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Transportation

Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret 823

HughPickens.com writes Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you'll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades. Now Drew Harwell reports at the Washington Post that the auto industry's dirty little secret is that the engine growl in some of America's best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. "Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry's dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks," writes Harwell. "Without them, today's more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away." For example Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an "Active Noise Control" system on the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost that amplifies the engine's purr through the car speakers. Afterward, the automaker surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs on which processed "sound concepts" they most enjoyed.

Among purists, the trickery has inspired an identity crisis and cut to the heart of American auto legend. The "aural experience" of a car, they argue, is an intangible that's just as priceless as what's revving under the hood. "For a car guy, it's literally music to hear that thing rumble," says Mike Rhynard, "It's a mind-trick. It's something it's not. And no one wants to be deceived." Other drivers ask if it really matters if the sound is fake? A driver who didn't know the difference might enjoy the thrum and thunder of it nonetheless. Is taking the best part of an eight-cylinder rev and cloaking a better engine with it really, for carmakers, so wrong? "It may be a necessary evil in the eyes of Ford," says Andrew Hard, "but it's sad to think that an iconic muscle car like the Mustang, a car famous for its bellowing, guttural soundtrack, has to fake its engine noise in 2015. Welcome to the future."
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Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:54PM (#48876933)

    For some, having engine noise is fine. However, the '70s and '80s with the purring V8s are gone, and the vehicles that will be the norm will either be hybrids, diesels, or electric cars.

    As someone who likes modern cars, we don't need any more noise added. In fact, there is something nice about a Tesla or Prius's silence at idle.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:02PM (#48877077)

      In fact, there is something nice about a Tesla or Prius's silence at idle

      Unless you're blind, or happen to be looking the other way when the drunk in a prius bears down on you. Which is why some sort of fake engine noise will eventually be mandated (if it hasn't been already).

      The "tick tick" of your turn signals has been fake for years, mechanical relays are long past.

      • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:07PM (#48877165)

        Entirely different things. In the case of the turn signal that's just part of the UI, not unlike click feedback on keyboards. In the case of blind people that's a safety feature. In either case there is no need for them to be annoying to the driver, which engine noise is to many people. Matter of fact quiet is a feature on luxury cars.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:09PM (#48877185) Homepage

        Unless you're blind, or happen to be looking the other way when the drunk in a prius bears down on you. Which is why some sort of fake engine noise will eventually be mandated (if it hasn't been already). The "tick tick" of your turn signals has been fake for years, mechanical relays are long past.

        But not on your internal speakers, at worst you have to install an exterior speaker to deliver "engine" noises. In fact, you can probably do active noise cancellation of it internally so you barely hear your own engine. The turn signal on the other hand serves an actual purpose, to remind you that you're still signaling to other people that you're turning as in some curves it won't turn itself off. For driving a manual car the engine noise serves a purpose too, but it's getting more and more rare even here in Europe.

      • by BlueBlade ( 123303 ) <mafortier AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:16PM (#48877287)

        This "mandated" engine noise concept is so infuriating to me. We finally have the technology to remove both the air and noise pollution at the same time, but you want to add noise to an otherwise silent engine just because people aren't used to silent cars? People will just have to adapt to the fact that you can't trust your hearing to know if a car is coming or not anymore.

        This reminds me of that ridiculous law that there had to be a person walking ahead of a car because unlike horses, cars can't react if something's in the way.

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:42PM (#48877693)

          What, exactly, was 'ridiculous' about the law that there had to be a person ahead of the car? The reason for that 'ridiculous' law was that a nosiy car could, in fact, scare a horse and cause it to bolt, and a bolting horse is a dangerous thing. The person had to be in front of the car to warn others that it was approaching so they could be prepared, nothing ridiculous about that at all. Once cars became commonplace they were no longer scary as people and animals got used to them. When that happened there was no further need for a person in front or a law requiring such.

          Like it or not, people have been trained for over a century that cars make noise. We even instruct children to 'stop, look, and listen'. The world is not going to suddenly adapt to silent cars. People (and service animals) will need to get used to silent cars - that is not going to happen until silent cars are ubiquitous, which is certainly not true now. There is nothing ridiculous about mandating some amount of noise in the meantime.

          • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:07PM (#48878063)

            There is nothing ridiculous about mandating some amount of noise in the meantime.

            I completely disagree. If you mandate noise you will never get silence. Plus once you get enough cars close together you almost can't distinguish them anyway because it basically becomes white noise. Just because people have become accustomed to a certain amount of noise is not a credible argument for continuing to emit noise pollution needlessly. And no, I am not at all concerned about blind or inattentive pedestrians crossing the road in front of me. It's MY responsibility as a driver to drive carefully and watch out for possible road hazards. It is also their responsibility to watch out when crossing the road. Hell, people get hit by trains while walking and they make a huge racket and are 100% avoidable by staying off the tracks.

            • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:48PM (#48878543)
              I agree. It makes more sense to give all blind people car detectors than to make all cars noisy.
              • Bonus points if the car detector makes the same beeping noises as the radar tracker in the movie Aliens.

            • by Cochonou ( 576531 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @04:43PM (#48879061) Homepage
              You just have to mandate a decreasing amount of noise over the years, so that you will eventually get silence, and so that people will have enough time to get used to silent cars. As you do for almost every transition.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Obfuscant ( 592200 )

              If you mandate noise you will never get silence.

              Why should silence be a goal? Being able to hear an approaching vehicle is not just a safety issue for blind people, it is an issue for anyone who is trying to cross a road and can't see approaching cars.

              Plus once you get enough cars close together you almost can't distinguish them anyway

              It isn't important to distinguish between multiple oncoming cars. What's important is that "there's a car coming", not that "the first car in the line is a Prius, the second one is a Volvo, the third is ...".

              Just because people have become accustomed to a certain amount of noise is not a credible argument for continuing to emit noise pollution needlessly.

              One person's "pollution" is another persons "ambient sounds". The sound of a properly muffled ca

          • by rnturn ( 11092 )

            ``We even instruct children to 'stop, look, and listen'.''

            So the govt. puts out PSAs that urge people to `stop, look, and look again' when crossing the street. It's a good practice, anyway. Cyclists don't make much noise -- most of the noise made by a car is from the tires and the road surface and a bike's skinny tires make the cyclist much more stealthy -- and a bike/pedestrian collision can be nearly as deadly as one involving cars. Of course, the govt. could always mandate that cyclists clamp something

        • by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:46PM (#48877743)

          As a Leaf Electric car driver, I can say that the lack of engine noise is one of the primary benefits of an electric car.

          I hear things on my commute that I didn't even know existed prior to my Leaf. I hear birds chirping, walk ways for the blind clicking, subtle details in my music, and occasionally, total silence. It's calming. It's also kinda cool to accelerate hard off the line (faster than most gas cars can do) with near silence.

          The car does chirp externally when backing up, but it's not very audible from within the car. Perhaps a similar chirp when driving forward at a slow speed would work.

          • > It's also kinda cool to accelerate hard off the line (faster than most gas cars can do)

            BWAHAHAHA!!!!

            Have you checked 0-60 on your Leaf? Most family sedans do better than that with naturally aspirated four-bangers.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          The auditory feedback is useful since it's what alerts you to look at the car that is unexpectedly moving. It also helps blind people who might need to cross the street.

        • by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:02PM (#48878003)
          Honestly, most modern cars these days are already so silent, the only sound you hear from them is the cooling fan and the tire noise. It is only the 'muscle' type cars, that make noise, and like the article says, its just because people expect them to. Hell, the 'Harley Davidson' edition Ford F150 magically sounds like a motorcycle, because they can make it sound any damn way they want now. I agree, the idea of mandating 'fake engine noise' is preposterous, because its pretending this is a new problem, when cars have already been nearly dead silent at parking lot speeds for years now.
      • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:46PM (#48877745)

        My hope is that there'll be a way to define your own fake car noise. I'll want my silent electric car to emit a sound like George Jetson's "car".

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:06PM (#48878045) Homepage Journal

        As a cyclist, I can attest a Prius is not a totally silent vehicle. Nor, I am sure, is a Tesla although I've never encountered one on the road. The reason is tire noise.

        For a modern car traveling at 20+ MPH and not accelerating, tire noise is the dominant sound. You can easily hear a car traveling at speed from a hundred yards or more away, almost entirely from the tire noise. The engine of a well-maintained car traveling at a constant 30 MPH might as well be totally silent.

        At low speeds such as would be encountered in a parking lot or congested city street the engine noise is dominant, particularly because the car is doing a lot of accelerating and decelerating. At those speeds I think a modest synthesized engine sound is a very good idea, especially when you consider blind people and even more especially service dogs, who would have to be re-trained for some other kind of noise. There would be no need for the artificial sound once the car is at cruising speed.

      • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:26PM (#48878285) Homepage Journal

        In fact, there is something nice about a Tesla or Prius's silence at idle

        Unless you're blind, or happen to be looking the other way when the drunk in a prius bears down on you.

        My Nissan LEAF has a speaker mounted in the driver-side front wheel well which makes noise (a tone that sweeps across the frequency range, to cover people with frequency-limited hearing) whenever the vehicle is moving below 20 mph. It's not fake engine noise, it's better.

        As to the article... I have learned to really enjoy the silence of an EV. Engine noise annoys me.

    • Anybody that has driven a manual shifter knows that engine noise is a useful feedback mechanism to the driver. Making the sound more pleasant is a good thing. How much it is useful now is up for debate, but I find engine sound feedback to be useful in driving efficiently even though I also prefer it to be as quiet a possible.

      Yes, its about aesthetics as well, just like some paint jobs, or even obnoxious bumper stickers.
      • by monkeyzoo ( 3985097 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:15PM (#48877273)

        I agree. Acoustic aesthetics are important and worthwhile of engineering attention.

        Quiet (or as quiet as possible) is one aesthetic that may be desirable. For other people (or perhaps cars), a good rumble (as long as it not excessively load and obnoxious) is equally a desirable aesthetic. It's not so different, as you note, than choice of paint job.

        For a company to put attention into this aspect of the user experience is a positive thing.

        There was just a podcast on this very topic, namely the lack of attention that many companies put into the aural experience of their products and how very important that experience is to consumers. http://99percentinvisible.org/... [99percentinvisible.org]

        Here is an excerpt:

        'Car companies also consider sound in the design of their product. A Ford Mustang, for instance, will intentionally not sound the same as a Ford Taurus, even if their engines are similar.

        In 2008, Ford decided to put out a remake of a Mustang that appeared in the 1968 film, Bullitt. The car sounded like this: [video].

        Ford wanted to make the 2008 Bullitt sound akin to the 1968 Bullitt. They were trying, essentially, to make a new car sound old.

        This proved especially challenging, because cars made in 1968 were built completely differently; the 1968 Bullitt had a carburetor, for instance, and the new model had a fuel injection system. Plus, the Mustang in the movie was enhanced with sounds recorded from a race car—and it’s actually illegal in most places to drive around in a car as loud as the car from the movie would be if it were real.

        With all those factors in mind, Ford identified the key characteristics of the Mustang sounds in the movie. They then figured out how to reverse-engineer those notes as best as they could by tweaking the shapes of the tubes in the car’s exhaust system.

        Brands that don’t pay attention to sound may get punished by consumers.'

        • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:31PM (#48878339)

          Quiet (or as quiet as possible) is one aesthetic that may be desirable. For other people (or perhaps cars), a good rumble (as long as it not excessively load and obnoxious) is equally a desirable aesthetic. It's not so different, as you note, than choice of paint job.

          Not like a paint job. You can choose to avert your eyes from a garish paint job. You can't choose to shut off your ears to an obnoxiously noisy car. If you want your car to have a throaty rumble, fine, but pipe it through your internal speakers only. Don't inflict it on the rest of us just to stroke your own ego.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:52PM (#48877863)

      All kids under 10 love to have a playing card clipped into their bicycle spokes. It just sounds so bad ass.

    • However, the '70s and '80s with the purring V8s are gone, and the vehicles that will be the norm will either be hybrids, diesels, or electric cars.

      I love the sound a VW small-car diesel engine makes, especially when it's got a modded exhaust. First of all, it sounds like your Beetle has delusions of being a big truck, which is just funny. Second, when you're accelerating quickly the turbo whine makes it sound like it has delusions of being a jet!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:56PM (#48876963)

    Some guys are in it for the power, and thus the engine noise is wasted energy.
    Some guys are in it for the feel, and thus the engine noise is the most important thing about the car.

  • by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:57PM (#48876971)
    Can you make my car produce the sound of the Jetson's flying car? I would pay for that!
  • by Ed Tice ( 3732157 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:57PM (#48876979)
    Can we turn it off? If not, they are spending a lot of money on something that would add negative value for guys like me. The reason I don't ride a motorcycle or even keep the convertible top open on the highway is that I can't stand the noise and have no interest in going deaf.
  • LOL ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:58PM (#48876997) Homepage

    So, this is bee-sting lips, but for cars?

    Pure artifice to match an arbitrary aesthetic, and nothing at all to do with reality?

    LOL ... But, honey, the car doesn't make my penis bigger if it doesn't make that sound.

    The idea of running the vroom vroom sounds through the car stereo to sound more manly is ... well, kinda funny.

  • This is nothing new. The 'exhaust sound' was part of the design criteria of the 1st Gen Mazda Miata. Trying to recreate British sports cars (Lotus).
  • by mspring ( 126862 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:59PM (#48877019)
    from the outside, I don't care.
  • The young idiots with too much money buy them. They stomp on the gas at a green light and it sounds like they're drag racing. I gently touch the gas on my car and easily out-accelerated them without making any significant noise. I'll bet they figure it out about two or three days after they buy the trucks that they really have no acceleration or speed to speak of but rather simply noise.

  • I see a unmet need for my car sounding like a unlicensed nuclear accelerator. "Switch me on".
  • I must *really* not be a car guy, but I just don't understand the appeal of engine noise. I hear an ICS engine roaring and all I can think is "That ancient technology is really struggling with its task."

  • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:02PM (#48877081)

    F that. Give me the quietest car possible. I'd much rather listen to my music or my companions speaking to me than the damn engine!

  • I would be a lot sadder, but for the fact that all that V8 rumble is just the result of an unbalanced engine with a cross plane crankshaft.

    Well designed engines produce a lot less noise, and they have to.

    So if you want to have the sound of a bad engine without the side effects, playback seems like a logical option. And yes, pretty much everybody is messing with the sound.

  • Hardly new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:04PM (#48877109)

    Years ago I saw a doc on Harley Davidson and a part of the design process was ensuring that the bikes made the "correct" HD noise*. What was interesting for a technical perspective was seeing a bike in an anechoic chamber, which had a robot arm waving around an array of microphones so that they could localize sounds emanating from different parts of the bike.

    While I had no idea that car manufactures were doing this to such an extreme, it's not surprising when you are selling an image rather than just a product.

    * what will be more fun in the future is seeing what the HD sound will be if their electric bike takes off. The reviews I have seen from the test riders have been really positive.

    • > it's not surprising when you are selling an image rather than just a product.

      Well, I'd say that you're selling an image and a product. Or a product and an image. Or something.

      I was at the local dealer during the Livewire tour, (the Livewire being Harley's all electric bike) and like you I wondered how they were going to make the "classic Harley sound". They didn't try, at least in the current version of the product. But it hasn't been released yet, so there's still time.

      Something I've never really

    • Jeep, as a brand, almost died simply for having non-round headlights.

      Brand association is a powerful thing. Probably an evolutionary thing, actually; if it doesn't taste, sound or smell like what it's supposed to, it's not the same thing, so don't risk it.

  • by Strudelkugel ( 594414 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:08PM (#48877175)


    Guess it's the geek in me, but when I think of all the noise being generated I think "Why is this energy going into sound instead of the wheels?" Sure, when I was a kid we all thought it was cool to flip the air filter covers and get glass packs, but now I think it is like sticking cards in your bicycle spokes. This is especially true now that I have had a chance to drive a Tesla: No vibration, or excess sound, just smooth power going right where you want it. Put your foot in it, and you are pushed back in your seat with very little noise. Driving a Tesla, or any decent electric is almost a transcendental experience after driving ICE cars. I read a review by someone who said Rolls Royce has to come out with an electric car because the experience is so much better. Of course electric cars are dangerously quiet for pedestrians, so a noise maker at low speeds is legit. Audi has been busy making interesting concept sounds [youtube.com] for their electric vehicles.
  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:11PM (#48877219)

    It helps if you can listen to the engine and really get a good idea how it is running. It was part of troubleshooting before the computers.

    People want to feel in tune with what they are using, and sound helps with that. I'll grant that power doesn't have to be loud, and shouldn't be obnoxious in any case, but I can understand that it gives many people more of a connection to their vehicle.

    I think that people will get over it, but it will be the end of an era.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:18PM (#48877337) Homepage
    I used to work for a large auto company from Japan, and at the end of the day most of what makes a car or truck is snake oil, but if we quit doing it people stop buying it. We might intentionally introduce inefficiencies in the exhaust to increase that "rally car" sound. Bucket seats and offset head rests trick you into folding your legs and rolling your shoulders in, making the car seem more spacious. Truck tricks include obese front grills despite the engine being efficient enough not to warrant them. And those big bulgy hoods? nowhere near the engine size. To make up for it, and make you feel like our technology is more advanced, we put plastic guards and bezels on top of the engine. It makes the engine look larger for someone who doesnt know what an engine looks like outside of a car or truck, and that sells.

    an we never stopped there. to make up for the gearing required to get that 40mpg, we might program the computer to hold a lower gear longer or shorter to make the car seem "peppier" than it really is. simple things like a vertical indicator on the speedometer can help people associate the product they own with the racecar version they saw in the movie. Making that connection is critical, especially in trucks. Most of our trucks cost upwards of 30 grand, something blue collar could never afford. but if we associate it with blue collar, add splash guards and lift, and run a few ads? instant joe six pack. Actual blue collar construction workers drive, in most cases, an old mid nineties hatchback or 4 door sedan. They have kids to feed.

    So grow up. no, your new 4 cylinder mustang wont roar like a bored out foxbody with glass packs, but you know what? it also gets 36 mpg and doesnt require 93 octane. It doesnt spew benzene and MTBE from the tailpipe because we gave it a catalytic converter. and it wont roll over and kill your kids because we added stability control, and govenment mandated roofing that can hold the weight of our car.
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock&poetic,com> on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:20PM (#48877371)

    Of course we all benefit from patents, copyright & trademarks, right?

    There may be a battle brewing in the sound of cars. ~20 years ago, Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound of their motorcycle, but that didn't pass. Many others have though and we can expect more as 'sound branding' becomes more widespread.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
    http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:35PM (#48877581)

    This is a missed marketing opportunity. Car manufacturers need to expose an API so that third-party developers can provide owners with their own sounds -- sounds that respond to the state of the car.

    Want a car that sounds like the Jetsons' flying car [slashdot.org] when you take off from a light? Now you can. Want your Prius to sound like an F1 Lotus? It's downloadable. Want your econobox to sound like a muscle car? We're here to serve you.

    The good part is, the quieter the car is, the more effective the sounds will be, so those of us that like silence will benefit, too. It's a win-win!

  • Noise (Score:3, Informative)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:39PM (#48877637) Homepage

    If I hear your engine noise, with you trying to rev louder? I think "You're a cock".

    You might even have a nice car, but chances are you have some horrible shit modification to something quite mainstream. Either way, to have to rev it so I can hear? You're a cock.

    If you have to have the sound inside to convince yourself it's fast? You're a cock.

    Cars today are faster and more powerful than the Formula One vehicles of my father's days. You have no need to show off, you cock. Any fucking idiot can get to 120/130 mph in their car these days. Hell, I've seen a Fiat Panda 1000S get to 100mph. My 20-year-old, nothing-special, cheap-shit car did 130mph before I chickened out on an Autobahn.

    There's nothing car-wise to show off about except how much money you've pissed away on it.

    Loud music.
    Loud exhaust sounds.
    Revving the engine.
    Removing badges.
    Stupid fucking lighting systems to make your cheap shit car look like a Christmas ornament at great expense.
    Adding crap like spoilers and twin exhausts to cars that aren't built with them.
    Buying cars with crap like spoilers and twin exhausts and then driving them on a public road (fast or slow!).

    You're a cock.

    And, unfortunately for you, 99.9% of people on the road know it and think exactly the same.

    If you want to quite literally BURN MONEY on shit like that, whether the car is genuinely "fast" or not, on a car that you have to drive behind old grannies, and slow down every mile for a speed camera, and wreck to shit on every speed bump, and still spend as much time sitting in traffic as I do, then feel free.

    But really? If you buy a car BECAUSE it sounds meaty, then you're a cock.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock&poetic,com> on Thursday January 22, 2015 @02:45PM (#48877723)

    Engineers at Samsung, Apple and other marketing conscious companies are sometimes asked to do unusual tasks. At Honda, planning the introduction of the 6 cylinder CBX motorcycle in the 1970s, sound design became important:

    "From the beginning," Irimajiri explained, "our Six produced a smooth jetlike exhaust sound. But with an ordinary exhaust arrangement, it wasn't that close to a jet. We thought if we worked on it we could come up with a motorcycle sound like no one has ever heard before.

    "So we sent some engineers to the Hyakuri Japanese Air Force base in Chiba prefecture. For ten days they tape-recorded the sound of Phantom jet fighters, and then came back and designed an exhaust system for the CBX that could duplicate that sound. When I heard it for the first time I was amazed; they had captured the Phantom sound perfectly."
    from: http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.... [motorcyclespecs.co.za]

    short Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]
    hear the sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by adric22 ( 413850 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:06PM (#48878047) Homepage

    This sort of reminds me of when Motorola was putting fake antennas on their cellular phones (with the real antenna inside) because they thought people wouldn't buy the phone if it didn't have a visible antenna. But eventually, society learned that an visible antenna was not necessary and we moved on. I suspect in another 20 years most cars will be a lot more quiet as a result of hybrid and electric drivetrains. I've been driving an EV now for 3 years and now that I've grown accustomed to the silence, hearing any engine noise at all sounds so yesterday, so obsolete.

  • by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:25PM (#48878271)

    Domino's is already ahead of the game here. If you're faking engine noise, might as well get creative with it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @04:58PM (#48879207)
    If you look at this demo [youtu.be] of the QNX Kia Soul at CES 2014 starting at about 1:20 they demonstrate the acoustic shaping properties of QNX Car 2.0. From dampening exterior noise to engine sound "enhancement". They demo the Soul revving but sounding like a Dodge Challenger.
  • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@auRASPtomatica.com.au minus berry> on Thursday January 22, 2015 @05:15PM (#48879389) Homepage

    There are two types of faking it that are currently used, as outlined in the summary.

    Noise pipes, that take engine noise through a hollow pipe into the interior of the car are quite different to playing a synthetic soundtrack through the car's speakers. Modern cars have significantly more noise insulation than older vehicles, so cutting through some of this insulation so that the real engine noise can reach the cabin isn't necessarily cheating. You need an engine that sounds good to begin with here and you're hearing the actual sounds that the engine is making.

    Having an engine that makes unpleasant sounds, or is too quiet, and supplementing this with a soundtrack played through the car's speakers - well, it may sound really good inside the car, but outside the car, you're not going to be hearing much of note...

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