At the Grammys with MPEG-H Audio

GRAMMY®-winning album uses MPEG-H Audio technology for immersive experience that can be personalized by listeners.

The 64th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on April 03, 2022, after being re-scheduled from its usual date in January. But why are the scientists at Fraunhofer IIS suddenly interested in music awards? Well, we are not only interested, but beyond exited! The winning album in the category “Best New Age Album”, “Divine Tides” by rock-legend Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Indian Music Composer and Grammy-winner Ricky Kej, was produced in Sony 360 Reality Audio. This immersive format is based on MPEG-H Audio, a standard significantly shaped by Fraunhofer IIS (more).

Both creators are known for their interest in new possibilities and technologies that can bring their music even closer to its audience. They share their excitement about how Sony 360 Reality Audio plays a crucial role on the Grammy-winning album in a short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSKzyC6Nc8c). To explore more options to bring their music even closer to its listeners, they also teamed up with the MediaHyperium production company to create some of the album’s songs solely in MPEG-H Audio.

Exploring new music experiences with the mH-ii App

The audio format brings some exciting innovations apart from immersive sound, which enable listeners to personalize the sound within a framework predefined by artists and producers. This feature is unique to MPEG-H Audio and can now be experienced for the first time in a music App: The mH-ii App by MediaHyperium is now available from the Apple App Store, giving users a glimpse into the future of music streaming and enjoyment. Music producer and mediaHyperium-owner Herbert Waltl, who has himself a penchant for exploring all opportunities technology can offer to his field, has partnered with Fraunhofer IIS to explore the exciting opportunities MPEG-H Audio has to offer. The resulting App enables users to personalize the MPEG-H content provided through easy-to-use-controllers. With the tap of a finger, they can, for instance, give more prominence to the flute, choir, or strings. It is also possible to position the vocalist behind, in front of, and next to the listener. “We were more than happy to support MediaHyperium in building the mH-ii App. At Fraunhofer, we are particularly excited about the personalization options MPEG-H Audio brings to the immersive audio experience. Being approached by a renowned recording business that saw the same creative potential enabled us to explore the practical implementation of these opportunities,” says Harald Fuchs, Head of Media Systems and Applications at Fraunhofer IIS.

A glimpse into the future of music

Today, MPEG-H immersive audio is available via Sony’s 360 Reality Audio from several streaming providers such as Tidal, Deezer, WowWow, nugs.net, and Amazon Music. More than 7000 immersive music tracks can already be enjoyed on mobile devices (with headphones), soundbars, AVRs, and smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Studio. Among the available content is the winner of the new “Best Immersive Audio Album” category at this year’s Grammys, “Alicia” by Alicia Keys, which was also published in Sony 360 Reality Audio. This makes it very obvious that immersive audio has truly arrived on the global market.

The mH-ii App shows the potential of MPEG-H for future music services. It is an impressive showcase for interactive and immersive music and uses a broad range of the MPEG-H technology’s possibilities. It proves that personalizing your own music experience is not in the lab stage anymore. Seeing Grammy-winners use all aspects of MPEG-H Audio shows that it is indeed an option musicians, producers, and other creatives are excited to explore and that can and will be offered to listeners in the future.

Find the mH-ii App in the App store and personalize your experience: https://apps.apple.com/tt/app/media-hyperium-mh-ii/id1600588295

Header image: © tiero – Adobe Stock

This post is also available in: Deutsch 汉语