BMW's sound engineers recently used a 320d model with Active Sound Design to demonstrate the electronic noise cancellation that they've been hard at work on. Like all other automotive electronic technologies, the calibration of a noise cancellation system is crucial.
You may have heard of BMW's Active Sound Design related to reports of a Mini prototype that was shown in 2009.
The engineers made a four-cylinder engine sound like a V8 engine or a straight-six engine. In a release, Albert Kaltenhauser, Manager for Airborne Sound, Acoustics and Vibrations, said that to have the preferred acoustic patterns, they refined the natural character of the engine with an electro-acoustic system, making acceleration a special audio experience.
For a diesel vehicle to sound sporty, the sound designers had to adjust the sound of the vehicle and its engine performance. With an active system, significantly more systematic and finer adjustments than classic sound design are allowed.
Alfred Zeitler, Acoustic Psychologist, said that the slightest change to vehicle sound may have a huge impact since human hearing subconsciously assesses acoustic surroundings like a high-performance analyzer.
He asserted that all changes are continuously registered in the brain. BMW 635d is claimed to be sound-optimized through its sound design and its own dynamic audio character. Instead of the noise typical of diesel vehicles, a "sporty, superior sound" is emitted.
Sound designers at BMW showed how they paid special attention to detail as they came up with a special audio experience to make a diesel engine sound as sporty as it feels. To achieve this, they optimally match the sound to the vehicle and its engine performance.
Of course, it would be awkward as it would be undesirable to have too much sound when the engine has a weak performance. Therefore, the engine and its sound should be as harmonious as possible in order to provide for a pleasant driving experience.
Sound designers were taking on the challenge of generating just the right amount of sound in all driving situations to give the vehicle an authentic character. Active Sound Design is not as easy as one may believe. After all, it requires more systematic and finer adjustments than classic sound design, which on the other hand focuses on the intake and exhaust systems.
Alfred Zeitler, Acoustic Psychologist, quipped that even small changes to a vehicle's sound could have a big impact, essentially because human hearing subconsciously evaluates acoustic surroundings like a high-performance analyzer, registering all changes registered in the brain.
Sound experts at the BMW Group are relying both on their knowledge and experience to determine what sound properties should be modified to produce the desired result.
To achieve their goal, specialists from Sound Design and Psychoacoustics collaborated closely with the engineers from Engine Development, resulting to a unique yet remarkable audio character for a diesel-powered sport coupé.