A multichannel coding system compatible with 2-channel codec according to Draft International Standard ISO 11172-3 is proposed for universal applications. It is called MUSICAM Surround. The encoder delivers an MPEG-Audio bitstream of the basic stereo signal Lo/Ro. The ancillary data field of the MPEG-Audio frame is used for multichannel extension. In the composite coding mode it comprises relevant information of multichannel stereo signals (e.g., the center and two surround channels), and in the independent coding mode it comprises information of accompanying sound (e.g., three commentary channels). Configurability with respect to the sound channel allocation and to the bit rate offers useful combinations of various levels of multichannel stereo performance and various numbers of channels in the composite and independent coding mode. The maximum bit rate is 384 kbit/s, and the maximum number of channels is five.
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