As the audio market has evolved and mobilized, improved audio fidelity has become increasingly important for many consumers. The latest company to help the public derive a better audio experience is the metadata company Gracenote.
Just prior to the opening of CES 2016 in Las Vegas, the Emeryville, Calif.-based company announced a technology for audio and automotive manufacturers that it says improves audio performance. Gracenote says its new Dynamic EQ format leverages its music recognition technologies to identify songs and automatically adjust audio systems for the best possible sound for each song.
“Tuning an EQ can be incredibly complicated for the average music fan and virtually impossible for drivers who have to keep both eyes focused on the road,” notes Brian Hamilton, general manager, Gracenote Automotive. “The introduction of Gracenote Dynamic EQ marks the first time that Gracenote or any other company has used track level descriptive metadata to drive the quality of the musical expeirence. The benefit for automakers is far and wide, helping them maximize the sound experience for high-end systems in luxury vehicles, as well as making audio systems in sub-compacts shine.”
Ty Roberts, chief officer of strategy and business development, Gracenote, points out that in addition to the technology's automotive applications, Dynamic EQ can also be used by home audio companies. Enabling the technology's use in automotive and residential audio systems, he says the company looked at music data and other elements of music to create audio processing fingerprints. After examining its 10-year library of music and date he says the company was able to create a technology looks at frequency bands and dynamic EQ adjustments that optimize the listening experience.
Looking at genres ranging from hip hop, rock-and-roll and jazz, to classical and pop, he adds Gracenote was able to create sonic profiles to associate with each of these genres. This in turn allows Gracenote to concisely identify and link the EQ profiles of these genres to fine tune each song individually.
Speaking honestly Roberts emphasizes that one thing the technology can't compensate for is the “loudness wars” where compression technologies were used to limit the dynamic range of recordings in an effort to make the music sound “louder.”
“Part of the problem of the loudness wares is the irrepairable damage done to crushing dynamics, and we can't fix that, but we can adjust EQ,” says Roberts. “Adding bass during the rendering process for example or adding crispness or midrange, that is what we intend to do on a song-by-song basis.”
At CES Gracenote will be demonstrating the technology to home audio manufacturers, as well as mobile audio companies.