Technology

Satin, the audio secret of Microsoft Teams

Skype has grown into a world famous business, but surely you didn’t know that the Skype revolution was due to a codec. Silk is an adaptive variable bit rate codec that could seamlessly switch from narrowband (8 kHz) voice transmission to 6 kbps ultra low bandwidth to deliver near-transparent quality voice at higher bit rates.

After acquiring Skype, Microsoft began using the Silk audio codec in its products. Silk was developed for the broadband world. Provides excellent audio quality even with high packet loss. But it didn’t end there and Microsoft learned from the Silk foundation.

Satin, the legacy of the legendary Silk codec

After a good foundation, the Microsoft team has developed a new audio codec. Satin, which delivers excellent audio quality at a bit rate as low as 6 kbps. 2020 was the right time to launch Satin. Microsoft Teams was in full swing due to the pandemic and now was a good time to try it out. Satin is now used for all calls in Teams and Skype. The next step will be to implement Satin in Teams meetings and not just in calls.

What makes Satin different?

Satin is ideally positioned to compensate for packet loss. Unlike most other voice codecs, Satin encodes each packet independently, so that the effect of losing one packet does not affect the quality of subsequent packets.

The codec is also designed to facilitate the concealment of high quality packet loss in an internal domain. These features help Satin adapt to random losses where one or two packets are lost at a time.

Without a doubt, the worst type of packet loss is when several packets are lost in a row. Here, Satin’s ability to deliver quality sound at a low speed of 6 kbps comes into play. This provides the flexibility to use some of the available bit rate to add redundancy and downstream error correction. .

This helps the system to recover lost or burst packets. So the system can try to recover the information and provide feedback when it needs help in the event of data loss.

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