IAudioCaptureClient::GetBuffer method (audioclient.h)

Retrieves a pointer to the next available packet of data in the capture endpoint buffer.


HRESULT GetBuffer(
  [out] BYTE   **ppData,
  [out] UINT32 *pNumFramesToRead,
  [out] DWORD  *pdwFlags,
  [out] UINT64 *pu64DevicePosition,
  [out] UINT64 *pu64QPCPosition


[out] ppData

Pointer to a pointer variable into which the method writes the starting address of the next data packet that is available for the client to read.

[out] pNumFramesToRead

Pointer to a UINT32 variable into which the method writes the frame count (the number of audio frames available in the data packet). The client should either read the entire data packet or none of it.

[out] pdwFlags

Pointer to a DWORD variable into which the method writes the buffer-status flags. The method writes either 0 or the bitwise-OR combination of one or more of the following _AUDCLNT_BUFFERFLAGS enumeration values:




Note   The AUDCLNT_BUFFERFLAGS_DATA_DISCONTINUITY flag is not supported in Windows Vista.

In Windows 7 and later OS releases, this flag can be used for glitch detection. To start the capture stream, the client application must call IAudioClient::Start followed by calls to GetBuffer in a loop to read data packets until all of the available packets in the endpoint buffer have been read. GetBuffer sets the AUDCLNT_BUFFERFLAGS_DATA_DISCONTINUITY flag to indicate a glitch in the buffer pointed by ppData.


[out] pu64DevicePosition

Pointer to a UINT64 variable into which the method writes the device position of the first audio frame in the data packet. The device position is expressed as the number of audio frames from the start of the stream. This parameter can be NULL if the client does not require the device position. For more information, see Remarks.

[out] pu64QPCPosition

Pointer to a UINT64 variable into which the method writes the value of the performance counter at the time that the audio endpoint device recorded the device position of the first audio frame in the data packet. The method converts the counter value to 100-nanosecond units before writing it to *pu64QPCPosition. This parameter can be NULL if the client does not require the performance counter value. For more information, see Remarks.

Return value

Possible return codes include, but are not limited to, the values shown in the following table.

Return code Description
The call succeeded and *pNumFramesToRead is nonzero, indicating that a packet is ready to be read.
The call succeeded and *pNumFramesToRead is 0, indicating that no capture data is available to be read.
Windows 7 and later: GetBuffer failed to retrieve a data buffer and *ppData points to NULL. For more information, see Remarks.
A previous IAudioCaptureClient::GetBuffer call is still in effect.
The audio endpoint device has been unplugged, or the audio hardware or associated hardware resources have been reconfigured, disabled, removed, or otherwise made unavailable for use.
Buffer cannot be accessed because a stream reset is in progress.
The Windows audio service is not running.
Parameter ppData, pNumFramesToRead, or pdwFlags is NULL.


This method retrieves the next data packet from the capture endpoint buffer. At a particular time, the buffer might contain zero, one, or more packets that are ready to read. Typically, a buffer-processing thread that reads data from a capture endpoint buffer reads all of the available packets each time the thread executes.

During processing of an audio capture stream, the client application alternately calls GetBuffer and the IAudioCaptureClient::ReleaseBuffer method. The client can read no more than a single data packet with each GetBuffer call. Following each GetBuffer call, the client must call ReleaseBuffer to release the packet before the client can call GetBuffer again to get the next packet.

Two or more consecutive calls either to GetBuffer or to ReleaseBuffer are not permitted and will fail with error code AUDCLNT_E_OUT_OF_ORDER. To ensure the correct ordering of calls, a GetBuffer call and its corresponding ReleaseBuffer call must occur in the same thread.

During each GetBuffer call, the caller must either obtain the entire packet or none of it. Before reading the packet, the caller can check the packet size (available through the pNumFramesToRead parameter) to make sure that it has enough room to store the entire packet.

During each ReleaseBuffer call, the caller reports the number of audio frames that it read from the buffer. This number must be either the (nonzero) packet size or 0. If the number is 0, then the next GetBuffer call will present the caller with the same packet as in the previous GetBuffer call.

Following each GetBuffer call, the data in the packet remains valid until the next ReleaseBuffer call releases the buffer.

The client must call ReleaseBuffer after a GetBuffer call that successfully obtains a packet of any size other than 0. The client has the option of calling or not calling ReleaseBuffer to release a packet of size 0.

The method outputs the device position and performance counter through the pu64DevicePosition and pu64QPCPosition output parameters. These values provide a time stamp for the first audio frame in the data packet. Through the pdwFlags output parameter, the method indicates whether the reported device position is valid.

The device position that the method writes to *pu64DevicePosition is the stream-relative position of the audio frame that is currently playing through the speakers (for a rendering stream) or being recorded through the microphone (for a capture stream). The position is expressed as the number of frames from the start of the stream. The size of a frame in an audio stream is specified by the nBlockAlign member of the WAVEFORMATEX (or WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE) structure that specifies the stream format. The size, in bytes, of an audio frame equals the number of channels in the stream multiplied by the sample size per channel. For example, for a stereo (2-channel) stream with 16-bit samples, the frame size is four bytes.

The performance counter value that GetBuffer writes to *pu64QPCPosition is not the raw counter value obtained from the QueryPerformanceCounter function. If t is the raw counter value, and if f is the frequency obtained from the QueryPerformanceFrequency function, GetBuffer calculates the performance counter value as follows:

*pu64QPCPosition = 10,000,000.t/f

The result is expressed in 100-nanosecond units. For more information about QueryPerformanceCounter and QueryPerformanceFrequency, see the Windows SDK documentation.

If no new packet is currently available, the method sets *pNumFramesToRead = 0 and returns status code AUDCLNT_S_BUFFER_EMPTY. In this case, the method does not write to the variables that are pointed to by the ppData, pu64DevicePosition, and pu64QPCPosition parameters.

Clients should avoid excessive delays between the GetBuffer call that acquires a packet and the ReleaseBuffer call that releases the packet. The implementation of the audio engine assumes that the GetBuffer call and the corresponding ReleaseBuffer call occur within the same buffer-processing period. Clients that delay releasing a packet for more than one period risk losing sample data.

In Windows 7 and later, GetBuffer can return the AUDCLNT_E_BUFFER_ERROR error code for an audio client that uses the endpoint buffer in the exclusive mode. This error indicates that the data buffer was not retrieved because a data packet wasn't available (*ppData received NULL).

If GetBuffer returns AUDCLNT_E_BUFFER_ERROR, the thread consuming the audio samples must wait for the next processing pass. The client might benefit from keeping a count of the failed GetBuffer calls. If GetBuffer returns this error repeatedly, the client can start a new processing loop after shutting down the current client by calling IAudioClient::Stop, IAudioClient::Reset, and releasing the audio client.


For a code example that calls the GetBuffer method, see Capturing a Stream.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows Vista [desktop apps | UWP apps]
Minimum supported server Windows Server 2008 [desktop apps | UWP apps]
Target Platform Windows
Header audioclient.h

See also

IAudioCaptureClient Interface