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Ebu Tests of Multi-Channel Audio Codecs

The latest project of one of the European Broadcasting Union technical groups has been the assessment of the sound quality of multichannel audio bit rate reduction codecs for broadcast applications. Codecs from Dolby, DTS, implementations of MPEG AAC and of the new MPEG Surround codec were tested. The bit rates ranged from 64 kbit/s to 1.5 Mbit/s. The choice of test method, selection of test material, and analysis of results, are described. Consistently high quality at a relatively low bit rate of, say, 256 kbit/s, has not yet been achieved, and some material still demands at least 448 kbit/s. It was also observed that later developments of some codecs perform worse than earlier versions.

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