AMBE+2 Vocoder Promises High Voice Quality at Low (2.0 to 9.6 Kbps) Data Rates

Opus 1.2 open source audio codec was release a few months ago with the ability to deliver low power low high-quality audio bitrate for speech with bitrates as low as  12 Kbps. Digital Voice Systems (DVSI) claims to have gone even lower thanks to their AMBE+2 vocoder (Advanced MultiBand Excitation) providing high-quality speech at data rates from 2.0 to 9.6 kilobytes per second.

AMBE+2 vocoder is said to outperform the company’s previous generation AMBE+ Vocoder as well as the G.729 and G.726 vocoders, while operating at only 4.0 Kbps. The vocoder is suitable for mobile radio, secure voice, satellite communication, computer telephony, digital voice and storage applications

AMBE+2 Vocoder Chips

The solution can be integrated into product either using software licensing, or through Vocoder chips, and the company lists the following key benefits:

  • Maintains speech intelligibility and speaker recognition at rates as low as 2.0 kbps
  • Resistant to background noise and channel bit errors
  • Customizable data from 2.0 to 9.6 kbps
  • Uses fewer computations than CELP (Code-excited linear prediction) as used in G.729
  • Does not require the use of a residual signal
  • Eliminates fixed data-rate and codebook problems
  • Low complexity reduces implementation costs

You can listen to male and female samples at different bitrate for your own evaluation. DVIC claims the technology is already used in digital mobile radio and satellite telephony solutions such as Inmarsat, Iridium, DMR Communication PBX, etc…

AMBE-4020 HDK

AMBE+2 voice compression algorithm is available for DSPs and CPUs from Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, ARM, MIPS, Intel, NXP, and others, and runtime environments are available for Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, VxWorks, uC/OS, and other operating systems on request. The company can also provide hardware development kits (HDK) based either on AMBE-3000 or AMBE-4020 AMBE+2 chip, USB based products from a single channel dongle to a the 12 full-duplex channel USB-3012 product, as well as Net-2000 VCUs (Voice Connect Unit) that bridge analog speech I/O to an Ethernet network for example for VoIP or voice-monitoring / recording products (for the CIA? :)).

More details can be found on DVSI’s AMBE+2 product page.

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Drone
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Drone

DVSI’s AMBE2 codec is interesting, but it seems the license cost runs $100K-$1 million USD[1]. (Small volume users would presumably buy an AMBE2 chip instead.)

Take a look at the Codec2 open source alternative by David Rowe of Rowetel instead[2].

References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Band_Excitation

2. http://www.rowetel.com/?p=5520

Esmil
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Esmil

At those bitrates shouldn’t they be compared to Codec 2 rather than Opus/CELT ?

edit: sorry, didn’t see the above comment

willmore
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willmore

@Drone
Yeah, I’d have to advocate for Codec2 instead of this. The licensing issues that have caused endless trouble for amateur radio digital standards are all due to picking a closed and heavily licensed codec. Please, don’t let anyone else fall down that rabbit hole.

Jeff D
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Jeff D

Here’s another vote for Codec2. It’s already quite competitive with commercial codecs, but David Rowe and contributors continue to improve on what’s an already an impressive alternative to other solutions burdened by patents. If you’re looking for a commercial solution, please talk to David first, and perhaps take a portion of what you would have spent and invest it in continued Codec2 development.