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In Windows Vista, Microsoft rewrote most of their audio systems. There are a number of audio APIs in the Windows API, notably dsound.dll, mmdevapi.dll, winmm.dll, and xaudio2*.dll. WinMM and DSound can be considered "legacy" APIs. For Windows Vista, Microsoft rewrote the legacy APIs to route their audio through the main audio system called MMDevAPI. Around the same time, the XAudio2 APIs were introduced as a replacement for dsound. More information can be found on MSDN's User-Mode Audio Components page.

Wine's audio DLLs are implemented similarly. All of our audio DLLs route through MMDevAPI. Wine's MMDevAPI currently supports several backends: ALSA, PulseAudio, OSSv4, and CoreAudio on OS X.


Wine's audio systems require a lot from your system's audio libraries. It relies on your system to perform mixing of separate audio streams, as well as to provide resampling. On modern ALSA machines, the "default" device can typically do both. However, if you configure Wine or another application to use your audio hardware directly (the "hw:0" interface, for example), you may find that only a single audio stream will play, which can cause audio problems in many applications. Please be sure to use only interfaces which support multiple streams.

System sounds

Ever missed the 'Ding' system sound and other standard Windows audio cues? Wine can play them if you tell it where to find PCM .wav files. Because every UNIX is different, Wine can't guess where to find them. See bug 21277 and add a section like this to your `drive_c/windows/win.ini`


Of course you must substitute paths to .wav PCM files found on your disk. Either UNIX or DOS pathname syntax is acceptable.

Help! My sound isn't working!

Here is some information about how to debug sound issues, or give the developers enough information to help you.

Make sure that Wine chose the correct driver backend. Wine should select the correct backend for you. If you don't know which backend is correct, this is probably not your problem. To see which backend Wine chose, launch the Wine configuration program winecfg and click the Audio tab. If you are using a Wine prefix from an older version of Wine, you may have an incompatible driver hard-coded into the registry. Please delete the Audio entry inside of the [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Wine\Drivers] registry key with the regedit program. If none of the above apply and Wine is failing to select the correct backend, then you have encountered a bug in Wine's automatic driver selection and you should report it.

If Wine is using the correct backend and audio still does not work, please consider filing a bug. See below for a list of information to include when filing a bug.

One thing you can try is switching Wine's compatibility mode between Windows 7 and Windows XP. Recent applications will detect the Windows version and either use the legacy APIs for pre-Vista operating systems, or the new MMDevAPI or XAudio2 modules for post-Vista operating systems. Choosing either Windows 7 or Windows XP may cause your application to use a different audio system, which may have better success. Please consider filing a bug if you find that your application's audio works in one mode but not the other, as Wine should support both.

SDL applications

SDL is a cross-platform graphics and sound library commonly used by games. The Windows SDL library contains support for several audio backends, such as "winmm" and "dsound". If the SDL_AUDIODRIVER environment variable is set, then SDL loads the matching backend, or fails if the backend isn't available.

Since SDL is a cross-platform library, it has this same functionality on Linux. Accordingly, some Linux distributions' SDL package will set the SDL_AUDIODRIVER environment variable to match the Linux backend so that SDL-using Linux applications will use the appropriate backend (e.g. "pulse").

But this creates problems for SDL applications run in Wine. The Windows SDL library loads the Linux SDL_AUDIODRIVER environment variable, which contains "pulse" or some other invalid backend for the Windows SDL library, and so audio fails to initialize in SDL-using Windows applications run through Wine.

The solution here is to unset your SDL_AUDIODRIVER environment variable before running Wine. This should restore your audio, as SDL will fall back on one of its default Windows drivers. Alternatively, you can create a new registry entry which will override the SDL_AUDIODRIVER environment variable for your Wine prefix:

[HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]

There is a patch available here which adds this environment variable override automatically. Packagers may find it useful.

OpenAL source limit

Many modern games and applications use the xaudio2 API. For a small handful of applications, Wine may issue this warning:

warn:xaudio2:OpenAL ran out of sources, consider increasing its source limit.

This means the application tried to create very many audio voices, and your OpenAL implementation refuses to create that many. To fix this, you can configure openal-soft to allow more voices. Edit the OpenAL configuration file. Possible paths include <$HOME/.config/alsoft.conf>, <$HOME/.alsoftrc>, or </etc/openal/alsoft.conf>. You can use the Apply button in the alsoft-config program to generate this file, and then edit it manually. Add this section to the file:


This will increase the source voice limit to 1,024. If you continue to get the warning, feel free to increase it further, though be aware that some poorly behaved OpenAL applications may not react well to very many OpenAL sources.

DirectMusic support

Wine's directmusic implementation (dmusic, dmime, dmloader, etc) is very incomplete. If your application uses directmusic for its audio, then it will not play audio. This includes most games made with GameMaker. However, installing both "directmusic" and "dsound" using winetricks should give you working audio.

What to include when filing a bug

In addition to the usual bug guidelines, please also include all of the following information:

  • Audio driver being used
  • Operating system
  • If possible, a +tid,+seh,+mmdevapi,+winmm,+driver,+msacm,+midi,+dsound,+dsound3d,+xaudio2,+xapofx,+dmusic,+mci,+pulse,+oss,+alsa,+coreaudio,+timestamp log. These can get very large very quickly, so try to do enough to trigger the bug, but no more.

Backend information


Wine has official support for PulseAudio. The driver should work well, but there are some known issues with unusual audio buffer and latency settings. If you find you are having choppy or no audio with some applications, then check to ensure the PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC variable is unset, and that you're using default buffering values in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf. Certain audio devices, especially USB audio devices, can cause PulseAudio to use different latency and buffering settings, which can cause issues with Wine. This is a known bug in Wine.


Wine does its best to probe your system for information about the available devices, but ALSA's device enumeration does not work very well. Wine will detect your hardware devices, but it may not be able to find software devices you have configured. To tell Wine about these devices, please set the following registry keys:

HKCU\Software\Wine\Drivers\winealsa.drv\ALSAOutputDevices  #Multi-string value containing output interface names
HKCU\Software\Wine\Drivers\winealsa.drv\ALSAInputDevices  #Multi-string value containing input interface names

You can specify them as defaults in the Audio tab in winecfg.

What about JACK?

JACK, the low-latency sound server, had a driver in the old driver architecture. It has been removed as part of the transition to MMDevAPI. This means that there is no JACK support in Wine at this time. If a developer is sufficiently motivated, they could implement an audio driver to restore support for JACK. The new driver would be expected to pass all tests, especially those in <dlls/mmdevapi/tests>, <dlls/winmm/tests>, and <dlls/dsound/tests>. An external git tree, frequently synced with main Wine, would be the best way to start. If this is a project you think you might undertake, please contact the wine-devel mailing list before you begin.

Users wanting to create a "bridge" to forward Wine's ALSA output to JACK can find streamlined setup instructions here.

WineASIO users need not fear! WineASIO's implementation is completely separate from the old drivers. If your application does all of its audio IO through ASIO, then your audio experience should not change.