Fraunhofer, Sonnox Partner on Codec Plug-in

Fraunhofer IIS, a source of audio and multimedia technologies, and plug-in designer/manufacturer Sonnox Ltd bring their new professional audio-workstation software plug-in to the NAB Show. For the first time, this tool enables broadcast, postproduction, and audio professionals to use high-quality, bandwidth-saving MPEG audio codecs from the AAC and MP3 families directly in their favorite audio-editing software.

At the show, broadcast professionals will be able to gain a hands-on experience and learn from the product manager about the benefits of the plug-in for their everyday use that include the possibility to monitor the quality of each codec output in real time.

Installing this plug-in in digital-audio-workstation software — Pro Tools, Audition, Acid, WaveLab, Logic, Cubase — allows files to be saved in such formats as AAC, HE-AAC, MP3, or the lossless formats HD-AAC and MP3HD. Additionally, the plug-in allows real-time “on-the-fly” monitoring  of the codec output in the DAW software during mixing and mastering and is able to encode to multiple formats and bitrates simultaneously.

“At NAB, Fraunhofer will be showing a mastering-quality plug-in developed with Sonnox that will bring the audio quality and bandwidth savings of our codecs to the broadcast and professional markets,” says Robert Bleidt, GM, Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies. “For example, the use of HE-AAC for podcasts could save two-thirds of a station’s download bandwidth costs. Our codecs can also save downloading time and provide higher quality for demo and approval clips or for sending voiceovers or actualities. With HE-AAC now supported in Windows Media Player 12, QuickTime, WinAmp, and Flash streaming as well as Android and iOS devices, we wanted to offer the industry a professional tool for preparing compact, quality content for these platforms.”

The plug-in is also the first professional production offering of Fraunhofer’s surround codecs MP3 Surround, AAC Multichannel, and HE-AAC Multichannel, enabling surround content to be encoded in these formats for gaming or electronic distribution.

Sonnox has developed an intuitive FFT display to illustrate the input signal, output difference signal, and a graphic indication of the audibility of codec-induced noise. The plug-in offers decoder clipping meters to reveal potential decode overloads, instant A-B auditioning to enable engineers to glitchlessly switch between codecs, and an ABX blind listening mode to aid in codec comparisons.

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