This OpenAL extension provides a "foldback" facility to OpenAL, allowing a mono or stereo mix of the overall OpenAL output to be fed back to the originating software for further processing, recording etc. It should be noted that there are better ways to define such an extension, e.g. by arranging for the foldback data to be written to standard OpenAL audio buffers (see the OpenAL mailing list), so this extension may become deprecated.

The OpenAL extension can be detected by a call to alIsExtensionPresent requesting extension "AL_EXT_FOLDBACK" (defined by macro AL_EXT_FOLDBACK_NAME).

If it is present, the calls "alRequestFoldbackStart" (of type LPALREQUESTFOLDBACKSTART) and "alRequestFoldbackStop" (of type LPALREQUESTFOLDBACKSTOP) will be available from alGetProcAddress. These calls control an asynchronous event stream to be handled by a callback function required by alRequestFoldbackStart.

The calling software is required to provide a range of memory into which foldback data will be written. This range of memory is a circular buffer, divided into fixed-size blocks. Data is interleaved if stereo is required. The callback function indicates when a block of memory is ready for processing. The callbacks are delivered asynchronously and in sequence - it is up to the calling software to keep up with the data flow.

If the alRequestFoldbackStart call succeeds, the callback function will be fed events. The first event is an AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_START event indicating that streaming has begun. Subsequent events are zero or more AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_BLOCK events indicating each block as it becomes ready, with a final AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_STOP to indicate that processing has ended. The memory region should not be released until an AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_STOP event has been received (normally this occurs after alRequestFoldbackStop has returned).


This function has the following type and is provided by the calling software:

typedef void (AL_APIENTRY *LPALFOLDBACKCALLBACK) ( ALenum event, ALsizei blockIndex );

Three different "event" values are defined: AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_START indicates that streaming has begun, AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_BLOCK indicates a data block is ready and AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_STOP indicates that streaming has ended.

The "blockIndex" value is defined only where the event is AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_BLOCK. In this context, it indicates which block (indexed from zero) within the memory region provided to alRequestFoldbackStart is ready. Note that the blockIndex value wraps around, returning to zero when the bufferCount is reached.

REQUEST FOLDBACK START (alRequestFoldbackStart)

This function has the following type:

typedef void (AL_APIENTRY *LPALREQUESTFOLDBACKSTART) ( ALenum foldbackMode, ALsizei blockCount, ALsizei blockLength, ALfloat * bufferMemory, LPALFOLDBACKCALLBACK callback );

If this call succeeds, then it is guaranteed that the callback function be called at least once with a start event and once with a stop event.

If this call sets AL_INVALID_VALUE, this may be because the blockCount and blockLength are not large enough for the current renderer, so it may be worth trying a larger value.

Data is written into the region of memory starting at bufferMemory in sequential blocks of floats with count blockLength, or twice blockLength if stereo is used (data is interleaved). After each block is written, a callback is queued for asynchronous delivery.

"foldbackMode" may be AL_FOLDBACK_MODE_MONO for mono or AL_FOLDBACK_MODE_STEREO for interleaved stereo.

"blockCount" indicates the number of blocks of audio that should be available at bufferMemory. This must be at least two.

"blockLength" indicates the number of frames of audio that should be available within each block. Note that there will be two samples per frame if stereo is in use.

"bufferMemory" indicates the start of the region of memory, provided by the calling software, which will be used for the shared circular buffer. It is required to allow space for a number of floats: blockLength*blockCount floats if foldbackMode is AL_FOLDBACK_MODE_MONO or blockLength*2*blockCount floats if foldbackMode is AL_FOLDBACK_MODE_STEREO. The memory is owned by the calling software and should not be deleted until an AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_STOP event has been received.

"callback" is the pointer to a function provided by the calling software that will handle foldback streaming events (see above).

REQUEST FOLDBACK STOP (alRequestFoldbackStop)

This function has the following type:


This call requests an end to foldback.

Note that this call does not stop foldback immediately - any queued blocks must still be processed. A stop event (AL_FOLDBACK_EVENT_STOP) will be received to indicate that the foldback has actually completed and buffer memory should not be freed before then.