The Audi A8 concert hall: A special algorithm virtually brings the orchestra into your car.
New dimensions in sound
If the collaboration between Audi and Bang & Olufsen were a marriage, it would definitely be a love match. Not even a hint of a pragmatic arrangement one partner enters into out of necessity. Friends would call it a match made in heaven. And most of them would probably be green with envy, because this partnership has not only been working well for over ten years, but in fact seems to be getting better and better all the time.
No doubt about it: This is a perfect fit. Two tech companies—one automotive, the other electronic—whose brands also boast a strong design element without sacrificing any of the expertise that is their core competency. This pair of premium brands has been working together since 2005. You could say that this arrangement is more than the sum of its parts. Or you could simply rejoice in the realization that it has now engendered what may be one of the best car audio systems yet: the Advanced Sound System with 3D sound for the new Audi A8.
A special algorithm continuously regulates the signal between the speakers. So you can enjoy a sublime listening experience from any seat in the Audi A8.
A total of 23 speakers are integrated into the car. Encased in closed housings, they are not directly connected to the car body. That means the car’s vibrations have virtually no impact on the sound quality. What’s more, some of them are built into the upper part of the vehicle, such as in the A-pillar area and now for the first time also in the rear between the B- and C-pillars, and each speaker operates on its own channel. This lets the Advanced Sound System create a three-dimensional sound experience in the car. That transports everyone in the car to their very own concert hall. “Our aim was to direct the sound precisely to each and every seat in the car,” says Grzegorz Sikora, senior manager acoustic engineering at Bang & Olufsen Car Audio. “I think we hit the spot.”
This achievement is partly the result of a special algorithm that distributes the signal among the speakers. The software was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute, inventor of MP3 technology. In fact, it genuinely sounds as if the band or orchestra were in the car—the singer in the middle, surrounded by the instruments. And it’s not necessarily much quieter than a band in the car, either: A maximum of 1,900 watts can produce a stadium rock-concert atmosphere—if that’s what you want. Of course, there’s no need to worry about those other concertgoers’ sudden squeals of ecstasy.
„Our aim was to direct the sound precisely to each and every seat in the car.“
The Audi A8 features a function called Vehicle Noise Compensation (VNC), which keeps the sound quality consistent even if things get louder inside the car. A microphone registers noise and the algorithm processes conditions in the vehicle at any one time. All of that data goes into optimizing the sound. In addition, four microphones integrated into the car along with a VNC algorithm continuously monitor ambient noise. Via a counter signal, they absorb most of the engine noise through the speaker system—thanks to hundreds of hours’ worth of fine-tuning.
That enables the system to improve the acoustics in the car, because VNC works even when no music is playing. The principle is similar to that of an air filter. So sounds produced externally, such as engine or tire noise, or even noise caused by the air conditioning or various weather conditions won’t impact how your music plays.
Speakers, amplifiers, dampers—the home audio BeoSound Shape system features a modular design.
For the first time, Bang & Olufsen is now bringing out a sound system that also improves room acoustics as part of its home audio portfolio. BeoSound Shape doesn’t just perfectly immerse your home in music, it also dampens unwanted noise with its three-dimensional tiles that absorb sound waves. The system’s modular hexagons are available as speakers and amplifiers—and even as dampers that perform the same function as the acoustic tiles in professional recording studios. Expandable to virtually any size and—of course—wireless, BeoSound Shape adapts to any lifestyle and any environment, anytime.
But Vehicle Noise Compensation (VNC) in the Audi A8 isn’t the end of the story: Acoustic lenses are mounted in the dash, right and left, parallel to the windshield. When the Advanced Sound System starts, they emerge from the dashboard, retracting flat again when the system is switched off. These tweeters ensure that the sound streams forward at a 180-degree angle—rather than disappearing up toward the roof as with regular membranes. That optimizes the sweet spot where the sound waves meet to create the perfect listening experience. Ultimately, the lenses fan the music out into the interior. So every spot in the new Audi A8 is equally sweet for every occupant.
Intimacy thanks to high-end audio: Any journey in the new Audi A8 creates time and space for your personal music enjoyment and becomes a spectacular listening experience with the Advanced Sound System with 3D sound.
The size of the space has no effect on the quality of the music with the home audio system. You can add or remove as many speakers, dampers or amplifiers as your evolving needs require.
Further photo credits: Bang & Olufsen