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Adaptive Multi-Rate audio codec

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Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR)
Filename extension
.amr, .3ga
Internet media type
audio/amr, audio/3gpp, audio/3gpp2
Initial release23 June 1999 (1999-06-23)[1][2]
Latest release
17 March 2017; 7 years ago (2017-03-17)
Type of formatLossy audio
Open format?Yes
Free format?No

The Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR, AMR-NB or GSM-AMR) audio codec is an audio compression format optimized for speech coding. AMR is a multi-rate narrowband speech codec that encodes narrowband (200–3400 Hz) signals at variable bit rates ranging from 4.75 to 12.2 kbit/s with toll quality[3] speech starting at 7.4 kbit/s.[4]

AMR was adopted as the standard speech codec by 3GPP in October 1999 and is now widely used in GSM[5] and UMTS. It uses link adaptation to select from one of eight different bit rates based on link conditions.

AMR is also a file format for storing spoken audio using the AMR codec. Many modern mobile telephone handsets can store short audio recordings in the AMR format, and both free and proprietary programs exist (see Software support) to convert between this and other formats, although AMR is a speech format and is unlikely to give ideal results for other audio. The common filename extension is .amr. There also exists another storage format for AMR that is suitable for applications with more advanced demands on the storage format, like random access or synchronization with video. This format is the 3GPP-specified 3GP container format based on ISO base media file format.[6]


The frames contain 160 samples and are 20 milliseconds long.[1] AMR uses various techniques, such as ACELP, DTX, VAD and CNG. The usage of AMR requires optimized link adaptation that selects the best codec mode to meet the local radio channel and capacity requirements. If the radio conditions are bad, source coding is reduced and channel coding is increased. This improves the quality and robustness of the network connection while sacrificing some voice clarity. In the particular case of AMR this improvement is somewhere around S/N = 4–6 dB for usable communication. The new intelligent system allows the network operator to prioritize capacity or quality per base station.

There are a total of 14 modes of the AMR codec, eight are available in a full rate channel (FR) and six on a half rate channel (HR).

Mode Bitrate (kbit/s) Channel Compatible with
AMR_12.20 12.20 FR ETSI GSM enhanced full rate
AMR_10.20 10.20 FR
AMR_7.95 7.95 FR/HR
AMR_7.40 7.40 FR/HR TIA/EIA IS-641 TDMA enhanced full rate
AMR_6.70 6.70 FR/HR ARIB 6.7 kbit/s enhanced full rate
AMR_5.90 5.90 FR/HR
AMR_5.15 5.15 FR/HR
AMR_4.75 4.75 FR/HR


  • Sampling frequency 8 kHz/13-bit (160 samples for 20 ms frames), filtered to 200–3400 Hz.
  • The AMR codec uses eight source codecs with bit-rates of 12.2, 10.2, 7.95, 7.40, 6.70, 5.90, 5.15 and 4.75 kbit/s.
  • Generates frame length of 95, 103, 118, 134, 148, 159, 204, or 244 bits for AMR FR bit rates 4.75, 5.15, 5.90, 6.70, 7.40, 7.95, 10.2, or 12.2 kbit/s, respectively. AMR HR frame lengths are different.
  • AMR utilizes discontinuous transmission (DTX), with voice activity detection (VAD) and comfort noise generation (CNG) to reduce bandwidth usage during silence periods
  • Algorithmic delay is 20 ms per frame. For bit-rates of 12.2, there is no "algorithm" look-ahead delay. For other rates, look-ahead delay is 5 ms. Note that there is 5 ms "dummy" look-ahead delay, to allow seamless frame-wise mode switching with the rest of rates.
  • AMR is a hybrid speech coder, and as such transmits both speech parameters and a waveform signal
  • The complexity of the algorithm is rated at 5, using a relative scale where G.711 is 1 and G.729a is 15.
  • PSQM testing under ideal conditions yields mean opinion scores of 4.14 for AMR (12.2 kbit/s), compared to 4.45 for G.711 (μ-law)[citation needed]
  • PSQM testing under network stress yields mean opinion scores of 3.79 for AMR (12.2 kbit/s), compared to 4.13 for G.711 (μ-law)

Licensing and patent issues[edit]

AMR codecs incorporate several patents of Nokia, Ericsson, NTT and VoiceAge,[7][8] the last one being the License Administrator for the AMR patent pools. VoiceAge also accepts submission of patents for determination of their possible essentiality to these standards. However, it's very difficult to determine if there were actually any patents in existence for the so-called inventions related to AMR/AMR-WB codecs, since inventors (and their lawyers) do everything they can to hide patents related to AMR/AMR-WB technology[citation needed]. Apparently, all these patents are hidden from all other researches and general audience that could perhaps spot prior art in the claimed "inventions" patented by the patent holders of the AMR/AMR-WB codecs.[9][10]

The initial fee for professional content creation tools and "real-time channel" products is US$6,500.[when?] The minimum annual royalty is $10,000, which, in the first year, excludes the initial fee. Per-channel license fees fall from $0.99 to $0.50 with volume, up to a maximum of $2 million annually.[7][8]

In the category of personal computer products, e.g., media players, the AMR decoder is licensed for free. The license fee for a sold encoder falls from $0.40 to $0.30 with volume, up to a maximum of $300,000 annually. The minimum annual royalty is not applied to licensed products that fall under the category of personal computer products and use only the free decoder.[7][8]

More information:

Software support[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "3GPP TS 26.090 - Mandatory Speech Codec speech processing functions; Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) speech codec; Transcoding functions". 3GPP. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
  2. ^ "3GPP TS 26.071 - Mandatory speech CODEC speech processing functions; AMR speech Codec; General description". 3GPP. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
  3. ^ "What's toll-quality voice?". ITworld. 13 December 2000. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  4. ^ RFC 4867 - RTP Payload Format and File Storage Format for the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) and Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) Audio Codecs Page 35
  5. ^ "Sorting Through GSM Codecs: A Tutorial". 11 July 2003.
  6. ^ RFC 4867 - RTP Payload Format and File Storage Format for the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) and Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) Audio Codecs Page 35
  7. ^ a b c VoiceAge Corporation (2007-10-14). "AMR Licensing Terms". VoiceAge Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  8. ^ a b c VoiceAge Corporation (June 2007). "AMR Licensing Terms". VoiceAge Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  9. ^ VoiceAge Corporation. "Licensing - Patent Calls". VoiceAge Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  10. ^ VoiceAge Corporation (2007-10-14). "Licensing - Patent Calls". Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  11. ^ 3GPP (2008-12-11) 3GPP TS 26.073 - AMR speech Codec, Retrieved 2009-09-08
  12. ^ Retrieved on 2010-02-28
  13. ^ FFmpeg General Documentation - AMR external library, Retrieved on 2009-07-08
  14. ^ Android AMR codecs, Retrieved on 2009-07-08 Archived February 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ KMPlayer Internal Audio Decoder Preferences Archived 2014-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 2014-10-22

External links[edit]