Updating ALSA on Raspbian Stretch

This post shows how to update ALSA [1] on Raspberry Pi running Raspbian Stretch. As of writing this post (Dec. 9th 2018) the latest ALSA version is 1.1.7.


Setup (parentheses indicate my environment)

  • Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi3) running Raspbian Stretch (Nov. 2018)
  • Speaker connected to Raspberry Pi’s 3.5 mm audio jack


1. Checking Preinstalled ALSA Version
1-1. First, let’s check the current ALSA version.

The result should be like below. In this example (Raspbian Stretch 2018 Nov. version), the preinstalled ALSA version is 1.1.3.


2. alsa-lib Installation [2]
2-1. Download alsa-lib.

2-2. Extract the directory.

2-3. Move to the extracted directory.

2-4. Configure.

2-5. Build and install.


3. Curses Library Installation
ALSA requires a curses library.

3-1. Update the package list.

3-2. Install “libncursesw5-dev”.


4. alsa-utils Installation [3]
4-1. Download alsa-utils.

4-2. Extract the directory.

4-3. Move to the extracted directory.

4-4. Configure.

4-5. Build and install.


5. Verification
5-1. Check ALSA version.

The result should be like below. In this example, ALSA was updated from 1.1.3 (see step 1-1) to 1.1.7.

5-2. Make sure ALSA is working by using speaker-test [4]. If everything is fine, you should be able to hear the wav sound from the connected speaker.

5-3. Press ctrl-c to stop the speaker-test.


[1] Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) project homepage
[2] alsa-lib-1.1.7 – Linux From Scratch!
[3] alsa-utils-1.1.7 – Linux From Scratch!
[4] Using ALSA’s speaker-test utility




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