Making car audio sound outstanding
Chances are you spend a lot of time sitting in your car, and chances are you listen to music while you do it. We don’t believe you should have to compromise on sound quality – especially when you might spend more time listening to music on the road than you do at home.
We’ve built a dedicated automotive research-and-development centre to explore new technologies (and adapt our tried-and-tested ones) specifically for use in cars. Our long-standing relationship with Volkswagen means you can experience top-quality Dynaudio sound wherever you go.
It’s easy to make car audio sound simply decent. It’s a different story if you want to make it sound outstanding.
That’s why we have our own R&D team dedicated to making ‘outstanding’ the norm when it comes to our in-car systems. It couldn’t be anything less: our partner is Volkswagen and, like us, they’ll never just settle for ‘simply decent’. We want you to feel more relaxed when you get out of your car than you were when you got in.
We’ve combined the knowledge we’ve gained from designing and producing nearfield reference systems for recording studios (where the engineer sits really close to the speakers), with our expertise in building award-winning home hi-fi speakers. Why those two areas? Because you sit close to your speakers in the car… and you want the same music experience you get in your living room.
Variables are predictable
A car’s interior is a variable but controlled space. One day it might be just you, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. The next, there could be four or five people – all in coats and scarves (Danish weather isn’t exactly predictable). More people (and more clothes) means the character of the sound will change.
You might think that would present a nightmare for our engineers – but it actually helps. That’s because they know there’s only a certain amount of variables to take into account. The size of the space never changes; the hard surfaces are always hard, and the soft ones always soft; the position of the speakers never changes; the sources are always the same. They know the kinds of temperature variations they’ll be dealing with, the level of noise outside the car as it moves, the type of vibrations it’ll be subjected to, even which parts are likely to get wet if you open the doors when it’s raining.
And if they can take into account the variable human aspect, and make every situation sound equally precise, controlled – and entertaining – they’ve done the difficult bit.
So, we developed a new range of speaker drivers especially for the automotive market. They’re still made from our proprietary MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) material, but they’re optimised for in-car use rather than for the home or studio. They, the baskets they sit in and the electronics that power them are all specifically engineered for use in cramped, hostile environments such as car doors, pillars, rear compartments, wheel arches and the like.
Our engineers have become really rather good at it, too. We’ve developed sophisticated DSP (digital signal-processing) technology to help: it has settings for you to tune your system to your preference: Authentic (for the unaltered experience); Dynamic (for recreating the power and punch of driving rock or pop); Soft (for low-resolution broadcasts or recordings); and Speech (designed for voices – whether that’s the news, audiobooks or hands-free phone calls).
And, crucially, it takes into account the fact that you aren’t sitting in an ideal position, like you might be at home. We map how every curve and surface inside the car reflects sound, and then delay the signal to each speaker to match the distance to their position. That means you’ll hear them as you would if you were in the ideal central position at home.
Every millimetre – every fraction of a millimetre – of our in-car systems is meticulously built, optimised and researched to produce the very best. It’s sound that drives you.
Meet our Senior Sound Tuner - Car, Morten Hermansen, in this episode of Ask the Expert where he talks about time-alignment, what you can do to improve your car, and what we try to achieve with our sound systems for Volkswagen.