MP3 Surround

Fraunhofer IIS, Thomson and Agere Systems unveil free MP3 Surround
evaluation download. Full versions of MP3 Surround encoder and decoder
available from

MP3, the world’s most popular audio compression format, goes multi-channel.
Scientists and engineers from Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits
IIS, who developed MP3 together with their colleagues from Thomson, the
exclusive licensing representative for their MP3 patents, and Agere
Systems, have joined to launch MP3 Surround into the consumer and
commercial markets. This technology will enable 5.1 channel surround sound
for a broad spectrum of applications including web-based music
distribution, broadcasting systems, PC-related audiovisual or gaming
applications, consumer electronics and automotive systems.

MP3 Surround supports high-quality multi-channel sound at bit rates
comparable to those currently used to encode stereo MP3 material, resulting
in files half the size of common compressed surround formats. At the same
time, the new format offers complete backward compatibility to any existing
MP3 software and hardware devices.

Attracting attention at several recent events and fairs, the new MP3
Surround format has become eagerly anticipated by the vast MP3 user
community. The web site
( now provides
users immediate download access to free MP3 Surround evaluation software,
demo samples and detailed technology information

Thomson, which has partnered with Fraunhofer IIS since the launch of MP3 in
1992, is adding Fraunhofer Institute’s new MP3 Surround technology to its
licensing program.

“The free MP3 Surround evaluation software will enable everyone to test the
latest feature of the digital audio standard. We encourage music artists,
engineers and producers to experience this new multi-channel audio format
and realize the benefits of its portability and backward compatibility,”
said Henri Linde, Vice President, Growth Initiatives, Audio & mp3 program
of the Intellectual Property and Licensing unit for Thomson.

The evaluation encoder enables the creation of MP3 Surround material out of
five or six channel “.wav” files. The Fraunhofer IIS MP3 Surround player is
capable of decoding and playing back the surround format’s files as well as
stereo MP3 material. This software-only solution runs on any standard PC
with multi-channel audio capabilities.

MP3 Surround was developed by Fraunhofer IIS in collaboration with Agere
Systems. Using a psychoacoustic technique called binaural cue coding, MP3
Surround captures the spatial image information of multi-channel sound.
This method is critical in achieving the compact file size that MP3 users

“We are delighted to advance MP3 into the area of multi-channel audio, with
the help of Agere Systems. As surround sound is increasingly gaining
importance in the marketplace, we are confident that MP3 Surround will
attract the attention of music production professionals and consumers
alike,” comments Juergen Herre, Chief Executive Scientist at Fraunhofer IIS.

“Together, Fraunhofer IIS and Agere are developing technology that will
contribute to the delivery of a compelling compressed multi-channel audio
solution,” said Peter Kroon, chief multimedia architect for Agere’s
Mobility business. “This work is part of Agere’s overall commitment to
provide advanced multimedia technology that enables consumers to stay

The evaluation period of the MP3 Surround encoder will expire on the 31st
of December 2005, while the Fraunhofer IIS player will continue to remain
fully functional. The use of the software is allowed for personal and
non-commercial purposes only. Professionals can license MP3 Surround from
Thomson at (