Fraunhofer Cingo®

An immersive listening experience on mobile devices and for VR applications. Made by the mp3 inventors.

With Fraunhofer Cingo® your mobile devices become true multidimensional sound theaters. Plug in your earphones or use the built-in stereo speakers for enveloping sound when enjoying movies, games or any other VR environment.

But not only does Cingo enable an excellent surround sound listening experience over stereo speakers or headphones, it also provides existing stereo content with a more natural and clear sound and includes loudness optimization for listening in noisy environments. What’s more, in addition to the existing stereo or surround content, Fraunhofer Cingo supports rendering of 3D audio content with formats that add a height dimension to the sound image, such as 9.1, 11.1 or other channel configurations.

Due to this unique combination of latest developments in audio technology, Fraunhofer Cingo delivers an exceptional level of audio quality, unmatched on mobile devices.

The powerful and innovative underlying signal processing was developed by the audio experts at Fraunhofer IIS, the home of mp3 and AAC.

How Cingo works

On its way from the loudspeakers to our ears, sound is altered in several important ways. By the time it reaches us, it contains information about the listening environment as well as the actual musical or speech content. In addition, sound waves that arrive from different directions are shaped by our head and outer ear. Collectively, this information helps us to identify the distance and direction of a sound source.

When using headphones, this information is absent because the audio content is played back almost directly at our eardrums and therefore appears as if the sound is 'in' our head. This can lead to considerable discomfort during extended periods of listening.

But researchers have discovered that these changes in sound waves can be measured and modelled by digital filters. By applying those filters to audio signals when listening on small devices or headphones, we can achieve a spatial sound impression close to the one achieved with 'real' loudspeaker playback. This technology is called binaural audio processing and is just one feature of Fraunhofer's ground-breaking new technology, Cingo.

Fraunhofer Cingo creates an immersive surround sound experience reminiscent of the one we all know and love from the cinema. Flexible and convenient, the technology works with a pair of regular headphones of your choice or built-in stereo speakers.


Virtual surround sound for headphones

With Cingo, each audio channel can be presented as a virtual sound source, e.g. as a loudspeaker in a listening room, in such a way that it is heard from a specific location and distance. The sound appears to come from 'outside of the head' and from outside the headphones. As a result, when watching movies with 5.1 content, the viewer always appears to be in the sweetspot.


Virtual surround sound for stereo loudspeakers

Dedicated speaker processing enables the virtual surround feature even when sound is played back over stereo loudspeakers, e.g. from a laptop or tablet. In these instances, the sound appears to come from outside of the device and feels bigger and more spatial, allowing for an engaging and compelling immersive experience that brings the listener completely into the audio environment.


3D immersive audio

In addition to the existing stereo or surround content, Fraunhofer Cingo supports rendering of 3D audio content with formats that add a height dimension to the sound image, such as 9.1, 11.1 or other channel configurations. Even more, it provides the possibility to place an arbitrary number of sound objects anywhere in a virtual space around the listener. As a result, the listener can perceive sound elements in the front, behind, from above or below and be truly immersed in a movie, game or any virtual environment with a stunning level of reality that creates an experience of “being there”.


Loudness optimization

Within a noisy environment, such as the subway or a bus, or with devices where the loudspeakers or headphones simply cannot output sufficient volume, loudness processing can be tremendously beneficial. The loudness optimization feature of Cingo delivers a natural and clear sound even in the most challenging situations while preventing unpleasant distortion or any clipping which would lead to reduced audio quality. It is particularly useful for content that is very soft or of high dynamic range.



The quality of headphones and loudspeakers can significantly limit the user’s audio experience.The equalization feature of Cingo, compensates for the lack of bass usually encountered with smartphones and tablets, and corrects any unpleasant resonance frequencies by optimizing your audio on-the-move. The innovative techniques involved were developed by studying and measuring the performance of a variety of different headphone models and loudspeakers on mobile devices.


Where to experience Cingo® ?

Original equipment manufacturers

Google Fraunhofer Cingo brings unrivaled surround sound experience to the users of the Nexus and Pixel family of devices.
Samsung Samsung Gear VR was the first Cingo-enabled device to deliver 3D immersive audio.
LG The combination of Cingo and HE-AAC delivers a truly authentic audio experience essential for virtual reality to the new virtual reality device LG 360 VR. Users are being immersed in different virtual environments with perfectly matching audio properties for the success of the illusion.

Service providers

KT Media Hub With the integration of Cingo mobile surround sound technology and adoption of the HE-AAC audio codec, subscribers to KT’s “seezn” video on demand service will experience unrivaled audio quality with their movies or TV programming while on the move or at home.
LG U+ The LG U+ mobile video service “U-HDTV” provides excellent audio quality delivered by the highly efficient AAC audio codec and Fraunhofer’s Cingo mobile audio suite. The service is available for LG U+ subscribers on Android smartphones.
SK Broadband SK Broadband’s ubiquitous “Btv mobile” (Btv) live broadcast TV and video on demand service features superior audio with Fraunhofer Cingo. Users can download an app update that incorporates Cingo.
Hulu Users of Hulu’s VR app will benefit from movies and TV shows streamed using the HE-AAC surround sound audio codec and rendered for headphones through Fraunhofer Cingo. On VR platforms, Cingo makes use of head-tracking to dramatically improve the entertainment experience on headphones.
Youku The chinese video hosting service provides its premium users with compelling and immersive sound on iOS and Android - thanks to Cingo.


Fraunhofer Cingo is available for licensing to mobile device manufacturers as well as service providers that offer content for mobile platforms.

© Fraunhofer IIS

OS integration

For device manufacturers, integrating Cingo into an operating system, such as in an available media framework, is the recommended  integration method. Depending on the device target platform, there are implementations available through one of our partners or through Fraunhofer directly.




© Fraunhofer IIS
Recommended app integration
© Fraunhofer IIS
Alternative for app integration

App integration


Content service providers can use Cingo by directly integrating it into the client application through which they offer content. The ability to directly integrate Cingo is possible for applications that use natively available player architecture (extractors, decoders, etc.), see "Recommended app integration" diagram to the left. Or in the case of their own developed player application, see the “Alternative for app integration” figure below.











© SK Broadband

UI examples of commercially available applications

UI implementation of Cingo into SK Broadband’s Btv mobile service.






© LG U+

UI implementation of Cingo into the LG U+ ‘U-HDTV’ smartphone service.