Recently, the MPEG Audio standardization group started a new work item on Spatial Audio Coding. This new approach allows for a fully backward compatible representation of multi-channel audio at bit rates that are only slightly higher than common rates currently used for coding of mono / stereo sound. This paper briefly describes the underlying idea and reports on the current status of the MPEG standardization activities. It provides an overview of MPEG Spatial Audio Coding technology, and discusses its capabilities. The current level of performance will be illustrated by listening test results.
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