NGA – Next Generation Audio

Next Generation Audio is a collection of new technologies that make sound interactive, personalizable and immersive for users. The so-called "object-based audio" is the most important and versatile technology.

Next Generation Audio (NGA) or object-based audio is a revolutionary approach to producing and using interactive, personalized, scalable and immersive content. The audio content is represented as a set of individual objects with a metadata description of their relationships and connections to each other. The media objects are brought together in a novel way and can thus adapt to the needs of the user, the acoustic environment and the device platform. For example, the listener can adjust the dialogue volume, select different language versions and determine the length of the contribution. With just one production, these functions can be realized for all types of end devices.

Object-based media are regarded as groundbreaking components for cross-media offerings, radio, television and the internet. As a result, NGA transmission systems are establishing themselves in the market. However, the existing solutions are so far mainly proprietary in nature and incompatible to each other. This has already led to a fragmented market situation. To counteract this, IRT is involved in the development of the ITU-R standard for ADM (Audio Definition Models) and has received the EBU Innovation Award 2018 together with the BBC and others for the development of the EBU ADM Renderer.

To test the immersive playback of the NGA and object-based approach in practice, an experimental production environment was set up in IRT's own audio laboratory. The experience and findings gained from the tests are incorporated into ongoing developments and standardizations in order to ensure the applicability of object-based audio in the broadcasting environment.

Object-based production with the BR in practical testing

IRT produced object-based content for the pilots of the (completed) ORPHEUS project in cooperation with BR. The EC funded project ORPHEUS had the aim to design a complete object-based production chain based on open standards for real broadcasting scenarios. The production tools used were developed in IRT to enable researchers and sound engineers to gain experience with this new technology.

More about this collaboration

3D Audio Lab

For more than 20 years IRT has been actively researching practical transmission and reproduction systems for 3D sound. For many years, loudspeaker systems in measuring rooms and studios had to be temporarily set up and subsequently dismantled for individual research and development work. Now a highly flexible 3D audio laboratory at IRT enables sound reproduction in almost all known loudspeaker formats, through wave field synthesis, higher order ambisonics as well as binaural, via loudspeakers or headphones. The 3D audio laboratory serves among other things for the optimization of 3D sound reproductions, comparative measurements and for hearing evaluations.