The European Broadcasting Union technical group D/MAE has been assessing the quality of multichannel audio codecs in a series of subjective tests. The two most recent tests and results are described in this paper. The first set of tests covered 5.1 multichannel audio emission codecs at a range of bit-rates from 128 kbit/s to 448 kbit/s. The second set of tests covered cascaded contribution codecs, followed by the most prominent emission codecs. Codecs under test include offerings from Dolby, DTS, MPEG, apt and Linear Acoustics. The conclusions observe that while high quality is achievable at lower bit-rates, there are still certain precautions to be aware of. The results from cascading of codecs have shown that the emission codec is usually the bottleneck of quality.
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