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Raising the Bar Even Higher for HD Voice

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February 12, 2013

Raising the Bar Even Higher for HD Voice

By Ashley Caputo, TMCnet Web Editor

As networks and service providers begin to incorporate HD quality into their products and services, the bar is raised for other companies in which voice is the basis of their operations. But before they even have a chance to reach HD, the infamous Fraunhofer (News - Alert) research company has taken the bar to even higher levels by going beyond HD to an area they have coined, “Full-HD Voice.”

Everybody who watches Blu-ray or 3D television is familiar with the organization, as they use the creations of Fraunhofer. Whether or not they have heard the name Fraunhofer before, consumers are certainly familiar with the advancements this organization has made in the technological world.

Although, at this point in time, being that Fraunhofer is the largest application-oriented research organization in Europe and has invented major creations in security, communication, health and energy, consumers should be aware of its strong global presence, as they are the creators behind our most favored technological products and the latest audio innovation.

Although HD voice seems like it has just entered the market, Fraunhofer has (once again) taken its achievement to create an even higher quality audio innovation: Full HD-Voice.

As explained by Digital Trends, standard phone calls take place on an audio bandwidth of up to 3.4KHz. HD Voice, on the other hand, uses the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) waveband speech codec to bumps calls up to 7KHz, which provides almost the same clarity of face-to-face conversation. HP Baumeister, one of the researchers at Fraunhofer, describes this as a “timid step” at best.

In an article from EDN that was written by HP Baumeister, Manfred Lutzky, and Matthias Rose, all researchers from Fraunhofer, Full-HD Voice is explained like so:

Most phone calls use speech codecs, which model the human speech system, instead of audio codecs, which model the human hearing system. Because of this speech, codes can model the human speech system pretty well, but or unable to model the capabilities of audio codec, like background noise, music and multiple voices.

Mobile phone calls use speech codecs and have a frequency limit of 3.4 kHz, also known as "narrowband.” Since people are able to hear audio signals up to much higher frequencies (between 14 and 20 kHz at normal listening levels), most phone services are deleting at least three quarters of the audible spectrum., thus causing the muffled sounds and difficulties for natural conversations to flow.

HD Voice has raised audio bandwidth from 3.4 to around 7 kHz, which provide better quality than regular calls, but still only transmit less than half of the full audible audio spectrum.

Full-HD Voice is possible because of the high-quality audio codecs of multimedia hardware that are built into most phones today. The audio codecs, such as AAC-ELD, provide the same or even lower coding latencies than speech codecs, and open up the full audio spectrum, up to 14 to 20 kHz, according to this figure.

Image via EDN

So, according to the researchers from Fraunhofer, by taking advantage of the codecs that are designed for audio, all mobile phones are capable of Full-HD Voice.

To listen and learn Fraunhofers’ new Full-HD Voice creation, click here.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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