PortAudio  2.0
Building PortAudio for Windows using Microsoft Visual Studio

Below is a list of steps to build PortAudio into a dll and lib file. The resulting dll file may contain all five current win32 PortAudio APIs: MME, DirectSound, WASAPI, WDM/KS and ASIO, depending on the preprocessor definitions set in step 9 below.

PortAudio can be compiled using Visual C++ Express Edition which is available free from Microsoft. If you do not already have a C++ development environment, simply download and install. These instructions have been observed to succeed using Visual Studio 2010 as well.

1) Building PortAudio with DirectSound support requires the files dsound.h and dsconf.h. Download and install the DirectX SDK from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=3021d52b-514e-41d3-ad02-438a3ba730ba to obtain these files. If you installed the DirectX SDK then the DirectSound libraries and header files should be found automatically by Visual Studio/Visual C++. If you get an error saying dsound.h or dsconf.h is missing, you will need to add an extra include path to the Visual Studio project file referencing the DirectX includes directory.

2) For ASIO support, download the ASIO SDK from Steinberg at http://www.steinberg.net/en/company/developer.html . The SDK is free, but you will need to set up a developer account with Steinberg. To use the Visual Studio projects mentioned below, copy the entire ASIOSDK2 folder into src\hostapi\asio Rename it from ASIOSDK2 to ASIOSDK. To build without ASIO (or other host API) see the "Building without ASIO support" section below.

3) If you have Visual Studio 6.0, 7.0(VC.NET/2001) or 7.1(VC.2003), open portaudio.dsp and convert if needed.

4) If you have Visual Studio 2005, Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition or Visual Studio 2010, open the portaudio.sln file located in build\msvc Doing so will open Visual Studio or Visual C++. Click "Finish" if a conversion wizard appears. The sln file contains four configurations: Win32 and Win64 in both Release and Debug variants.

For Visual Studio 2005, Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition or Visual Studio 2010

The steps below describe settings for recent versions of Visual Studio. Similar settings can be set in earlier versions of Visual Studio.

5) Open Project -> portaudio Properties and select "Configuration Properties" in the tree view.

6) Select "all configurations" in the "Configurations" combo box above. Select "All Platforms" in the "Platforms" combo box.

7) Now set a few options:


C/C++ -> Code Generation -> Runtime library = /MT


C/C++ -> Optimization -> Omit frame pointers = Yes

Optional: C/C++ -> Code Generation -> Floating point model = fast

NOTE: When using PortAudio from C/C++ it is not usually necessary to explicitly set the structure member alignment; the default should work fine. However some languages require, for example, 4-byte alignment. If you are having problems with portaudio.h structure members not being properly read or written to, it may be necessary to explicitly set this value by going to C/C++ -> Code Generation -> Struct member alignment and setting it to an appropriate value (four is a common value). If your compiler is configurable, you should ensure that it is set to use the same structure member alignment value as used for the PortAudio build.

Click "Ok" when you have finished setting these parameters.

Preprocessor Definitions

Since the preprocessor definitions are different for each configuration and platform, you'll need to edit these individually for each configuration/platform combination that you want to modify using the "Configurations" and "Platforms" combo boxes.

8) To suppress PortAudio runtime debug console output, go to Project -> Properties -> Configuration Properties -> C/C++ -> Preprocessor. In the field 'Preprocessor Definitions', find PA_ENABLE_DEBUG_OUTPUT and remove it. The console will not output debug messages.

9) Also in the preprocessor definitions you need to explicitly define the native audio APIs you wish to use. For Windows the available API definitions are:

PA_USE_DS (DirectSound)

For each of these, the value of 0 indicates that support for this API should not be included. The value 1 indicates that support for this API should be included. (PA_USE_SKELETON is not usually used, it is a code sample for developers wanting to support a new API).


As when setting Preprocessor definitions, building is a per-configuration per-platform process. Follow these instructions for each configuration/platform combination that you're interested in.

10) From the Build menu click Build -> Build solution. For 32-bit compilations, the dll file created by this process (portaudio_x86.dll) can be found in the directory build\msvc\Win32\Release. For 64-bit compilations, the dll file is called portaudio_x64.dll, and is found in the directory build\msvc\x64\Release.

11) Now, any project that requires portaudio can be linked with portaudio_x86.lib (or _x64) and include the relevant headers (portaudio.h, and/or pa_asio.h , pa_x86_plain_converters.h) You may want to add/remove some DLL entry points. At the time of writing the following 6 entries are not part of the official PortAudio API defined in portaudio.h:

(from portaudio.def)

PaAsio_GetAvailableLatencyValues @50
PaUtil_InitializeX86PlainConverters @52
PaUtil_SetLogPrintFunction @55

Building without ASIO support

To build PortAudio without ASIO support you need to:

1) Make sure your project doesn't try to build any ASIO SDK files. If you're using one of the shipped projects, remove the ASIO related files from the project. In the shipped projects you can find them in the project tree under portaudio > Source Files > hostapi > ASIO > ASIOSDK

2) Make sure your project doesn't try to build the PortAudio ASIO implementation files:


If you're using one of the shipped projects, remove them from the project. In the shipped projects you can find them in the project tree under portaudio > Source Files > hostapi > ASIO

3) Define the preprocessor symbols in the project properties as described in step 9 above. In VS2005 this can be accomplished by selecting Project Properties -> Configuration Properties -> C/C++ -> Preprocessor -> Preprocessor Definitions. Omitting PA_USE_ASIO or setting it to 0 stops src\os\win\pa_win_hostapis.c from trying to initialize the PortAudio ASIO implementation.

4) Remove PaAsio_* entry points from portaudio.def

David Viens, david.nosp@m.v@pl.nosp@m.ogue..nosp@m.com

Updated by Chris on 5/26/2011

Improvements by John Clements on 12/15/2011

Edits by Ross on 1/20/2014

Back to the Tutorial: PortAudio Tutorials