AES Technical Committee

Automotive Audio

Chair:    Richard S Stroud    (Send Email)
Vice Chair:    Tim Nind    (Send Email)

The Mission of this committee is to:

- Encourage the development of technical papers workshops, tutorials, master classes and poster sessions in the field of automotive audio

- Promote awareness of new trends and developments that may impact Automotive audio

- Encourage technical communications within the vehicular audio community

- Propose the development of new automotive audio standards

- Create an awareness within the larger audio community of the engineering challenges and excellence of premium vehicular audio

- Discuss unique applications of audio transducers into the automotive environment

Areas of Concentration

- Automotive Transducers

- Vehicular System Design

- Objective System Evaluation

- Subjective System Evaluation

- New Audio Sources

- Automotive Mulitchannel Sound

- Noise production and cancellation

Recent/Planned Activities

Latest Activities:

Automotive Audio Conference in Munich

135th AES Convention in New York: Meeting of AES Technical Committee for Automotive Audio, Workshop on 3D applications for AA.

Planned Automotive Audio Conference for West Coast of US

Automotive Audio Trends

1. Vehicles with built-in Internet capability (via high speed phone connection, etc.) could present numerous music and talk selections at higher quality than most other data-reduced sources. At least one OEM is working on personal audio to allow people to have the same data & source material they have at home in the car. Connectivity may be based on the user's mobile phone. Some OEM's are considering using a dedicated server to control quality.

The current mobile phone system would be burdened to near unusablilty by offering a large number of music channels, so minimizing station selection, data reduction and speeds beyond 4G will likely be necessary. This is especially true in urban areas at current cell tower density levels.

2. There is an interest in providing sounds for very quiet cars such as electric vehicles. These include "engine start" and "engine running" sounds for inside the vehicle and pedestrian safety sounds for outside the vehicle. This was a major discussion topic at the Munich AA Conference.

3. SSD's will replace hard drives as preferred storage when cost permits. Which vehicles now have SSD's?

4. Premium receivers are beginning to appear that do not include CD players. Increasingly larger USB drives are becoming a primary music storage medium, along with bluetooth-connected smart phones with their often large music libraries. This may be the most likely way cell phones will bring music to the car, not streaming signals from towers.

5. Objective measurement is still battling subjective listening tests as a final authority for OEMs. SPL vs. distortion measurements are quite good now, and directionally correct frequency response measurements are improving. Spatial measurement capability has been developed and evaluated.

6. Trends towards higher performance audio systems is in direct conflict with recent trends of cost and weight reduction of components in automobiles. Increased application of neodymium magnets may help.

7. Neodymium metal costs are still high but falling. Current price is around $120/kg (China). With high neo prices, speaker customers need a strong set of specifications to insure that suppliers maintain sensitivity and Xmax.

8. Planar style speakers are now found in vehicles. These are not totally flat, but have profiles of 10 mm or less. Some examples have shown very low sensitivity.

9. Download of MP3 files into vehicles by home-based r.f. links has been introduced.

10. HD radio components are now for sale. AM HD radio offers much higher fidelity and FM HD offers additional program sources. Because of the fidelity difference on AM, rapid switching in fringe areas must be carefully managed.

11. There are an increasing number of center speakers appearing in prestige class automotive system designs. Speakers have also appeared in the tops of front seats. "Surround sound" is becoming mandatory in high-end automotive systems even when source is limited to two-channel (via upmix algorithms). Some listeners sense that some surround systems provide limited envelopment on both stereo and much "surround" source material.

12. There is almost universal branding of audio systems in luxury cars. Newer brands are emerging. The maximum number of speakers used in luxury vehicle systems seems to be leveling out at 18 ± 2.

13. Voice recognition systems for telephone and navigation functions are becoming more sophisticated and enjoy wider application.

14. Automatic Equalization is being offered for audio system tuning. Use of such automatic systems can significantly speed the tuning process, but may not soon completely replace final tuning for on-road performance by trained listeners.

15. Active noise cancellation by the audio system is being used for exhaust drone under condition of cylinder deactivation.

16. Active road noise bass and/or level compensation now enjoy a widespread market presence. Basic versions are available in many OEM head units while some high-end premium systems have more sophisticated implementations. Simple systems use the speedometer signal to apply predefined loudness curves. Others use microphones to measure the current cabin noise, after separating the music, allowing more targeted equalization or bass/level compression to be applied.

17. Switching audio is now commonly seen in automotive amplifiers. Switching audio cost are becoming comparable with older AB amplifiers, as the heat sink requirement is minimized. Important for electric vehicles is the low current draw under all audio power output conditions.

19. Aftermarket audio now represents a very small part of the automotive audio market. OEM head unit and speaker reliability is comparatively good, and performance of OEM systems is often quite good enough for most listeners.

20. Rear seat audio performance may be important in China and other countries, as some who can afford automobiles can also afford drivers.

21. There are still parts of the world where 5.1 and high-level premium audio are not featured in most vehicle's audio lineups. These systems can take advantage of inexpensive, powerful audio DSP systems to improve performance.

22. Audio system designers are frustrated by performance differences between concept vehicles and production implementations. Reasons for differences include sealing issues, material changes, structure differences, etc. Even 1-2 dB differences in side to side acoustic balance can degrade spatial performance. Strategies to address this issue include tightening specification, but this is unlikely to completely solve this problem. Post-manufacturing re-equalization could also help, if a good way to do this can be found. This issue was discussed in Munich.

23. Modern surround sound encoding algorithms use metadata to send 5.1 information in about the same bandwidth as stereo information. Offerings include Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Neural Surround and MPEG Surround (MPEG-2 TS. I think), This could kindle more interest in surround sound. One hopes that surround offerings become somewhat standardized, but production standards may not exist.

Meeting Report:

These documents do not necessarily express the official position of the AES on the issues discussed at these meetings, and only represent the views of committee members participating in the discussion. Any unauthorized use of these publications is prohibited. Authorization must be obtained from the Executive Director of the AES: Email, Tel: +1 212 661 8528, Address: 60 East 42nd Street, Room 2520, New York, New York 10165-2520, USA.

2005-5-23     Meeting Minutes AATC 117th
Description: Technical Committee Meeting on Automotive Audio 28 Oct 2004

2004-6-22     Minutes of Automotive Audio TC, 116th
Description: This document contains minutes of the Automotive Audio Technical Committee meeting at the 116th Convention in Berlin.

2004-4-17     Minutes of Automotive Audio TC, 115th
Description: Minutes of the 115th Automotive Audio Technical Committee in New York

Committee Members

 Allan Phillips  Angelo Farina  Arndt Hensgens 
 Dan Field  Dave Baehr  David Clark 
 David Dage  David Navone  Earl Geddes 
 Eric Benjamin  Floyd Toole  Garry Feeley 
 Jayant Datta  Jim Hunter  Jim Stratman 
 John Busenitz  John Stewart  Jyri Huopaniemi 
 Karlheinz Brandenburg  Mark Ziemba  Marshall Buck 
 Mike Harris  Peter Mapp  Richard S Stroud 
 Richard Small  Robert Franks  Robert Schulein 
 Ryan Mihelich  Scott Orth  Sean Olive 
 Soren Bech  Spiro Iraclianos  Stan Smith 
 Steve Hutt  Tim Nind  Tom Heed 
 Tom Nousaine  W.A. Deutsch  Kenneth Deetz 
 Kevin Heber  Stel Anthony  Wolfram Jaehn 
 Jonathan Lane  Tim Richardson  Steve Hoshaw 
 K. C. Furge  Alan Trevena  Nigel Fletcher 
 Siegmund Schreiber  Timo Esser  Bradley Eid 
 Hebert Etzel  Wolfgang Klippel  Tyrone Hunter 
 Edgar Kirk  Brian Sterling  Michael Noll 
 Brent Karley  Wontak Kim  Doug Hunley 
 Raymond Seymour  Mark Kalman  Lin Lin 
 Joe D'Angelo  Martin Lindsay  Viv Railton 
 Dave Wilson  Tom Breithaupt  Hans-Juergen Nitzpon 
 William L Martens  Natanya Ford  Rafael Kassier 
 Kim Rishoej  Matthias von Saint-George  Gerhard Pfaffinger 
 David Carlstrom  Matthew Watson  Bernard Fox 
 Varuni Witana  Josh King  Laurie Fincham 
 Jean-Philippe Dupire  Phil Muzio  Robert Sloan 
 Todd Welti  Phil Simpkins  John Yungman 
 Jason Kemmerer  Brett Hanes  Timothy Jackson 
 Jeff Koch  Sheila McFarland  Steve Swanson 
 Todd Rockwell  Michael Truman  Jay Krusac 
 Reinhard Gretzki  Brian Knauss  Philipp Krejci 
 Ruediger Fleischer  Kristina Busenitz  Phil May 
 Tom Conlin  Glenn Cass  Richard Clark 
 Roy Delgado  Jon Zenor  Roger Kessler 
 Ken Kantor  Mae Nutley  Morten Lydolf 
 Armin Hoh  Jonathan Pierce  Andreas Suess 
 Vitor Soares  Roger Shively  Peter Perzlmaier 
 Volker Hochwald  Markus Christoph  Niyati Desai 
 Ed Maniet  Kelvin Griffiths  Thomas Gmeiner 
 Marcus Koch  Sergio Liberman  Christopher Matthews 
 Sean Thomson  Christophe Macours  Jeff Bailey 
 Rob Barnicoat  Toby Newman  Tyler Walker 
 Robert Hewitt  Wolfgang Hess  Guy A. Torio 
 Hans Lahti  Michael Cozza  Armin Prommersberger 
 Michael Strauss  Shinichi Sato  Stefan Holzhäuser 
 Arnold Knott  Tadeo Spraggon-Hernandez  Jurgen Gach 
 Christian Schmidberger  Chen Chienhao  Tom Ammermann 
 George Weaver  Peter Primo  Leonard Kreitmeier 
 Hans Juergen Regl  Adrian Cartllidge  Matt Jones 
 Robert Klacza  Krestian Pedersen  Marco Castro 
 Matt Ruhlen  Steffen Bergweiler  Shinji Koyano 
 Barry Moskowitz  Pat Dennis  Carsten Schulz 
 Andreas Fritsch  Benedetto Altieri  Michael Adenauer 
 Piergiovanni Bazzana  Tobias Warmbrunn  Christian Tasch 
 Thomas Beer  Imre Csonka  Dirk Thomschke 
 Christopher Herold  Stefan Behr  Ronald Schulz 
 Paul Beckmann  john Feng  Alfred Svobodnik 
 Kevin Bastyr  Rifky Cahyadi  Jan Pedersen 
 Toni Treichel  Deersheet Mehta  Luke Blaszczynski 
 Neil Pedinoff  Tom Morrow  Soonkwon Paik 
 Sachin Karajagi  Frederico Conte  Juliano Medeiros 
 Nazrizal A. Tajuddin  Seno Adi Wibowo  Fré Jorritsma 
 Emanuele Ugolotti  Gregory Sikora  Toy Zhang 
 Jakub Honkisz  Martin Berg  Thomas Guignard 
 Oliver Alic  Kai Inha  Patrick James Hegarty 
 Simon Woolard  Lena Schell-Majoor  Florian Rill 
 Stefan Varga  Thomas Bachmann 

To request membership in this Technical Committee please email the Chair by using the link above.

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