Sample Format Specifications


PulseAudio is capable of handling a multitude of sample formats, rates and channels, transparently converting and mixing them as needed.

Sample Format

PulseAudio supports the following sample formats:

The floating point sample formats have the range from -1.0 to 1.0.

The sample formats that are sensitive to endianness have convenience macros for native endian (NE), and reverse endian (RE).

Sample Rates

PulseAudio supports any sample rate between 1 Hz and 192000 Hz. There is no point trying to exceed the sample rate of the output device though as the signal will only get downsampled, consuming CPU on the machine running the server.


PulseAudio supports up to 32 individual channels. The order of the channels is up to the application, but they must be continous. To map channels to speakers, see Channel Maps.


The PulseAudio library contains a number of convenience functions to do calculations on sample formats:

Convenience Functions

The library also contains a couple of other convenience functions: