Status: WG Report (Closed, Completed)


Date: March 15, 1999

Platform (Hardware) Requirements for High Quality Audio

The PDWG was proposed at the "Fat Man's BBQ" during October of 1996. At the BBQ, a prestigious group of content providers and computer audio professionals were asked "What do you want in PC audio in five years?"

The consensus was:

  • Dedicated hardware acceleration for audio
  • 32 channel digital mixing, with effects on each channel
  • 6 channel mastering with multi-channel output or stereo output
  • Multi-user interface
  • Synthesizer - not FM, but Wave Table, DLS.
  • Dedicated CODEC - this would be in addition to the AC97 CODEC specification

A number of the hardware developers who attended the event continued the discussion of the matter on site and concluded that the components to the solution were actually available today, though not currently assembled into any one PC product or system. The PDWG was formed to further define a specification for this ideal audio platform, and to insure that a compatible, scalable and expandable platform was created for the industry. The goal of the PDWG was defined as "To design and build a high quality audio platform(s) that content developers can create on, unrestrained by hardware".

To accomplish this goal, the group set the following agenda:

  1. Define and design the platform, get further input from content developers.
  2. Define and design a plan to evangelize the platform. This would include the creation of a logo, testing procedures, and methodology for accomplishing all of the above.
  3. Evangelize the platform

The PDWG team spent the next year or so discussing specific means to accomplish the goals. As these discussions progressed, PDWG members took the ideas developed in the WG back to their respective companies. As most PDWG members worked on teams that designed audio platforms, this natural dissemination of WG information contributed to the independent manufacture of solutions that satisfied the WG requirements. As a result, the PDWG as a group was not required to actually develop a reference solution (as originally suggested) because the specified hardware began to appear in the marketplace, designed manufactured and distributed independently by various IA-SIG member companies.. Examples of such products are the SoundBlaster Live!, the Aureal Vortex 2, and the Yamaha YFM724.

In conclusion, the PDWG has accomplished what it set out to do at the '96 BBQ in a profitable and commercial fashion. Thus while no tangible reports or official guidelines resulted, the work of the WG did lead to industry progress in its area of focus and thus can be considered to have achieved its goals successfully.

The WG does not plan further activities at this time and the Chairman recommends to the Steering Committee that the WG be closed.

Submitted by: Gary Johnson