I am using an Arduino Nano in combination with a SD card to play some music. I have loaded some .wav files on my SD card, the card initializes, everything runs correctly, but on my output pin for my music I get an unstable square wave signal all the time.

I have tried to change the CS pin to pin 4 and 10 (only pin 4 works), I have tried different .wav files and a bunch of code and all of my libraries are installed. What can I do?

enter image description here

#include <SPI.h>
#include <SD.h>
#include <TMRpcm.h>

TMRpcm audio;

void setup() {
  audio.speakerPin = 9;

  //starting up SD
  if (!SD.begin(4)) {
    Serial.println("Initialization failed");
    while (true) {
  Serial.println("Initialization complete");


void loop() {
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the output meant to be a PWM modulated square wave, or is does the arduino have a DAC? \$\endgroup\$
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 8:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is meant to be PWM. But the signal I get out is no music whatsoever. Just weird signals. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 9:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ One more thing, If I give it different songs, It gives me different types of buzzes.....so....something is working... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 10:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ What bandwidth can TMRpcm handle? I doubt it has remotely the bandwidth for ordinary audio WAV files, especially on an Arduino Nano. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neil_UK
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you open and play the file in audio player/editor? What format it is? Can the Arduino library play that format? Have you tried to play some simpler test files, like a -3dB 440 Hz sine wave stored as 8-bit unsigned PCM at 8 kHz? \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


It is (probably) working as intended. From the TMRpcm library's Wiki:

If using an amplifier, consider that the output is a choppy digital PWM signal, not a smooth analog signal.

This could be what you are seeing: the output is PWM, not analog. The PWM signal you get is supposed to be low-pass filtered by either a filter or the characteristics of the speaker you use.

If you want analog output, you need to pass the PWM through a low-pass filter, or use a microcontroller with a DAC, or use an external DAC (and a different library for the last two options).

Another possible problem is the performance of the Arduino Nano with .wav files with a high sample rate and bit depth; the library's Wiki says:

Main formats: WAV files, 8-bit, 8-32khz Sample Rate, mono.

It could be your .wav file doesn't comply with that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello, thank you for your response! There is only one problem though. The .wav file I gave it has PWM music on it (the original PWM signal vs the output Arduino PWM signal are very different). But if I amplify the signal coming out of the Arduino, it resembles NOTHING of the original. Just some weird buzzes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 9:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GeorgeChita: I don't know if a .wav file can contain PWM data, but it is at least very unusual; most .wav files contain LPCM data. Are you sure your .wav file contains PWM data? \$\endgroup\$
    – ocrdu
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 11:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I am sure, it is PWM, though not with constant amplitude. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much. The file wasn't compatible. It finally worked. Thank you again! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GeorgeChita: you may want to accept the answer (if you accept the answer), so the question doesn't stay open. \$\endgroup\$
    – ocrdu
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 12:48

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