Let’s begin with a small introduction to XAudio2:
XAudio2 is a low-level audio API. It provides a signal processing and mixing foundation for games that is similar to its predecessors, DirectSound and XAudio. XAudio2 is the replacement for both DirectSound and XAudio.
XAudio2 abstracts audio generation by separating sound data from “voice”, allowing each voice to be filtered by programmable digital signal processing and effects processing functions. Voices can be “submixed” together into a single stream. There is always only one Mastering Voice that outputs the result using WASAPI.
XAudio2 is primarily intended for developing high performance audio engines for games. For game developers who want to add sound effects and background music to their modern games, XAudio2 offers an audio graph and mixing engine with low-latency and support for dynamic buffers, synchronous sample-accurate playback, and implicit source rate conversion. Compared to WASAPI, XAudio2 requires only a minimum amount of code even for complex audio solutions. Compared to the Media Foundation engine, XAudio2 is a low-level, low-latency C++ API that is designed for use in games.
XAudio2 cannot be used for background music – for this task you will have to use the IMFMediaEngine. XAudio2 cannot be used for capturing audio – for this task you will have to use WASAPI. Do not use XAudio2 for media playback. For that task you can use MediaElement
XAudio2 is part of the DirectX api that is included in the new Windows Phone 8 SDK. The Api is shared between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 which means that you will be able to fully reuse your source code on both platforms.
If you want to use XAudio2 for your C#/VB/HTML code you have two options:
1. Use SharpDX
. SharpDX is a wrapper of the DirectX Api under .Net platform. Theoretically you can use it to call XAudio2 api directly from your managed code. Practically what happens is that the .Net CLR/GC on ARM seem to block native threads so your audio will shutter/glitch in certain conditions. I had the same problem when I was developing our Windows 8 game Kids’ Orchestra
and the audio had glitches even on a core i7 processor.
2. The other option, which from my experience works better, is to develop an Windows Phone Runtime Component that will manage the XAudio2 part and expose the needed methods/events to the managed code.
To better understand how it is done I took the Windows 8 sample XAudio2 audio file playback sample C++
from MSDN and ported to Windows Phone 8 by splitting it in two projects: The C#/Xaml part for the UI and the “audio” project which is a Windows Phone Runtime component developed in C++.
The porting was pretty easy. I only had to re-code the player class to make it “visible” to the managed code project and added an event that will tell you when a certain Source Voice has finished playing its buffer/sound (we have 7 sounds and each sound has a Source Voice associated to it). If you need further details on how to write a Windows Phone Runtime component in C++ have a look at this MSDN Post
This sample only plays Wav files that are resources in the C++ project. You could also dynamically generate sounds in managed code and pass the Wave/buffer data as a byte to the runtime component. Inside the native code you will then generate an XAUDIO2_BUFFER and submit it to a Source Voice for playing.
I have attached the SOURCE CODE
for the Windows Phone project. If you have problems with it don’t hesitate to contact me.