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  POW-r™ Word Length Reduction Algorithm  

An innovative new technique for digital audio Word Length Reduction (WLR) is now available from the Pow-r Consortium, LLC. Some of the world's top digital audio designers have come together as a team to create what is being hailed as the audio industry's most transparent and dynamically stable method of reducing digital audio word lengths.

Pow-r, an acronym for Psychoacoustically Optimized Word length Reduction, is a unique, patent-applied-for algorithm, which reduces longer word lengths (20, 24, even up to 32 bits), to CD standard 16-bit format while retaining a high degree of perceived dynamic efficiency and very low noise. Pow-r is a scalable algorithm, meaning it is dynamically optimized and ready for all sample rates from 44.1kHz to 192 kHz, and beyond.

Pow-r is compact and designed for portability. The algorithm will operate optimally in both DSP and native software in digital audio workstation applications. Pow-r is technically not noise shaping. Rather, the original Pow-r algorithm is based on narrow-band Nyquist dither and is free from artifacts present in other popular Nyquist-band WLR techniques, such as "birdies" and "motor boating." With Pow-r, archaic look up tables are avoided and all audio program is decorrelated from Nyquist-band dither. To better target all audio sources, non-narrow-band techniques are also offered in the POW-r algorithm set

Pow-r has been licensed by a number of key pro audio companies, including Apple: Logic Pro, Avid/Digidesign: Pro Tools, Cakewalk: Sonar, Magix: Samplitude/Sequoia, Merging: Pyramix, SADiE, E-Magic, BIAS Inc., Clair Brothers and many others. Moreover, the four Consortium development members (below) are all licensees of POW-r.

The Consortium development team is comprised of:

David McGrath, Founder & Chief Scientist, Lake DSP Pty, Ltd., Australia
Daniel Weiss, President, Weiss Engineering Ltd., Switzerland
John La Grou, President, Millennia Media, Inc., USA
Dr. Glenn Zelniker, President, Z-Systems, Inc., USA
The Pow-r design consortium was assembled for the sole purpose of creating the most sonically transparent digital word length reduction algorithms available. After months of development and extensive listening tests, we feel our goal has been achieved. A number of audio industry leaders, including major record companies and numerous audio mastering houses, have called Pow-r the finest sounding WLR method available.

"The POW-r noise shaping is the quietest and the best I've heard so far, no question. It gives the music a slightly "pillowy" effect, smoothing out the high end in a very pleasing way...very, very nice."
Dr. Toby Mountain, Northeastern Digital, February, 2000

I've also just finished reviewing POW-r. In my opinion, all other WLR schemes are mostly obsolete. The POW-r Consortium has provided the music industry with tools and methods to preserve the quality of high resolution audio in 16 bit renditions. The POW-r process is the closest thing to perfection that I have heard to date.
Glenn Meadows, Chief Engineer, Masterfonics Emerald Mastering, Nashville, 2000

Over the years at Telarc, we've gone through the whole range of dithering schemes to keep PCM well-behaved -- everything from levels of DC to white noise and various noise shaping curves. We had eventually come to employ the xxxx dither as our standard means of getting from 20- and 24-bit PCM to the 16-bit PCM CD master.

Our introduction to POW-r word length reduction changed all of that. POW-r is making it possible to have so much more of our 24-bit master represented on the 16-bit CD than we could do with other dithering or word length reduction algorithms. I have been able to have a signal level near -120 dB from digital peak in 16-bit still be audible and not distorted. That great increase in depth better represents the width and depth of the 24-bit PCM master in its 16-bit CD form than the other means of dither available, in my opinion. In fact, Telarc's producers insist that POW-r word length reduction be used exclusively of all our PCM-source masters. Once one hears something this good, there's no going back!
Michael Bishop, Multi Grammy Award Winning Engineer, Director of New Technology, Telarc International, Cleveland

"For about 8 years, I've been doing shootouts of re-dithering algorithms, and every system I tried was unable to recover ambience as well as my venerable **** unit. But when I heard [POW-r], I began to cry, because I couldn't believe my ears---this box brings 16-bit audio closer to the 24-bit source than I had dreamed possible. This includes previous tests of [virtually all top dithering algorithms], and other lesser-known varieties of dither.

Until I heard [POW-r], I thought that every dither was a compromise; some sacrificed ultimate depth and space for a pleasant tonality, or vice-versa. The POW-r dither seems to have broken a new barrier, removing the compromise of tonality versus depth."
Bob Katz, President, Digital Domain Mastering, Pro Audio Review Magazine, Feature Review
Full Text here.

The Pow-r Consortium, LLC is a "non-competitive," autonomous entity established for the sole purpose of licensing, supporting, and marketing the Pow-r software. For licensing information, please email:

Article courtesy of Millennia Music and Media Systems


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