Audio Playback and Recording


In Android apps, there are often cases where we need to play audio files. Checking the Supported Media Formats we can see that several audio formats (MP3, AAC, FLAC, Vorbis) are playable by default.

In this guide we will take a look at how to play audio content using the MediaPlayer and capture audio with the MediaRecorder.

Playing Local Audio

To play local audio in the supported formats, first we should put the local audio file into the res/raw folder. For example put this sample_audio.mp3 into res/raw/sample_audio.mp3.

Note: If you get the compile error message INVALID FILE NAME: MUST CONTAIN ONLY [a-z0-9_.], this is because your MP3 can only have lowercase letters, numbers, periods, and underscores in its name.

Now we can use the MediaPlayer in order to playback any local files:

MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = MediaPlayer.create(this, R.raw.sample_audio);

On call to start() method, the music will start playing from the beginning. If this method is called again after the pause() method, the music would start playing from where it left off and not from the beginning. To play back audio from a local file path, simply do:

Uri myUri = "...."; // initialize Uri here
MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = new MediaPlayer();
mediaPlayer.setDataSource(getApplicationContext(), myUri);
// or just mediaPlayer.setDataSource(mFileName);
mediaPlayer.prepare(); // must call prepare first
mediaPlayer.start(); // then start

We can release the resources taken by the player by calling release to free up system resources:

mediaPlayer = null;

MediaPlayer has many key methods to control playback such as:

MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = MediaPlayer.create(this, R.raw.sample_audio);
mediaPlayer.start();              // start the audio from last location
mediaPlayer.pause();              // pause audio
mediaPlayer.reset();              // reset audio to beginning of track
mediaPlayer.isPlaying();          // returns true/false indicating the song is playing
mediaPlayer.seekTo(100);           // move song to that particular millisecond
mediaPlayer.getCurrentDuration(); // current position of song in milliseconds
mediaPlayer.getDuration();        // total time duration of song in milliseconds

Check the MediaPlayer docs for a full list of methods. These are the basics for playing audio but check out this androidhive and this tutorial if you want to understand how to hook up a graphical interface for managing the audio playback.

Playing Streaming Audio

If you are using MediaPlayer to stream network-based content, your application must request network access in the manifest:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />

Now we can stream remote audio files in the supported formats with:

String url = "";
final MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = new MediaPlayer();
// Set type to streaming
// Listen for if the audio file can't be prepared
mediaPlayer.setOnErrorListener(new OnErrorListener() {
	public boolean onError(MediaPlayer mp, int what, int extra) {
		// ... react appropriately ...
        // The MediaPlayer has moved to the Error state, must be reset!
		return false;
// Attach to when audio file is prepared for playing
mediaPlayer.setOnPreparedListener(new OnPreparedListener() {
	public void onPrepared(MediaPlayer mp) {
// Set the data source to the remote URL
// Trigger an async preparation which will file listener when completed

With that, the remote file will start streaming once preparation is completed and loading the audio file won't block the UI thread. For more details, see the official MediaPlayer playback guide.

Capturing Audio

You can record audio using the MediaRecorder APIs if supported by the device hardware.

First, let's add the correct permissions to our AndroidManifest.xml (Note: The permissions model has changed starting in Marshmallow. If your targetSdkVersion >= 23 and you are running on a Marshmallow (or later) device, you may need to enable runtime permissions. You should also read more about the runtime permissions changes):

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO" />

Recording audio is as simple as starting and stopping the MediaRecorder:

// File path of recorded audio
private String mFileName;
private static final String LOG_TAG = "AudioRecordTest";
// Verify that the device has a mic first
PackageManager pmanager = this.getPackageManager();
if (pmanager.hasSystemFeature(PackageManager.FEATURE_MICROPHONE)) {
    // Set the file location for the audio
    mFileName = Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory().getAbsolutePath();
    mFileName += "/audiorecordtest.3gp";
    // Create the recorder
    MediaRecorder mediaRecorder = new MediaRecorder();
    // Set the audio format and encoder
    // Setup the output location
    // Start the recording
    try {
    } catch (IOException e) {
        Log.e(LOG_TAG, "prepare() failed");
} else { // no mic on device
    Toast.makeText(this, "This device doesn't have a mic!", Toast.LENGTH_LONG).show();

When you want to stop capturing audio, simply notify the recorder:

// Stop the recording of the audio

If you wanted to now playback the recorded audio:

MediaPlayer mediaPlayer = new MediaPlayer();
mediaPlayer.prepare(); // must call prepare first
mediaPlayer.start(); // then start

If you wanted to add this audio to the media library on the phone:

// Setup values for the media file
ContentValues values = new ContentValues(4);
long current = System.currentTimeMillis();
values.put(MediaStore.Audio.Media.TITLE, "audio file");
values.put(MediaStore.Audio.Media.DATE_ADDED, (int) (current / 1000));
values.put(MediaStore.Audio.Media.MIME_TYPE, "audio/3gpp");
values.put(MediaStore.Audio.Media.DATA, audiofile.getAbsolutePath());
ContentResolver contentResolver = getContentResolver();
// Construct uris
Uri base = MediaStore.Audio.Media.EXTERNAL_CONTENT_URI;
Uri newUri = contentResolver.insert(base, values);
// Trigger broadcast to add
sendBroadcast(new Intent(Intent.ACTION_MEDIA_SCANNER_SCAN_FILE, newUri));
Toast.makeText(this, "Added File " + newUri, Toast.LENGTH_LONG).show();

For more details, check out this tutorialspoint article and the official Audio Capture guide.


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