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At the AES Convention in San
Francisco, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated
Circuits IIS is previewing SX Pro
, a technology to create
5.1 surround sound from existing stereo content.
Fraunhofer IIS say that the new SX Pro processing will be
available for integration in software, consumer electronics,
and professional hardware by the end of 2006.
To create surround sound from regular stereo music, SX
Pro analyses the audio signal and identifies characteristic
sound elements. An intelligent algorithm redistributes these
elements to create a natural surround sound listening experience
without adding artificial reverberation.
The center channel is smoothly integrated without altering
the original stereo sound stage, providing a stable front
image even for off-sweet-spot listening. The surround channels
consist of the ambience-like sound components of the
stereo material, greatly enhancing the user envelopment,
similar to a discrete multichannel surround sound listening
experience - with only two channels as source material.
Bernhard Grill, head of the audio department at Fraunhofer
IIS, told us, "SX Pro offers exciting new possibilities when it
comes to playing back stereo content over surround setups
as its intelligent algorithm provides a high degree of control
over the resulting sound image."
SX Pro is the best choice for any application where twochannel
legacy content is transmitted to or played in a multichannel
environment. For example, consumers may enjoy
high quality playback of their existing stereo music on multichannel
receivers and car audio systems that have integrated
SX Pro processing.
The incorporation of SX Pro processing into professional
media production and audio editing tools will allow surround
versions of existing stereo source material to be produced
using the creative control over the upmix process offered by
SX Pro. Radio broadcasters offering new surround services
may also convert their existing content to surround sound
automatically, to match the presentation of new surround
Unlike prior approaches, the SX Pro technology offers a stable
sound field during fast changes in content, and consistent,
distinct positioning of audio sources, offering a realistic
substitute for true 5.1 mixes when they are not available.
At the AES Convention, SX Pro is being demonstrated as PC
software and as a DSP hardware implementation. The PC
software allows users to switch between different optimized
presets to change the spatial sound image. The DSP hardware
implementation accepts any two-channel PCM audio
stream and performs a real-time stereo to 5.1 upmix.