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SIO_OPEN(3) Library Functions Manual SIO_OPEN(3)

sio_open, sio_close, sio_setpar, sio_getpar, sio_getcap, sio_start, sio_stop, sio_read, sio_write, sio_onmove, sio_nfds, sio_pollfd, sio_revents, sio_eof, sio_setvol, sio_onvol, sio_initpar
interface to bidirectional audio streams

#include <sndio.h>

struct sio_hdl *
sio_open(const char *name, unsigned mode, int nbio_flag);

sio_close(struct sio_hdl *hdl);

sio_setpar(struct sio_hdl *hdl, struct sio_par *par);

sio_getpar(struct sio_hdl *hdl, struct sio_par *par);

sio_getcap(struct sio_hdl *hdl, struct sio_cap *cap);

sio_start(struct sio_hdl *hdl);

sio_stop(struct sio_hdl *hdl);

sio_read(struct sio_hdl *hdl, void *addr, size_t nbytes);

sio_write(struct sio_hdl *hdl, const void *addr, size_t nbytes);

sio_onmove(struct sio_hdl *hdl, void (*cb)(void *arg, int delta), void *arg);

sio_nfds(struct sio_hdl *hdl);

sio_pollfd(struct sio_hdl *hdl, struct pollfd *pfd, int events);

sio_revents(struct sio_hdl *hdl, struct pollfd *pfd);

sio_eof(struct sio_hdl *hdl);

sio_setvol(struct sio_hdl *hdl, unsigned vol);

sio_onvol(struct sio_hdl *hdl, void (*cb)(void *arg, unsigned vol), void *arg);

sio_initpar(struct sio_par *par);

The sndio library allows user processes to access audio(4) hardware and the sndiod(1) audio server in a uniform way. It supports full-duplex operation, and when used with the sndiod(1) server it supports resampling and format conversions on the fly.

First the application must call the sio_open() function to obtain a handle representing the newly created stream; later it will be passed as the hdl argument of most other functions. The sio_open() function first tries to connect to the sndiod(1) audio server. If that fails, it then tries to use the audio(4) hardware device. The name parameter gives the device string discussed in sndio(7). In most cases it should be set to NULL to allow the user to select it using the AUDIODEVICE environment variable.

The mode parameter gives the direction of the stream. The following are supported:

The stream is play-only; data written to the stream will be played by the hardware.
The stream is record-only; recorded samples by the hardware must be read from the stream.
The stream plays and records synchronously; this means that the n-th recorded sample was physically sampled exactly when the n-th played sample was actually played.

If the nbio_flag argument is true (i.e. non-zero), then the sio_read() and sio_write() functions (see below) will be non-blocking.

The sio_close() function closes the stream and frees all allocated resources associated with the libsndio handle. If the stream is not stopped it will be stopped first as if sio_stop() is called.

Audio streams always use linear interleaved encoding. A frame consists of one sample for each channel in the stream. For example, a 16-bit stereo stream has two samples per frame and, typically, two bytes per sample (thus 4 bytes per frame).

The set of parameters of the stream that can be controlled is given by the following structure:

struct sio_par {
	unsigned bits;		/* bits per sample */
	unsigned bps;		/* bytes per sample */
	unsigned sig;		/* 1 = signed, 0 = unsigned */
	unsigned le;		/* 1 = LE, 0 = BE byte order */
	unsigned msb;		/* 1 = MSB, 0 = LSB aligned */
	unsigned rchan;		/* number channels for recording */
	unsigned pchan;		/* number channels for playback */
	unsigned rate;		/* frames per second */
	unsigned appbufsz;	/* minimum buffer size without xruns */
	unsigned bufsz;		/* end-to-end buffer size (read-only) */
	unsigned round;		/* optimal buffer size divisor */
#define SIO_IGNORE	0	/* pause during xrun */
#define SIO_SYNC	1	/* resync after xrun */
#define SIO_ERROR	2	/* terminate on xrun */
	unsigned xrun;		/* what to do on overrun/underrun */

The parameters are as follows:

Number of bits per sample: must be between 1 and 32.
Bytes per samples; if specified, it must be large enough to hold all bits. By default it's set to the smallest power of two large enough to hold bits.
If set (i.e. non-zero) then the samples are signed, else unsigned.
If set, then the byte order is little endian, else big endian; it's meaningful only if bps > 1.
If set, then the bits are aligned in the packet to the most significant bit (i.e. lower bits are padded), else to the least significant bit (i.e. higher bits are padded); it's meaningful only if bits < bps * 8.
The number of recorded channels; meaningful only if SIO_REC mode was selected.
The number of played channels; meaningful only if SIO_PLAY mode was selected.
The sampling frequency in Hz.
The maximum number of frames that may be buffered. This parameter takes into account any buffers, and can be used for latency calculations. It is read-only.
Size of the buffer in frames the application must maintain non-empty (on the play end) or non-full (on the record end) by calling sio_write() or sio_read() fast enough to avoid overrun or underrun conditions. The audio subsystem may use additional buffering, thus this parameter cannot be used for latency calculations.
Optimal number of frames that the application buffers should be a multiple of, to get best performance. Applications can use this parameter to round their block size.
The action when the client doesn't accept recorded data or doesn't provide data to play fast enough; it can be set to one of the SIO_IGNORE, SIO_SYNC or SIO_ERROR constants.

The following approach is recommended to negotiate parameters of the stream:

Parameters cannot be changed while the stream is in a waiting state; if sio_start() has been called, sio_stop() must be called before parameters can be changed.

If libsndio is used to connect to the sndiod(1) server, a transparent emulation layer will automatically be set up, and in this case any parameters are supported.

To ease filling the sio_par structure, the following macros can be used:

Return the smallest value for bps that is a power of two and that is large enough to hold bits.
Can be used to set the le parameter when native byte order is required.

There's no way to get an exhaustive list of all parameter combinations the stream supports. Applications that need to have a set of working parameter combinations in advance can use the sio_getcap() function.

The sio_cap structure contains the list of parameter configurations. Each configuration contains multiple parameter sets. The application must examine all configurations, and choose its parameter set from one of the configurations. Parameters of different configurations are not usable together.

struct sio_cap {
	struct sio_enc {			/* allowed encodings */
		unsigned bits;
		unsigned bps;
		unsigned sig;
		unsigned le;
		unsigned msb;
	} enc[SIO_NENC];
	unsigned rchan[SIO_NCHAN];	/* allowed rchans */
	unsigned pchan[SIO_NCHAN];	/* allowed pchans */
	unsigned rate[SIO_NRATE];	/* allowed rates */
	unsigned nconf;			/* num. of confs[] */
	struct sio_conf {
		unsigned enc;		/* bitmask of enc[] indexes */
		unsigned rchan;		/* bitmask of rchan[] indexes */
		unsigned pchan;		/* bitmask of pchan[] indexes */
		unsigned rate;		/* bitmask of rate[] indexes */
	} confs[SIO_NCONF];

The parameters are as follows:

Array of supported encodings. The tuple of bits, bps, sig, le and msb parameters are usable in the corresponding parameters of the sio_par structure.
Array of supported channel numbers for recording usable in the sio_par structure.
Array of supported channel numbers for playback usable in the sio_par structure.
Array of supported sample rates usable in the sio_par structure.
Number of different configurations available, i.e. number of filled elements of the confs[] array.
Array of available configurations. Each configuration contains bitmasks indicating which elements of the above parameter arrays are valid for the given configuration. For instance, if the second bit of rate is set, in the sio_conf structure, then the second element of the rate[SIO_NRATE] array of the sio_cap structure is valid for this configuration.

The sio_start() function puts the stream in a waiting state: the stream will wait for playback data to be provided (using the sio_write() function). Once enough data is queued to ensure that play buffers will not underrun, actual playback is started automatically. If record mode only is selected, then recording starts immediately. In full-duplex mode, playback and recording will start synchronously as soon as enough data to play is available.

The sio_stop() function stops playback and recording and puts the audio subsystem in the same state as after sio_open() is called. Samples in the play buffers are not discarded, and will continue to be played after sio_stop() returns. If samples to play are queued but playback hasn't started yet then playback is forced immediately; the stream will actually stop once the buffer is drained.

When record mode is selected, the sio_read() function must be called to retrieve recorded data; it must be called often enough to ensure that internal buffers will not overrun. It will store at most nbytes bytes at the addr location and return the number of bytes stored. Unless the nbio_flag flag is set, it will block until data becomes available and will return zero only on error.

Similarly, when play mode is selected, the sio_write() function must be called to provide data to play. Unless the nbio_flag is set, sio_write() will block until the requested amount of data is written.

If the nbio_flag is set on sio_open(), then the sio_read() and sio_write() functions will never block; if no data is available, they will return zero immediately.

Note that non-blocking mode must be used on bidirectional streams. For instance, if recording is blocked in sio_read() then, even if samples can be played, sio_write() cannot be called and the play buffers may underrun.

To avoid busy loops when non-blocking mode is used, the poll(2) system call can be used to check if data can be read from or written to the stream. The sio_pollfd() function fills the array pfd of pollfd structures, used by poll(2), with events; the latter is a bit-mask of POLLIN and POLLOUT constants; refer to poll(2) for more details. sio_pollfd() returns the number of pollfd structures filled. The sio_revents() function returns the bit-mask set by poll(2) in the pfd array of pollfd structures. If POLLIN is set, sio_read() can be called without blocking. If POLLOUT is set, sio_write() can be called without blocking. POLLHUP may be set if an error occurs, even if it is not selected with sio_pollfd().

The sio_nfds() function returns the number of pollfd structures the caller must preallocate in order to be sure that sio_pollfd() will never overrun.

In order to perform actions at precise positions of the stream, such as displaying video in sync with the audio stream, the application must be notified in real-time of the exact position in the stream the hardware is processing.

The sio_onmove() function can be used to register the cb callback function that will be called by the sndio library at regular time intervals to notify the application the position in the stream changed. The delta argument contains the number of frames the hardware moved in the stream since the last call of cb. When the stream starts, the callback is invoked with a zero delta argument. The value of the arg pointer is passed to the callback and can contain anything.

If desired, the application can maintain the current position by starting from zero (when sio_start() is called) and adding to the current position delta every time cb() is called.

The playback latency is the delay it will take for the frame just written to become audible, expressed in number of frames. The exact playback latency can be obtained by subtracting the current position from the number of frames written. Once playback is actually started (first sample audible) the latency will never exceed the bufsz parameter (see the sections above). There's a phase during which sio_write() only queues data; once there's enough data, actual playback starts. During this phase talking about latency is meaningless.

In any cases, at most bufsz frames are buffered. This value takes into account all buffers, including device, kernel and socket buffers. The number of frames stored is equal to the number of frames written minus the current position.

The recording latency is obtained similarly, by subtracting the number of frames read from the current position.

It is strongly discouraged to use the latency and/or the buffer usage for anything but monitoring. Especially, note that sio_write() might block even if there is buffer space left; using the buffer usage to guess if sio_write() would block is false and leads to unreliable programs – consider using poll(2) for this.

When the application cannot accept recorded data fast enough, the record buffer (of size appbufsz) might overrun; in this case recorded data is lost. Similarly if the application cannot provide data to play fast enough, the play buffer underruns and silence is played instead. Depending on the xrun parameter of the sio_par structure, the audio subsystem will behave as follows:
The stream is paused during overruns and underruns, thus the current position (obtained through sio_onmove) stops being incremented. Once the overrun and/or underrun condition is gone, the stream is unpaused; play and record are always kept in sync. With this mode, the application cannot notice underruns and/or overruns and shouldn't care about them.

This mode is the default. It's suitable for applications, like audio players and telephony, where time is not important and overruns or underruns are not short.

If the play buffer underruns, then silence is played, but in order to reach the right position in time, the same amount of written samples will be discarded once the application is unblocked. Similarly, if the record buffer overruns, then samples are discarded, but the same amount of silence will be returned later. The current position (obtained through sio_onmove) is still incremented. When the play buffer underruns the play latency might become negative; when the record buffer overruns, the record latency might become larger than bufsz.

This mode is suitable for applications, like music production, where time is important and where underruns or overruns are short and rare.

With this mode, on the first play buffer underrun or record buffer overrun, the stream is terminated and no other function than sio_close() will succeed.

This mode is mostly useful for testing; portable applications shouldn't depend on it, since it's not available on other systems.

The sio_setvol() function can be used to set playback attenuation. The vol parameter takes a value between 0 (maximum attenuation) and SIO_MAXVOL (no attenuation). It specifies the weight the audio subsystem will give to this stream. It is not meant to control hardware parameters like speaker gain; the mixerctl(1) interface should be used for that purpose instead.

An application can use the sio_onvol() function to register a callback function that will be called each time the volume is changed, including when sio_setvol() is used. The callback is always invoked when sio_onvol() is called in order to provide the initial volume. An application can safely assume that once sio_onvol() has returned a non-zero value, the callback has been invoked and thus the current volume is available. If there's no volume setting available, sio_onvol() returns 0 and the callback is never invoked and calls to sio_setvol() are ignored.

The sio_onvol() function can be called with a NULL argument to check whether a volume knob is available.

Errors related to the audio subsystem (like hardware errors, dropped connections) and programming errors (e.g. call to sio_read() on a play-only stream) are considered fatal. Once an error occurs, all functions taking a sio_hdl argument, except sio_close() and sio_eof(), stop working (i.e. always return 0).

The sio_eof() function can be used at any stage; it returns 0 if there's no pending error, and a non-zero value if there's an error.

The sio_open() function returns the newly created handle on success or NULL on failure. The sio_setpar(), sio_getpar(), sio_getcap(), sio_start(), sio_stop(), sio_pollfd() and sio_setvol() functions return 1 on success and 0 on failure. The sio_read() and sio_write() functions return the number of bytes transferred.

Device to use if sio_open() is called with a NULL name argument.
The debug level: may be a value between 0 and 2.

Default path to sndiod(1) socket to connect to.
Default audio(4) device to use.

sndiod(1), audio(4), sndio(7), audio(9)

The audio(4) driver cannot drain playback buffers in the background, thus if libsndio is used to directly access an audio(4) device, the sio_stop() function will stop playback immediately.

The sndiod(1) server doesn't implement flow control (for performance reasons). If the application doesn't consume recorded data fast enough then “control messages” are delayed and consequently sio_onmove callback or volume changes may be delayed.

The sio_open(), sio_setpar(), sio_getpar(), sio_getcap(), sio_start() and sio_stop() functions may block for a very short period of time, thus they should be avoided in code sections where blocking is not desirable.

December 24, 2011 OpenBSD-5.1