RNC, SeatCentric, 3DX: New technologies from Bose to enhance in-car audio

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Bose’s involvement in car audio goes beyond built-in speakers. The American firm has indeed unveiled its next technologies aimed at improving on-board sound comfort.

Designing and building car audio systems is the most visible and well-known part of Bose’s business in the automotive world. The American sound specialist truly boasts partnerships as numerous as they are diverse: at Nissan/Renault, Mazda, Porsche, Opel or even Hyundai, Bose options can be found on city cars as well as pure sport models. As you may have seen in our recent dossier on acoustic research at Renault, sound reproduction is not the only problem automakers face when designing a car. As for these other topics, Bose also offers the fruits of its research into signal processing and active noise cancellation.

Route Noice Control: a system to eliminate road noise

Automotive manufacturers and specialist audio brands have already explored how to manage perceived on-board noise with acoustic/electronic solutions. At Bose, controlling the noise generated by the engine of a thermal vehicle has been the task of two proprietary technologies for more than 10 years: Engine Harmonic Cancellation and Engine Harmonic Enhancement: the timbre of the latter is analyzed in advance during design. vehicle, and then in real time while driving to reduce the perceived noise (signal broadcast out of phase by the vehicle’s speakers) or, conversely, optimize/modify it according to the specifications defined by the vehicle manufacturer.

© Bose

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The increase in electric vehicle power has raised a new noise issue, this time at the rolling level, much more tangible as it is no longer masked by the noise of the internal combustion engine. This problem again finds a solution in Bose with the help of electronics and “Road Noise Control”. This system no longer operates directly at very precise and very low frequencies, but operates over a much wider range of 40 to 400 Hz. Clearly determined to outdo his few competitors and forge as many partnerships as possible, Bose presents his system as very responsive and adaptable.

© Bose

An accelerometer is placed next to each wheel to measure changes in vibration in real time. In this case, the principle of operation remains the same as for engine noise reduction, again using the car’s playback system, and the microphone network is placed in the cabin to ensure the system works well. In terms of adaptability, Bose ensures that its algorithm is calibrated to anticipate a certain evolution over time, including tire wear levels. We were able to do a brief test in a situation on board a demo vehicle (with the ability to activate or not activate the RNC system at will, which is absolutely not the goal of a production car intended for the general public): the result is certainly not breathtaking, but nevertheless we found a certain level of effectiveness in eliminating the noise generated on a rather old bituminous road, in particular, when passing through some defects in the roadway, which become almost “transparent”.

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In the future, Bose would like to develop its device for even greater frequency range and higher frequencies, in particular to counter the noise generated by wind at higher speeds: a task that promises to be especially difficult when you know what it already represents. little problem for Bluetooth headphones and active noise canceling headphones, where the volume to isolate is infinitely less important and where there is no best experience issue.

Create different sound bubbles in your car with SeatCentric

Bose also came up with a very quick demo of SeatCentric, a Bose technology that aims to create a personalized sound experience for every position in the cabin. In principle, a car equipped with both its “traditional” audio system and a pair of UltraNearField speakers placed in each seat (either in the headrest or in the top of the backrest) is capable of broadcasting various content or simply controlling their individual listening volume. A system that can be useful for making calls without disturbing passengers or sharing content with them, or for listening to music, for example, without disturbing those who want to relax on board as little as possible.

© Digital / Bose

© Digital / Bose

The demonstration above all allowed us to see the individual volume control, which proved to be more practical than accurate for audio reproduction, and the situation of listening to music by a driver/passenger call, which proved to be quite convincing: at a reasonable listening level, it was especially difficult to follow a conversation that occurred from the driver’s side, and conversely, the conversation from the driver’s side was clear and not clogged with sounding music. SeatCentric technology, still in development, aims to give users a personalized listening experience, and it’s possible we’ll see it in action over the next few years.

Bose is also into “3D audio” with its 3DX technology.

Like Bang & Olufsen with audio, Arkamys with Renaud, or even Sennheiser, Bose also wants to stay on top of audio features and will therefore offer an audio system capable of 3D sound. This technology, simply referred to as 3DX, is based on a system consisting of a set of “classic” speakers (placed in commonly used cavities), UltraNearField speakers to enhance sound presence and enhance scene perception, and multiple speakers at the top. part of the cabin to recreate the feeling of the height of the sound.

© Bose

Everything is handled by Bose’s signal processing algorithms (including SurroundStage, already featured on some models), which currently only work by upmixing any stereo source. Bose says it will closely monitor the development of 3D audio formats in the music industry to optimize its technology out of the box. The future will show us if the American manufacturer achieves its goal …

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