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September 29, 2023

Revolutionizing Audio: BRAVE's Cutting-Edge Signal Processing Technology

The NTT Communication Science Basic Research Laboratory is preparing to evolve audio quality with its BRAVE signal processing technology.

The company's new Bit-error Robust-low-delay Audio and Voice Encoding-based product is a 15-channel high-quality 800MHz band wireless microphone system. At the core of BRAVE is its ability to reduce bitrate while still ensuring impeccable sound quality. This is particularly necessary in environments such as office buildings, universities, and rental conference rooms, where several wireless microphones operating closely together would previously face challenges like channel shortages, interference, and potential information leaks. With BRAVE, however, these issues are addressed. The number of simultaneous channels has been increased from the conventional 10 channels to 15, which not only widens the application possibilities but also minimizes the audio delays frequently experienced, ensuring the audio quality remains top-notch.

With its ability to ensure high audio quality while reducing bitrate, BRAVE offers a number of exciting potential uses. They include:

  1. Large-Scale Conferences and Seminars: Given the challenge of having multiple wireless microphones operate closely without interference, BRAVE's ability to accommodate up to 15 simultaneous channels makes it suitable for large-scale conferences and seminars.
  2. University Lectures and Presentations: Large lecture halls and auditoriums in universities can benefit from the technology and its clear audio without delays or interference, especially when there are multiple speakers or panel discussions.
  3. Theatrical Performances: In theatrical performances, multiple actors may need to be mic'd up simultaneously. BRAVE can ensure clear and uninterrupted audio even in dynamic environments with many performers.
  4. Sporting Events: During sporting events, where commentators, referees, and sometimes even players might be using wireless microphones, BRAVE can help in ensuring consistent audio quality.

For inter-device audio transmissions, such as those in wireless microphones, real-time processing is vital. Until now, the challenge in making this possible has been how to enhance compression efficiency under these conditions. Doing so means accommodating more microphones in a single space. Often, these transmissions can face errors in the encoded data, and efficient codecs are essential to mitigate decoding errors, especially under low-delay scenarios. Addressing these complexities, BRAVE employs a bit rearrangement technique. This lowers the errors' impact while compressing data effectively, allowing BRAVE to rapidly compress speech and audio data while also being resilient against bit errors.

Transmissions can sometimes face errors. Many codecs use packets to protect their codes. However, packets come with frame-wise headers, which become cumbersome in low-delay conditions. BRAVE's pioneering approach deals with errors without resorting to packets. In conventional bit assignments, errors could introduce significant noise; BRAVE's unique bit assignment ensures that even when errors occur within a frame, the most significant bits remain accurate.

A testament to its innovation and potential, BRAVE was recently honored with the 30th Technical Development Award by the Japan Acoustical Society. This award recognizes groundbreaking advancements in acoustic engineering technology.

NTT--Innovating the Future of Sound

Picture: Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor joined the NTT Group in 1999 when he began work as the Public Relations Manager of NTT Europe. While in London, he liaised with the local press, created the company's intranet site, wrote technical copy for industry magazines and managed exhibition stands from initial design to finished displays.

Later seconded to the headquarters of NTT Communications in Tokyo, he contributed to the company's first-ever winning of global telecoms awards and the digitalisation of internal company information exchange.

Since 2015 Daniel has created content for the Group's Global Leadership Institute, the One NTT Network and is currently working with NTT R&D teams to grow public understanding of the cutting-edge research undertaken by the NTT Group.