Archived:Drive Speakers With PXI Modules

Updated Jan 29, 2019

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Reported In


  • PXI Sound and Vibration Module


  • LabVIEW Sound and Vibration Toolkit

Issue Details

  • I have a sound that I would like to play using my hardware. Is there a way to have sound with my PXI system?
  • I want to drive a speaker using my Sound and Vibration Card. Is this possible?


There are several methods of incorporating sound into your PXI system. There are sound card options that you can purchase externally. If you want to produce custom analog sounds, there several National Instruments DAQ and DSA cards that can be used for your application. Finally, if you want to create an alarm or light and LED, you can use National Instruments cards with digital outputs. All of these scenarios are described in more detail below:


For Custom Analog Sounds

  • To create custom analog signals there are several options including a DSA, X-Series, M-Series, E-Series, or an Analog Output board. The Sound and Vibration cards, like the PXI-4461, are specifically designed for these applications and may give cleaner signals because of its filtering.
    • When using these boards, you will require an amplifier after the output, to make sure you have enough current to power your sound system.
  • The X-Series, M-Series, E-Series, and Analog Output boards can also work for custom analog sound applications but are not specifically designed for this use case. Using these boards, a speaker or speaker and external amplifier would then be connected to the analog output of the board.


For Digital Sounds or Alarms

If all that is needed is an 'alarm,' such as an LED or a speaker connected to a digital line, the following options are available:

  • X-Series, M-Series, E-Series, or the Counter/Timer boards could be used to output a digital pulse or a pulse train. There are many example programs that can be found in the Developer Zone on how to program these.
  • If you are using a PXI chassis, you can use the PXI Trigger Line to create your alarm. It will route any PXI trigger line (0-7) to the SMB trigger on the controller as an input or output. This only maps the trigger line and a module will still be required to drive the line. The watchdog with Real-Time (RT) systems supports routing a signal to the front panel SMB as an action when the watchdog expires. Routing an arbitrary PXI trigger line to the front panel SMB is not officially included in the PXI RT tools. Read more: Routing PXI Trigger Lines Across the Buses of Multi Segment PXI Chassis.

Additional Information

National Instruments has not tested specific circuits or brands to enhance the signal that is driven from the modules. Please make sure you read the specification sheet for your device to corroborate that the electronic specifications meet your application's requirements.


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