C/C++ Guides


The Audio C API

The MoSync Audio C API make it possible to play multiple audio tracks simultaneously on Android and iOS. In this guide we take a  look at the functions in this API and give you two example programs which demonstrate the capabilities of this API.

For a list of the platforms supported by the Audio C API, see Feature/Platform Support.

Creating something to play

The MoSync Audio C API provides a set of functions that make it possible to play background music and sound effects at the same time. The API is based on using two basic handles, MAAudioData and MAAudioInstance.

MoSyncs old Sound API made use of resources created as .media or .umedia resources in the resource .lst file. The new system uses .ubin resources. These are just binary resources which will be loaded and used by the Audio APIs maAudioDataCreateFromResource call.

To create an MAAudioData resource, use the maAudioDataCreateFromResource or maAudioDataCreateFromURL functions. The first takes a bundled MoSync resource; the latter a URL.

  • On Android, the URL accepts the protocols “http://”, “https://”, and "file:///".
  • On iOS it only accepts the "file://" protocol.
  • If no protocol is added it assumes it's a file path.
  • For protocol support on other platforms, see  Feature/Platform Support.

Streaming versus non-streaming resources

Audio resources can be streaming or non-streaming. General platform limitations mean that you can only stream one audio resource at the time. Use the flag MA_AUDIO_DATA_STREAM to identify the audio resource as a streaming resource that should not be loaded into memory but should instead be streamed from disk or over HTTP. Set the flag to 0 (zero) for all other sounds otherwise you may get an error.

The streaming sound should, in a game perspective, be the background music while the non-streaming should be the sound effects.

Different platforms have different quirks so when creating your resources you should take some things in consideration. For sound effects, the most reliable format is MP3. For non-streaming sounds you should generally use short samples, a couple of seconds in length.

You must check your return values, if you get a value < 0, something bad happened.

Creating an audio instance

To be able to play an audio resource you first need to create an audio instance. Do this using the maAudioInstanceCreate function. If you get a return value which is not <0 then you are ready to play the resource.

Preparing a streaming audio resource

For a streaming audio resource you need to prepare the sound — that is, start processing the file into memory. You can prepare the audio resource asynchronously or synchronously. Preparing it asynchronously is recommended. (If you try to play the sound before preparing it, it will automatically be prepared synchronously and if that is done over a slow internet connection your app may freeze for a few seconds.)

Call maAudioPrepare and set the async flag to 1. The preparation will begin and you will receive an EVENT_TYPE_AUDIO_PREPARED event when it's finished buffering. This event will also contain the MAAudioInstance of the prepared sound.

There is no need to prepare non-streaming audio resources.

Playing an audio resource

Before playing a resource you can set the number of times the sound should loop using maAudioSetNumberOfLoops: 0 means play once, 1 means play twice, and so on. A loop value of -1 means that it should loop forever.

The current resource instance can also has it’s volume changed with maAudioSetVolume. Volume is a value between 0 and 1 where 0 is mute and 1 is full volume.

maAudioGetLength gets the length of the sound in milliseconds while maAudioSetPosition lets you set the position in the file. You can also use maAudioGetPosition to get the current position in the file in milliseconds from the start. Note that these three functions may not be available for non-streaming sounds on all platforms. Check your return values and you will be safe.

maAudioPlay will start playing the sound. The EVENT_TYPE_AUDIO_COMPLETED event will be fired when it’s finished. If you have set the number of loops to 1 you will hear the sound play twice and then you will get the event.

During playback you can always use maAudioPause to pause the current playback and it will be resumed by calling maAudioPlay again.

When you call maAudioStop the sound might get unprepared which means that you need to prepare it again. If you want to stop playback and start at the beginning again it’s better to use maAudioSetPosition and set the position to 0.

When you don’t need to play a sound anymore you can destroy the MAudioInstance with maAudioInstanceDestroy. If you want to clean up the sound data just use maAudioDataDestroy to destroy the MAAudioData.

Example: playing multiple sounds simultaneously

#include <MAUtil/Moblet.h>
#include <conprint.h>

#include "MAHeaders.h"

using namespace MAUtil;

 * This example program will divide the screen into four sections, each sections
 * will have a different color. It assumes there are four binary resources which
 * is called RES_SOUND_1 to RES_SOUND_4 which contains small audio files. The
 * resources needs to be defined as .ubin or .bin in the resource .lst or .lstx
 * file.   
 * When pressing either of these four sections a corresponding sound will play.    
class MyMoblet : public Moblet

        // Checking the size of the screen
        int mWindowWidth = EXTENT_X(maGetScrSize());
        int mWindowHeight = EXTENT_Y(maGetScrSize());

        // Divide the screen in four sections
        // and render each in different colors
        mCenterX = mWindowWidth/2;
        mCenterY = mWindowHeight/2;

        maFillRect(0, 0, mCenterX, mCenterY);

        maFillRect(mCenterX, 0, mCenterX, mCenterY);

        maFillRect(0, mCenterY, mCenterX, mCenterY);

        maFillRect(mCenterX, mCenterY, mCenterX, mCenterY);


        // Init the sounds and send a panic if it failed
        if (!initSounds())
            maPanic(-1, "Couldn't initiate sound resources");


    bool initSounds()
        // MoSync resources are created in increasing order which
        // means that you can use the first resource handle as
        // a base and then access each resource by incrementing
        // an offset.
        for(int i = 0; i < 4; i++)
            // Create a maAudioData handle from the resource
            mData[i] = maAudioDataCreateFromResource(
            // If the maAudioData handle is less then 0 it failed
            if(mData[i] < 0)
                return false;

            // Create a maAudioInstance handle from the audio data.
            // The instance is then used when playing the audio.
            mInstance[i] = maAudioInstanceCreate(mData[i]);

            // If the maAudioInstance handle is less then 0 it failed
            if(mInstance[i] < 0)
                return false;

        return true;

     * This program only checks for the back and menu key,
     * and when either of those are pressed the application
     * will close. This will only happen on Android.
    void keyPressEvent(int keyCode, int nativeCode)
        if (MAK_BACK == keyCode || MAK_MENU == keyCode)

     * Checks each key press on the screen and plays a sound according
     * to which quadrant of the screen which was pressed.
     * The touchid will be ignored, it's too identify which multitouch
     * event which was fired. For this test a sound will play on each
     * touch so it can handle multiple sounds at the same time. When
     * a sound is playing and that screen section is touched again, that
     * sound will restart meaning that all four samples will be able to 
     * play at the same time, but only one instance of each.    
    virtual void multitouchPressEvent(MAPoint2d p, int touchId)
        // Quickly check which section on the screen is pressed
        // by comparing the point event coordinates against the
        // the center of the screen.   
        int index;
        if(p.y > mCenterY)
            if(p.x > mCenterX)
                index = 0;
                index = 1;
            if(p.x > mCenterX)
                index = 2;
                index = 3;

        // Stops the sound if this instance was already playing,
        // if it's not playing nothing will happen. 
        // Rewinds the instance to the start of the sound
        maAudioSetPosition(mInstance[index], 0);
        // Plays the sound


    // Ignored in this example 
    virtual void multitouchMoveEvent(MAPoint2d p, int touchId)

    // Ignored in this example 
    virtual void multitouchReleaseEvent(MAPoint2d p, int touchId)

    // Ignored in this example 
    void keyReleaseEvent(int keyCode, int nativeCode)

    // Ignored in this example 
    void pointerPressEvent(MAPoint2d point)

    // The center of the screen, calculated at start up 
    int mCenterX;
    int mCenterY;

    // The four audio data handles 
    MAAudioData mData[4];
    // The four audio instance handles 
    MAAudioInstance mInstance[4];

extern "C" int MAMain()
    Moblet::run(new MyMoblet());
    return 0;

Example: streaming over HTTP (on Android)

#include <ma.h>
#include <conprint.h>

 * A small test program which will stream an audio from http,
 * prepare the sound and when it's prepared it will start playing
 * it. When playing touching the screen will toggle between pause
 * and resume.
extern "C" {
int MAMain()
    printf("Streaming for URL");
    printf("Press back button on Android to quit.");

    // Create a streaming audio handle from a http URL 
    int audioData = maAudioDataCreateFromURL(NULL,

    // If it failed, send a panic!  
    if(audioData < 0)
        maPanic(1, "Unable to create audio data.\n");

    // Create an audio instance handle from the data handle
    int audioInstance = maAudioInstanceCreate(audioData);

    // If it failed, send a panic!  
    if(audioInstance < 0)
            maPanic(1, "Unable to create audio instance.\n");

    // Start preparing the data handle 
    int preparing = maAudioPrepare(audioData, 1);

    // If it failed, send a panic!  
    if(preparing < 0)
        maPanic(1, "Unable to prepare audio.\n");

    printf("Please wait while preparing.\n");

    // Two flags keeping track of if we are playing or if
    // we are paused.  
    bool isPlaying = false;
    bool isPaused = false;

    // Just continue until the application closes 
        // Pause until we get an event 
        MAEvent event;
            // If a key event was fired, check if it
            // was the back key ( for Android ) and quit  
            if(event.type == EVENT_TYPE_KEY_PRESSED)
                if(event.key == MAK_BACK)
            // If it was a screen touched event and we are
            // playing the sound, toggle between paused
            // and resumed.   
            if(event.type == EVENT_TYPE_POINTER_PRESSED)
                    // toggle the paused flag 
                    isPaused = !isPaused;

                    // If we are pausing.. 
                        // Pause the sound and write the current location
                        // and the length of the sound to the screen.  
                        int l = maAudioGetPosition(audioInstance);
                        int ll = maAudioGetLength(audioInstance);
                        printf("paused at %d of %d\n", l, ll);
                    // If we are resuming.. 
                        // Play the sound again and it will resume
                        // from it's current position.  
            // If the event was a audio prepared event
            if(event.type == EVENT_TYPE_AUDIO_PREPARED)
                // Check that the audio instance returned
                // and the one we have locally is the same.  
                if(audioInstance == event.audioInstance)
                    // If the same, start playing the sound 
                    isPlaying = true;

                    // Print the lenght of the clip to the screen 
                    int l = maAudioGetLength(audioInstance);
                    printf("Song lenght %d ms\n", l);
                    // Preperation failed, send a panic!
                    maPanic(0, "Preparation failed.\n");
            // If the event was an audio completed event. 
            if(event.type == EVENT_TYPE_AUDIO_COMPLETED)
                printf("The audio completed!\n");

MoSync SDK 3.3
Copyright © 2013 MoSync AB