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:

137th AES Convention in Los Angeles: Meeting of AES Technical Committee for Automotive Audio

Automotive Audio Conference in California being considered

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.

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 writing, they are falling. Current price is around $55/kg (China). It is 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.

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.


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 
 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 
 Thomas Sporer  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  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  Jeff Tackett  Sandra Brix 
 Robert Hartman 

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

 
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