Digital audio processing has been revolutionized by perceptual audio coding in the past decade. The main parameter to benchmark different codecs is the audio quality at a certain bit-rate. For many applications, however, delay is another key parameter which varies between only a few and hundreds of milliseconds depending on the algorithmic properties of the codec. Latest research results in low delay audio coding can significantly improve the performance of applications such as communications, digital microphones, and wireless loudspeakers with lip synchronicity to a video signal. This paper describes the delay sources and magnitude of the most common audio codecs and thus provides a guideline for the choice of the most suitable codec for a given application.
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