A Quick CES 2015 Audio Preview
As we approach the end of 2014, it's time to consider that the Las Vegas sun will soon be rising over CES 2015, the first major media and consumer technology event of the calendar year. So what can audio technology watchers expect from this year's event?
The MPEG-H Audio Alliance - Fraunhofer IIS, Qualcomm Technologies and Technicolor - will be showing the fruits of their combined efforts in a system with object-based audio that allows viewers to adjust the sound mix to their preferences, enhance dialogue that's hard to follow and create personalised mixes of sports broadcasts. This immersive can be experienced using a traditional channel-based approach or Higher-Order Ambisonics technology.
Fraunhofer IIS will also demonstrate a real-time hardware prototype that encodes audio for live broadcasts from stereo up to 3D sound in 7.1+4 H with additional tracks for interactive objects including commentary in several languages, ambient sound or sound effects.
The system comprises:
- real-time encoder for contribution from outside broadcasts to the studio, where a professional decoder recovers the uncompressed audio for further editing and mixing;
- real-time encoder for emission to consumers - over the Internet for new media use or for trials of upcoming over-the-air broadcast systems such as ATSC 3.0;
- professional decoder used to monitor the emission encoder's output
Other Fraunhofer highlights will include a conceptual prototype of a “3D sound bar”, Cingo, which turns mobile devices into true multidimensional sound theatres, and comes complete with loudness optimization, and a comprehensive HE-AAC demo.
Samsung will be showing off its new WAM7500/6500 surround sound device (the 7500 is pictured, left) and its new curved soundbar range.
Electronics designer Cadence will be showcasing its IP at CES 2015, which includes a 'home theatre in your pocket'. 'This demo shows how an ordinary pair of headphones can be transformed into an impressive personal surround sound system. It is the lowest power implementation and runs on an Xtensa® processor with the HiFi Audio DSP', saus the company. Another demo will showcase 'immersive audio and clear movie dialog with small speakers and low-power amplifiers on most mobile devices, providing mobile users with home theatre-inspired sound quality. This low power implementation runs on an Xtensa processor with the HiFi Audio DSP.'
If you're attending CES and want to escape the show floor for the relative sanity of a conference session, here's the High Resolution Audio session programme for Tuesday to Thursday (6-8 January) - all sessions take place at the Venetian Hotel:
Beyond the usual parade of new speakers, receivers, headphones and whatnot, that's all that an hour or do's-worth of fairly intensive and laterally-thinking Googling has produced so far. I'm sure there'll be more to preview as the opening date of 6 January approaches.