Short Tutorial


Import the simpleaudio module:

import simpleaudio as sa

Playing audio directly

The simplest way to play audio is with play_buffer(). The audio_data parameter must be an object which supports the buffer interface. (bytes objects, Python arrays, and Numpy arrays all qualify.):

play_obj = sa.play_buffer(audio_data, 2, 2, 44100)

The play_obj object is an instance of PlayObject which could be viewed as a ‘handle’ to the audio playback initiated by the play_buffer() call. This can be used to stop playback of the audio clip:


It can used to check whether a sound clip is still playing:

if play_obj.is_playing():
   print("still playing")

It can also be used to wait for the audio playback to finish. This is espcially useful when a script or program would otherwise exit before playback is done (stopping the playback thread and consequently the audio):

# script exit


In order to facilitate cleaner code, the WaveObject class is provided which stores a reference to the object containing the audio as well as a copy of the playback parameters. These can be instantiated like so:

wave_obj = sa.WaveObject(audio_data, 2, 2, 44100)

Playback is started with play() and a PlayObject is returned as with play_buffer():

play_obj =

A class method exists in order to conveniently create WaveObject instances directly from WAV files on disk:

wave_obj = sa.WaveObject.from_wave_file(path_to_file)

Similarly, instances can be created from Wave_read objects returned from from the Python standard library:

wave_read =, 'rb')
wave_obj = sa.WaveObject.from_wave_read(wave_read)

Using Numpy

Numpy arrays can be used to store audio but there are a few crucial requirements. If they are to store stereo audio, the array must have two columns since each column contains one channel of audio data. They must also have a signed 16-bit integer dtype and the sample amplitude values must consequently fall in the range of -32768 to 32767. Here is an example of a simple way to ‘normalize’ the audio (making it cover the whole amplitude rage but not exceeding it):

audio_array *= 32767 / max(abs(audio_array))

And here is an example of converting it to the proper data type (note that this should always be done after normalization or other amplitude changes):

audio_array = audio_array.astype(np.int16)

Here is a full example that plays a few sinewave notes in succession:

import numpy as np
import simpleaudio as sa

# calculate note frequencies
A_freq = 440
Csh_freq = A_freq * 2 ** (4 / 12)
E_freq = A_freq * 2 ** (7 / 12)

# get timesteps for each sample, T is note duration in seconds
sample_rate = 44100
T = 0.25
t = np.linspace(0, T, T * sample_rate, False)

# generate sine wave notes
A_note = np.sin(A_freq * t * 2 * np.pi)
Csh_note = np.sin(Csh_freq * t * 2 * np.pi)
E_note = np.sin(E_freq * t * 2 * np.pi)

# concatenate notes
audio = np.hstack((A_note, Csh_note, E_note))
# normalize to 16-bit range
audio *= 32767 / np.max(np.abs(audio))
# convert to 16-bit data
audio = audio.astype(np.int16)

# start playback
play_obj = sa.play_buffer(audio, 1, 2, sample_rate)

# wait for playback to finish before exiting