Bose Sets Its Sights on Soundproofing

Published by Nadeem Muaddi on May 8th, 2012

Hot cars and good music go hand-in-hand, so it’s not surprising that auto upholstery shops often take the placement of sound technology into consideration when custom fabricating interiors – especially trunks, consoles and door panels. Often, the aim is to enhance sound quality. But if Bose has its way, we’ll soon be designing interiors around technology developed to stamp-out noise as well.

It’s the next generation of soundproofing – and it’s a lot more complicated than glueing down noise-cancelling materials and fabrics. MSN Autos explains:

Noise cancellation , a feature Bose helped to pioneer for commercial pilots in the late 1980s, is now entering the car interior. … The idea is to place microphones throughout the cabin, listen for offending frequencies and then play back those unwanted sounds – inverted – through the stereo speakers. […]

[A]ctive noise cancellation looks to be the easiest shortcut to improve NVH (industry-speak for noise, vibration and harshness). It’ll become a cheaper way to develop quieter, potentially more fuel-efficient cars — sound-deadening material and acoustic glass add considerable weight and cost — that can be added at any point in development without requiring a total redesign. Plus, as more automakers shift to direct injection (a noisier, high-pressure fuel line), auto start/stop (which tends to cause low-frequency shuddering) and even diesel engines (which clatter at idle), noise cancellation will be sorely needed.

Interestingly, the system can also be engineered to work in reverse – letting in sounds (both real and fake).

Bose has also been treading — very cautiously, after the controversial music of the new BMW M5 — with “sound enhancement,” which is essentially noise cancellation in reverse. In the M5, BMW found its interior too insulated and the twin turbos so muffling that a recording of the engine’s exterior sound plays through the stereo, synced with actual revs. Other automakers must be watching BMW’s experiment, too. So far, Bose says it has no takers for this system. […]

Then again, trusty, old-fashioned piping seems to do the trick quite well. Porsche built a “sound symposer” for the new 911, which channels engine music through the interior with an actual pipe connected to the intakes. Electronically controlled muffler baffles, organ-style vents that open the exhaust pipes at higher revs, expel glorious noise like on the Corvette. Or, you can enjoy the resonator pipe Ford built into the Mustang GT. [more]

Granted, most auto upholstery shops don’t sell or install sound technology. But as the various elements of vehicles interiors become more interconnected, we may see our craft merge with others. After all, soundproofing is something that every custom fabricator must take into consideration before executing a build.

5 Responses

  1. Craig says:

    Soundproofing is a big part of our business at CDIDIT where we have been offering complete interior environments since we opened back in 2007. Our customers are offered audio/video & security integration options for their complete interiors along with soundproofing. Our approach is to design the “complete package” from the start & it is working. Technology advancements are inevitable & can translate into greater profits as we integrate them into our designs. Look at it as another potential profit center!

    • Nadeem says:

      Right on Craig. Sound technology, and other interior electronics, are just another element of a complete interior.

      As upholstery shops inevitably turn into interior shops, they’ll have to embrace this.

  2. onestopcustoms says:

    While I may not work as a professional doing upholstery, more of a hobbyist, I also do audio systems. Sound proofing installation whether it be dynomat or any preferred method of sound proofing is a must in my opinion when doing a custom/ or high end install. Sound deadening materials like dynomat help stop vibrations from low frequency bass which make a sound system sound horrible and also help keep outside noises out. Making custom door pods is a must so that you can aim the sound toward the persons ear along with a spec built sub box. Bose does a wonderful job at creating beautiful sounds. However, take this in mind, we are “Custom” fanatics and will always want something louder, therefore the bose speakers will have to come out for bigger and better amplified speakers (SPL) for those of us who don’t want to listen to soft music through Bose haha.

  3. rookie blue says:

    To complete full end install of audio systems (or navigation system of security system or any system the customer require) I start to upholster car seats, door panels and such at my sons car audio business. Now I have been asked to upholster a dashboard, and as I am not yet a professionel I would be very pleased if someone can give me some advise How To do this (vynil dash). There is no school in the Netherlands to learn car upholstery.

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