Audio Like Racing (Yes, This Does Make Sense)

One of the real battlegrounds in automotive technology is in the interior.

One of the real battlegrounds in automotive technology is in the interior. More specifically, in the audio environment provided by cars and trucks. Just getting somewhere reliability and in comparative comfort isn’t enough anymore, especially in the premium segment.

Which brings us to the Audi Sound Concept project, that is utilizing “wave field synthesis.” Engineers in Infotainment Development at Audi in Ingolstadt are applying this principle, which was put into practice by Dutch scientists in the 1980s.

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Apparently, it fundamentally means that the front of a sound wave is not just a discrete thing, but can be the superposition of individual waves that are sequenced so that the multiple seem to be one. Meaning that it may be in order to get a particular sound at point X and several speakers, each speaker would have its sound sequenced to the millisecond to make it all come out right in the end.

Now this isn’t something that you can try in your basement. In fact, Audi engineers have called on the audio experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilemnau, Germany, to help out.

A test vehicle has been developed, an Audi Q7 with 62 speakers: five woofers, five tweeters, and 52 mid-range speakers. Apparently the sound that is generated is astonishing, although it may not be showing up at any Audi dealership in the near term.

Said Denis Credé, head of Sound Development at Audi, “Our goal was to show what is technically feasible; to explore the limits. What we are learning will be integrated into the sound systems of tomorrow. It’s like with racing: A lof of what is first tried out on the race tracks of this world later shows up in modified production vehicles. The Audi Sound Concept is like racing for sound systems.”