Primer on Audio

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asked Dec 22, 2010 by user1529891

What are the steps needed to successfully decode audio, play it and so forth?

I need a primer on the process:

  • Decoding audio (via mp3, ogg, etc.)
  • Playing the decoded audio
  • and anything else that makes playing audio successful (steps involved, etc.)

Note: I am not looking for API's; I already know some (FMOD, SDL_mixer, OpenAL, etc.)


1 Answer

0 votes
answered Dec 22, 2010 by nick-fortescue

I can't find a good tutorial quickly on the web, so here's my try at a very quick answer.

  1. I assume that as a programmer you understand the concept of bytes storing information in memory and in files. If not, then you need to understand this.
  2. Next you need to understand the concept that digital sound is an amplitude (volume) sampled at a regular frequency. This is explained quite well here and here (just the first 2 sections).
  3. Next you need to understand encodings: how this digital data is stored in files or memory. The wikipedia page gives a quick introduction, and follow the links from there.
  4. Having understood that, you should understand how sound is stored, recorded and produced again. Choose a sound API and read its documentation, which you should now understand.
  5. The above 4 steps are enough, but you may want to go on and learn about Audio compression (MP3) and Digital Signal Processing - but you can google for this.
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