MP3 co-inventor Karlheinz Brandenburg turns 70


On June 20, 2024, scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur Karlheinz Brandenburg will turn 70 years old. His visionary work has played a decisive role in shaping the current landscape of digital audio technology. Brandenburg became known worldwide in the 1990s as the co-inventor of MP3 and the MPEG audio standards.

Karlheinz Brandenburg is celebrating his anniversary on June 24, 2024, with a colloquium and festive event in Ilmenau, Thuringia. With numerous companions and high-profile guests, such as the Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow and the Thuringian Minister of Economics Wolfgang Tiefensee, he will review his life’s work and at the same time look to the future. This year, his latest venture, the headphone start-up Brandenburg Labs, turns five years old and celebrates the successful development of the “Deep Dive Audio” technology.      

About Karlheinz Brandenburg

In 1989, Brandenburg received his doctorate from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in the Department of Electrical Engineering with a thesis on digital audio coding and perception-oriented measurement methods. The research results of his dissertation are the basis of MPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3), MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), and most other modern audio compression methods. Together with his colleagues at Fraunhofer IIS and the MPEG Audio Standardization Group, he pioneered the development and establishment of this revolutionary invention in the 1990s. The technology was standardized as ISO/IEC MPEG-Audio Layer 3. He has received numerous awards for his work in the field of digital audio coding, perceptual measurement techniques, wave field synthesis, psychoacoustics, and the analysis of audio and video signals. These include the IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award, the Deutsche Zukunftspreis (together with his colleagues), and the Audio Engineering Society Silver Medal. He is also a member of the Internet Society Hall of Fame and was awarded the Digital Processing Medal by the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers in Hollywood. He has received honorary doctorates from the Universität Koblenz-Landau, the Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, and the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain.

In addition to his role as Managing Director of Brandenburg Labs GmbH, Karlheinz Brandenburg is also a senior professor at the Technische Universität Ilmenau. Until 2019, he was Institute Director at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT), which he helped establish in 2004 as Founding Director. He also headed the Department of Electronic Media Technology at the TU Ilmenau as a full professor until 2019.

About Brandenburg Labs

Brandenburg Labs GmbH develops immersive audio for headphones to create intuitive and realistic listening experiences that allow users to immerse themselves in any soundscape. The start-up was founded in 2019 by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Brandenburg. The interdisciplinary team in Ilmenau, Thuringia, now comprises 20 employees.

When using headphones, creating an immersive audio experience has posed enormous challenges for science and industry for decades. Brandenburg Labs has set itself the goal of placing solutions and products on the market that enrich digital life with immersive audio. As a spin-off of the Technische Universität Ilmenau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT), Brandenburg Labs can draw on many years of research in the field of audio at these institutions.

The Deep Dive Audio technology makes it possible to recreate real acoustic environments via headphones or to create new realistic listening environments. In this way, virtual sounds fit seamlessly into the user’s life and build a bridge between the real and digital worlds. Brandenburg Labs is already marketing systems to pilot customers in the field of music production and to scientific institutions. In the future, the headphones will also be available for the mass market. The long-term goal is to market intelligent headphones (PARty).

Franciska Wollwert

Leitung Kommunikation

Brandenburg Labs GmbH

Ehrenbergstraße 11

98693 Ilmenau

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