MPEG-4 audio represents a new kind of audio coding standard. Unlike its predecessors, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and unlike the speech coding standards which have been completed by the ITU-T, it describes not a single or small set of highly efficient compression schemes but a complete toolbox to do everything from low bit-rate speech coding to high quality audio coding or music synthesis. The natural coding part within MPEG-4 audio describes traditional type speech and high quality audio coding algorithms and their combination to enable new functionalities like scalability (hierarchical coding) across the boundaries of coding algorithms. This paper gives an overview of the basic algorithms and how they can be combined.
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