highly efficient sound library for the Gameboy Advance


Apex Audio System

The Apex Audio System (AAS) is a sound library for the GBA. It includes a highly efficient mixer, MOD playing routines and support for up to 16 channels. It is designed for developers using a GCC-based development environment. AAS uses RAW, WAV or *tracker 1-16 channel MOD files as input.


AAS is fairly well documented. From building the library to a starter guide to an extensive description of the api. See /docs/index.html


Apex Audio System was made by James Daniels of Apex Systems back in 2003 for the GBA version of Payback. The library underwent several revisions, the latest of which was v1.11. At the beginning of 2021, James was so kind to donate the sources to the community, hence this Git repo.

Latest release

The current release is v1.12. See the documentation for a list of changes.


Github project page: https://github.com/stuij/apex-audio-system

Pull requests are welcome, as are forks of course. If you want to report issues, open an issue on the Github project issue tracker.

For a more realtime interactive experience, join gbadev on Discord. There's a good chance there's one or two people there that have used AAS before.


AAS is now distributed under the MIT license. For licensing terms, see the LICENSE file in the root of this repo or go to http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT

James only had one request when handing over the sources: that users of the library include a credit to Apex Designs. In essence this is now covered by the MIT license. It's up to you how you want to fill this in, but please be respectful of this requirement.

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  • example wav file doesn't produce sound

    example wav file doesn't produce sound

    The examples use the Ambulance.wav file to test SFX. But when playing it in the produced .gba file you can only hear a faint click at the beginning of the file.

    When playing the file on my PC, it sounds fine, and the output of soxi shows it's in the right format:

    $ soxi Ambulance.wav
    Input File     : 'Ambulance.wav'
    Channels       : 1
    Sample Rate    : 16000
    Precision      : 8-bit
    Duration       : 00:00:00.97 = 15564 samples ~ 72.9562 CDDA sectors
    File Size      : 15.6k
    Bit Rate       : 128k
    Sample Encoding: 8-bit Unsigned Integer PCM

    So we need to do some investigation on what is going on here.

    When converting to signed raw, the file plays fine in a GBA: ffmpeg -i Ambulance.wav -f s8 -ar 16000 -acodec pcm_s8 AAS_Data/Ambulance.raw

    I haven't tested this yet, but I'm betting this is a problem with all WAV files. This is happening both on Linux and Windows.

    opened by stuij 1
  • v1.13(Jul 28, 2021)

    The biggest reason for this release is that there was a major bug in the original code where converting wav files (converting raw files worked fine) to the AAS internal format would cause a single value to be used for all the samples.

    Besides that, the other major change is that the examples now use libtonc for interrupt handling, which makes the examples much more clear and makes the examples much more idiomatic of how AAS will normally be used in GBA projects.

    Releases from now on will include the source. The library, conv2aas and example binaries are now found in the build subdirectory. The directory will be deleted when you run make clean, and the artifacts in build will be overwritten when you run make.

    The last thing to mention is that the top level Makefile now includes an extra variable to configure: $TOOLS. This variable should point to the directory which contains gbafix, which is not included in AAS. In devkitPro this would be the tools/bin subdirectory.

    full list of the changes in v1.13:

    • fixed bug in conv2aas which broke converting wav files to the internal format
    • because of above fix, playing the ambulance wav sound in the examples will now work correctly
    • modernized and simplified interrupt handling code in examples by basing them on libtonc interrupt routines
    • added $TOOLS var at top of top-level Makefile to resolve GBA tools folder to find gbafix
    • minor cleanup of licensing messages
    • updated documentation
    • the release package now also includes the source
    • in the release package moved library code+headers, example GBA binaries and conv2aas for both Linux and Windows to the build folder
    • cleaned up code a bit to squash error messages, make the code more readable and to fix obvious issues
    Source code(tar.gz)
    Source code(zip)
    apex-audio-system-v1.13.zip(998.76 KB)
  • v1.12(Jan 15, 2021)

    This is the first release of apex-audio-system in about 15 years, thanks to Apex Designs who have gracefully gifted the sources to the community. Hopefully you'll have some use for it.

    Changes since v1.11:

    • AAS is now open source under a MIT license and is hosted on Github
    • code was updated to work with current devkitPro
    • examples and code are driven by toplevel makefile
    • when building from source, library and example roms are to be found under ‹root›/build
    • updated documentation
    Source code(tar.gz)
    Source code(zip)
    apex-audio-system-v1.12.zip(504.41 KB)
Ties Stuij
Ties Stuij
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