“Swiss Army Knife” of audio codecs

Other Parts Discussed in Post: TMS320C6657

Free TI Design and Optimized Codec available from TI

If you were to mention Opus to someone, the first thing that may come to mind is a penguin character from a popular comic strip, or even a set of musical compositions. But the ‘Opus’ that has recently been making waves is the Opus codec - the state-of-the-art, highly versatile, royalty-free audio codec to be standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

It has been referred to by its developers as the “Swiss Army Knife of audio codecs” because it supports variable bite rates (6 kbps to 500+ Kbps) and frame sizes (2.5 ms to 60 ms) and goes from narrowband to fullband.

Source: http://www.opus-codec.org/comparison/

This makes the Opus codec useful for a range of applications from speech to high-fidelity music, with ability to span low latency voice applications such as VOIP, as well as internet streaming and storage applications. As a lossy audio codec that is available for free, Opus also has technical advantages over other lossy codecs such as Vorbis, MP3 and AAC, especially at low bit rate. Once can learn more about it at the public Opus home page.

With the C6000 DSPs excelling at implementing real time codecs, it was only natural for Texas Instruments to offer a DSP optimized version of this codec. TI also shows how to accelerate implementation of this codec with the help of a TI Design that can downloaded for free from ti.com. This TI Design implements the Opus 1.1 Codec on the TMS320C6657 high-performance DSP, based on TI's C66x KeyStone multicore architecture. Some of the included data shows how efficiently the codec runs on the C66x DSP architecture (in some cases over 3X the performance of the codec running on a general purpose processor See table below for one specific use case).



Performance Statistics (in Peak Megacycles/sec)

C66x (optimized)

ARM® Cortex™-A15



Encoder – LE



Decoder – LE



Full Duplex – LE




To view more of the performance and comparison scenarios as well as the assumptions and criteria for comparison, please refer to the design guide at the TI Design site. For designers wanting to integrate their own application with the Opus Codec, the floating point performance on the dual core TMS320C6657 (up to 40 GFLOPs) offers quite a bit of performance headroom.

Take a look at the TI-optimized Opus codec and the related TI Design and see what it can do for your application. Be sure to share your success stories in the comments section below.

For a limited time, get the TMDSEVM6657LS for 50 percent off in the TI Store using promo code 6657DEAL50.