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Platform independent interfacing of numpy arrays of floats with audio files and devices.

Documentation | API Reference

The AudioIO modules try to use whatever audio packages are installed on your system to achieve their tasks. AudioIO itself does not provide own code for decoding files and accessing audio hardware.


  • Audio data are always numpy arrays of floats (np.float64) with values ranging between -1 and 1 ...
  • ... independent of how the data are stored in an audio file.
  • load_audio() function for loading a whole audio file.
  • Blockwise random-access loading of large audio files (class AudioLoader).
  • blocks() generator for iterating over blocks of data with optional overlap.
  • write_audio() function for writing data to an audio file.
  • Platform independent playback of numpy arrays (play()).
  • Synchronous (blocking) and asynchronous (non blocking) playback.
  • Automatic resampling of data for playback to match supported sampling rates.
  • Detailed and platform specific installation instructions (pip, conda, Debian and RPM based Linux packages, homebrew for MacOS) for all supported audio packages.


Simply run (as superuser):

pip install audioio

Then you can use already installed audio packages for reading and writing audio files and for playing audio data. However, audio file formats supported by the python standard library are limited to basic wave files and playback capabilities are poor. If you need support for additional audio file formats or proper sound output, you need to install additional packages.

See installation for further instructions and recommendations on additional audio packages.


See API Reference for detailed information.

import audioio as aio

Loading audio data

Load an audio file into a numpy array:

data, samplingrate = aio.load_audio('audio/file.wav')

The read in data are always numpy arrays of floats ranging between -1 and 1. The arrays are always 2-D arrays with first axis time and second axis channel, even for single channel data.

Plot the first channel:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

time = np.arange(len(data))/samplingrate
plt.plot(time, data[:,0])

You can also randomly access chunks of data of an audio file, without loading the entire file into memory. This is really handy for analysing very long sound recordings:

# open audio file with a buffer holding 60 seconds of data:
with aio.open_audio_loader('audio/file.wav', 60.0) as data:
     block = 1000
     rate = data.samplerate
     for i in range(len(data)//block):
         x = data[i*block:(i+1)*block]
         # ... do something with x and rate

Even simpler, iterate in blocks over the file with overlap:

from scipy.signal import spectrogram
nfft = 2048
with aio.AudioLoader('some/audio.wav') as data:
    for x in data.blocks(100*nfft, nfft//2):
        f, t, Sxx = spectrogram(x, nperseg=nfft, noverlap=nfft//2)

See API documentation of the audioloader module for details.

Writing audio data

Write a 1-D or 2-D numpy array into an audio file (data values between -1 and 1):

aio.write_audio('audio/file.wav', data, samplerate)

Again, in 2-D arrays the first axis (rows) is time and the second axis the channel (columns).

See API documentation of the audiowriter module for details.

Converting audio files

AudioIO provides a simple command line script to convert audio files:

> audioconverter -e float -o test.wav test.mp3

See API documentation of the audioconverter module for details.

Playing sounds

Fade in and out and play a 1-D or 2-D numpy array as a sound (first axis is time and second axis the channel):

aio.fade(data, samplingrate, 0.2), samplingrate)

Just beep


Beep for half a second and 440 Hz:

aio.beep(0.5, 440.0)
aio.beep(0.5, 'a4')

Musical notes are translated into frequency with the note2freq() function.

See API documentation of the playaudio module for details.

Managing audio modules

Simply run in your terminal

> audiomodules

to see which audio modules you have already installed on your system, which ones are recommended to install, and how to install them.

See API documentation of the audiomodules module for details.


All the audio modules AudioIO is using.

Reading and writing audio files:

Playing sounds:

Related audio software:

  • diapason: musical notes like playaudio.note2freq.
  • librosa: audio and music processing in python.
  • TimeView: GUI application to view and analyze time series signal data.