Audi has jointly developed a prototype for a new audio system in the Q7 with audio specialists at Bang & Olufsen, Bose and the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology. A total of 62 speakers are fitted all throughout the full-size SUV. There are five tweeters in the speakers.
Three are situated at the base of the windshield, 52 mid-range drivers positioned in a 360-degree configuration around the cabin, four door-mounted woofers, and there's one subwoofer, which is about 12 inches, in the boot. The Linden Lichtspiele cinema in Ilmenau, Germany, is the inspiration of this system.
A press release states that the theater utilizes 192 speakers and was made around the principle that a sound wave can be recreated by a multiplicity of small sound sources placed closely adjacent to one another along the wave front. With this system, the consumer gets perfect sound wherever he is seated in either the theatre or the SUV.
This system is also capable of playing 32 separate audio tracks at the same time. Audi infotainment engineer Peter Gleim said that there isn't a comparable audio media currently offered in the market since there are no playback devices too.
Gleim also said that this method is already being used by a small number of film studios. Nevertheless, this system has one drawback. Because its huge amplifier is stored in the trunk of the vehicle, there is no more room for cargo. The system also includes three computers and a mass of cables in the boot.
Back in the fall of 2005, Audi started offering its A8 luxury sedan with a sound system manufactured by Danish sound experts. During this time, this partnership was viewed by many as a breakthrough in the automobile industry in Europe.
The system is indeed one of a kind as it had a 1,100-watt amplifier and 14 active speakers that had two acoustic lenses plus anodized aluminum grilles. As a result of this agreement, it made it possible to bring high quality sound straight from the factory to the car.
Due to the success of this collaboration, it allowed this particular advanced sound system to have a penetration rate of more than 10% for the A8 and Q7. Thus, if any Audi model was to be fitted with a sound system, there is a high likelihood that the development work was done by either Bang & Olufsen or Bose.
In order to make the sound system truly suitable for Audi vehicles, engineers at the brand worked everything out. They closely looked at the system layout, the number of speakers, where they were to be placed and the type, as well as the characteristics of the speaker.
They even took into consideration how the amplifier was designed and what sound was appropriate for the vehicle. Once the prototypes were done, the cars were then sent to two locations: one in Esslingen, Germany, and the other in Struer, Denmark.
Once there, Audi’s partners would work on the sound system installing everything like the amplifiers, acoustic algorithms, enclosures, and speakers. After everything is finished, the final step was to fine-tune the sound.
This was done in conjunction with specialists of the company in Ingolstadt. These specialists form Audi’s "Sound Commission," which is the group that is tasked with accepting and approving the sound system and is composed of representatives from Audi’s different units.
Gleim explains that in order to fully determine if the sound is what is expected from the recording, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. For example, there is the placement of the speakers and even the actual quality of the different components.
According to Gleim, when you order an Audi that is equipped with this advanced sound system, it will always have the best available speaker there is. Since a number of them have a fiber-composite membrane, the end result is a sound that may be linear but is natural.
Since a linear frequency response is on the inside, it appears to be unexciting. This is the main reason why even if pure sound is possible on a technical level, not many people will want it. If the interior is cramped, the sound is also not distributed well.
Any excess sound is absorbed by the upholstery and cushions. That’s why low frequencies have to be emphasized. However by fine-tuning the sound processor, it should be able to handle any discrepancies.