Stanford, Yamaha in audio teaming

Stanford U. and Yamaha Corp. have teamed up to license and market a new digital audio-generation technology called Sondius-XG.

The collaboration, announced Wednesday, bundles together some 400 patents and patent applications for sound generation and audio reproduction in the digital domain. Stanford and Yamaha say Sondius-XG represents a quantum leap in the presence, accuracy and sheer musicality of audio content played, created or reproduced digitally over the current wave-table synthesis and MIDI-generated formats.

Sondius-XG could eventually dominate such divergent digital fields as computer sound processors, karaoke machines, World Wide Web page authoring, professional synthesizers and talking greeting cards.

Cautious optimism

Audio post-production folks in and around Hollywood — who are often mired in the details of compatibility with multiple digital audio formats in use — are cautiously enthusiastic about Sondius-XG’s potential to cut through the compatibility and fidelity issues. “Something like that would be very enthusiastically received around here,” remarked audio-post honcho Curt Behlmer of Warner Bros. Studios, “but getting everyone to play on the same field is a very difficult proposition.”

What’s more significant about Stanford’s active involvement with Yamaha is that it represents the university’s first major entrepreneurial application of patents it has generated while doing nominally academic research. Universities generally prefer to license their patents out to whoever can use them best, but Stanford’s partnering with Yamaha is a much more proactive stance: licensing the patents as an active marketer of the new technology.

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