Auro Technologies to Demonstrate Next-Generation Audio Codec at CES 2024

Auro Technologies, the Belgian company behind the Auro-3D immersive-surround format, says it will demonstrate the “first and only truly scalable next-generation audio codec” at CES 2024, which opens in Las Vegas a week from today.

The new Auro-CX codec is designed for streaming but has applications in broadcast and is said to offer many advantages over existing codecs, including the need for less storage space and fewer encoding passes.

Auro-CX is designed to scale sound quality, channel count/audio objects, and sample rate in a single bitstream. The ability to carry 48-, 96-, and 192-kHz streams, for example, gives the decoder the option to extract only what it needs from a single encode.

“Thanks to Auro-CX’s scalable quality, content distributors have the flexibility to address multiple audiences using the same stream,” said Bert Van Daele, CTO of NewAuro B.V. “A single stream can include high-res immersive audio for the audiophile community and lower bitrate mixes for a wider consumer audience.”

When it comes to codec’s ability to convey audio objects required for immersive audio in the same bitstream, Van Daele explained that “other formats have to extract objects from 7.1, resulting in a big reduction in audio quality, especially for the height channels in an immersive audio setup.” Auro does things differently, he noted, embedding audio objects in a more immersive 13.1 channels, which creates a more spacious — or “3D” — 7.1 experience by improving the quality of height information, “allowing the mix to stay true to the artist’s intent.”

Auro-CX also supports a range of broadcast features, including dialogue enhancement and localized audio for multiple languages in addition to enabling interactive and assistive audio.

Word that Auro is showcasing the new Auro-CX technology at CES is a sign that the company could be regaining its footing after filing for bankruptcy in 2022. At the time, Wilfried Van Baelen, company founder and inventor of the Auro3D format, called the filing a precautionary measure needed to bolster the company’s finances; Auro was reportedly hit hard by a decrease in sales during the pandemic and the subsequent breakdown in semiconductor supply chains.

In addition to trumpeting the arrival of Auro-CX, NewAuro — a new company created in the wake of last year’s bankruptcy filing that holds all Auro-3D assets — announced just before Christmas that a new firmware update for AV receivers from Onkyo (TX-RZ70), Pioneer (VSA-LX805 and Elite VSX-LX805), and Integra (DRX-8.4) will support Auro-3D processing and upmixing.

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