[UNMAINTAINED] - Simple Audio IO in Julia
62 Stars
Updated Last
1 Year Ago
Started In
December 2013


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This package is no longer being maintained. I suggest you check out the JuliaAudio family of packages for audio-related work in Julia

AudioIO interfaces to audio streams, including real-time recording, audio processing, and playback through your sound card using PortAudio. It also supports reading and writing audio files in a variety of formats. It is under active development and the low-level API could change, but the basic functionality (reading and writing files, the play function, etc.) should be stable and usable by the general Julia community.

File I/O

File I/O is handled by libsndfile, so we can support a wide variety of file and sample formats. Use the function to open a file. It has the same API as the built-in, but returns an AudioFile type. Opening an audio file and reading its contents into an array is as simple as:

f ="data/never_gonna_give_you_up.wav")
data = read(f)

Or to hand closing the file automatically (including in the case of unexpected exceptions), we support the do block syntax:

data ="data/never_gonna_let_you_down.wav") do f

By default the returned array will be in whatever format the original audio file is (Float32, UInt16, etc.). We also support automatic conversion by supplying a type:

data ="data/never_gonna_run_around.wav") do f
    read(f, Float32)

Basic Array Playback

Arrays in various formats can be played through your soundcard. Currently the native format that is delivered to the PortAudio backend is Float32 in the range of [-1, 1]. Arrays in other sizes of float are converted. Arrays in Signed or Unsigned Integer types are scaled so that the full range is mapped to [-1, 1] floating point values.

To play a 1-second burst of noise:

julia> v = rand(44100) * 0.1
julia> play(v)


In addition to the basic play function you can create more complex networks of AudioNodes in a render chain. In fact, when using the basic play to play an Array, behind the scenes an instance of the ArrayPlayer type is created and added to the master AudioMixer inputs. Audionodes also implement a stop function, which will remove them from the render graph. When an implicit AudioNode is created automatically, such as when using play on an Array, the play function should return the audio node that is playing the Array, so it can be stopped if desired.

To explictly do the same as above:

julia> v = rand(44100) * 0.1
julia> player = ArrayPlayer(v)
julia> play(player)

To generate 2 sin tones:

julia> osc1 = SinOsc(440)
julia> osc2 = SinOsc(660)
julia> play(osc1)
julia> play(osc2)
julia> stop(osc1)
julia> stop(osc2)

All AudioNodes must implement a render function that can be called to retreive the next block of audio.


AudioStreams represent an external source or destination for audio, such as the sound card. The play function attaches AudioNodes to the default stream unless a stream is given as the 2nd argument.

AudioStream is an abstract type, which currently has a PortAudioStream subtype that writes to the sound card, and a TestAudioStream that is used in the unit tests.

Currently only 1 stream at a time is supported so there's no reason to provide an explicit stream to the play function. The stream has a root mixer field which is an instance of the AudioMixer type, so that multiple AudioNodes can be heard at the same time. Whenever a new frame of audio is needed by the sound card, the stream calls the render method on the root audio mixer, which will in turn call the render methods on any input AudioNodes that are set up as inputs.


To install the latest release version, simply run

julia> Pkg.add("AudioIO")

If you want to install the lastest master, it's almost as easy:

julia> Pkg.clone("AudioIO")