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Driving Immersive Sound

MPEG-H Audio paves the way to the future of in-car entertainment


Fraunhofer has developed this system, based on the MPEG-H 3D Audio standard, to offer an enhanced sound experience for in-car entertainment, broadcast, and new media services such as UHDTV, immersive music services, 4K video streaming or Virtual Reality.

MPEG-H Audio in Automotive



MPEG-H Audio is a new audio technology providing more realism through sound from above as well as around the listeners, putting them in the middle of the action. It also provides an unprecedented degree of freedom to consumers to personalize the audio experience, to actively engage with the content and adapt it to their own preferences. MPEG-H Audio supports channel-, scene- and object-based audio as well as any combination of these formats. The signaled metadata carries all information needed to enable interactivity. The MPEG-H Audio system provides the highest sound quality and an unmatched user experience on all devices from mobile phones to TV sets to cars.

Exemplary framework for in-car environments




The integration of an immersive audio streaming service directly into the head unit enables the transmission of the bit stream to the decoder, which transfers MPEG-H Audio content into a channel-based PCM data stream. Alternatively, MPEG-H objects and associated metadata can be provided to the renderer directly. Afterwards, a multi-channel or object-based renderer creates an enveloping sound experience based on the given speaker layout. If only stereo content is available, an upmix solution can ensure a continuous immersive sound impression.

Future-proof Automotive Audio


Streaming services are the preferred medium of audio content consumption today. Several well-established services such as Amazon Music HD, Tidal, Deezer,, and WoWoW offer an immersive audio experience powered by Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format, which is based on MPEG-H Audio. In-car entertainment is a perfect use-case for MPEG-H Audio: Immersive audio content – be it music streaming services with 360 Reality Audio, immersive audio books and podcasts, or rear-seat entertainment – makes it possible to unlock any sound system‘s full potential.

Premium sound systems benefit from discrete 3D audio content that preserves the artists‘ intent, while midrange or entry-level systems still achieve the best possible sound quality with a state-of-the-art downmix and enable consumers to listen to all their streaming services in the car. Rear-seat entertainment applications with installed screens can make use of the interactivity features of MPEG-H Audio that are already well established in streaming and broadcast. The advanced accessibility options of the system make for better speech intelligibility and binaural rendering for connected headphones, which guarantees an immersive experience.

MPEG-H Audio also enables advanced warning sounds with spatially rendered signaling. Audio objects can be positioned freely within an MPEG-H Audio mix. Only one warning sound item needs to be produced across all car models and the warning sound will be rendered at the correct position according to the available playback system.

Automotive Audio Solutions by Fraunhofer IIS


Automotive audio has been an important part of the institute‘s product development for more than 10 years. Our interdisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, and Tonmeisters dedicates its work to providing all vehicle occupants with the best sound possible. Today, you can enjoy our audio technologies, such as mp3 and AAC decoding and digital radio receiver solutions in nearly every brandnew car. Our automotive audio processing technologies Symphoria and Sonamic can be found in numerous car models by some of the largest European OEMs.

Learn more about our technologies for automotive.

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