Meeting Topic: MPEG-H Immersive and Personalized Sound For Broadcast, Streaming, and Music
Moderator Name: Tom Levno
Speaker Name: Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager of Fraunhofer USA Digital Media
Other business or activities at the meeting: Reminder of May Executive Committee election
Meeting Location: Online Zoom meeting
AES-LA's first meeting during the stay-at-home order was a web-based meeting with over 120 participants from various parts of the US and the world.
Robert Bleidt, the Division General Manager of Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies explained the Fraunhofer-developed MPEG-H audio standard which is one of the accepted formats for audio in ATSC 3.0, the next television standard, currently under test in 40 US markets.
MPEG-H is an international standard from MPEG the Moving Picture Experts Group, the organization behind MP3, AAC, MPEG-2, AVC, HEVC and other audio and video standards. The standard defines a complete consumer audio system developed around the standard by Fraunhofer and its partners. This group developed production and archiving tools, software implementations and accessory products, decoder and product testing. It is the basis for Sony's 360 Reality Audio music format.
There are three main feature sets for the consumer. Immersive sound is delivered to mainstream consumers, not just enthusiasts. The consumer can interact with the program using handles to effect the mix. Program is delivered universally and decoded locally for home theater, headphones, tablet speakers and earbuds for listening in high ambient locations such as on airliners.
More speakers offer sonic realism and spatial resolution. The standard supports mono, stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround as well as immersive 5.1+4H, 7.1+4H and 22.2. Fraunhofer also includes a binaural rendering algorithm.
Robert discussed the various divergent loudness goals of music/radio vs film/television industries and explained the Dynamic Range Control (DRC) metadata scheme that is integrated in xHE-AAC and MPEG-H to optimize loudness.
The splicing of audio at video frame boundaries is solved by sending additional audio at the video cut and doing a fast cross-fade.
Mixing and Mastering in MPEG-H was described. An Audio Monitoring and Authoring Unit (AMAU) was developed to adapt existing audio consoles to the task.
Regular service of MPEG-H has been ongoing since 2017 in South Korea and has been used in Brazil and Europe for sports and music.
You can earn more by downloading the slide deck. Go to https://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/en/ff/amm/webinars.html, scroll down to AES-LA Webinar: MPEG-H for broadcast, streaming and music. You can also request access to stream the webinar on Vimeo.
AES-LA thanks Robert Bleidt for an educational and entertaining presentation.
Written By: Tom Levno