I want to play music in the terminal with sox.

# install sox/lame
sudo apt-get install sox
sudo apt-get install lame

# play music
play music.mp3
# play FAIL formats: no handler for file extension `mp3'

# mp3 -> wav
lame --decode music.mp3 music.wav

# play music
play music.wav

~ $ cat /etc/lsb-release 

~ $ sox --version
sox: SoX v14.3.2

The size of music.wav is +10 times larger than music.mp3.
I don't want to convert all *.mp3 to *.wav.
Is it possible to add mp3-handler to sox?

  • what linux distro are you on... and what version of the distro and sox are you running... also running sox -h reports codecs supported by the program... please check if mp3 is supported therein... – user1055604 May 6 '12 at 7:59
  • 2
    instead of the present accepted answer (lame/pipe), the correct/simplest answer is install libsox-fmt-all superuser.com/a/421168/73961 – michael Jun 24 '16 at 4:33


lame --decode music.mp3 - | play -

Won't leave any trace.

  • 13
    The question was about a sox handler. This is definitely not sox :) – Elektordi Aug 19 '17 at 9:00
  • you can also pipe into sox – Scott Nov 7 '18 at 6:45
  • 1
    @Elektordi The play command is SoX. It's basically sox -d. Like ffmpeg vs. ffplay. – eepp Sep 22 '20 at 2:39
  • Sorry, I didn't know that... My bad... :/ – Elektordi Sep 25 '20 at 12:36

Install libsox-fmt-mp3:

sudo apt-get install libsox-fmt-mp3
  • 1
    I found I also needed to upgrade sox after that; so it doesn't hurt to add "sox" to the above command. – jcomeau_ictx Sep 12 '12 at 5:44
  • This does not work for me. Even after aptitude reinstall sox I still get a SoX was compiled without MP3 encoding support when I try to run sox afterwards. (Though admittedly I'm still running Lucid, this might work better on a more modern Ubuntu.) – zrajm Oct 23 '13 at 8:06
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    @kev, you should select this as the accepted answer. Also, there is a libsox-fmt-all package that installs the mp3 format, as well as all other available formats. – naught101 Jan 11 '14 at 23:23
  • 8
    +1, this should be the accepted answer because it allows for other things beyond playing as well, for example conversion (e.g. sox input.wav output.mp3 won't work without this package) – pascalhein Jul 10 '14 at 14:48
  • 3
    after installing libsox-fmt-mp3 and running it i get a : sox WARN mp3-util: MAD lost sync – kroe Aug 24 '15 at 23:32

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