Kronoton, based in Hamburg, Germany, specializes in the development of audio processing technologies based on its patented HDSX - High Definition Sound Expansion tools, already successfully implemented in speaker systems. HDSX processing technology can be found in multi-room speakers from British manufacturer MUSAIC or in the TP200 wireless one point sound system from Danish manufacturer TP Tube. The HDSX processing algorithm can be licensed via Analog Devices and is also available for the Cadence Tensilica HiFi Audio DSP cores. Kronoton has now announced a powerful software tool for a new level of energized, spatial quality in music, films and multimedia games: the AIRMAX Master.
At the heart of the AIRMAX Master is an intelligent leveler, which the company says “functions at a spatial level and is therefore absolutely free of artificial effects such as pumping or distortion.” This allows for a more dynamic and articulated sound from small speakers/drivers, as used typically in notebooks, smartphones, tablets, PCs and wearables.
As Gunnar Kron, Managing Director and Chief Developer at Kronoton, explains, consumers are increasingly complaining about the poor sound quality of films when played in such portable devices. “With movies and games it comes down to being able to understand the actors perfectly, while at the same time keeping the sound effects strong enough to maintain the total artistic effect of the work. That’s precisely what our AIRMAX Master is capable of. Voice intelligibility is actually improved against a sound backdrop that is both dynamic and rapidly shifting.“
The lack of dynamics in contemporary music productions is another focus for the AIRMAX Master. The underlying reason for the “loudness wars” is the common use of brickwall limiters, which at the same time restricts the audio dynamics and smoothens transients. Leveraging HDSX processing, the AIRMAX Master employs a novel method for restoring the dynamics in existing audio recordings, enhancing its energy and soundstage.
The AIRMAX Master is available currently as a test version for Windows 10. The AIRMAX Master’s beating heart is the patented HDSX (High Definition Sound Expansion) process that enhances the spatial potential of the audio source, independent of the playback device or audio format, and without creating a narrow sweet spot.
Apart from the AIRMAX intelligent leveler, the AIRMAX Master includes the 10 band Spacequalizer module, which weights its frequencies at the spatial level to create a more balanced mix, analyzing critical frequency bands centered at 31 Hz, 65Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1kHz, 2kHz, 4kHz, 8kHz, and 16kHz. The Spacequalizer module is also level-compensated and can be customized to individual frequencies.
Other AIRMAX Master modules include a Bass Boost, with a choice of frequency to boost or reduce between 40Hz and 400Hz; Sky Lift, raising levels on selected frequencies between 1kHz and 10kHz; and the Speech Expander module, which focuses speech to the front of the spatial area, while respecting the overall sound pattern. In combination with HDSX, the Speech Expander creates better separation between the soundtrack elements, making speech more understandable and expressive.