The MPEG Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC) standard completed technical development in July, 2011 and is expected to issue as international standard ISO/IEC 23003-3, Unified Speech and Audio Coding in late 2011. Verification tests were conducted to assess the subjective quality of this new specification. Test material consisted of 24 items of mixed speech and music content and performance was assessed via subjective listening tests at coding rates ranging from 8 kbps (kilobits per second) for mono material to 96 kbps for stereo material. The mean performance of USAC was found to be better than that of MPEG High Efficiency AAC V2 (HE-AACv2) and Adaptive Multi-Rate Wide Band Plus (AMR-WB+) at all tested operating points. For most bit rates tested this performance advantage is large. Furthermore, USAC provides a much more consistent quality across all signal content types than the other systems tested. This paper summarizes the results of the verification tests.
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