Ameter is an Alsa meter plugin for Linux audio softwares, with a graphical display. 


Download ameter-0.44.tar.gz (400 ko)        

This program aims at giving level metering capability to Linux Alsa audio programs

that does not have it, and that cannot use Jack/Meterbrige ( Glame, aplay/arecord or mplayer are examples).

It can be used also for OSS applications like Realplayer (using Alsa OSS Compat library ( provides

aoss wrapper), and a properly written .asoundrc (example below) ).

It has an overload indicator, which can be resetted by pressing a key.


News :

- 2013-11-02: No change since 2006, but ameter is tested "ok" on Debian Wheezy 64 ...

- 2006-01-02: Ameter is broken when using Alsa 1.0.10 or 1.0.11rc1 (so use Alsa < 1.0.10, or Alsa > 1.0.11rc1),

The command :

cat /proc/asound/version

shows Alsa version.

- 2006-06-05: a Debian package is now available, thanks to a nice user : ameter_0.43_i386.deb

The source package below includes the Debian directory needed if you want to build the package yourself.


Please report problems to Laurent Georget


This plugin is heavily based on the level meter plugin from Abramo Bagnara <>

and on Meterbridge from Steve Harris :

Thanks to Abramo for his help.

Thanks to Andrew Burgess ( ) for fixing the aplay problem when interrupting with ctrl+c.

1) Requirements :

- Alsa (tested with 1.0.11rc2 , 1.0.9 and older) (Ameter is broken when using Alsa 1.0.10 or 1.0.11rc1)

- SDL and SDL_image with PNG support: packages should come with your Linux distribution :

(The 4 necessary packages are named libSDL1.2 , libSDL1.2-devel , libSDL_image1.2 , libSDL_image1.2-devel on Mandriva )

Alternatively, you can download SDL (source or packages ) here:


(tested with version 1.2 (may work with 1.0)

2) Download ameter-0.44.tar.gz (400 ko)

3) Installation:

tar xvzf ameter-0.43.tar.gz

cd ameter-0.43



su -c "make install"

4) Edit (or create) .asoundrc file ,

in your home directory to have the following lines :

pcm_scope.ameter {

type ameter


pcm_scope_type.ameter {

lib /usr/local/lib/


pcm.ameter {

type meter

slave.pcm 'hw:0,0' #can be hw or hw:0,1 etc...

scopes.0 ameter


pcm.dsp0 ameter

5) Test and examples:

Alsa native programs :

Set "ameter" as the output Alsa device.


Using Glame:

- In audio preferences:

- Set output plugin to alsa_audio_out

- Set output device to ameter

(This is ok for monitoring both playing or recording)

Using aplay/arecord:

aplay -D ameter sound.wav

arecord -D ameter soundrec.wav

Using mplayer :

mplayer -ao alsa:device=ameter video.avi

Non Alsa programs :

You need to append "aoss" to the command lauching the program.

(aoss comes with alsa-oss package.)

Using Realplayer with alsa-oss :

aoss realplay sound.ogg

Using rec and play with alsa-oss :

aoss rec sound.wav

aoss play sound.wav

6) Limitations at that time :

- Only one stereo chanel