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  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