Now each can lis­ten to their own

Harman’s new in-car setup cre­ates ‘in­di­vid­ual sound zones’

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - — WR.

HARMAN has an­nounced a new in-car setup that al­lows driv­ers to cre­ate “in­di­vid­ual sound zones”, each of which can play dif­fer­ent sounds with min­i­mal in­ter­fer­ence from other zones.

The zones di­vide the car’s in­te­rior into “vir­tual, si­mul­ta­ne­ous in car en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems” to al­low pas­sen­gers to lis­ten un­in­ter­rupted to their en­ter­tain­ment when the driver’s phone rings or the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem gives a di­rec­tion.

Se­nior an­a­lyst Mark Boy­ad­jis said global sales of pre­mium audio sys­tems in cars are ex­pected to grow be­tween seven and 10% an­nu­ally, which was why many au­tomak­ers are work­ing set their car sound sys­tems apart.

“Wattage and speaker count doesn’t cut it any more. In­no­va­tions in soft­ware, hard­ware, ma­te­ri­als, and audio source con­tent are be­com­ing the key com­po­nents to im­prov­ing the in-ve­hi­cle audio ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Harman’s car zones are cre­ated with the car’s ex­ist­ing speak­ers, twin 50 mm di­rec­tional units that are in­te­grated into the head­rests, and flat elec­tro­dy­namic pla­nar loud­speak­ers in the car’s head­lin­ing. The dig­i­tal sig­nal pro­cess­ing has been specif­i­cally ad­justed to the ve­hi­cle cabin and speak­ers such that it will tem­per the sig­nals from other zones, re­gard­less of whether it’s mu­sic, voice or other noises.

Pas­sen­gers can still hear other sounds in the cabin, but those sounds are con­trolled in a way that lim­its the in­ter­rup­tions and dis­trac­tions to each pas­sen­ger’s own sound ex­pe­ri­ence. The con­fig­u­ra­tion can be cus­tomised based on the cabin de­sign and lay­out of ve­hi­cles, as well as type of ve­hi­cle from hatch­backs to pan­el­vans.

In­di­vid­ual Sound Zones can be in­te­grated into any Harman in-car audio sys­tem via the am­pli­fier, pro­vid­ing au­tomak­ers lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties to fur­ther en­hance in-car lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. It is avail­able now to all au­tomak­ers. Ac­cord­ing to Harman the ISZ sys­tem is now avail­able to au­tomak­ers and can be in­te­grated into any Harman audio sys­tem via the am­pli­fier, as well as tai­lored to a spe­cific ve­hi­cle lay­out. It can also be cou­pled with the company’s HALO­sonic ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion tech­nol­ogy, which is de­signed to com­bat en­gine and road noise.

GRAPHIC: HARMAN

It is not the size of the speaker, but the noise can­cel­la­tion wiz­ardry be­hind it that will sell fu­ture car sys­tems, pre­dict Harman, which re­cently an­nounced a car sys­tem with four in­di­vid­ual lis­ten­ing zones.

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