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January 17, 2014Mike Hines
Dolby has just released a new Dolby Audio Plug-In for Kindle Fire HD and HDX that helps developers deliver even better audio to their users. Developers can now select an audio profile to optimize the sound based on the kind of audio being delivered. This means optimized audio setting for voice during your app’s dialog, and optimized settings for broad-range sound during your app’s action sequences. All with just a few lines of code you can insert into your app, no re-architecting required!
This isn’t the first time Amazon and Dolby have collaborated. Amazon and Dolby worked together on hardware and software enhancements for the Kindle Fire HD and HDX line of tablets for their launch, delivering Dolby Digital post-processing for native apps. But now Dolby has raised the bar again with Dolby Digital Plus, and the new Dolby Audio APIs for Kindle Fire. (Fear not, Unity fans. There is a Unity plug-in for you too.)
When you use the Dolby Audio Plug-in APIs, you can choose from four audio profiles to tune your sound profile to match the audio use in your app. For example, you can tune your app to use the Voice profile for dialog-heavy parts of your app, and the Game profile for first-person-shooter action. Here are the profiles you can choose from:
-Music: Applies equalization and dynamic range control to enrich instrumental and vocal quality in recorded music
-Movie: Clarifies the dialogue while providing the best representation of the full dynamic range of the program
-Game: Creates a ‘live’ space to best bring out the effect of fast-moving objects in the audio
-Voice: Customized for the reproduction of speech patterns and the tonal range of the human voice
This lets you deliver an optimized audio experience to your users, and it takes very little time to do so. Here are the high level steps to implement this API:
1. Load the Dolby JAR file and import the DolbyAudioProcessing libraries
2. Create a OnDolbyAudioProcessingEvent listener
3. Call getDolbyAudioProcessing to get an instance of the Class (only done once for lifetime of the app)
4. Wait for the app to connect to the DolbyAudioProcessing handler
5. Instantiate the audio profiles as needed to in your app (Voice for dialog heavy parts, Game for FPS parts, etc…)
6. Restore default audio behavior if your app is in the background
7. Restore default audio behavior by releasing the Dolby instance on destroy
Setting the sound profile to use at different points in your app is pretty easy (see below).
You can set profile to Music, Movie, Game or Voice as appropriate at that location in your app.
Overall, integrating the API takes about an hour and does not require re-designing any logic or workflow. It’s a small investment for a big win.
You can download the free sample apk right away so you can hear for yourself how nice this is. To download the API, you need to sign up for a free developer account with Dolby (which took me less than 30 seconds).
Dolby has done a good job of making this easy to deploy. When you download the API package, you’ll get everything you need to get started, including javadocs, a quick start guide, and sample code showing exactly how to invoke Dolby APIs. You can download the free Dolby Audio Plug-in on this page, and learn more about Dolby Developer Services on their developer home page here.