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Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Philips new sound technology locates 'Sweet Spot' for PC Audio enthusiasts

Royal Philips Electronics today announced a new technology that dramatically improves the sound quality of personal computers and other consumer electronics products. The technology is particularly effective in restoring sound quality to files using compression methods such as MP3, the most common online digital file format.

Called Sound Agent 2TM, the new Philips technology uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze sound along two dimensions, the source of the sound and where the sound is going to be played, resulting in high quality total sound optimization. Consumers set listening preferences via an intuitive graphical software interface that allows easy control of a wide range of sophisticated sound variables.

Sound Agent 2TM automatically finds the listening "sweet spot" of individual entertainment variables in use at a given time - for equipment (PC's, media servers, etc.) file types (MP3, WAV, DVDs, games, etc.) and environments (headphones or speaker systems) - enabling gamers, MP3 digital audio enthusiasts, or even casual listeners to enjoy optimized sound quality.

"Both media-savvy users and the popularity of entertainment applications are creating demand for high quality PC sound," said Tim Bajarin, market analyst at Creative Strategies. "With this new technology, Philips has been able to deliver high fidelity at an acceptable cost and within the PC form factor."

"The benchmark for PC sound evaluation has always been based on the output of the card itself, not the management and integration of all sound variables for optimized listening," said Hans van't Riet, Line of Business Manager, Multimedia Sound Solutions. "Our research reminded us that consumers are not very interested in technical specifications but rather the best listening experience possible. Anyone can hear the difference that Sound Agent 2 makes. It represents a completely unique and more meaningful way to think about PC sound."

Key features of Sound Agent 2:

Intelligent Media ProcessingTM (IMP): The Philips software foundation that constantly monitors the type of sound input and renders it according to output. IMP is a software architecture that can be utilized in a wide range of consumer devices.

Compelling 3D virtualization: Technology developed by QSound Labs for Sound Agent 2 creates the absolute best 3D audio experience for any headphone, stereo speaker or multi-channel speaker system. State-of-the-art algorithms eliminate the need for the cross-talk cancellation found in many solutions from other manufacturers. The end result is an ultra-wide "sweet spot" for strong positional perception regardless of head movement and positioning, allowing listeners to enjoy a true 3D surround experience with 2, 4, or multiple speakers in any environment.

5.1 Channel Surround from any source material: Stereo sources from CDs, MP3s, and PC games are transformed into 6 full channels of true surround sound using QSound's exclusive QMSS5.1TM technology. While other solutions simply mirror the front stereo speakers in the rear channels, QMSS analyzes each incoming signal and automatically approximates the location of where each individual sound should be in a surround environment. The result is a full 360-degree wrap-around sound experience from all sound sources.

QSizzleTM and QRumbleTM to supercharge MP3s: Uniquely provides an energy boost to MP3 files that helps restore compressed digital music to its original fidelity by compensating for lost harmonic detail. Truly adaptive, this technology feature continuously monitors input signals and makes adjustments automatically.

Virtual 5.1 Channel Surround: From 5.1 channel sources such as multi-channel software DVD players, QSurroundTM virtualizes each channel for dynamic reproduction through stereo speakers. In addition, QSurround enhances playback through multi-channel 5.1 speakers for a seamless and more immersive surround experience.

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