Luxury is now audible with Audi’s new breakthrough 3D sound that can be heard in the new generation Audi A8. First introduced by Audi in 2015, the technology will now extend to the rear seats of the new model. Developed from the ground up by a dedicated team in collaboration with renowned audio experts Bang & Olufsen, the advanced sound system now offers everyone onboard an unparalleled sonic experience.

First introduced in the Audi Q7 in 2015, the brand with the four rings’ is taking its 3D sound innovation a step further. The technology will now be heard in all its glory from the rear seats as well for the first time – in the new Audi A8 luxury sedan. This means passengers at the back won’t be deprived of the life-affirming, soul-stirring unique character of pure 3D sound.

Developing the technology to extend to the rear of the vehicle was no mean feat. The innovation dubbed ‘The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System’ was born out of a collaboration between Audi and the legendary Danish audio specialists. It takes 23 speakers featuring ultra-light and low-distortion neodymium magnets to produce an airy, high-resolution sound pattern. The result? A sound so pure that when you play a high-quality recording of a classical concert, the interior is transformed into a virtual concert hall. More importantly, the music unfolds exactly how it was recorded without any artificial effects.

For a brand founded on a philosophy of constant progress through innovation, it’s only apt that this thinking extends to all aspects, including sound.

 

Putting the rhythm in algorithm

How does it work? To produce the 3D sound, the new sound system draws on an algorithm that Audi has developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen. It uses stereo or 5.1 recordings to calculate the information for the third dimension and processes it for the four 3D loudspeakers.

Two full-range loudspeakers in the A-pillars and two in the headlining above the rear seats do the rest to create a perfect stereophonic experience. A 1,920-watt amplifier by Bang & Olufsen generates the 3D sound with its digital signal processor. This means little waste heat and therefore abundant audio output. Above all, it amplifies the signal of the woofers, which reproduces sounds such as low notes from an organ – ensuring that nobody misses anything from their favourite song.

 

Easy listening or movie soundtrack? You decide

Passengers at the back of the new Audi A8 get a separate operating unit that resembles a smartphone. The technology can also be optimized using the MMI system. This means the sound setting can customised as preferred with a specific focus on the front or rear seats, or all seats.

The rear-focused setting enables the passengers at the back to enjoy the best possible quality of 3D and surround sound. As well as treble and bass, the occupants can also adjust the subwoofer volume independently of all other loudspeakers. The controls also come with a special function for film sound tracks, known as Movie Set. For instance, if a character appears to the right of the picture, their voice is also played from the right. 

 

Breaking the sound barrier

Work on the concept for the sound system for the new Audi A8 started early in the development process. “Integrating the loudspeakers at the right points in the car is the key to 80% of the audio quality,” explains Wolfram Jähn, sound/acoustics developer for the A8.

Special attention was also paid to the quality of each individual component of the sound system to generate the best possible audio sound. For instance, the Audi A8’s the speaker grilles are precision-perforated covers of double-anodized aluminum – allowing them to perform their protective functions while not diminishing the quality of the sound.

 

To achieve this, Audi’s team of designers and sound engineers worked closely with the developers from Bang & Olufsen.

 

Roll with the best

Audi has always taken pride in the high-end sound in its cars. In fact, it’s a core competence of the brand. In order to maintain its lead, the brand formed a collaboration with Bang & Olufsen at the turn of the millennium. From 2005, the A8 was made available with the option of an Advanced Sound System by the Danish specialist making Audi the first carmaker to be able to supply a factory-fitted high-end sound system.

In the new Audi A8, Bang & Olufsen supplies an Advanced and Premium Sound System with features such as an audio jingle composed specially to greet passengers when the door is opened.

“We seek out the best partner for every project,” remarks Mario Fresner, Head of Sound Development at AUDI AG.

	
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