TodayApril 15, 2022

Harman Kardon making music out of noise

Most car companies have brands. Inside that brand are models of cars. Inside those models are trim levels. In those cars, those trim levels have different functions.

Welcome to Harman Kardon.

Harman Kardon has different brands, and varying levels of functionality in each of those brands. Each car company that works with Harman Kardon, or one of its brands, specifies how many speakers the car should have and what functionality the infotainment should have. While deciding these functions, they also get to see the new features, platforms and trim levels available to them. One of the new platforms is summit scaleable, and another is in-car theater, another is Virtual Venues.

Virtual Venues essentially allows you to transform the car into a jazz club in New York City, or an open-air arena. A lot of the annotation comes from the reverb of the music, but it is the whole environment inside the car that has been transformed to sound like the Royal Festival Hall in London, England.

So if you snapped your fingers or said something aloud, it would reflect the acoustics of that particular venue. People crave this experience – they want to feel more relaxed and enjoy their time in the car, especially when they’re sitting in traffic on their commute or whatever it may be.

Harman Kardon’s Senior system engineer Daniel Bracht showed us how to hear the difference in the car. Microphones were placed in different locations in different venues. The data from that audio pickup was mapped into the car audio system via software in combination with speaker size, placement, and really smart people.

And just when we think Harman Kardon is all about making music out of noise, we find out that Harman Kardon is also about making no sound.

Road Noise cancellation (RNC) and Engine Order cancellation (EOC) are under the umbrella of Active Noise Cancellation (ACN). It’s kind of cool, actually. The high-performance HALOsonic® Engine Order Cancellation (EOC) controller listens to the engine RPM signal for a reference to generate a sound wave that is opposite to the engine vibration-induced noise.

Along with that, error microphones are mounted on the roof of the car to refine noise-canceling effects. As a result, using engine order cancellation allows a car company to reduce the use of conventional damping materials.

Complimenting the deletion of noise is internal Electronic Sound Synthesis (iESS). The system simultaneously reduces low-frequency engine noise and synthesizes harmonics to enhance the engine sound. The S2T controller works with real-time engine parameters and puts out anti-noise and engine harmonics through the vehicle’s existing loudspeakers. Noisebusters! Gets rid of noise you don’t want, brings in the music to your ears!

Sound DNA for Electric Vehicles – Star Wars?

I use my horn more often when I am in an electric vehicle than any other time. People can’t see your vehicle from behind or hear your car. HALOsonic external Electronic Sound Synthesis (eESS) technology creates a specific electronic sound, projected from speakers at the front and rear of the vehicles, giving an early warning to pedestrians that a car is approaching. The question is, what type of sound does a car company want as their DNA? And will that be for every vehicle or will they want different sounds for different types of cars? Augustine uses the Ferrari E-car as an example.

Harman Kardon Halosonic experiments with alternate sounds for electric vehicles Star Wars for Tesla?

In an internal combustion engine (ICE) the road noise is masked by the engine noise. Harman is working on sounds for sporty, or futuristic sounds.

Harman Kardon’s Director HALOsonic Business, Rajus Augustine, talks about Halosonic, a suite of technologies that make music out of silence in the car.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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