Lars Liljeryd – music and innovations

audio streamingConvenient audio streaming, storage and playback would hardly be imaginable without the contributions of Swedish sound specialist Lars Liljeryd (finalist for the European Inventor Award 2017).

Blending his lifelong love of music and his largely self-taught knowledge of electronics, this iconoclastic inventor designed one of the world’s most popular digital audio compression codecs.

Spectral band replication (SBR) is a method for compressing digital audio files

It has made it possible for millions of people around the world to enjoy higher-quality sound conveniently and affordably. It was conceived by Swedish inventor Lars Liljeryd and taken from drawing board to market with the help of a team of engineers that included Martin Dietz from Germany and Kristofer Kjörling, Per Ekstrand and Fredrik Henn from Sweden. Without SBR, many of today’s smartphones, portable music devices, digital radios, video cameras, TVs and personal computers would be much less efficient at downloading, storing and streaming audio media.

Liljeryd’s ideas revolutionised an entire industry

His concept for improving upon existing coding formats raised the bar for digital audio technology to levels never thought possible. It expanded on other audio compression techniques, notably MP3 and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which many experts believed had already reached their full potential. And, probably most important to the wide, global audience that relies on SBR – and to the music aficionado who developed it – SBR ensures that music still sounds really, really good.

SBR’s efficiency and high fidelity quickly won over satellite broadcasting, mobile phone and internet companies. It was soon added to popular music players, most notably Apple’s iTunes, and supported by multimedia plug-ins like Adobe Flash Player.

Now standard on an estimated six billion devices around the globe, ranging from video cameras to smartphones and personal computers, if ubiquity alone is indicative of societal benefit, then SBR has the numbers to support it. However, SBR’s true value is the high sound quality it provides while paring down storage and transmission space, giving a global audience a wider choice and greater control of the music and audio programmes they listen to.

audio streaming

Photo: epo.org

Lars Liljeryd – from an early age Liljeryd was actively involved in music – especially rock and roll – and combined this with a fascination for electronics. If he wasn’t playing drums in one of the bands he had joined, he was likely to be experimenting with ham radio or amplifiers, even selling simple crystal radios to friends.

By 1971, he had set up his first business to rebuild Hammond organs, giving them a more “rocking” sound. In 1973, one of his bands had a No. 1 hit in Sweden.

Then starting in the 1980s, Liljeryd was responsible for a string of sound-related innovations: a deep-diver communication system for the offshore oil industry, for which he won an ocean technology prize, a portable high-sensitivity capacitive hydrophone system used by the Swedish navy, and a digital hearing-aid system.

Source: EPO

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