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HARMAN Announces Signal Doctor™ Technology; Restores Audio Quality Lost in Today’s Mobile, Digitized Listening Environments

HARMAN, the premium global audio and infotainment group (NYSE:HAR), announced today a proprietary software solution that automatically analyzes and improves the audio quality of all types of compressed, digitized music sources. The technology, called Signal Doctor, leverages HARMAN’s decades of unmatched experience in music recording, signal processing and psychoacoustics to naturally restore the full, satisfying sound that is forfeited in the compression process. Signal Doctor is available now in HARMAN’s new JBL Authentics Series wireless home entertainment sound systems (a CES 2014 Innovation Award winner), and HARMAN plans to launch Signal Doctor technology across a range of Home, Multimedia, and Automotive products in the coming year.

In today’s increasingly mobile world, music has essentially become data. Audio formats have morphed from vinyl LP’s, cassette tapes, and CD’s to today’s digitized files on iPods, USB sticks and smartphones. Streaming music (services like Pandora® and Spotify™) and Satellite Radio continue this digitized takeover, and consumers today expect their favorite music to be with them wherever they go.

This maximum mobility is made possible by compression processes that render digitized music files smaller and, therefore, make them more portable. While compression technology is critical to ensure easy and seamless access to audio content via the cloud and on connected devices, this process fundamentally alters the music source to something other than what the artist had initially intended.

In a typical digitized audio file, up to 90 percent of the audio content captured during the original recording can be discarded during the file compression process. Signal Doctor was developed to address this deterioration of audio quality, restoring what has been lost to deliver a rich, uncompromised listening experience from any compressed music source.

“With compressed digitized files, listeners are often deprived of the full auditory satisfaction and enjoyment that music is meant to bring,” said Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Division, 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 every audio source. Building on our long-standing industry leadership and unrivaled expertise, Signal Doctor is a significant technological advancement that changes the listening experience in today’s mobile and streaming world, bringing life and emotion back to the music whether at home, in the car or on the go.”

Signal Doctor improves digitized audio file quality in a number of audible areas, returning all of the authenticity, ambience, warmth, and clarity that compression takes away: it 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.

In contrast to competitor offerings, Signal Doctor does not blindly add equalization, bass boost, or other effects that alter the intended listening experience. HARMAN has developed a proprietary predictive model that intelligently and accurately recreates the lost information based on the existing compressed content, unlike any similar offering.

Signal Doctor works seamlessly and automatically. The technology is always on, and designed to run in the background without any user intervention. In addition, Signal Doctor adjusts 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, Signal Doctor will add a heavy dose of correction to the most compressed signals, such as Satellite Radio.

Signal Doctor 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 now to all automakers and will begin launching in vehicles this year.

HARMAN at CES 2014

Visit HARMAN during CES 2014 at its technology showcase located at the Hard Rock Hotel for a demonstration of Signal Doctor, as well as the company’s full portfolio of Infotainment, and Lifestyle audio systems. Please contact [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

Follow HARMAN online during CES 2014:

About HARMAN

HARMAN 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 about 14,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.5 billion for the twelve months ended September 30, 2013. The company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR. Please visit www.harman.com for more information.

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© 2014 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson are trademarks of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. AKG is a trademark of AKG Acoustics GmbH, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Features, specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice.

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