Are car speakers to go same way as eight-tracks, CDs and aerials?
Most of us probably haven’t paid too much attention to how the audio systems in our vehicles have changed so much over the last few years, and probably don’t think about it too much as the changes have happened gradually over a length of time. But according to a report in the New York Times, a really monumental change could be on the way as car speakers could be the next component to be phased out by a new system called Ac2ated Sound.
Many of today’s motorists won’t even know what an eight-track is, but that was the first item to disappear before the next-generation audio cassettes that replaced the eight-track were also done away with by the CD player. CD players have now been almost eliminated by hard-drives, USB storage and Bluetooth streaming, and did anyone actually notice when aerials became a thing of the past?
This new Ac2ated Sound system, unveiled last year, has been developed by an audio component supplier called Continental AG, and it’s based on the principles of stringed instruments and relies on a small transducer made up of a magnet wrapped in a copper coil. This transducer then generates micro-vibrations from electrical energy, but rather than a conventional oscillating membrane currently found in speakers, this new component uses larger and existing interior components to radiate the sound to deliver high-fidelity audio.
For example, the rear window could operate as the subwoofer for the bass, the windshield, floor, dashboard and seat frames could deliver the midrange, and the A-pillars could then complete the audio spectrum by delivering the high frequencies by operating as the tweeters.
Speaking to the New York Times, Continental’s team leader on the project, Dominik Haefele, explained, “It’s a 3D immersive sound, and you’re experiencing the music in a very different way. You’re in the sound. You feel it all around you, like you’re adding another dimension to it.”
As well as offering less weight, much less box volume and lower electricity consumption, it’s claimed the system can be integrated into any vehicle. The developers say current high-end audio systems rely on as many as 10 to 20 or more speakers, can add more than 9 kilograms in weight, and take up as much as 30 liters of interior volume. In contrast, Ac2ated Sound weighs less than a kilogram and takes up just 1 liter of additional space. JB