Audio API Usage Guide - C++

Reference code

The reference code consists of an application that implements an audio sink and audio source.

Audio.h contains definitions that are common to both audio sinks and sources.

Sink classes

Sink class Description

Class that implements the following AllJoyn® interfaces:

  • org.alljoyn.Stream.Port
  • org.alljoyn.Stream.Port.AudioSink
  • org.alljoyn.Control.Volume

Class that implements the following AllJoyn interfaces:

  • org.alljoyn.Stream
  • org.alljoyn.Stream.Clock
AudioDevice Abstract class for implementing access to an audio device/sound card.
ALSADevice Subclass of AudioDevice that implements access to an audio device using the Audio Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) API.

Source classes

Source class Description
SinkSearcher Helper class for discovering AudioSinks.
SinkPlayer Implements streaming of DataSources to an AudioSink.
DataSource Abstract class for providing data to SinkPlayer for streaming.
WavDataSource Subclass of DataSource that provides data from WAV files to SinkPlayer for streaming.

Reference C++ application code

Application class Description
SinkService Command line application that receives and plays streamed audio by registering an instance of StreamObject on the AllJoyn bus.
SinkClient Command line application that uses SinkSearcher to discover audio sinks and uses SinkPlayer to stream a WAV file to the sink.

Compile the Audio service framework

  1. Follow the steps in the Configuring the Build Environment (Linux Platform) section. Stop prior to the Building AllJoyn section.
  2. Pull down the source code:

    $ repo init -u git clone git://git.allseenalliance/core/alljoyn.git
  3. Run SCons to compile the Audio service framework, test suite, and samples.

    $ cd services/audio
    • For 64-bit:

       $ scons CPU=x86_64 ABOUT_BASE=$ALLJOYN_BASE/about/cpp
    • For 32-bit:

       $ scons ABOUT_BASE=$ALLJOYN_BASE/about/cpp

    The build completes, and a build folder contains the compiled files.

Build a Sink

The following steps provide the high-level process to build a Sink.

  1. Create the base for the AllJoyn application.
  2. Implement the AboutStore and use this with the AboutService API. See the appropriate About API Guide for the platform you are targeting for instructions.
  3. Implement the AudioDevice if the audio device/sound card used by your platform is not supported.
  4. Create and register a StreamObject.

Build a Source

The following steps provide the high-level process to build a Source.

  1. Create the base for the AllJoyn application.
  2. Create a class that extends SinkSearcher and SinkListener.
  3. Create a new SinkPlayer and register the SinkListener.
  4. Register the SinkSearcher.

Setting Up the AllJoyn Framework

Every AllJoyn application requires a base set to be in place before implementing specific features.

  • Create BusAttachment
  • Connect to the AllJoyn framework

Create BusAttachment

To use the Audio service framework, an AllJoyn object called the BusAttachment is needed that is used internally by the service to leverage the AllJoyn API calls.

BusAttachment* msgBus = new BusAttachment("SinkService", true);

Start and connect the BusAttachment

Once created, the BusAttachment must be connected to the AllJoyn framework.

QStatus status = msgBus->Start(); if( status == ER_OK ) {
status = msgBus->Connect(NULL);

Implementing a Sink

Implementing a Sink to receive streaming audio requires creating and registering an instance of the StreamObject class.

NOTE: Verify the BusAttachment has been created, started and connected before implementing the Sink. See Setting up the AllJoyn Framework for the code snippets. Code in this section references a variable msgBus (the BusAttachment variable name).

Declare listener class

Declare a listener class to receive the SessionPortListener callbacks. Typically, an AcceptSessionJoiner callback in SessionPortListener has a check to allow or disallow access. Since the Sink requires access to everyone, return true when this callback is triggered. Use the SessionJoined handler to set the session timeout to 20 seconds.

class MyListener : public SessionPortListener {
      BusAttachment *mMsgBus;

      MyListener( BusAttachment *msgBus ) { mMsgBus = msgBus;

      bool AcceptSessionJoiner( SessionPort sessionPort, const char* joiner,
const SessionOpts& opts ) {

         printf("Accepting join session request from %s (opts.proximity=%x,
opts.traffic=%x, opts.transports=%x)\n",
            joiner, opts.proximity, opts.traffic, opts.transports);

         return true;

      void SessionJoined( SessionPort sessionPort, SessionId id,
const char* joiner ) {
         printf("SessionJoined with %s (id=%d)\n", joiner, id);
         uint32_t timeout = 20;
         QStatus status = mMsgBus->SetLinkTimeout(id, timeout);
         if( status == ER_OK ) {
            printf("Link timeout has been set to %ds\n", timeout);
         } else {
            printf("SetLinkTimeout(%d) failed\n", timeout);


Use the AboutService API to announce Sink details

  1. Declare a PropertyStore class to advertise about properties. The properties advertised should be customized for the device the Sink is running on.

    NOTE: See the About API Guide for the platform you are targeting for required and optional properties that the About feature can assign. The AppId field and other values below are examples and should not be reused in commercial products. See the About Best Practices for details on generating the AppId and other values.

    class AboutStore : public PropertyStore {
          AboutStore(const char* friendlyName)
             { struct utsname utsname; uname(&utsname);
             mDeviceId = strdup(utsname.nodename);
             mFriendlyName = strdup(friendlyName);
          ~AboutStore() {
             if (mDeviceId != NULL)
             if (mFriendlyName != NULL)
          QStatus ReadAll(const char* languageTag, PropertyStore::Filter
             filter, MsgArg& all) {
             if (languageTag && strcmp(languageTag, "en") != 0) { return ER_FAIL;
             if (PropertyStore::WRITE == filter) {
                return ER_NOT_IMPLEMENTED;
             size_t numProps = (PropertyStore::READ == filter) ? 11 : 7;
             MsgArg* props = new MsgArg[numProps];
             static const uint8_t appId[] = { 0x5a, 0x1e, 0xff, 0xf1, 0xf7,
                0x99, 0x4d, 0x22, 0x82, 0xc0, 0x93, 0x4d, 0x3c, 0x86, 0x16, 0xa6 };
                props[0].Set("{sv}", "AppId", new MsgArg("ay", 16, appId));
                props[1].Set("{sv}", "DefaultLanguage", new MsgArg("s", "en"));
                props[2].Set("{sv}", "DeviceName", new MsgArg("s", mFriendlyName));
                props[3].Set("{sv}", "DeviceId", new MsgArg("s", mDeviceId));
                props[4].Set("{sv}", "AppName", new MsgArg("s", "SinkService"));
                props[5].Set("{sv}", "Manufacturer", new MsgArg("s", "AllJoyn"));
                props[6].Set("{sv}", "ModelNumber", new MsgArg("s", "1"));
                if (PropertyStore::READ == filter) {
                   static const char* supportedLanguages[] = { "en" };
                   props[7].Set("{sv}", "SupportedLanguages", new MsgArg("as",
    1, supportedLanguages));
                   props[8].Set("{sv}", "Description", new MsgArg("s", "AllJoyn Audio Sink"));
                   props[9].Set("{sv}", "SoftwareVersion", new MsgArg("s", "v0.0.1"));
                   props[10].Set("{sv}", "AJSoftwareVersion", new MsgArg("s", ajn::GetVersion()));
                all.Set("a{sv}", numProps, props);
                all.SetOwnershipFlags(MsgArg::OwnsArgs, true);
                return ER_OK;
          const char* mDeviceId;
          const char* mFriendlyName;
  2. Create an instance of the new AboutStore class to provide to the StreamObject (see Create and register StreamObject.)

       const char *friendlyName = "Living Room";
       AboutStore* aboutProps = new AboutStore(friendlyName);

Bind session port

To allow incoming connections, the formation of a session is needed. The AllJoyn framework needs to be told that connections are allowed.

MyListener* myListener = new MyListener(msgBus);
SessionOpts opts(SessionOpts::TRAFFIC_MESSAGES, false,
SessionPort sessionPort = SESSION_PORT_ANY;

if( status == ER_OK )
   status = msgBus->BindSessionPort(sessionPort, opts, *myListener);

Create an AudioDevice object

Some platforms use different audio drivers. As such, there is an abstraction layer called AudioDevice that must be implemented for the platform driver. The current release supports the following platforms:

  • Linux:

    AudioDevice* audioDevice = new ALSADevice();
  • Android:

    AudioDevice* audioDevice = new AndroidDevice();

Create and register StreamObject

StreamObject is an implementation wrapper around AllJoyn native calls that handle the interactions between Sink and Source.

StreamObject *streamObj = NULL; if( status == ER_OK ) {
   streamObj = new StreamObject(msgBus, "/Speaker/In", audioDevice,
      sessionPort, aboutProps);
   status = streamObj->Register();
   if (status != ER_OK)
      printf("Failed to register stream object (%s)\n",

To accept connections, we need to advertise over the AllJoyn framework. The unique name the AllJoyn framework provides is acceptable for this purpose because the Audio service framework relies on the AboutService API to distribute information about the device.

NOTE: In most applications that use the AllJoyn framework and do not use the About feature, a descriptive well-known name is chosen to advertise.

String name = msgBus->GetUniqueName();
if( status == ER_OK ) {
   status = msgBus->AdvertiseName(name.c_str(), opts.transports);
   if (status != ER_OK)
      printf("Failed to advertise name %s (%s)\n", name.c_str(),

Unregister and delete StreamObject

When your process is done with the Sink and no longer wishes to receive audio input, unregister the process from the AllJoyn bus and then delete the StreamObject instance.

if( streamObj != NULL ) {
   delete streamObj;
   streamObj = NULL;
delete aboutProps;
aboutProps = NULL;
delete msgBus;

msgBus = NULL;
delete myListener;
myListener = NULL;

Implementing a Source

To implement a Source to stream to a Sink, use the SinkSearcher and SinkPlayer classes. By declaring a SinkSearcher subclass, your application is notified when Sinks are found and lost. When a Sink is found, you can add it to a SinkPlayer instance. Verify the BusAttachment has been created, started and connected before implementing an AudioSource. See Setting up the AllJoyn Framework for the code snippets. Code in this section references a variable msgBus (the BusAttachment variable name).

Declare SinkSearcher subclass

To interact with different Sinks, the SinkPlayer subclass provides an API containing AddSink and RemoveSink methods, as well as check if they have already been added. The following code snippet adds any new Sink that has not already been added.

NOTE: AddSink allows for audio to be played back on that device once SinkAdded (from the SinkListener below) has been called. After SinkAdded is called, call OpenSink on each Sink that should receive audio. Play and Pause commands will affect all opened Sinks. Refer to the API documentation for more details.

static SinkPlayer *g_sinkPlayer = NULL;
class MySinkSearcher : public SinkSearcher {
   virtual void SinkFound( Service *sink ) {
      const char *name = sink->name.c_str();
      const char *path = sink->path.c_str();
      printf("Found %s objectPath=%s, sessionPort=%d\n", name, path,
      if( !g_sinkPlayer->HasSink(name) )
         g_sinkPlayer->AddSink(name, sink->port, path);

   virtual void SinkLost( Service *sink ) {
   const char *name = sink->name.c_str();
   printf("Lost %s\n", name);

Declare SinkListener subclass

SinkPlayer methods such as AddSink and RemoveSink are asynchronous. You can create and register a SinkListener to be notified when these calls have completed. The SinkRemoved handler is also called when a sink's session is lost.

class MySinkListener : public SinkListener {
   void SinkAdded( const char *name ) {
      printf("SinkAdded: %s\n", name);


   void SinkAddFailed( const char *name ) {
      printf("SinkAddFailed: %s\n", name);

   void SinkRemoved( const char *name, bool lost ) {
      printf("SinkRemoved: %s lost=%d\n", name, lost);

   void MuteChanged(const char* name, bool mute) {
      printf("MuteChanged: %s mute=%s\n", name, mute ? "on" : "off");

   void VolumeChanged(const char* name, int16_t volume) {
      printf("VolumeChanged: %s volume=%d\n", name, volume);

Create and configure SinkPlayer

The SinkPlayer object is responsible for sending a supplied DataSource over the AllJoyn framework to any open sinks. The DataSource can be set any time prior to calling the OpenSink() method.

MySinkListener listener;
g_sinkPlayer = new SinkPlayer(msgBus);

Set the preferred audio data format

SinkPlayer lets you specify which format to use for streaming. However, there is no guarantee that the format you specify will be used. If a Sink does not support your preferred format, SinkPlayer automatically defaults to raw audio.

NOTE: This must be called prior to adding a Sink using AddSink().

To support ALAC (Apple Lossless):


To support RAW audio support:


Set the data source

To best support multiple audio file formats, a DataSource class is created that represents how the audio file will be decoded and read. Currently, support for WAV files is provided. Adding support for other audio formats will require implementing a new class derived from DataSource. A .WAV file example follows.

WavDataSource dataSource;
dataSource.Open("/path/to/file.wav"); // the WAV file to stream to the sink(s)

Create and register SinkSearcher

Create an object of the class that is derived from SinkSearcher from Declare SinkSearcher subclass and register it with the BusAttachment.

MySinkSearcher searcher;
status = searcher.Register(msgBus);

Start playback once a Sink has been found

It is recommended that developers verify the number of connected Sinks = 1 prior to calling the Play method to ensure audio will be played remotely. The Play method will start audio on every sink that OpenSink() has been called on.

// Sleep until sink is found and then play. An alternative approach would be to
// call Play() in the SinkListener on the SinkAdded event.
while( g_sinkPlayer->GetSinkCount() < 1 )
   usleep(100 * 1000);

Unregister SinkSearcher and delete SinkPlayer

Once you are done streaming, unregister the SinkSearcher, remove any sinks that are still part of the SinkPlayer, and then delete the SinkPlayer.

NOTE: The SinkPlayer object must be deleted before the BusAttachment object.

// Wait for sinks to be removed
while( g_sinkPlayer->GetSinkCount() > 0 )
   usleep(100 * 1000);
delete g_sinkPlayer;

Implementing an AudioDevice

The reference code includes an AudioDevice subclass that uses the ALSA API. If your target environment uses a different sound card API, you must do the following:

  • Implement a new AudioDevice subclass.
  • When creating a StreamObject create a new instance of the AudioDevice and pass it into the StreamObject constructor. For example:

    audioDevice = new MyAudioDevice();
    streamObj = new StreamObject(msgBus, "/Speaker/In", audioDevice,
    sessionPort, aboutProps);

The following defines the AudioDevice methods your subclass must implement.

Method Description
Open() Open and prepare the audio device for playback, and start playing as soon as it receives data.
Close() Close audio device and free any resources.
Play() Start audio device playback.
Pause() Pause audio device playback.
Play() Resume after a pause.
Recover() Recover from underrun if one has occurred.
GetDelay() Get audio device delay (time until new samples will be audible).
GetFramesWanted() Get the number of frames the audio device wants.
Write() Write samples to audio device.
GetMute() Gets the audio device mute state.
SetMute() Sets the audio device mute state.
GetVolumeRange() Gets the audio device volume range.
GetVolume() Gets the audio device volume.
SetVolume() Set audio device volume and mute state.
AddListener() Adds a listener for volume and mute events.
RemoveListener() Removes a listener for volume and mute events.

Example Open() implementation

bool ALSADevice::Open( const char *format, uint32_t sampleRate,
uint32_t numChannels, uint32_t &bufferSize ) {
   int err;
   if( mAudioDeviceHandle != NULL ) { fprintf(stderr, "Open: already open\n"); return false;

   uint32_t bitsPerChannel;
   snd_pcm_format_t pcmFormat;

   if( strcmp(format, "s16le") == 0 ) {
      pcmFormat = SND_PCM_FORMAT_S16_LE; bitsPerChannel = 16;
   } else {
      fprintf(stderr, "Unsupported audio format: %s\n", format);
      return false;

   if( (err = snd_pcm_open(&mAudioDeviceHandle, "plughw:0,0",
      fprintf(stderr, "cannot open audio device (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));
      return false;

   snd_pcm_hw_params_t *hw_params = NULL;
      if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_malloc(&hw_params)) < 0 ) {
         fprintf (stderr, "cannot allocate hardware parameter structure (%s)\n",
            return false;

#define AUDIO_CLEANUP() \
if( mAudioDeviceHandle != NULL ) { \
   snd_pcm_close(mAudioDeviceHandle); \
   mAudioDeviceHandle = NULL; \
} \
if( hw_params != NULL ) { \
   snd_pcm_hw_params_free(hw_params); \
   hw_params = NULL; \

   if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_any(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params)) < 0 ) {
      fprintf(stderr, "cannot initialize hardware parameter structure (%s)\n",
      return false;

   if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_set_access(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params,
   fprintf(stderr, "cannot set access type (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));

   return false;

if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_set_format(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params,
pcmFormat)) < 0 ) {
   fprintf(stderr, "cannot set sample format (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));
   return false;

if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_set_rate_near(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params,
&sampleRate, 0)) < 0 ) {
   fprintf(stderr, "cannot set sample rate (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));
   return false;

if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_set_channels(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params,
numChannels)) < 0 ) {
   fprintf(stderr, "cannot set channel count (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));
   return false;

uint32_t bytesPerFrame = (bitsPerChannel >> 3) * numChannels;
snd_pcm_uframes_t bs = 4096 * bytesPerFrame;
if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params_set_buffer_size(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params,
bs)) < 0 ) {
   fprintf(stderr, "snd_pcm_hw_params_set_buffer_size failed: %s\n",

if( (err = snd_pcm_hw_params(mAudioDeviceHandle, hw_params)) < 0 ) {
   fprintf(stderr, "cannot set parameters (%s)\n", snd_strerror(err));
   return false;

snd_pcm_hw_params_get_buffer_size(hw_params, &bs);
bufferSize = (uint32_t)bs;

mHardwareCanPause = snd_pcm_hw_params_can_pause(hw_params) == 1;

return true;

Example Write() implementation

An important part of the write implementation is that the call should be blocking until the write is complete.

The implementation of the audio driver presents the following options:

  • If it's buffer-based, this method should block while waiting for a buffer to free up.
  • In the case of ALSA, the snd_pcm_writei method is blocking.
bool ALSADevice::Write( const uint8_t *buffer, uint32_t bufferSizeInFrames ) {
   snd_pcm_sframes_t err = snd_pcm_writei(mAudioDeviceHandle, buffer,
   if( err < 0 )
      err = snd_pcm_recover(mAudioDeviceHandle, err, 0);
   if( err < 0 )
      fprintf(stderr, "write to audio interface failed (%s)\n",
   if( err > 0 && err != (snd_pcm_sframes_t)bufferSizeInFrames )
      fprintf(stderr, "short write (expected %u, wrote %li)\n",
bufferSizeInFrames, err);
   return err > 0;