30 May Are fake sound generators needed in sports cars?
Once upon a time, cars made noisy engine sounds, which car owners grew to associate with certain performance levels. In recent years, high-end luxury cars have adopted quiet interiors due to increasingly insulated cabins, muffling turbochargers, and government noise regulations. Learn More >
Car manufacturers use noise-cancelling technology to block noise that they can’t muffle. Despite the new regulations, many sports car enthusiasts long for loud engine revs that equal excitement and the thrill of being on the road.
This phenomenon has led top car manufacturers to ask themselves: are fake sound generators needed in sports cars? Different companies have different takes on the matter. BMW links a digital signal processor to the engine computer to pump V8 twin-turbo engine noise through the stereo system. The system imitates the activity of the engine, based on the engine load and rpm,and can even tweak its output for the varying driving modes. Learn More >
The result is more closely linked with the current car performance than any actual engine noise. Learn More >
Lexus collaborated with Yamaha’s musical instrument division. Yamaha used their Center for Advanced Sound technologies to tune the cabin for the driver. They treated the engine as the sound generator and created components to send the noise of the V-10 right to the driver. Learn More >
While most of the fake generator focus has been on six-figure vehicles, there have been a few developments for less expensive vehicles as well. Ford installed a resonator pipe in between the V8 and its fire wall on the Mustang GT. They also added a second pair of exhaust pipes directly behind the rocker panels for the Boss 302 Mustang. Car owners can opt to take off the restrictor plates just above the side exits in order to open the exhaust and let out a staggering level of noise. Learn More >
Finally, Porsche designed a Sound Symposer for their 991 and Panamera GTS. As Porsche worked to get rid of the 80 mph rubber noises, they also hushed the engine sounds, which Porsche aficionados did not appreciate. Their amplifier is a tube that holds a diaphragm and a valve to serve as an acoustic channel. The driver can push a sport button on the center console to open up the valve and put the diaphragm to work broadcasting the mechanical sounds. Learn More >
So the question is: are generated fake sounds needed in sports cars? Most sports car enthusiasts say no. While the quieter modern engine sounds are a little disappointing, people feel that it’s cheating to fake the sound. At some point the general opinion may change, but for purists in 2014, generated sound is a far cry from the performance that comes with the genuine sound. Learn More >