MP3 Goes 5.1 Channel

Soon audiophiles may be listening to their music in surround sound thanks to a new standard released by the creators of MP3. Scientists and engineers from Fraunhofer IIS, Thomson and Agere Systems have released an encoder and decoder to the public which they claim produces files half the size of currently released formats and is backwards compatible with standard MP3.

"As surround sound is increasingly gaining importance in the marketplace, we are confident that MP3 Surround will attract the attention of music production professionals and consumers alike," Juergen Herre, scientist at Fraunhofer IIS told the media. The MP3 Surround software, which includes an encoder, decoder and Winamp plug-in, will be available for free evaluation through December 31, 2005.

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