostapi/wasapi      = Windows Vista WASAPI
src/hostapi/wdmks       = Windows WDM Kernel Streaming
src/hostapi/wmme        = Windows MultiMedia Extensions (MME)

Test Programs:

test/pa_fuzz.c         = guitar fuzz box
test/pa_devs.c         = print a list of available devices
test/pa_minlat.c       = determine minimum latency for your machine
test/paqa_devs.c       = self test that opens all devices
test/paqa_errs.c       = test error detection and reporting
test/patest_clip.c     = hear a sine wave clipped and unclipped
test/patest_dither.c   = hear effects of dithering (extremely subtle)
test/patest_pink.c     = fun with pink noise
test/patest_record.c   = record and playback some audio
test/patest_maxsines.c = how many sine waves can we play? Tests Pa_GetCPULoad().
test/patest_sine.c     = output a sine wave in a simple PA app
test/patest_sync.c     = test synchronization of audio and video
test/patest_wire.c     = pass input to output, wire simulator