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Cellular Surround Abounds Around Show

Barcelona, Spain — Now that cellphones are turning into portable media players (PMPs), at least three technology companies here at the Mobile World Congress are focusing on ways to coax the best possible sound out of them.

SRS Labs unveiled CS Headphone, which up-converts stereo and matrix-surround music and soundtracks into discrete 5.1-channel surround sound that can be delivered through standard stereo headphones. The technology, optimized for low-power mobile devices, is promoted as delivering “accurate placement of 5.1 channels of natural-sounding audio around the listener’s head.”

For its part, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, which holds the lion’s share of patents for the MP3 format, unveiled MP3D technology. It’s said to significantly enhance MP3 stereo or MP3 Surround playback by providing an “out of the head” listening experience, a wider stereo image, and better sound quality. Fraunhofer is also demonstrating the new HD-AAC coding technology, which offers lossless compression of music content stored on cellphones and MP3 players. The compressed music is touted as having better sound quality than CD.

As previously reported, Dolby Labs is here demonstrating Dolby Mobile sound-enhancing technology for cellphones and PMPs. The post-processing technology up-mixes mono to stereo and up-mixes stereo to 5.1-channel surround, which users can hear through any pair of stereo headphones, Dolby said. The technology is also said to enhance bass response and clarity.