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Traditionally, speech coding and audio coding were separate worlds. Based on different technical approaches and different assumptions about the source signal, neither of the two coding schemes could efficiently represent both speech and music at low bitrates. This paper presents a unified speech and audio codec, which efficiently combines techniques from both worlds. This results in a codec that exhibits consistently high quality for speech, music and mixed audio content. The paper gives an overview of the codec architecture and presents results of formal listening tests comparing this new codec with HE-AAC(v2) and AMR-WB+. This new codec forms the basis of the reference model in the ongoing MPEG standardization activity for unified speech and audio coding.