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Coherent Acoustics Coding System

Published on Dec 17, 2015


Coherent Acoustics is a digital audio compression algorithm designed for both professional and consumer applications. The algorithm is highly flexible, operating over multiple channels of audio, at sampling rates up to 192 kHz, with up to 24-bit resolution.

This article outlines the overall design objectives of the algorithm, and describes the principal coding strategies employed to meet these goals. Specific functional components of the encoding and decoding algorithms are outlined in more detail, and the feature set of the coding system is summarized. Finally, the objective performance of the algorithm is illustrated using some simple test signals.

Global design objectives

The DTS Coherent Acoustics audio compression algorithm was designed with the primary objective of significantly improving the quality of audio reproduction in the home, beyond that of conventional compact discs. Consumers would benefit from more accurate sound recordings that utilized a wider range of audiofrequencies, played back through more loudspeakers. The goal was to provide reproduction technology to the consumer that was as good as that found in professional music studios.

Secondarily, it was intended that the technology be used in a wide range of applications, in both the professional and consumer arenas, and that the consumer decoder be computationally simple and yet resistant to obsolescence. This required that the algorithm host a wide range of ancillary features suitable for home and studio use, and operate flexibly within a coding structure based around a complex intelligent encoder and a simple passive decoder.

Improving audio reproduction in the home

The key to delivering dramatic improvements in reproduction quality is the greater audio recording efficiency realizable through modern digital audio data-reduction techniques. In Coherent Acoustics this gain in efficiency has been used directly to improve the precision of the recorded audio. The importance of the concept warrants a more detailed explanation, which is given below. Other coding systems have used compression in a more traditional way, by simply attempting to minimize the data rate of the coded audio.

While this approach can lower the cost of storing or transmitting the digital audio, it does not seek to improve quality. This is in contrast to Coherent Acoustics, which uses compression techniques primarily to maximize the quality of the audio delivered to the consumer.

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