Capabilities & Support



  • Windows: 7 or newer
  • macOS: 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or newer
  • Linux: should support any distro with a working ALSA implementation


Python 3.7 and up is officially supported and wheels (with pre-built binaries) are available for Windows and macOS. Earlier versions of Python may work as well when building the extension from source (as on Linux).

Asynchronous Interface

The module implements an asynchronous interface, meaning that program execution continues immediately after audio playback is started and a background thread takes care of the rest. This makes it easy to incorporate audio playback into GUI-driven applications that need to remain responsive. This also means that real-time audio applications (such as a synthesizer) are not possible since the entire audio clip to be played must be ready before playback.

Audio Formats

Simpleaudio supports standard integer 8-, 16-, and 24-bit integer formats, as well as 32-bit floating point. 8-bit is unsigned. 16-bit and 24-bit are signed little-endian. 24-bit is three bytes per sample packed - i.e. each sample is three bytes followed immediately by the next three-byte sample, without any padding byte to align to a 4-byte word boundary). 32-bit is little-endian floating point.

Mono (1-channel) and stereo (2-channel) audio is supported.

The following sample rates are allowed (though not necessarily guaranteed to be supported on your platform/hardware): 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192 kHz.

Comparison to PyAudio

PyAudio is another cross-platform audio library for Python. While it has more capability than simpleaudio, such as recording and continuous audio streaming, it depends on having PortAudio which makes for a more complicated installation. Simpleaudio is intended to be one-stop shopping for a cross-platform audio interface intended for sound clip playback.