Sometimes, the most exciting advancements in a particular field originate from an unexpected participant. This tendency is particularly pronounced when lesser-known entities and outsiders collaborate, as exemplified by the Audio Foundry. Functioning as a maker space and think-tank for automotive audio innovation, the Audio Foundry operates a tech-centered sandbox in Wales, U.K.
This space facilitates collaboration among automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, cutting-edge technology providers, and esteemed universities to explore innovative audio solutions. Equipped with rapid prototyping tools, an adjustable SUV-sized acoustic listening buck, software development tools, and more, the facility is a hub for groundbreaking ideas.
At CES 2024, three members of the Foundry—Dirac, Tymphany, and Trèves Group—showcased their latest products that captured attention. One noteworthy innovation comes from Trèves Group in the form of Sonified In-Carpet Speakers. Departing from the conventional application of exciters on rigid door or dash panels, Trèves proposes a novel approach.
The Sonified product involves selecting a panel of desired size and shape, affixing a transducer to it, and suspending it in the foam underlayment of a carpet set. The air captured in the foam’s individual cells simulates a large space akin to a trunk, enhancing the audio experience. The Sonified system demonstrated in a Tesla Model Y, showcased its ability to reproduce sound across the entire range of human hearing, offering advantages in canceling road or tire noise.
Another innovation, presented by ADI/Tymphany, is the Removable Base Audio Concept. This concept envisions a low-cost base audio system featuring a three-speaker center-dash array and a larger removable rear unit with a subwoofer. The goal is to create a 3D sound stage, leveraging removable units to simplify the head unit and wiring. The concept was well-received at CES 2024, promising a promising audio experience.
Swedish firm Dirac addressed the challenge of enjoying Dolby Atmos systems, primarily designed for content recorded in Dolby Atmos, which constitutes a small percentage of available content. Dirac’s solution involves “upsampling” stereo recordings to simulate Atmos. Unlike typical upsampling, Dirac’s method analyzes both the frequency ranges and the recording space, creating a more immersive audio experience.
In summary, the Audio Foundry continues to be a catalyst for innovative audio solutions, bringing together diverse players in the automotive audio space. The showcased products at CES 2024 demonstrate the collaborative efforts of these entities in pushing the boundaries of audio technology.