AES Technical Committee

Automotive Audio

Chair:    Richard S Stroud      Send Email
Vice Chair:    Alfred Svobodnik      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 and Music Delivery Systems

- Automotive Mulitchannel Sound and 3D

- Noise production and cancellation

- Amplifiers

- Loudness

- Advanced DSP

- Industrial Design

- Loudspeaker Integration/Packaging

- Vehicle Sound Design

- Sound Field Control

Current Areas Of Work

- Max SPL

- Automotive loudspeaker measurements

- Common best practice

Recent/Planned Activities

Latest Activities:

139th AES Convention in New York City: Meeting of the AES Technical Committee for Automotive Audio.

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 a high percentage of customers using 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.

There is, however, a growing number of people that are using this kind of service with little difficulty. The though that this will replace FM, AM, Satellite and CD has occurred to some persons and others see this is unlikely and at least premature.

An Update: A recent survey of 1036 adults indicates still a strong preference for AM/FM and CD music sources. USB and other removable or portable sources are becoming important source of music.

Vehicles with built-in wireless routers are now being offered to occupants that likely means listening to music over headphones via phones or tablets.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. SSD's are replacing mechanical hard drives as preferred storage when cost permits.

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 and are variable. As of this past May, price of Neodymium Metal is $87/kg US. It is still risky for a supplier to quote neodymium speakers because of price variability.

With high neo prices, speaker customers need a strong set of specifications to insure that suppliers maintain speaker 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. HD radio components are now for sale. In the US, 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. Spectral compression artifacts are mentioned with HD AM.

10. "Surround sound" is almost mandatory in high-end automotive systems, even when the source is limited to two-channel (via upmix algorithms). Some listeners sense that some surround systems provide limited envelopment on both stereo and most "surround" source material.

11. 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. An exception to this is a 34-speaker system soon to be released.

12. Voice recognition systems for telephone and navigation functions are now quite sophisticated and enjoy wide application.

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

14. 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.

15. Switching audio is now common 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 most all audio power output conditions.

16. 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.

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

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

AES AA Conference

Likely to be held in 2017. More info coming soon.


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: 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 1225, New York, New York 10176, 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

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

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

AES - Audio Engineering Society