Fraunhofer IDMT’s audio software enables an individual listening experience

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Everyone hears differently – this applies inside a vehicle too. That is why Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg has developed a technological concept for fast and individual sound adaptation, which has been integrated into the multimedia system of vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz Group AG. At the heart of the development is an algorithm that easily adjusts the sound of music according to passengers’ wishes. Once set, the sound is optimally adapted to listening preferences.

© Mercedes-Benz Group AG
Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg has developed a technological concept for fast and individual sound adjustment, which has been integrated into vehicles’ multimedia systems.

Important for listening comfort in a vehicle is the quality of the media system’s speech and music reproduction. Pleasant sound and better acoustic intelligibility not only contribute to comfort but can also increase safety, as the driver’s eyes stay focused on the road instead of dwelling on complex audio sub-menus.

»Studies show that people want to perceive sound individually, irrespective of age or hearing ability – inside a vehicle too. Since it’s much more difficult or even impossible to achieve personal feel-good sound with conventional equalisers, we’ve developed new algorithms and an intuitive interface,« explains Dr Jan Rennies-Hochmuth, Group Leader Personalised Hearing Systems at Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg.

Simple instead of complex

Fraunhofer IDMT’s newly developed audio software allows individual sound settings without needing to get to grips with complex sub-menus or parameters. Instead, the user adjusts the sound of individual instruments once only and according to his or her listening preferences by means of an audio example. The result of this personalisation process then serves as the basis for the automatic sound adjustment of all future audio playbacks in the vehicle. Once done, readjusting the sound parameters is no longer necessary. The outcome is a better listening experience at any playback volume.

In addition to infotainment systems, the technology, which Fraunhofer also calls »YourSound«, enables users of other audio devices, such as smartphones or televisions, to adjust the audio playback to their own acoustic preferences in a fun way – without any knowledge of sound levels or frequencies.

Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA at Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg

Founded in 2008 by Prof. Dr. Dr. Birger Kollmeier and Dr. Jens-E. Appell, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT’s Branch for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA stands for market-oriented research and development with a focus on the following areas:

  • Speech and event recognition
  • Sound quality and speech intelligibility
  • Mobile neurotechnology and systems for networked healthcare

With in-house expertise in the development of hardware and software systems for audio system technology and signal enhancement, over 100 employees at the Oldenburg site are responsible for transferring scientific findings into practical, customer-oriented solutions.

Through scientific cooperation, the institute is closely linked to the Carl von Ossietzky University, Jade University of Applied Sciences, and the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer. Fraunhofer IDMT is a partner in the »Hearing4all« cluster of excellence.

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