Lots of companies have fallen on hard times during the past couple of years due to COVID, supply chain shortages, labor shortages, and now the increase in fuel costs. As part of this trend, it has been reported in the Belgian press (you may need to use Google Translate) that Auro Technologies has filed for bankruptcy, but its fortunes may not be as bleak as it sounds.
Auro Technologies is known for its Auro 3D Audio surround sound technology, which is a third immersive surround sound option behind Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. However, its adoption has been slow going since it was introduced in 2014.
The founder and CEO of Belgian-based Auro Technologies Wilfried van Baelen, has indicated that filing for bankruptcy is a strategic move due to negotiations with a potential investor falling through.
The reason for the fall-through is that Auro’s product and licensing sales have slowed to the current market conditions listed at the top of this article.
That being said, van Baelen sees the bankruptcy filing as an opportunity and challenge to restructure the company and bring new impetus to marketing and sales. The goal is to retain all facilities for Auro Technologies as well as its employees. Selling individual patents is said not to be on the table.
Auro Technologies has been working on adapting the format for soundbars and streaming and partners were gearing up to implement these options, but the COVID pandemic and supply chain issues have resulted in a delay in bringing these and related products to market during the past two years.
As a result revenue from products and licenses will not materialize until 2023, so filing for bankruptcy is meant to provide the company with some protection until that time.
The key takeaway is that Auro Technologies plans to recover and stick around intact, expanding market share for Auro 3D Audio and related products.
Auro 3D Audio Basics
As mentioned above, Auro 3D Audio is a competitor to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. However, unlike Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Auro 3D Audio is channel-based rather than object-based. During the mixing process, sounds are assigned to specific channels instead of a specific point in space. This results in Auro 3D Audio requiring more speakers for full impact.
Another difference between Auro 3D and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X is how the encoded signals are transferred. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X embed their signal within a specific bitstream format. Auro 3D Audi can be embedded in a standard uncompressed 5.1 channel PCM soundtrack and placed on a Blu-ray Disc or Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.
Tip: If your AV preamp processor or home theater receiver is not Auro 3D-enabled, you can access the standard 5.1 or 7.1 channel uncompressed audio signal.
Auro 3D Audio Speaker Layout Options
Auro 3D Audio starts with a 5.1 channel speaker layer and subwoofer but requires two additional speaker layers for the effect.
- Speaker Level 1: 5.1 channels—left, center, right, left and right surround, and subwoofer.
- Speaker Level 2 (Height Layer): left/right front, left/right surround (center channel and subwoofer not needed for height layer).
Tip: The combination of levels 1 and 2 results in a 9.1 channel setup.
- Level 3 (Optional Top Layer): Place one ceiling-mounted speaker directly above the listening position. This is referred to as the VOG (Voice of God) channel.
Tip: The combination of Levels 1, 2, and 3 results in a 10.1 channel setup.
Another feature included with Auro 3D Audio is Auro-Matic Upmixing. This allows a Mono, Stereo, or other surround sound formats to take advantage of the Auro 3D Audio speaker setup.
Auro 3D Audio for Headphones
In addition to home theater, there is also a headphone version Auro 3D Audio which works with any stereo headphones. This makes Auro 3D Audio practical for home theater receivers, AV processors with headphone outputs, and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
The Auro-3D® Engine recognizes Mono, Stereo, 5.1 Surround, or an Auro-encoded signal and transforms them into 3D audio for listening in a headphone environment.
If you want to dig deeper into Auro 3D Audio, check out our companion article: What is Auro 3D?
Tip: Auro 3D Audio Surround Sound is currently available on select AV Preamp/Processors and/or Home Theater Receivers from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Storm Audio, and DataSat. Hopefully, the soundbar and streaming options will be available soon.
Update, July 2022: Saffelberg Investment Group has acquired all assets, teams, and rights of AURO-3D and founded a new company, NEWAURO BV, to further support the growth of the format and technology suite across all markets.