Bit Rate Reduced

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Company: Sony

The SPC-700 is a custom Sony audio coprocessor used inside the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The SPC-700 has its own instruction set and memory space and runs programs uploaded by the main SNES CPU. The SPC-700 manages 8 independent audio channels that play samples from somewhere in the memory space. These channels only play samples that are encoded in a format called bit rate reduced (BRR).

BRR coding offers close to 4:1 compression. Technically, the ratio is 32:9 as blocks of 16 16-bit samples are packed into 16 4-bit nibbles with a 1-byte preamble for the whole block. Thus, each block is 9 bytes long. The preamble byte has the following bit definitions:

bits 7-4   range bits
bits 3-2   filter definition
bit 1      loop bit
bit 0      end bit 

If the end bit is set, this block is the last of the series of blocks. The loop bit is set in each constituent block of a sample that loops. The filter definition bits allow the sample to be filtered in a variety of ways. For more information on the filter types, consult "The Bit Rate Reduction Sound Encoding Scheme" at

Each of the bytes in the block from offset 1..8 are decoded top nibble first (bits 7-4), then bottom nibble. In order to expand a nibble, shift the sample left by the number of bits specified by the range. Note that the nibble is encoded as a two's complement signed number and must be sign-extended before the shift. Also note that range values from 12..15 would shift some or all of the coded nibble bits out of the final sample and are thus invalid.