Digital Audio Interface (DAI)

The DAI interface is a FIDL protocol exposed by DAI drivers. The DAI interface controls the configuration of a DAI link for audio data transfer.

Notation and terminology

  • All indices start from 0.
  • Vectors of n elements are represented as <x0,x1,...,xn-1>, for example a vector with two elements 5 and 6 as <5,6>.
  • Vectors can be nested, i.e. <<5,6>,<7,8>> represents a vector with 2 vectors in it.
Term Definition
DAI Digital Audio Interface. Interface between audio HW, for : instance a TDM or PDM link between controllers and codecs.
Frame Sync A DAI signal that marks frame boundaries, a.k.a. LRCLK, SYNC.
Sclk A DAI signal used to mark the data line(s) bits transferring, : a.k.a. SCK, BCLK.
Mclk Master clock, a DAI signal sometimes needed to provide a clock to DAIs. Sometimes Sclk is used as the Mclk (or Mclk is derived from the Sclk within the DAI).
Frame The representation of a single moment in time across data, : frame sync and sclk in the DAI.
Frame format A frame's data, frame sync and sclk arrangement, e.g. location of the frame sync w.r.t. samples in the data line(s).
Slot Within a frame, the bits reserved for a sample. A slot may be bigger than needed to hold the samples, e.g. 32 bits slot holding 24 or 16 bits samples.
Channel A single source or destination of audio samples, usually to be rendered by a single speaker or captured by a single microphone. Every frame will contain samples in a fixed number of slots for the same fixed number of channels.
Sample A digital representation of sound taken at a particular time.

Basic operation

The DAI client is responsible for configuring the DAI. The driver providing the DAI interface (from here on the DAI driver) advertises supported formats and allows the creation of a Ring Buffer for audio sample transferring.

Note that the DAI drivers are expected to perform their own shutdown, just like any other driver (see the Drivers section).

Protocol definition

The DAI protocol is defined in FIDL at dai.fidl and dai_format.fidl.

Because the FDF does not currently provide a way to directly get a FIDL channel for communication, we define a way to get a channel through Banjo at

Direct connection to a DAI protocol server is provided by dai_connector.fidl.


A DAI can be reset by a client at any time by issuing the Reset function.


The GetInfo function retrieves information from the DAI including:

  1. The manufacturer name.
  2. The product name.


The GetDaiFormats function allows the DAI driver to list its supported formats for the DAI. The supported formats may include multiple sample formats, rates, etc. DAI driver provides the supported formats and their clients mandate which format is to be used in the CreateRingBuffer function.

The DAI driver replies with a vector of DaiSupportedFormats, where each DaiSupportedFormats includes:

  1. A vector of number of channels. This lists the number of channels supported by the DAI, for example <2,4,6,8>. A stereo DAI reports a vector with one element <2>. Note that a DAI that takes one channel and inputs/outputs its contents in all its inputs/outputs (e.g. 2 for a stereo amplifier) would report a vector with one element <1>, if it supports either one or two input channels, it would report a vector with two elements <1,2>.
  2. A vector of sample formats. DAI sample formats, e.g. PCM_SIGNED.
  3. A vector of frame formats, For example I2S or TDM1, or the CUSTOM option where DaiFrameFormatCustom specifies each parameter of the frame configuration individually, e.g. frame_sync_size and sclk_on_raising.
  4. A vector of rates. Frame rates, for example 44100, 48000, and 96000.
  5. A number of bits per slot. Number of bits in each slot in the DAI, e.g. 32 bits per slot.
  6. A vector of bits per sample. Sample widths, e.g. 24 bits per sample.

Within a single DaiSupportedFormats, any combination of provided parameters is supported.

When not all combinations supported by the DAI can be described with one DaiSupportedFormats, the DAI returns more than one DaiSupportedFormats in the returned vector. For example, if one DaiSupportedFormats allows for 32 bits samples at 48KHz, and 16 bits samples at 96KHz, but not 32 bits samples at 96KHz, then the DAI will reply with 2 DaiSupportedFormats: <<32bits>,<48KHz>> and <<16bits>,<96KHz>>. For simplicity, this example ignores parameters other than rate and bits per sample. In the case where the DAI supports either 16 or 32 bits samples at either 48 or 96KHz, the DAI would reply with 1 DaiSupportedFormats: <<16bits,32bits>,<48KHz,96KHz>>.

Additionally, it is assumed that bits per sample is always smaller or equal to bits per slot. Hence, a DAI can report <<16bits_per_slot,32bits_per_slot>,<16bits_per_sample,32bits_per_sample>> and this does not imply that it is reporting that 32 bits per sample on 16 bits samples is valid, it specifies only the 3 valid combinations:

  1. 16 bits slot with 16 bits samples
  2. 32 bits slot with 32 bits samples
  3. 32 bits slot with 16 bits samples


Same as the streaming interface GetSupportedFormats function, see Audio Streaming Interface.


The client specifies both the format to use in the DAI and the format to use in the ring buffer as part of the creating of the ring buffer in the CreateRingBuffer function.

The DAI format parameter specifies:

  1. A number of channels. This is the number of channels in the DAI (for instance number of channels on a TDM bus, i.e. "on the wire").
  2. A channels to use bitmask. These are the channels in the DAI to be used for data transfer. For example to specify that both channels in an I2S DAI this must be 3.
  3. A sample format.
  4. A frame format.
  5. A frame rate.
  6. A number of bits per slot.
  7. A number of bits per sample.

The ring buffer format parameter is the same as the streaming interface CreateRingBuffer function, see Audio Streaming Interface.

Once CreateRingBuffer is successful, the DAI format configuration is considered completed and samples can be sent across the DAI once the RingBuffer protocol configuration is completed and the RingBuffer Start function has been called.

For a description of the ring buffer functionality, see the Audio Streaming Interface.

Signal processing

Defined at Audio Signal Processing.