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# Audio Driver Streaming Interface
This document describes the audio streaming interface exposed by audio drivers
in Zircon. It is meant to serve as a reference for both users and
driver-authors, and to unambiguously define the interface contract which drivers
must implement and users must follow.
## Overview
Audio streams are device nodes published by driver services intended to be used
by applications in order to capture or render audio on a Zircon device, or both.
Each stream in the system (input or output) represents a stream of digital audio
information which may be either received or transmitted by device. Streams are
dynamic and may created or destroyed by the system at any time. Which streams
exist at any given point in time, and what controls their lifecycles are
considered to be issues of audio policy and codec management and are not
discussed in this document. Additionally, the information present in audio
outputs streams is exclusive to the application owner of the stream. Mixing of
audio is not a service provided by the audio stream interface.
> TODO: extend this interface to support the concept of low-latency hardware
> mixers.
### Basic Vocabulary
| Term | Definition |
| ----------------------------- | -------------------------------------------- |
| Sample | A representation of the sound rendered by a |
: : single speaker, or captured by a single :
: : microphone, at a single instant in time. :
| LPCM | Linear pulse code modulation. The specific |
: : representation of audio samples present in :
: : all Zircon uncompressed audio streams. LPCM :
: : audio samples are representations of the :
: : amplitude of the audio signal at an instant :
: : in time where the numeric values of the :
: : encoded audio are linearly distributed :
: : across the amplitude levels of the rendering :
: : or capture device. This is in contrast to :
: : A-law and μ-law encodings which have :
: : non-linear mappings from numeric value to :
: : amplitude level. :
| Channel | Within an audio stream, the subset of |
: : information which will be rendered by a :
: : single speaker, or which was captured by a :
: : single microphone in a stream. :
| Frame | A set of audio samples for every channel of |
: : a audio stream captured/rendered at a single :
: : instant in time. :
| Frame Rate | a.k.a. "Sample Rate". The rate (in Hz) at |
: : which audio frames are produced or consumed. :
: : Common sample rates include 44.1 KHz, 48 :
: : KHz, 96 KHz, and so on. :
| Client or User or Application | These terms are used interchangeably in this |
: : document. They refer to modules that use :
: : these interfaces to communicate with an :
: : audio driver/device. :
> TODO: do we need to extend this interface to support non-linear audio sample
> encodings? This may be important for telephony oriented microphones which
> deliver μ-law encoded samples.
### Basic Operation
Communication with an audio stream device is performed using messages sent over
a [channel](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/ Applications open the device node for a
stream and obtain a channel by issuing a FIDL request. After obtaining the
channel, the device node may be closed. All subsequent communication with the
stream occurs using channels.
The stream channel is used for most command and control tasks, including:
* Capability interrogation
* Format negotiation
* Hardware gain control
* Determining outboard latency
* Plug detection notification
* Access control capability detection and signalling
> TODO: Should plug/unplug detection be done by sending notifications over the
> stream channel (as it is today), or by publishing/unpublishing the device
> nodes (and closing all channels in the case of unpublished channels)?
In order to actually send or receive audio information on the stream, the
specific format to be used must first be set. The response to a successful
`SetFormat` operation will contain a new "ring-buffer" channel. The ring-buffer
channel may be used to request a shared buffer from the stream (delivered in the
form of a [VMO](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/ which may be mapped into the address
space of the application and used to send or receive audio data as appropriate.
Generally, the operations conducted over the ring buffer channel include:
* Requesting a shared buffer
* Starting and Stopping stream playback/capture
* Receiving notifications of playback/capture progress
* Receiving notifications of error conditions such as HW FIFO under/overflow,
bus transaction failure, etc.
* Receiving clock recovery information in the case that the audio output clock
is based on a different oscillator than the oscillator which backs
## Operational Details
### Protocol definition
In order to use the C API definitions of the
[audio](/zircon/system/public/zircon/device/audio.h) protocol, applications and
drivers simply say
#include <device/audio.h>
### Device nodes
Audio stream device nodes **must** be published by drivers using the protocol
preprocessor symbol given in the table below. This will cause stream device
nodes to be published in the locations given in the table. Applications can
monitor these directories in order to discover new streams as they are published
by the drivers.
Stream Type | Protocol | Location
----------- | -------------------------- | -----------------------
Input | `ZX_PROTOCOL_AUDIO_INPUT` | /dev/class/audio-input
Output | `ZX_PROTOCOL_AUDIO_OUTPUT` | /dev/class/audio-output
### Establishing the stream channel
After opening the device node, client applications may obtain a stream channel
for subsequent communication using the
`` FIDL message. For example:
zx_handle_t OpenStream(const char* dev_node_path) {
zx_handle_t local, remote;
zx_status_t status = zx_channel_create(0, &local, &remote);
if (status != ZX_OK) {
status = fdio_service_connect(dev_node_path, remote);
if (status != ZX_OK) {
LOG("Failed to open \"%s\" (res %d)\n", dev_node_path, status);
zx_handle_t audio_channel;
status = fuchsia_hardware_audio_DeviceGetChannel(local, &audio_channel);
if (status != ZX_OK) {
printf("Failed to obtain channel (res %d)\n", status);
return audio_channel;
### Client side termination of the stream channel
Clients **may** terminate the connection to the stream at any time simply by
calling [zx_handle_close(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ on the stream
channel. Drivers **must** close any active ring-buffer channels established
using this stream channel and **must** make every attempt to gracefully quiesce
any on-going streaming operations in the process.
### Sending and receiving messages on the stream and ring-buffer channels
All of the messages and message payloads which may be sent or received over
stream and ring buffer channels are defined in the
[audio](/zircon/system/public/zircon/device/audio.h) protocol header. Messages
may be sent to the driver using the
[zx_channel_write(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ syscall. If a response is
expected, it may be read using the
[zx_channel_read(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ syscall. Best practice,
however, is to queue packets for your [channel(s)](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/
[port](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/ using the
[zx_port_queue(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ syscall, and use the
[zx_port_wait(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ syscall to determine when your set
of channels have messages (either expected responses or asynchronous
notifications) to be read.
All messages either sent or received over stream and ring buffer channels are
prefaced with an `audio_cmd_hdr_t` structure which contains a 32-bit transaction
ID and an `audio_cmd_hdr_t` enumeration value indicating the specific command
being requested by the application, the specific command being responded to by
the driver, or the asynchronous notification being delivered by the driver to
the application.
When sending a command to the driver, applications **must** place a transaction
ID in the header's `transaction_id` field which is not equal to
`AUDIO_INVALID_TRANSACTION_ID`. If a response to a command needs to be sent by
the driver to the application, the driver **must** use the transaction ID and
`audio_cmd_t` values sent by the client during the request. When sending
asynchronous notification to the application, the driver **must** use
`AUDIO_INVALID_TRANSACTION_ID` as the transaction ID for the message.
Transaction IDs may be used by clients for whatever purpose they desire, however
if the IDs are kept unique across all transactions in-flight, the
[zx_channel_call(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/ may be used to implement a
simple synchronous calling interface.
### Validation requirements
All drivers **must** validate requests and enforce the protocol described above.
In case of any violation, drivers **should** immediately quiesce their hardware
and **must** close the channel, terminating any operations which happen to be in
flight at the time. Additionally, they **may** log a message to a central
logging service to assist in application developers in debugging the cause of
the protocol violation. Examples of protocol violation include:
* Using `AUDIO_INVALID_TRANSACTION_ID` as the value of
* Using a value not present in the `audio_cmd_t` enumeration as the value of
* Supplying a payload whose size does not match the size of the request
payload for a given command.
## Format Negotiation
### Sample Formats
Sample formats are described using the `audio_sample_format_t` type. It is a
bitfield style enumeration which describes either the numeric encoding of the
uncompressed LPCM audio samples as they reside in memory, or indicating that the
audio stream consists of a compressed bitstream instead of uncompressed LPCM
samples. Refer to the [audio](/zircon/system/public/zircon/device/audio.h)
protocol header for exact symbol definitions.
The formats described by `audio_sample_format_t` have the following properties:
* With the exception of `FORMAT_BITSTREAM`, samples are always assumed to use
linear PCM encoding. BITSTREAM is used for transporting compressed audio
encodings (such as AC3, DTS, and so on) over a digital interconnect to a
decoder device somewhere outside of the system.
* By default, multi-byte sample formats are assumed to use host-endianness. If
the `INVERT_ENDIAN` flag is set on the format, the format uses the opposite
of host endianness. eg. A 16 bit little endian PCM audio format would have
the `INVERT_ENDIAN` flag set on it in a when used on a big endian host. The
`INVERT_ENDIAN` flag has no effect on COMPRESSED, 8BIT or FLOAT encodings.
* The `32BIT_FLOAT` encoding uses specifically the
[IEEE 754]( floating point
* By default, non-floating point PCM encodings are assumed expressed using
[two's complement]( signed
integers. eg. the bit values for a 16 bit PCM sample format would range from
[0x8000, 0x7FFF] with 0x0000 representing zero speaker deflection. If the
UNSIGNED flag is set on the format, the bit values would range from [0x0000,
0xFFFF] with 0x8000 representing zero deflection.
* When used to set formats, exactly one non-flag bit **must** be set.
* When used to describe supported formats, any number of non-flag bits **may**
be set. Flags (when present) apply to all of the relevant non-flag bits in
the bitfield. eg. If a stream supports BITSTREAM, 16BIT and 32BIT_FLOAT, and
the UNSIGNED bit is set, it applies only to the 16BIT format.
* When encoding a smaller sample size in a larger container (eg 20 or 24bit in
32), the most significant bits of the 32 bit container are used while the
least significant bits should be zero. eg. a 20 bit sample would be mapped
onto the range [12,32] of the 32 bit container.
> TODO: can we make the claim that the LSBs will be ignored, or do we have to
> require that they be zero?
> TODO: describe what 20-bit packed audio looks like in memory. Does it need to
> have an even number of channels in the overall format? Should we strike it
> from this list if we cannot find a piece of hardware which demands this format
> in memory?
### Enumeration of supported formats
In order to determine the formats supported by a given audio stream,
applications send an `AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_GET_FORMATS` message over the stream
channel. No additional parameters are required. Drivers **must** respond to this
request using one or more `audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t` messages, even
if only to report that there are no formats currently supported.
### Range structures
Drivers indicate support for formats by sending messages containing zero or more
`audio_stream_format_range_t` structures. Each structure contains fields which
* A bitmask of supported sample formats.
* A minimum and maximum number of channels.
* A set of frame rates.
A single range structure indicates support for each of the combinations of the
three different sets of values (sample formats, channel counts, and frame
rates). For example, if a range structure indicated support for:
* 16 bit signed LPCM samples
* 48000, and 44100 Hz frame rates
* 1 and 2 channels
Then the fully expanded set of supported formats indicated by the range
structure would be:
* Stereo 16-bit 48 KHz audio
* Stereo 16-bit 44.1 KHz audio
* Mono 16-bit 48 KHz audio
* Mono 16-bit 44.1 KHz audio
See the Sample Formats section (above) for a description of how sample formats
are encoded in the `sample_formats` member of a range structure.
Supported channel counts are indicated using a pair of min/max channels fields
which indicate an exclusive range of channel counts which apply to this range.
For example, a min/max channels range of [1, 4] would indicate that this audio
stream supports 1, 2, 3 or 4 channels. A range of [2, 2] would indicate that
this audio stream supports only stereo audio.
Supported frame rates are signalled similarly to channel counts using a pair of
min/max frame per second fields along with a flags field. While the min/max
values provide an inclusive range of frame rates, the flags determine how to
interpret this range. Currently defined flags include:
| Flag | Definition |
| --------------------------------- | ---------------------------------------- |
| `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_CONTINUOUS` | The frame rate range is continuous. All |
: : frame rates in the range [min, max] are :
: : valid. :
| `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_48000_FAMILY` | The frame rate range includes the |
: : members of the 48 KHz family which exist :
: : in the range [min, max] :
| `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_44100_FAMILY` | The frame rate range includes the |
: : members of the 44.1 KHz family which :
: : exist in the range [min, max] :
So, conceptually, the valid frame rates are the union of the sets produced by
applying each of the flags which are set to the inclusive [min, max] range. For
example, if both the 48 KHz and 44.1 KHz were set, and the range given was
[16000, 47999], then the supported frame rates for this range would be
* 16000 Hz
* 22050 Hz
* 32000 Hz
* 44100 Hz
The official members of the 48 KHz and 44.1 KHz families are
| Family | Frame Rates |
| --------------------------------- | ---------------------------------- |
| `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_48000_FAMILY` | 8000, 16000, 32000, 48000, 96000, |
: : 192000, 384000, 768000 :
| `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_44100_FAMILY` | 11025, 22050, 44100, 88200, 176400 |
Drivers **must** set at least one of the flags, or else the set of supported
frame rates is empty and this range structure is not allowed. Also note that the
set of valid frame rates is the union of the frame rates produce by applying
each of the set flags. If the `ASF_RANGE_FLAG_FPS_CONTINUOUS` flag is set the
other flags have no effect. While it is legal to do so, drivers **should** avoid
this behavior.
### Transporting range structures
Range structures are transmitted from drivers to applications within the
`audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t` message. If a large number of formats are
supported by a stream, drivers may need to send multiple messages to enumerate
all available modes. Messages include the following fields:
* A standard `audio_cmd_hdr_t` header. **All** messages involved in the
response to an `AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_GET_FORMATS` request **must** use the
transaction ID of the original request, and the cmd field in the header
* A `format_range_count` field. This indicates the total number of format
range structures which will be sent in this response to the application.
This number **must** be present in **all** messages involved in the
response, and **must not** change from message to message.
* A `first_format_range_ndx` field indicating the zero-based index of the
first format range being specified in this particular message. See below for
* An array of `audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t` structures which is at
Drivers **must**:
* Always transmit all of the available audio format ranges.
* Always transmit the available audio format ranges in ascending index order.
* Always pack as many ranges as possible in the fixed size message structure.
* Never overlap index regions or leave gaps.
Given these requirements, if the maximum number of ranges per response were 15,
and a driver needed to send 35 ranges in response to an application's request,
then 3 messages in total would be needed, and the `format_range_count` and
`first_format_range_ndx` fields for each message would be as follows.
Msg # | `format_range_count` | `first_format_range_ndx`
----- | -------------------- | ------------------------
1 | 35 | 0
2 | 35 | 15
3 | 35 | 30
`first_format_range_ndx` **must** never be greater than `format_range_count`,
however `format_range_count` **may** be zero if an audio stream currently
supports no formats. The total number of `audio_stream_format_range_t`
structures in an `audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t` message is given by the
msg.format_range_count - msg.first_format_range_ndx);
Drivers **may** choose to always send an entire
`audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t` message, or to send a truncated message
which ends after the last valid range structure in the `format_ranges` array.
Applications **must** be prepared to receive up to
`sizeof(audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t)` bytes for each message, but also
accept messages as short as `offsetof(audio_stream_cmd_get_formats_resp_t,
> TODO: how do devices signal a change of supported formats (e.g., HDMI hot-plug
> event)? Are such devices required to simply remove and republish the device?
> TODO: define how to enumerate supported compressed bitstream formats.
### Setting the desired stream format
In order to select a stream format, applications send an
`AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_SET_FORMAT` message over the stream channel. In the message,
for uncompressed audio streams, the application specifies:
* The frame rate of the stream in Hz using the `frames_per_second` field (in
the case of an uncompressed audio stream).
* The number of channels packed into each frame using the `channels` field.
* The format of the samples in the frame using the `sample_format` field (see
Sample Formats, above)
Success or failure, drivers **must** respond to a request to set format using a
In the case of success, drivers **must** set the `result` field of the response
to `ZX_OK` and **must** return a new ring buffer channel over which streaming
operations will be conducted. If a previous ring buffer channel had been
established and was still active, the driver **must** close this channel and
make every attempt to gracefully quiesce any on-going streaming operations in
the process.
In the case of failure, drivers **must** indicate the cause of failure using the
`result` field of the message and **must not** simply close the stream channel
as is done for a generic protocol violation. Additionally, they **may** choose
to preserve a pre-existing ring-buffer channel, or to simply close such a
channel as is mandated for a successful operation.
> TODO: specify how compressed bitstream formats will be set
## Determining external latency
The external latency of an audio stream is defined as the amount of time it
takes outbound audio to travel from the system's interconnect to the speakers
themselves, or inbound audio to travel from the microphone to the system's
interconnect. As an example, consider an external codec connected to the system
using a TDM interconnect: if this interconnect introduces a 4 frame delay
between the reception of a TDM frame and the rendering of that frame at the
speakers themselves, then the external delay of this audio path is the time
duration equivalent to 4 audio frames.
External delay is reported in the `external_delay_nsec` field of a successful
`AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_SET_FORMAT` response as a non-negative number of nanoseconds.
Drivers **should** make their best attempt to accurately report the total of all
of the sources of delay the driver knows about. Information about this delay can
frequently be found in codec data sheets, dynamically reported as properties of
codecs using protocols such as Intel HDA or the USB Audio specifications, or
reported by down stream devices using mechanisms such as EDID when using HDMI or
DisplayPort interconnects.
## Hardware Gain Control
### Hardware gain control capability reporting
In order to determine a stream's gain control capabilities, applications send an
`AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_GET_GAIN` message over the stream channel. No parameters need
to be supplied with this message. All stream drivers **must** respond to this
message, regardless of whether or not the stream hardware is capable of any gain
control. All gain values are expressed using 32 bit floating point numbers
expressed in dB.
Drivers respond to this message with values which indicate the current gain
settings of the stream, as well as the stream's gain control capabilities.
Current gain settings are expressed using a bool/float tuple indicating if the
stream is currently muted or not along with the current dB gain of the stream.
Gain capabilities consist of bool and 3 floats. The bool indicates whether or
not the stream can be muted. The floats give the minimum and maximum gain
settings, along with the `gain step size`. The `gain step size` indicates the
smallest increment with which the gain can be controlled counting from the
minimum gain value.
For example, an amplifier which has 5 gain steps of 7.5 dB each and a maximum 0
dB gain would indicate a range of (-30.0, 0.0) and a step size of 7.5.
Amplifiers capable of functionally continuous gain control **may** encode their
gain step size as 0.0.
Regardless of mute capabilities, drivers for fixed gain streams **must** report
their min/max gain as (0.0, 0.0). The gain step size is meaningless in this
situation, but drivers **should** report their step size as 0.0.
### Setting hardware gain control levels
In order to change a stream's current gain settings, applications send an
`AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_SET_GAIN` message over the stream channel. Two parameters are
supplied with this message, a set of flags which control the request, and a
float indicating the dB gain which should be applied to the stream.
Three valid flags are currently defined:
* `AUDIO_SGF_MUTE_VALID`. Set when the application wishes to set the
muted/un-muted state of the stream. Clear if the application wishes to
preserve the current muted/un-muted state.
* `AUDIO_SGF_GAIN_VALID`. Set when the application wishes to set the dB gain
state of the stream. Clear if the application wishes to preserve the current
gain state.
* `AUDIO_SGF_MUTE`. Indicates the application's desired mute/un-mute state for
the stream. Significant only if `AUDIO_SGF_MUTE_VALID` is also set.
Drivers **must** fail the request with an `ZX_ERR_INVALID_ARGS` result if the
application's request is incompatible with the stream's capabilities.
Incompatible requests include:
* The requested gain is less than the minimum support gain for the stream.
* The requested gain is more than the maximum support gain for the stream.
* Mute was requested, but the stream does not support an explicit mute.
Presuming that the request is valid, drivers **should** round the request to the
nearest supported gain step size. For example, if a stream can control its gain
on the range from -60.0 to 0.0 dB, using a gain step size of 0.5 dB, then a
request to set the gain to -33.3 dB **should** result in a gain of -33.5 being
applied. A request to that same stream for a gain of -33.2 dB **should** result
in a gain of -33.0 being applied.
Applications **may** choose not to receive an acknowledgement of a `SET_GAIN`
command by setting the `AUDIO_FLAG_NO_ACK` flag on their command. No response
message will be sent to the application, regardless of the success or failure of
the command. If an acknowledgement was requested by the application, drivers
respond with a message indicating the success or failure of the operation as
well as the current gain/mute status of the system (regardless of whether the
request was a success).
## Plug Detection
In addition to streams being published/unpublished in response to being
connected or disconnected to/from their bus, streams may have the ability to be
plugged or unplugged at any given point in time. For example, a set of USB
headphones may publish a new output stream when connected to USB, but choose to
be "hardwired" from a plug detection standpoint. A different USB audio adapter
with a standard 3.5mm phono jack might publish an output stream when connected
via USB, but choose to change its plugged/unplugged state as the user plugs and
unplugs an analog device via the 3.5mm jack.
The ability to query the currently plugged or unplugged state of a stream, and
to register for asynchonous notifications of plug state changes (if supported)
is handled via plug detection messages.
In order to determine a stream's plug detection capabilities and current plug
state, and to enable or disable for asynchronous plug detection notifications,
applications send a `AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_PLUG_DETECT` command over the stream
channel. Drivers respond with a set of `audio_pd_notify_flags_t`, along with a
timestamp referenced from `ZX_CLOCK_MONOTONIC` indicating the last time the plug
state changed.
Three valid plug-detect notification flags (PDNF) are currently defined:
* `AUDIO_PDNF_HARDWIRED` is set when the stream hardware is considered to be
"hardwired". In other words, the stream is considered to be connected as
long as the device is published. Examples include a set of built-in
speakers, a pair of USB headphones, or a pluggable audio device with no plug
detection functionality.
* `AUDIO_PDNF_CAN_NOTIFY` is set when the stream hardware is capable of both
asynchronously detecting that a device's plug state has changed, and sending
a notification message if the client has requested these notifications.
* `AUDIO_PDNF_PLUGGED` is set when the stream hardware considers the stream to
be currently in the "plugged-in" state.
When responding to the `PLUG_DETECT` message, drivers for "hardwired" streams
**must not** set the `CAN_NOTIFY` flag, and **must** set the `PLUGGED` flag.
Additionally, these drivers **should** always set the plug state time to the
time at which the stream device was published by the driver.
Applications **may** choose not to receive an acknowledgement of a `PLUG_DETECT`
command by setting the `AUDIO_FLAG_NO_ACK` flag on their command. No response
message will be sent to the application, regardless of the success or failure of
the command. The most common use for this would be when an application wanted to
disable asynchronous plug state detection messages and was not actually
interested in the current plugged/unplugged state of the stream.
Applications may request that streams send them asynchronous notifications of
plug state changes, using the flags field of the `AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_PLUG_DETECT`
Two valid flags are currently defined:
* `AUDIO_PDF_ENABLE NOTIFICATIONS` is set by clients in order to request that
the stream proactively generate `AUDIO_STREAM_PLUG_DETECT_NOTIFY` messages
when its plug state changes, if the stream has this capability.
* `AUDIO_PDF_DISABLE_NOTIFICATIONS` is set by clients in order to request that
NO subsequent `AUDIO_STREAM_PLUG_DETECT_NOTIFY` messages should be sent,
regardless of the stream's ability to generate them.
In order to request the current plug state without altering the current
notification behavior, clients simply set neither `ENABLE` nor `DISABLE` --
passing either 0, or the value `AUDIO_PDF_NONE`. Clients **should** not set both
flags at the same time. If they do, drivers **must** interpret this to mean that
the final state of the system should be _disabled_.
Clients which request asynchronous notifications of plug state changes
**should** always check the `CAN_NOTIFY` flag in the driver response. Streams
may be capable of plug detection (i.e. if `HARDWIRED` is not set), yet be
incapable of detecting plug state changes asynchronously. Clients may still
learn of plug state changes, but only by periodically polling the state with
`PLUG_DETECT` commands. Drivers for streams which do not set the `CAN_NOTIFY`
flag are free to ignore enable/disable notification requests from applications,
and **must** not ever send an `AUDIO_STREAM_PLUG_DETECT_NOTIFY` message. Note
that even such a driver must always respond to a `AUDIO_STREAM_CMD_PLUG_DETECT`
## Access control capability detection and signaling
> TODO: specify how this works. In particular, specify how drivers indicate to
> applications support for various digital access control mechanisms such as
> S/PDIF control words and HDCP.
## Stream purpose and association
> TODO: specify how drivers can indicate the general "purpose" of an audio
> stream in the system (if known), as well as its relationship to other streams
> (if known). For example, an embedded target like a phone or a tablet needs to
> indicate which output stream is the built-in speaker vs. which is the headset
> jack output. In addition, it needs to make clear which input stream is the
> microphone associated with the headset output vs. the builtin speaker.
## Ring-Buffer Channels
### Overview
Once an application has successfully set the format of a stream, it receives in
the response a new [channel](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/ representing its connection
to the stream's ring-buffer. Clients use the ring-buffer channel to establish a
shared memory buffer and start/stop playback/capture of audio stream data.
Once started, stream consumption/production is assumed to proceed at the nominal
rate from the point in time given in a successful response to the start command,
allowing clients to operate without the need to receive any periodic
notifications about consumption/production position from the ring buffer itself.
Note that the ring-buffer will almost certainly have some form of FIFO buffer
between the memory bus and the audio hardware which causes it to either
read-ahead in the stream (in the case of playback), or potentially hold onto
data (in the case of capturing). In the case of open-loop operation, it is
important for clients to query the size of this buffer before beginning
operation so they know how far ahead/behind the stream's nominal inferred
read/write position they need to stay in order to prevent audio glitching.
Also note that because of the shared buffer nature of the system, and the fact
that drivers are likely to be DMA-ing directly from this buffer to hardware, it
is important for clients running on architectures which are not automatically
cache coherent to be sure that they have properly written-back their cache after
writing playback data to the buffer, or invalidated their cache before reading
captured data.
### Determining the FIFO depth
Applications determine a stream's FIFO depth using the
`AUDIO_RB_CMD_GET_FIFO_DEPTH` command. Drivers **must** return their FIFO depth,
expressed in bytes, in the `fifo_depth` field of the response. To ensure proper
playback or capture of audio, applications and drivers must be careful to
respect this value. Drivers must not read beyond the nominal playback position
of the stream plus this number of bytes when playing audio stream data.
Applications must stay this number of bytes behind the nominal capture point of
the stream when capturing audio stream data.
Once the format of a stream is set and a ring-buffer channel has been opened,
the driver **must not** change this value. From an application's point of view,
it is a constant property of the ring-buffer channel.
### Obtaining a shared buffer
To send or receive audio, the application must first establish a shared memory
buffer. This is done by sending an `AUDIO_RB_CMD_GET_BUFFER` request over the
ring-buffer channel. This may only be done while the ring-buffer is stopped.
Applications **must** specify two parameters when requesting a ring buffer:
`min_ring_buffer_frames` and `notifications_per_ring`.
#### `min_ring_buffer_frames`
The minimum number of frames of audio the client needs allocated for the ring
buffer. Drivers **may** make this buffer larger to meet hardware requirements.
Clients **must** use the returned VMOs size (in bytes) to determine the actual
size of the ring buffer. Clients **may not** assume that the size of the buffer
(as determined by the driver) is exactly the size they requested. Drivers
**must** ensure that the size of the ring buffer is an integral number of audio
> TODO : Is it reasonable to require that drivers produce buffers which are an
> integral number of audio frames in length? It certainly makes the audio
> client's life easier (client code never needs to split or re-assemble a frame
> before processing), but it might make it difficult for some audio hardware to
> meet its requirements without making the buffer significantly larger than the
> client asked for.
#### `notifications_per_ring`
The number of position update notifications (`audio_rb_position_notify_t`) the
client would like the driver to send per cycle through the ring buffer. Drivers
should attempt to space notifications uniformly throughout the ring. Clients
**may not** rely on perfectly uniform spacing of the update notifications.
Clients are not required to request any notifications and may use only start
time and FIFO depth information to determine the driver's playout or capture
Success or failure, drivers **must** respond to a `GET_BUFFER` request using an
`audio_rb_cmd_get_buffer_resp_t` message. If the driver fails the request
because a buffer has already been established and the ring-buffer has already
been started, it **must not** either stop the ring-buffer, or discard the
existing shared memory. If the application requests a new buffer after having
already established a buffer while the ring buffer is stopped, it **must**
consider the existing buffer is has to be invalid. Success or failure, the old
buffer is now gone.
If the request succeeds, the driver **must** return a handle to a
[VMO](/docs/reference/kernel_objects/ with permissions which allow applications to map
the VMO into their address space using [zx_vmar_map](/docs/reference/syscalls/,
and to read/write data in the buffer in the case of playback, or simply to read
the data in the buffer in the case of capture. Additionally, the driver **must**
report the actual number of frames of audio it will use in the buffer via the
`num_ring_buffer_frames` field of the `audio_rb_cmd_get_buffer_resp_t` message.
The size of the VMO returned (as reported by
[zx_vmo_get_size()](/docs/reference/syscalls/ **must not** be larger than
this number of frames (when converted to bytes). This number **may** be larger
than the `min_ring_buffer_frames` request from the client but **must not** be
smaller than this number.
### Starting and Stopping the ring-buffer
Clients may request that a ring-buffer start or stop using the
`AUDIO_RB_CMD_START` and `AUDIO_RB_CMD_STOP` commands. Success or failure,
drivers **must** send a response to these requests. Attempting to start a stream
which is already started **must** be considered a failure. Attempting to stop a
stream which is already stopped **should** be considered a success. Ring-buffers
cannot be either stopped or started until after a shared buffer has been
established using the `GET_BUFFER` operation.
Upon successfully starting a stream, drivers **must** provide their best
estimate of the time at which their hardware began to transmit or capture the
stream in the `start_time` field of the response. This time stamp **must** be
taken from the clock exposed via the
[ZX_CLOCK_MONOTONIC](/docs/reference/syscalls/ syscall. Along with the FIFO
depth property of the ring buffer, this timestamp allows applications to send or
receive stream data without the need for periodic position updates from the
driver. Along with the outboard latency estimate provided by the stream channel,
this timestamp allows applications to synchronize presentation of audio
information across multiple streams, or even multiple devices (provided that an
external time synchronization protocol is used to synchronize the
[ZX_CLOCK_MONOTONIC](/docs/reference/syscalls/ timelines across the cohort of
synchronized devices).
> TODO: Redefine `start_time` to allow it to be an arbitrary 'audio stream
> clock' instead of the `ZX_CLOCK_MONOTONIC` clock. If the stream clock is made
> to count in audio frames since start, then this `start_time` can be replaced
> with the terms for a segment of a piecewise linear transformation which can be
> subsequently updated via notifications sent by the driver in the case that the
> audio hardware clock is rooted in a different oscillator from the system's
> tick counter. Clients can then use this transformation either to control the
> rate of consumption of input streams, or to determine where to sample in the
> input stream to effect clock correction.
Upon successfully starting a stream, drivers **must** guarantee that no position
notifications will be sent before the start response has been enqueued into the
ring-buffer channel.
Upon successfully stopping a stream, drivers **must** guarantee that no position
notifications will be enqueued into the ring-buffer channel after the stop
response has been enqueued.
### Position notifications
If requested by the client during the `GET_BUFFER` operation, the driver will
periodically send updates to the client informing it of its current production
or consumption position in the buffer. This position is expressed in bytes in
the `ring_buffer_pos` field of the `audio_rb_position_notify_t` message. The
message also includes a `monotonic_time` field that contains the time (as
zx_time_t) that this byte position was valid. AUDIO_RB_POSITION_NOTIFY messages
**must** only be sent while the ring-buffer is started. Note, these position
notifications indicate where in the buffer the driver has consumed or produced
data, *not* the nominal playback or capture position (sometimes called the
"write cursor" or "read cursor" respectively). The timing of their arrival is
not guaranteed to be perfectly uniform and should not be used to effect clock
recovery. However, the correspondence pair (`monotonic_time`, `ring_buffer_pos`)
values themselves ARE intended to be used to recover the clock for the audio
stream. If a client discovers that a driver has consumed past the point in the
ring buffer where that client has written playback data, audio presentation is
undefined. Clients should increase their clock lead time and be certain to stay
ahead of this point in the stream in the future. Likewise, clients which capture
audio **should not** attempt to read beyond the point in the ring buffer
indicated by the most recent position notification sent by the driver.
Driver playback/capture position **must** *always* begin at ring buffer byte 0,
immediately following a successful `AUDIO_RB_CMD_START` command. When the ring
buffer position reaches the end of the VMO (as indicated by
[zx_vmo_get_size(...)](/docs/reference/syscalls/, the ring buffer position
wraps back to zero. Drivers are not required to consume or produce data in
integral numbers of audio frames. Clients whose notion of stream position
depends on position notifications should take care to request that a sufficient
number of notifications per ring be sent (minimum 2) and to process them quickly
enough that aliasing does not occur.
### Clock recovery
> TODO: rewrite this section to include how clock recovery occurs, and how this
> is exposed to clients. Also, detail how slewable oscillators are discovered
> and controlled. We may need rate-change notifications to clients of slewable
> clocks.
> Previous content: TODO: define a way that clock recovery information can be
> sent to clients in the case that the audio output oscillator is not derived
> from the `ZX_CLOCK_MONOTONIC` oscillator. In addition, if the oscillator is
> slew-able in hardware, provide the ability to discover this capability and
> control the slew rate. Given the fact that this oscillator is likely to be
> shared by multiple streams, it might be best to return some form of system
> wide clock identifier and provide the ability to obtain a channel on which
> clock recovery notifications can be delivered to clients and HW slewing
> command can be sent from clients to the clock.
### Error notifications
> TODO: define these and what driver behavior should be, if/when they occur.
### Unexpected client termination
If the client side of a ring buffer control channel is closed for any reason,
drivers **must** immediately close the control channel and shut down the ring
buffer, such that no further audio is emitted nor captured. While drivers are
encouraged to do so in a way which produces a graceful transition to silence,
they **must** ensure that the audio stream goes silent instead of looping. Once
the transition to silence is complete, resources associated with playback or
capture **may** be released and reused by the driver.
This way, if a playback client teminates unexpectedly, the system will close the
client channels, causing audio playback to stop instead of continuing to loop.