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PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem

About This Application Note

The PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem Application Note contains a brief description and tuning instructions for DSP Concepts’ PlayBasic basic audio playback processing Reusable Subsystem.

PlayBasic – Basic Audio Playback Processing Reusable Subsystem

PlayBasic is DSP Concepts’ proprietary basic audio playback processing algorithm. It is available as a Reusable Subsystem in AWE Designer.

PlayBasic consists of five cascaded biquad filters for equalization and a three-band dynamic range compressor. PlayBasic includes gain control between the biquad filters and the three-band compressor. The three-band compressor is followed by a full-band compressor and a soft clipper to minimize any clipping distortions. PlayBasic works for mono or stereo audio streams and with all sampling rates and block sizes. It is effective for various audio playback hardware devices such as loudspeakers, headphones, earbuds, and smart phones.

Figure 1 shows the block diagram of PlayBasic’s internal processing. The components in blue blocks are tunable.

Figure 1: PlayBasic internal processing block diagram


Figure 2 shows an example layout demonstrating the PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem. This example layout is designed to run in Native Mode with a file input; audio signals must be assigned to appropriate channels for running the layout on a target device.

Figure 2: Example layout demonstrating the PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem


The PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem includes an inspector which allows users to tune the equalization filters, the main volume, and the compressors. Figure 3 show the inspector panel of the PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem.

Figure 3: PlayBasic Reusable Subsystem inspector window

Main Volume

The Main Volume is applied after the equalization filters and before the compressors. High Main Volume gains may be counteracted by the compressors depending on the compressors’ tunings.

Equalization Filter

Users can design equalization with five cascaded biquad filters.

There are 22 filter types available (Table 1). Depending on the selected filter types, users can tune a cutoff frequency, a Q value, and a filter gain for the filter. If a biquad stage is unused, select the Bypass option for that filter.

Filter Type



Butterworth 1st-order LPF

Butterworth 2nd-order LPF

Butterworth 1st-order HPF

Butterworth 2nd-order HPF

1st order APF

2nd order APF

Shelf Low

Shelf LowQ

Shelf High

Shelf HighQ

Peak EQ



Bessel 1st order LPF

Bessel 1st order HPF

Self Low 1st order Asym

Self High 1st order Asym

Self Low 1st order Sym

Self Low 1st order Sym

VariableQ LPF

VariableQ HPF

Table 1: Filter type options for equalization filter

Dynamic Range Compressors

As shown in Figure 1, there are four tunable dynamic range compressors. Each compressor has the following tuning parameters.

  • Threshold (dBFS) – The compressor attenuates signals above this level.

  • Gain (dB) – The constant gain in dB applied to the compressor output.

  • Ratio – The input and output level ratio. Higher ratio values cause the compressor to attenuate signals above the threshold more aggressively.

  • Knee depth (dB) – Larger knee depth values provide smoother gain transitions around the threshold.

  • Attack time (ms) – The envelope detector attack time for estimating the signal level.

  • Decay time (ms) – The envelope detector decay time for estimating the signal level.

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