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ALSA SoC Layer
The overall project goal of the ALSA System on Chip (ASoC) layer is to
provide better ALSA support for embedded system-on-chip processors (e.g.
pxa2xx, au1x00, iMX, etc) and portable audio codecs. Prior to the ASoC
subsystem there was some support in the kernel for SoC audio, however it
had some limitations:-
* Codec drivers were often tightly coupled to the underlying SoC
CPU. This is not ideal and leads to code duplication - for example,
Linux had different wm8731 drivers for 4 different SoC platforms.
* There was no standard method to signal user initiated audio events (e.g.
Headphone/Mic insertion, Headphone/Mic detection after an insertion
event). These are quite common events on portable devices and often require
machine specific code to re-route audio, enable amps, etc., after such an
* Drivers tended to power up the entire codec when playing (or
recording) audio. This is fine for a PC, but tends to waste a lot of
power on portable devices. There was also no support for saving
power via changing codec oversampling rates, bias currents, etc.
ASoC Design
The ASoC layer is designed to address these issues and provide the following
features :-
* Codec independence. Allows reuse of codec drivers on other platforms
and machines.
* Easy I2S/PCM audio interface setup between codec and SoC. Each SoC
interface and codec registers its audio interface capabilities with the
core and are subsequently matched and configured when the application
hardware parameters are known.
* Dynamic Audio Power Management (DAPM). DAPM automatically sets the codec to
its minimum power state at all times. This includes powering up/down
internal power blocks depending on the internal codec audio routing and any
active streams.
* Pop and click reduction. Pops and clicks can be reduced by powering the
codec up/down in the correct sequence (including using digital mute). ASoC
signals the codec when to change power states.
* Machine specific controls: Allow machines to add controls to the sound card
(e.g. volume control for speaker amplifier).
To achieve all this, ASoC basically splits an embedded audio system into 3
components :-
* Codec driver: The codec driver is platform independent and contains audio
controls, audio interface capabilities, codec DAPM definition and codec IO
* Platform driver: The platform driver contains the audio DMA engine and audio
interface drivers (e.g. I2S, AC97, PCM) for that platform.
* Machine driver: The machine driver handles any machine specific controls and
audio events (e.g. turning on an amp at start of playback).
The documentation is spilt into the following sections:-
overview.txt: This file.
codec.txt: Codec driver internals.
DAI.txt: Description of Digital Audio Interface standards and how to configure
a DAI within your codec and CPU DAI drivers.
dapm.txt: Dynamic Audio Power Management
platform.txt: Platform audio DMA and DAI.
machine.txt: Machine driver internals.
pop_clicks.txt: How to minimise audio artifacts.
clocking.txt: ASoC clocking for best power performance.