Working with dynamically generated audio

Flash Player 10 and later, Adobe AIR 1.5 and later

Note: The ability to dynamically generate audio is available starting with Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR 1.5.

Instead of loading or streaming an existing sound, you can generate audio data dynamically. You can generate audio data when you assign an event listener for the sampleData event of a Sound object. (The sampleData event is defined in the SampleDataEvent class in the flash.events package.) In this environment, the Sound object doesn’t load sound data from a file. Instead, it acts as a socket for sound data that is being streamed to it through the use of the function you assign to this event.

When you add a sampleData event listener to a Sound object, the object periodically requests data to add to the sound buffer. This buffer contains data for the Sound object to play. When you call the play() method of the Sound object, it dispatches the sampleData event when requesting new sound data. (This is true only when the Sound object has not loaded mp3 data from a file.)

The SampleDataEvent object includes a data property. In your event listener, you write ByteArray objects to this data object. The byte arrays you write to this object add to buffered sound data that the Sound object plays. The byte array in the buffer is a stream of floating-point values from -1 to 1. Each floating-point value represents the amplitude of one channel (left or right) of a sound sample. Sound is sampled at 44,100 samples per second. Each sample contains a left and right channel, interleaved as floating-point data in the byte array.

In your handler function, you use the ByteArray.writeFloat() method to write to the data property of the sampleData event. For example, the following code generates a sine wave:

var mySound:Sound = new Sound(); 
mySound.addEventListener(SampleDataEvent.SAMPLE_DATA, sineWaveGenerator); 
mySound.play(); 
function sineWaveGenerator(event:SampleDataEvent):void 
{ 
    for (var i:int = 0; i < 8192; i++) 
    { 
        var n:Number = Math.sin((i + event.position) / Math.PI / 4); 
        event.data.writeFloat(n); 
        event.data.writeFloat(n); 
    } 
}

When you call Sound.play(), the application starts calling your event handler, requesting sound sample data. The application continues to send events as the sound plays back until you stop providing data, or until you call SoundChannel.stop().

The latency of the event varies from platform to platform, and could change in future versions of Flash Player and AIR. Do not depend on a specific latency; calculate it instead. To calculate the latency, use the following formula:

(SampleDataEvent.position / 44.1) - SoundChannelObject.position

Provide from 2048 through 8192 samples to the data property of the SampleDataEvent object (for each call to the event listener). For best performance, provide as many samples as possible (up to 8192). The fewer samples you provide, the more likely it is that clicks and pops will occur during playback. This behavior can differ on various platforms and can occur in various situations—for example, when resizing the browser. Code that works on one platform when you provide only 2048 sample might not work as well when run on a different platform. If you require the lowest latency possible, consider making the amount of data user-selectable.

If you provide fewer than 2048 samples (per call to the sampleData event listener), the application stops after playing the remaining samples. The SoundChannel object then dispatches a SoundComplete event.

Modifying sound from mp3 data

You use the Sound.extract() method to extract data from a Sound object. You can use (and modify) that data to write to the dynamic stream of another Sound object for playback. For example, the following code uses the bytes of a loaded MP3 file and passes them through a filter function, upOctave():

var mySound:Sound = new Sound(); 
var sourceSnd:Sound = new Sound(); 
var urlReq:URLRequest = new URLRequest("test.mp3"); 
sourceSnd.load(urlReq); 
sourceSnd.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, loaded); 
function loaded(event:Event):void 
{ 
    mySound.addEventListener(SampleDataEvent.SAMPLE_DATA, processSound); 
    mySound.play(); 
} 
function processSound(event:SampleDataEvent):void 
{ 
        var bytes:ByteArray = new ByteArray(); 
        sourceSnd.extract(bytes, 8192); 
        event.data.writeBytes(upOctave(bytes)); 
} 
function upOctave(bytes:ByteArray):ByteArray 
{ 
    var returnBytes:ByteArray = new ByteArray(); 
    bytes.position = 0; 
    while(bytes.bytesAvailable > 0) 
    { 
        returnBytes.writeFloat(bytes.readFloat()); 
        returnBytes.writeFloat(bytes.readFloat()); 
        if (bytes.bytesAvailable > 0) 
        { 
            bytes.position += 8; 
        } 
    } 
    return returnBytes; 
}

Limitations on generated sounds

When you use a sampleData event listener with a Sound object, the only other Sound methods that are enabled are Sound.extract() and Sound.play(). Calling any other methods or properties results in an exception. All methods and properties of the SoundChannel object are still enabled.