[Portaudio] The 16 bit truncation

Ross Bencina rossb-lists at audiomulch.com
Fri Dec 4 03:56:13 EST 2015

Hi Bernt,

On 4/12/2015 12:54 PM, Bernt Ronningsbakk wrote:
> The 16 bit truncation is a substantial weakness in PA.

I presume you're talking about PA/DirectSound. I'm not aware of that 
limitation in any other host API.

> In the copy that I'm working on right now, I have removed all code that
> changes the word format to 16 bit. And it seems to work without issues on my
> PC. I haven't checked wdmks though, since it has other issues.
> Here is one of the changes I've done in dsound:
>          /* IMPLEMENT ME - establish which  host formats are available */
>          //Bernt
>          //PaSampleFormat nativeInputFormats = paInt16;
>          PaSampleFormat nativeInputFormats =
> inputParameters->sampleFormat;//Bernt
>          /* PaSampleFormat nativeFormats = paUInt8 | paInt16 | paInt24 |
> paInt32 | paFloat32; */
>          hostInputSampleFormat =
>              PaUtil_SelectClosestAvailableFormat( nativeInputFormats,
> inputParameters->sampleFormat );// Bernt
> A handful of these was all it took. I did text a search on 16 and simply
> disabled all functionality that changed a stream to 16 bit. Several places
> have  "implement me" regarding checking the sound card capability and
> choosing the nearest format. I don't think that is needed.
> Unless there's a very good reason for keeping the 16 bit truncation I
> suggest that we remove it.

The "very good reason" is that there is no fallback path if >16-bit fails.

If you can provide good evidence that Windows (XP and later) will always 
accept >16-bit then I agree that we should just go ahead with your 
proposed changes. But otherwise, I think 16-bit truncation is a better 
option than failing.

The correct fix, as has been discussed here in the past, and in the 
tickets, is to retry with 16 bit if a higher bit-depth fails. I'd be 
very happy to accept a patch that does this retry.

> A second best alternative would be to use paInt24 as default. It is good
> enough for basically all purposes, and those who don't have a sound card who
> supports this probably doesn't care if their win machine does a downsizing
> that is a bit less than sota.

I'm not sure what you are proposing with the above paragraph.



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