Mixing Sound Waves (CoreAudio on iOS)

It seems to me that CoreAudio adds sound waves together when mixing into a single channel. My program will make synthesised sounds. I know the amplitudes of each of the sounds. When I play them together should I add them together and multiply the resultant wave to keep within the range? I can do it like this:

MaxAmplitude = max1 + max2 + max3 //Maximum amplitude of each sound wave
if MaxAmplitude > 1 then //Over range
    Output = (wave1 + wave2 + wave3)/MaxAmplitude //Meet range
    Output = (wave1 + wave2 + wave3) //Normal addition
end if

Can I do it this way? Should I pre-analyse the sound waves to find the actual maximum amplitude (Because the maximum points may not match on the timeline) and use that?

What I want is a method to play several synthesised sounds together without reducing the volume throughout extremely and sounding seamless. If I play a chord with several synthesised instruments, I don't want to require single notes to be practically silent.

Thank you.


Changing the scale suddenly on a single sample basis, which is what your "if" statement does, can sound very bad, similar to clipping.

You can look into adaptive AGC (automatic gain control) which will change the scale factor more slowly, but could still clip or get sudden volume changes during fast transients.

If you use lookahead with the AGC algorithm to prevent sudden transients from clipping, then your latency will get worse.

If you do use AGC, then isolated notes may sound like they were played much more loudly than when played in a chord, which may not correctly represent a musical composition's intent (although this type of compression is common in annoying TV and radio commercials).

Scaling down the mixer output volume so that the notes will never clip or have their volume reduced other than when the composition indicates will result in a mix with greatly reduced volume for a large number of channels (which is why properly reproduced classical music on the radio is often too quiet to draw enough viewers to make enough money).

It's all a trade-off.

I don't see this is a problem. If you know the max amplitude of all your waves (for all time) it should work. Be sure not to change the amplitude on per sample basis but decide for every "note-on". It is a very simple algorithm but could suit your needs.

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