As more audio features and functions are implemented onto the SoC, the amount of software to support those features grows exponentially. To some extent, what truly drives the system complexity is not in the hardware itself but rather the software. Figure 1 referenced at the beginning of the article showed the paradigm shift from IP blocks to IP subsystems.
What is not shown in the figure, but also very important to this shift is the increasing amount of software required to support all of these IP blocks (which is growing at an even faster rate). At the end of the day, it is the software and the integration of that software which makes a functional SoC. A complete subsystem therefore has to include not only the hardware, but also the full software solution, or it will be of limited value.
The SoundWave Audio Subsystem consists of a complete, ready-to-use software environment that enables seamless plug-in to the host application. The integrated software stack includes a Media Streaming Framework (MSF), real-time operating system, broad portfolio of audio software codecs supporting the latest audio standards from Dolby, DTS and SRS Labs, and post-processing components. The configurable and pre-verified software components are fully integrated with the audio subsystem’s hardware. In addition, all of the features and functions of the audio subsystem are made available to the application software running on host processor via a GStreamer audio plug-in. GStreamer is a widely adapted media streaming framework for many SoC applications using Linux and Android operating systems such as digital TVs, set-top boxes and tablets.