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

- Noise production and cancellation

Recent/Planned Activities

Latest Activities:

138th AES Convention in Warsaw, Poland: Meeting of AES Technical Committee for Automotive Audio.

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.

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: 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  Nigel Fletcher  Siegmund Schreiber 
 Steve Hoshaw  K. C. Furge  Hebert Etzel 
 Tyrone Hunter  Edgar Kirk  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 
 Rob Barnicoat  Tyler Walker  Robert Hewitt 
 Jurgen Gach  Christian Schmidberger  Chen Chienhao 
 Tom Ammermann  George Weaver  Peter Primo 
 Leonard Kreitmeier  Michael Strauss  Adrian Cartllidge 
 Robert Klacza  Krestian Pedersen  Marco Castro 
 Steffen Bergweiler  Barry Moskowitz  Carsten Schulz 
 Andreas Fritsch  Michael Adenauer  Imre Csonka 
 Dirk Thomschke  Christopher Herold  Stefan Behr 
 Ronald Schulz  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  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 
 Tom Nousaine  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  Garry Feeley 
 Brian Sterling  Michael Noll  Hans Lahti 
 Michael Truman  Timo Esser  Phil May 
 Robert Franks  Wolfgang Hess  Richard S Stroud 
 William L Martens  Kenneth Deetz  Hans-Juergen Nitzpon 
 Dave Wilson  Robert Hartman  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  Tadeo Spraggon-Hernandez  Stefan Varga 
 Luke Blaszczynski  Christophe Macours  Armin Prommersberger 
 Shinichi Sato  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  Martin Berg 

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

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