[INTEL NAVIGATION HEADER]

APPLICATION NOTE

Using MMX™ Instructions to Implement Audio Echo Sound Effects

Disclaimer
Information in this document is provided in connection with Intel products. No license, express or implied, by estoppel or otherwise, to any intellectual property rights is granted by this document. Except as provided in Intel's Terms and Conditions of Sale for such products, Intel assumes no liability whatsoever, and Intel disclaims any express or implied warranty, relating to sale and/or use of Intel products including liability or warranties relating to fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability, or infringement of any patent, copyright or other intellectual property right. Intel products are not intended for use in medical, life saving, or life sustaining applications. Intel may make changes to specifications and product descriptions at any time, without notice.

Copyright Intel Corporation (1996). Third-party brands and names are the property of their respective owners.

CONTENTS:

 

1.0 Introduction

The Intel Architecture (IA) media extensions include single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) instructions which are designed to allow many pieces of information to be processed with a single instruction, providing parallelism that greatly increases performance.
Audio data is generally stored in 8-bit or 16-bit integer data types. Depending on the application, the new SIMD instructions could perform up to 8 calculations in parallel on 8-bit audio data.
This application note presents examples of code that exploit these SIMD instructions to add echo to existing audio data.

1.1 Waveform Audio File Format and Data Structure

The Audio Echo Sound Effect application described in this document operates on 8-bit audio data extracted from files stored in the Microsoft/IBM Waveform Audio File Format (also known as RIFF WAVE format). Files of this format commonly have a ".wav" file extension.

The sound data stored in the WAVE file consists of samples represented in pulse code modulation (PCM) format. For 8-bit audio samples each sample is described by an unsigned 8-bit integer from 0 (0x00) to 255 (0xFF), with the midpoint, or origin at 128 (0x80). Audio data with the value of 0x80 represents no sound. In a single-channel WAVE file, samples are stored consecutively. For stereo WAVE files, samples are interleaved:
Table 1: Format of Stereo Samples

Sample 1Sample 2 Sample 3
Left

Channel

Right ChannelLeft

Channel

Right ChannelLeft

Channel

Right Channel
Byte 0Byte 1 Byte 2Byte 3 Byte 4Byte 5


An array of bytes or unsigned chars is used to store audio samples extracted from a WAVE file. To facilitate aligned memory accesses, the array is padded with elements containing 0x80 (no sound) to make the size of the array a multiple of 8 bytes.

2.0 Echo Sound Effect

An echo is the repetition of a sound created by sound waves reflecting from a surface. We can simulate an echo in a WAVE file by adding an attenuated, time delayed version of the waveform audio data to the original data. Figure 1 shows an example of an echo with a delay of two sample time periods.

Figure 1: Superposition of Echoes

2.1 Echo Sound Effect Algorithm

A simple mathematical representation of the echo is the following equation: |

Figure 2: Echo Equation

where ,

X[n] = nth sample from the original audio waveform

NumEchos = The number of echoes

Gi = The attenuation factor for the ith echo

Delay = The number of samples time periods to delay the echo

Y[n] = nth sample from the resultant audio waveform

In the example shown in the chart above, NumEchos = 2, Delay = 2, and Gi = 1/(2*i).

For Equation 1 to be valid, the waveform audio samples will need to be converted from an unsigned integer (range 0 to 255, midpoint 128) to a signed integer (range -128 to 127, midpoint 0) by inverting the most significant bit of the sample.

2.2 C Implementation of Algorithm

To implement Equation 1, we will need two arrays if we process the data starting with the first sample (n=0) and continuing to the end of the array. However, by processing the data in the reverse order, we can accomplish the same results with only one array.

For example, assume that we have a 32-byte array (buffer) containing audio samples, the delay is 8, and the number of echoes is 3. Processing of the array would start at last element of the array (buffer[size-1]) and continue down to buffer[Delay]. The first echo would be attenuated by 1/2, the second echo by 1/4, etc. Refer to Figure 1.

Figure 3: Calculating Echo Effect

The echo function can be implemented using the following sequence of C code:

Code Listing 1: Simple C Implementation of Echo Sound Effects


void Echo8(unsigned int size, unsigned int Delay, unsigned int NumEcho,char* buffer) {    
	unsigned int LastEl;

	LastEl = (size/8)*8;				// align data access on eight byte 
								// boundaries
	unsigned int k;
	// outer loop
	for (unsigned int i=LastEl-1; i>Delay; i--)	// compare occurs
	{							// (LastEl-Delay) times

		buffer[i]   = buffer[i]^0x80; 		// convert data to unsigned
		k=1;
		// inner loop
		// compare occurs at least (NumEcho)*(LastEl-Delay) times
		while ((k<=NumEcho)&&(Delay*k <=I))		// process all echoes, but stay
		{						// in boundaries of array
		    // accumulating the effects of the echoes
			buffer[i] = buffer[i] + ((signed char)(buffer[i-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			k++;
		}
		buffer[i]   = buffer[i]^0x80; 		// convert back to unsigned
	}
}

Referring to Code Listing 1, we can see that the operations performed in the inner loop are performed a total of at least times. The code can be modified facilitate its conversion to MMXTM by partially unrolling its loops. Unrolling the code also results in faster code because it reduces the average cost-per-loop of Jump instructions.

The following code segment partially unrolls the loop by performing the required calculations on 8 bytes sequentially on each iteration. This code is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the best possible method.

Code Listing 2: Unrolled C Routine


	// outer loop
	// loop unrolled
	// compare occurs (LastEl-Delay)/8 times
	for (unsigned int i=LastEl-8; i>Delay; i-=8)
	{
		buffer[i]   = buffer[i]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+1] = buffer[i+1]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+2] = buffer[i+2]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+3] = buffer[i+3]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+4] = buffer[i+4]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+5] = buffer[i+5]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+6] = buffer[i+6]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+7] = buffer[i+7]^0x80; 
		k=1;
		// inner loop
		// compare occurs at least NumEcho*(LastEl-Delay)/8 times
		while ((k<=NumEcho)&&(Delay*k <=i))
		{
			buffer[i]   = buffer[i]   + ((signed char)(buffer[i  -Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+1] = buffer[i+1] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+1-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+2] = buffer[i+2] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+2-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+3] = buffer[i+3] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+3-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+4] = buffer[i+4] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+4-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+5] = buffer[i+5] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+5-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+6] = buffer[i+6] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+6-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			buffer[i+7] = buffer[i+7] + ((signed char)(buffer[i+7-Delay*k]^0x80) >> k);
			k++;
		}
		buffer[i]   = buffer[i]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+1] = buffer[i+1]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+2] = buffer[i+2]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+3] = buffer[i+3]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+4] = buffer[i+4]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+5] = buffer[i+5]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+6] = buffer[i+6]^0x80; 
		buffer[i+7] = buffer[i+7]^0x80; 

	}

2.3 MMXTM Implementation of Algorithm

The MMX implementation uses the same general algorithm. However, each iteration through the loop operates on sets of 8-bytes (as in the unrolled C routine, but with 4-bytes in parallel).

The following example shows how the initial data is read from the buffer and converted from unsigned bytes into signed words. The data is converted to words because the packed shift instructions operate on words, double words and quad words only.

Figure 4: Reading and Converting to Signed Data

2.3.1 Shift Factor

The shift factor is the value needed to shift the upper byte of a word to the lower byte of the word. In the example shown in Figure 3, the shift factor is 8 (PSRAW MM0, 8).

In attenuating each echo, we divide the echo element by powers of 2. The first echo is divided by 2, the second by 4, the third by 8, etc. This attenuation is most efficiently done by using the packed shift right instruction. Both of these shifts can be accomplished in one instruction by shifting 8 + ( number of echo) bits. For example, the first echo is shifted a total of 8+1 bits, second echo is shifted 8+2 bits.

2.3.2 Unoptimized MMXTM Code

In all of the following MMX implementations of the echo function the local variable BITMASK is defined as a quadword with the value of 0x8080808080808080.

The following assembly code sequence implements the echo function in its original, unoptimized form. Line spacing is used to indicate logical blocks and do not indicate super-scalar pairing.

Code Listing 3: Unoptimized MMX Echo Function


START_MMXECHO:
	mov		esi, LastEl		
	mov		edi, mybuffer		; pointer to the buffer
	movq		mm7, dword ptr BITMASK
	
	sub		esi,00000008		; pointer to current sample set 
	jmp		START_L_1

LOOP_1:		
	sub		esi,00000008		; i = i - 8

START_L_1:
	mov		ebx, 8				
	movd		mm6, ebx		; intialize shift factor

	punpcklbw	mm0, [edi + esi]	; get low byte
	pxor		mm0, mm7		; convert to signed
	psraw		mm0, mm6		; realign (convert to word)

	punpckhbw	mm1, [edi + esi]	; get high byte
	pxor		mm1, mm7		; convert to signed
	psraw		mm1, mm6		; realign (convert to word)

	mov		ecx, 0			; k = 0
	mov		eax, Delay		;
	mov		edx, esi		; copy index to buffer

	sub		edx, eax		; get to delay
	jc		END_LOOP_2
	jmp		START_L_2
LOOP_2:						; loops on number of echoes
	inc		ecx			; k = k + 1

	add		eax, Delay		; goto next delay
	mov		edx, esi		; copy index to buffer
	sub		edx, eax		; get to delay - check for array bounds
	jc		END_LOOP_2

	inc		ebx			; shift factor = 8 + k
	movd		mm6, ebx
										
START_L_2:
	punpcklbw	mm2, [edi + edx]	; get low byte of echo k
	pxor		mm2, mm7		; convert to signed
	psraw		mm2, mm6		; apply shift factor
	paddsw		mm0, mm2		; accumulate "low byte" words sums in to mm1

	punpckhbw	mm3, [edi + edx]	; get high byte of echo k
	pxor		mm3, mm7		; convert to signed
	psraw		mm3, mm6		; apply shift factor
	paddsw		mm1, mm3		; accumulate "high byte" words sums in to mm1


	cmp		ecx, NumEcho		; loop back if k (ecx) <= NumEcho
	jb		LOOP_2
END_LOOP_2:
	packsswb	mm0, mm1		; pack low and high words into bytes
	pxor		mm0, mm7		; convert back to unsigned

	movq		[edi + esi], mm0	; store result back to buffer
	cmp		esi, Delay

	jb		END_L_1
	jmp		LOOP_1
END_L_1:

2.3.3 Optimization Procedure

The speed of echo sound effect routines, like other assembly code routines, can benefit greatly from optimization. This echo sound effect routine benefited most from these optimizations:

Re-ordering instructions to make better use of both of the PentiumTM processor super-scalar pipelines. MMXTM instructions are similar to scalar integer instructions, in that they can be executed two at a time, if certain microarchitecture constraints are met. These constraints are codified into "pairing rules."

Ensuring that memory reads and writes do not cross their natural alignment boundaries. For instance, the 64-bit MOVQ memory accesses should be done to 8-byte-aligned memory addresses. If a boundary is crossed, the routine stalls, while the processor makes an extra memory access.

A loop is unrolled by writing it out N times, with each new, longer loop executed only 1/Nth as many times. Loop unrolling helps pair instructions at the (original) loop edges, and reduces the average cost-per-loop of Jump instructions. The inner loop of this routine is a good candidate for loop unrolling.

The general procedure was to first create a straight-forward echo effects routine, which was easy to understand and debug, then to optimize that routine in successive steps. All functional verification testing was done using a C++ program which had the ability to read, write and play WAVE files. Performance testing and optimization was done using a separate C program which simply called the various routines using a sample 800 byte data set. Correct operation was verified throughout the optimization process by playing the resulting audio data and comparing the results to a similar routine coded in C.

Data alignment was easily achieved by declaring the critical arrays first, in Microsoft Visual C. A more robust method would be to explicitly check data alignment at run-time, and re-align them then, if necessary.

The optimization effort was concentrated primarily in the loops. Any cycle time saved in the loops is greatly magnified, as the loops execute on the order of thousands of times. Code outside of this loop (subroutine call/return, parameter retrieval, constant matrix setup) is executed only once per call, so did not merit much optimization effort.

Each stage of optimization consisted of:

2.3.4 Optimized MMXTM Code

The following assembly code sequence is the optimized version of the MMX echo function. The lines are spaced to indicate super-scalar pairing.

Code Listing 4: Optimized MMX Echo Function


START_MMXECHO:

	mov		esi,LastEl		; pointer to end of buffer
	mov		edi, mybuffer		; pointer to the buffer

	movq		mm7, dword ptr BITMASK
	
	sub		esi,00000008		; pointer to current sample set
	jmp		START_L_1

LOOP_1:		
	sub		esi,00000008		; i = i - 8
START_L_1:
	mov		ebx, 8

	punpcklbw	mm0, [edi + esi]	; get low byte (lb)

	punpckhbw	mm1, [edi + esi]	; get high byte (hb)
	pxor		mm0, mm7		; convert lb to signed

	mov		ecx, 0			; k = 0
	mov		eax, Delay		; first delay

	movd		mm6, ebx		; initialize shift factor
	pxor		mm1, mm7		; convert hb to signed

	psraw		mm0, mm6		; realign lb (convert to word (lbw))
	mov		edx, esi		; copy index to buffer

	psraw		mm1, mm6		; realign hb (convert to word (hbw))
	sub		edx, eax		; get to delay

	jc		END_LOOP_2


	jmp		START_L_2

LOOP_2:						; loops on number of echoes
	add		eax, Delay		; goto next delay
	mov		edx, esi		; copy index to buffer

	inc		ebx			; shift factor = 8 + k
	sub		edx, eax		; check bounds

	jc		END_LOOP_2

	inc		ecx			; k = k + 1

	movd		mm6, ebx		; mm6 <= shift factor
						
START_L_2:

	punpcklbw	mm2, [edi + edx]	; get low byte of echo k

	punpckhbw	mm3, [edi + edx]	; get hi byte of echo k
	pxor		mm2, mm7		; convert echo k lb to signed

	pxor		mm3, mm7		; convert echo k hb to signed
	psraw		mm2, mm6		; apply shift factor

	psraw		mm3, mm6		; apply shift factor
	paddsw		mm0, mm2		;accumulate "low byte" words sums in mm0

	paddsw		mm1, mm3		; accumulate "hi byte" words sums in mm1

	cmp		ecx, NumEcho		; loop back if k (ecx) <= NumEcho

	jb		LOOP_2
END_LOOP_2:
	packsswb	mm0, mm1		; pack low and hi words into bytes

	pxor		mm0, mm7		; convert back to unsigned

	movq		[edi + esi], mm0	; store results back to buffer

	cmp		esi, Delay		

	jb		END_L_1

	jmp		LOOP_1
END_L_1:	

2.3.5 Unrolled MMXTM Code

The performance of this function can be further enhanced by unrolling the inner loop (LOOP2). For example, rewrite the code so when NumEcho is 1, one section of code is used, when NumEcho is 2, another section of code is used, and so on. As the code is written now, the inner loop performs two compares and branches for each echo (one for array boundary checks, one for loop termination) per iteration of the outer loop (LOOP1). When the loop is unrolled, only the array boundary check is performed thus reducing the expensive compare and branch instructions by a half. The code segment on the following page is an example of the section of code used to perform two echo calculations:


Code Listing 5: Unrolled MMX Technology Echo Function


TWO_ECHOS:
; get two echo delays
; 1st echo in mm2, mm3, modify, accumulate in mm0, mm1
; 2nd echo in mm4, mm5, modify, accumulate in mm0, mm1
; For pairing purposes, some registers are pre-initialized
;**********************************************************************
; 1st echo
	mov		eax, Delay		; get to delay (Delay = 1 Delay)
	sub		edx, eax		; get to delay in buffer
	
	jc		END_TWO_ECHO
	mov		ebx, 9			; shift factor for first echo = 8+1	
	
	movd		mm6, ebx		; mm6 <- shift factor
	
	punpcklbw	mm2, [edi + edx]	; get low byte of echo 1

	punpckhbw	mm3, [edi + edx]	; get hi byte of echo 1

	pxor		mm2, mm7		; convert echo 1 lb to signed
	pxor		mm3, mm7		; convert echo 1 hb to signed

	psraw		mm2, mm6		; apply shift factor to lb
	psraw		mm3, mm6		; apply shift facoor to hb

	paddsw		mm0, mm2		; accumulate "low byte" word sums in mm0
	paddsw		mm1, mm3		; accumulate "hi byte" word sums in mm1
;**********************************************************************
; 2nd echo

	add		eax, Delay		; goto next delay (Delay = 2 Delay)
	mov		edx, esi		; copy index to buffer

	sub		edx, eax		; get to delay

	jc		END_TWO_ECHO
	inc		ebx			; shift factor = 8 + 2

	movd		mm6, ebx		; mm6 <- shift factor

	punpcklbw	mm4, [edi + edx]	; get low byte of echo 2

	punpckhbw	mm5, [edi + edx]	; get hi byte of echo 1

	pxor		mm4, mm7		; convert echo 2 lb to signed
	pxor		mm5, mm7		; convert echo 2 hb to signed

	psraw		mm4, mm6		; apply shift factor to lb
	psraw		mm5, mm6		; apply shift facoor to hb

	paddsw		mm0, mm4 		; accumulate "low byte" word sums in mm0	
	paddsw		mm1, mm5		; accumulate "hi byte" word sums in mm1
;**********************************************************************
;finished with echoes		
;							

3.0 Performance Gains

All performance analysis was done using Intel Vtune 2.0 Beta 3.0. Each routine operated on the same data set:

Table 2 show the results of the dynamic and static analysis of each routine.



Table 2: Vtune Performance Analysis Results

Vtune Analysis
Non-MMX™ C Routine1 MMX Routine2
NormalUnrolledUnoptimized OptimizedOptimized

& Unrolled

Dynamic Analysis
# Instructions Run456981655484428442 6105
Total Cycle Count41186 28322766067124809
CPI0.901.71 0.910.800.79
%Pairing95%58% 37%71%71%
Static Analysis
# Instructions4686 565691
Total Cycles76145 514670
%Pairing78%53% 46%64%68%
Performance
Performance Gain Compared to Unrolled C3 NA1 X3.4 X 4.2 X5.9 X
Performance Gain Compared to Unoptimized MMX4 NANA1 X 1.1 X1.6 X

Notes:

1 C routines were compiled using Microsoft Visual C++ with the compiler options set to produce blended code and optimization set to maximum speed

2 MMX Routine assembled with MASM 6.11d

3 Performance Gain = (Total Cycle Count of Normal C Routine) / Total Cycle Count

4 Performance Gain = (Total Cycle Count of Unoptimized MMX Routine) / Total

Cycle Count

Table 2 illustrates the significant performance gain of even unoptimized MMX code over the similar C routine.

4.0 Conclusion

This application note has demonstrated how MMX technology can be successfully used to accelerate an echo effects algorithm. The MMX instruction set was shown to map well to audio transformation calculations. Optimized code was almost twice as fast as naive (unoptimized) code.

While the exact requirements of particular audio applications will vary, MMX technology is generally applicable. Intel's MMX technology provides an opportunity for a new level of software audio performance on PCs.

Free Web Hosting

Legal Stuff © 1997 Intel Corporation