GENEVA –HARMAN, the premium global audio and infotainment group (NYSE:HAR), is showcasing a new, proprietary software solution at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, which automatically analyzes and improvesthe audio quality of compressed, digitized music sources. The technology, called Clari-Fi, leverages HARMAN’s experience in music recording, signal processing and psychoacoustics to naturally restore the full sound that is forfeited in the compression process. With a strong reception from automakers and mobile device providers at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Clari-Finow is featured in HARMAN’s new JBL Authentics Series wireless home entertainment sound systems and will be incorporated into a range of Home, Multimedia, and Automotive products in the coming year.
In today’s increasingly mobile world, audio formats have morphed from vinyl LP’s and CD’s to digitized data files downloaded to smartphones and streamed through satellite radio and music services like Pandora® and Spotify™. This maximum mobility is made possible by compression processes that create smaller, more portable digitized music files. While compression technology enables easy access to audio content on the go, this process fundamentally alters the music source, discarding up to 90 percent of the audio content captured during the original recording. Clari-Fi was developed to address this deterioration of audio quality.
“With compressed digitized files, we are often deprived of enjoying our music the way the artist intended,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President and CEO of HARMAN. “We know from our research that listeners -- even Millennials, who have grown up with compressed music as their reference -- prefer the best possible sound quality from their devices. Clari-Fi is a significant and unique technological advancement that brings music back to life for a richer, uncompromised listening experience whether at home, in the car or on the go.”
Clari-Fi is superior to competitive solutions because it does not blindly add equalization, bass boost, or other effects that alter the intended listening experience. It encompasses a proprietary predictive model that intelligently and accurately recreates the lost information based on the existing compressed content. It also does not require any user intervention because it is designed to run in the background, automatically adjusting the amount of correction it applies based on the quality of the input signal. For example, while it will add no correction to a CD-quality signal, Clari-Fi will add a heavy dose of correction to the most compressed signals, such as satellite radio.
Specifically, Clari-Fi removes unwanted added effects like echo and distortion; it restores the crisp detail and clarity of high frequency sounds like cymbals, which can be muddied in compressed sources; it sharpens dynamic sounds like percussion instruments, which can be smeared or dulled by compression; it takes a flat, compressed vocal and brings back the intimacy of the original performance; it rebuilds the stereo image that is often compromised by compression, creating a natural, wide soundstage; and it restores the musical depth that is lost when instruments and vocals are compressed to the same volume.
Clari-Fi can be integrated into any HARMAN in-car audio system via the amplifier or head unit, providing automakers limitless possibilities to further enhance in-car listening experiences. It is available to all automakers and also will begin launching in vehicles in 2014.
HARMAN at Geneva Motor Show 2014:
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HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,800 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.7 billion for the last twelve months ended December 31, 2013.