Kenwood boffins crack MP3 quality block

Technology gives your MP3s true CD quality

Scientists at Japanese consumer electronics giant Kenwood have figured out how to make compressed digital music files like MP3s sound as good as the CDs they were ripped from.

The technology, codenamed Supreme Drive, attempts to replace the high frequency sound signals usually lost when music is first converted into digital information and that data is then compressed. These lost higher frequencies contain many of the more subtle harmonics produced by musical instruments and voices that give them sonic colour.

Supreme Drive extrapolates these missing harmonics from the sound wave information that does survive the compression process, since all harmonics are derived from a basic sound pattern, known as a 'fundamental'. From the fundamental, the harmonics' waveforms can be derived mathematically and pumped out through a sound generator.

According to Kenwood, these generated harmonics can be added back into the sound when it's played back, producing a sound that's more natural.

The company said it plans to incorporate the technology into a future digital audio products of its own, and will license it to other audio hardware manufacturers. ®

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