The newly released MPEG-4 standard for multimedia transmission contains several novel tools for the low bit-rate coding of audio. Among these is a new codec called -Structured Audio- that allows sound to be transmitted in a synthetic description format and synthesized at the client. MPEG-4 Structured Audio contains facilities for both algorithmic synthesis, using a new software-synthesis language called SAOL, and wavetable synthesis, using a new format for the efficient transmission of banks of samples. We contrast the use of these techniques for various multimedia applications, discussing scenarios in which one is favored over the other, or in which they are profitably used together.
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