I2S (Inter-IC Sound), is an electrical serial bus interface standard used for connecting digital audio devices together. It is used to communicate PCM audio data between integrated circuits in an electronic device.
An I2S bus that follows the Philips standard is made up of at least three wires:
As detailed below, the device who generates SCK and WS is the Master.
The SCK line has a frequency that depends on the sample rate, the number of bits for channel and the number of channels in the following way:
Frequency = SampleRate x BitsPerChannel x numberOfChannels
In a typical setup, the sender of audio data is called a Transmitter and it transfers data to a Receiver at the other end. The device that controls the bus clock, SCK, together with the Word Select - WS - signal is the Master in the network and in any network just one device can be Master at any given time; all the other devices connected are in Slave mode. The Master can be the Transmitter, or the Receiver, or a standalone controller. The digitized audio data sample can have a size ranging from 4 bits up to 32.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the sample rate (kHz) and bits per sample, the better audio quality (when the digital data is converted back to analog audio sound).
For more information about the I2S protocol see the I2S specifications.
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