HD-AAC by Fraunhofer IIS – New MPEG Audio Codec makes CD collections obsolete

Offering music encoding with quality beyond CDs and at the same time, iPod® compatibility, the HD-AAC® codec enables a new way of storing and distributing music. Based on the MPEG-4 SLS standard, Fraunhofer’s HD-AAC provides future-proof, lossless compression of 24-bit quality music content.

Today’s Audio-CDs store uncompressed music in 16-bit, 44.1 kHz quality, while most music is now produced in the improved 24 bit, 96 kHz format. HD-AAC is making this new standard efficiently available to consumers, electronic music distribution and the consumer electronics industry.

“Consumers will be able to buy content in online music stores that sounds better than CDs, and preserve their existing CD collection for the future by encoding it in HD-AAC”, says Harald Popp, head of the Multimedia Realtime Systems department at Fraunhofer IIS. “For casual listening, HD-AAC files conveniently play on existing AAC devices.”

The HD-AAC encoding process preserves every bit of information contained in the uncompressed original music track while offering state-of-the-art lossless compression rates, comparable or superior to other lossless formats. Due to its AAC-LC core layer, an HD-AAC file can be directly played on existing music players and millions of mobile phones. For decoding of the fully lossless signal, upcoming devices will be equipped with an HD-AAC decoder.

In the connected home, songs stored on media servers in the HD-AAC format can be streamed to multiple devices at varying bitrates. This maximizes the sound quality under difficult network conditions by matching the bitrate to the available bandwidth.

Fraunhofer IIS is offering HD-AAC software for both PC and embedded devices, including microprocessors or DSPs from MIPS, Texas Instruments, ARM, Analog Devices, Intel, AMD, and IBM. Licensees can certify their products in the HD-AAC conformance program and if completed successfully, identify their products with the HD-AAC logo.

An HD-AAC white paper featuring use cases, further technology background information and contacts is available at www.hd-aac.com. HD-AAC is the result of successful collaboration between Fraunhofer IIS and the Institute for Infocomm Research I2R.


Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies*
Jan Nordmann
Phone +1 408 573 9900
San Jose, CA 95112

*Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, a division of Fraunhofer USA, Inc., promotes and supports the products of Fraunhofer IIS in the U.S.



Contact Information

Fraunhofer IIS

Am Wolfsmantel 33
Erlangen, Bavaria, 91058

tele: 49.9131.776.0
fax: 49.9131.776.6099

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