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command-line speaker test tone generator for ALSA

see also : aplay


speaker-test [-options]

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speaker-test -c 4 -t wav -l 1
speaker-test -t sine -b 1000 -p 1000 -f 1000 -l 2 > /dev/null
rhythmbox-client --play
echo | date
rhythmbox-client --pause
speaker-test -t sine -b 1000 -p 1000 -f 1000 -l 2 > /dev/null
bash "$1"
sleep 300
read lala
speaker-test -c 6 -l 1 -t wav
echo "Aufnahmetest"
echo "Ausgabesoundkarte suchen: Kopfhörer einstecken"


speaker-test generates a tone that can be used to test the speakers of a computer.

speaker-test by default will test the default device. If you want to test another sound device you will have first to get a list of all of the sound cards in your system and the devices associated with those cards. Notice that there might be for example, one device for analog sound, one for digital sound and one for HDMI sound. To get the list of available cards and devices you can run aplay -L.

$ aplay -L
Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
Intel ICH5, Intel ICH5
Default Audio Device
Intel ICH5, Intel ICH5
Front speakers
Intel ICH5, Intel ICH5
4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers

in the above example, there are four devices listed: null, default, front and surround40. So, if you want to test the last device you can run speaker-test -Dsurround40:ICH5 -c 6. The -c option will indicate that the six audio channels in the device have to be tested.


-c | --channels NUM

NUM channels in stream

-D | --device NAME

PCM device name NAME

-f | --frequency FREQ

sine wave of FREQ Hz


Print usage help

-b | --buffer TIME

Use buffer size of TIME microseconds. When 0 is given, use the maximal buffer size. The default value is 0.

-p | --period TIME

Use period size of TIME microseconds. When 0 is given, the periods given by -P option is used. The default value is 0.

-P | --nperiods PERIODS

Use number of periods. The default value is 4.

-r | --rate RATE

stream of RATE Hz

-t | --test pink|sine|wav

-t pink means use pink noise (default).

Pink noise is perceptually uniform noise -- that is, it sounds like every frequency at once. If you can hear any tone it may indicate resonances in your speaker system or room.

-t sine means to use sine wave.

-t wav means to play WAV files, either pre-defined files or given via -w option.

You can pass the number from 1 to 3 as a backward compatibility.

-l | --nloops COUNT

Specifies the number of loops. Zero means to run infinitely.

When -s option below with a valid channel is given, speaker-test will perform always a single-shot without looping.

-s | --speaker CHANNEL

Do a single-shot speaker test for the given channel. The channel number starts from 1. The channel number corresponds to left, right, rear-left, rear-right, center, LFE, side-left, side-right, and so on.

For example, when 1 is passed, it tests the left channel only once rather than both channels with looping.

-w | --wavfile

Use the given WAV file for the playback instead of pre-defined WAV files.

-W | --wavdir

Specify the directory containing WAV files for playback. The default path is /usr/share/sounds/alsa.

usage examples

Produce stereo sound from one stereo jack:

  speaker-test -Dplug:front -c2

Produce 4 speaker sound from two stereo jacks:

  speaker-test -Dplug:surround40 -c4

Produce 5.1 speaker sound from three stereo jacks:

  speaker-test -Dplug:surround51 -c6

To send a nice low 75Hz tone to the Woofer and then exit without touching any other speakers:

  speaker-test -Dplug:surround51 -c6 -s1 -f75

To do a 2-speaker test using the spdif (coax or optical) output:

  speaker-test -Dplug:spdif -c2

see also



The speaker-test program was written by James Courtier-Dutton. Pink noise support was added by Nathan Hurst. Further extensions by Takashi Iwai.

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