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Learning Core Audio: A Hands-On Guide to Audio Programming for Mac and iOS, 1st edition

  • Chris Adamson
  • Kevin Avila

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (March 30th 2012) - Copyright © 2012

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Learning Core Audio: A Hands-On Guide to Audio Programming for Mac and iOS

ISBN-13: 9780321636843

Includes: Paperback
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  • Paperback

    You'll get a bound printed text.


Create Rich, Powerful Audio Apps with Core Audio on OS X and iOS


Audio can affect the human brain in the most powerful and profound ways. Using Apple’s Core Audio, you can leverage all that power in your own Mac and iOS software, implementing features ranging from audio capture to real-time effects, MP3 playback to virtual instruments, and web radio to VoIP support. The most sophisticated audio programming system ever created, Core Audio is not simple. In Learning Core Audio, top iOS programming author Chris Adamson and legendary Core Audio expert Kevin Avila fully explain this challenging framework, enabling experienced Mac or iOS programmers to make the most of it.


In plain language, Adamson and Avila explain what Core Audio can do, how it works, and how it builds on the natural phenomena of sound and the human language of audio. Next, using crystal-clear code examples, they guide you through recording, playback, format conversion, Audio Units, 3D audio MIDI connectivity, and overcoming the unique challenges of Core Audio programming for Mac and iOS.


Coverage includes

• Mastering Core Audio’s surprising style and conventions

• Implementing recording and playback with the Audio Queue architecture

• Using Audio Units to synthesize audio, perform effects on audio streams, capture from the mic, and mix multiple streams

• Managing file streams and converting formats with Core Audio’s helper APIs

• Creating positional audio in 3D space with OpenAL

• Using Core MIDI to synthesize audio on-the-fly

• Leveraging your Cocoa and Objective-C expertise in Core Audio’s C-based environment


When you’ve mastered the “black arts” of Core Audio, you can do some serious magic. This book will transform you from an acolyte into a true Core Audio wizard.

Table of contents

About the Authors     xiii

Foreword  by Mike Lee  xv

Introduction     1

   Audience for This Book     2

   What You Need to Know     3

   Looking Up Documentation     3

   How This Book Is Organized     5

   About the Sample Code     9



Chapter 1  Overview of Core Audio     13

The Core Audio Frameworks     14

Core Audio Conventions     15

Your First Core Audio Application     16

   Running the Example     19

Core Audio Properties     22

Summary     23


Chapter 2  The Story of Sound     25

Making Waves     25

Digital Audio     27

DIY Samples     32

Buffers     40

Audio Formats     40

Summary     41


Chapter 3  Audio Processing with Core Audio     43

Audio Data Formats     43

   Example: Figuring Out Formats     46

Canonical Formats     51

Processing Audio with Audio Units     53

The Pull Model     55

Summary     55



Chapter 4  Recording     59

All About Audio Queues     59

Building a Recorder     60

A CheckError() Function     63

Creating and Using the Audio Queue     64

Utility Functions for the Audio Queue     71

   The Recording Audio Queue Callback     75

Summary     78


Chapter 5  Playback     81

Defining the Playback Application     81

Setting Up a File-Playing Audio Queue     83

   Setting Up the Playback Buffers     85

   Starting the Playback Queue     88

Playback Utility Functions     89

   Handling the Magic Cookie     89

   Calculating Buffer Size and Expected Packet Count     90

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