Digital audio leaders combine on immersive car audio demonstrator

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Swedish digital audio specialist Dirac and established industry giant Dolby are to collaborate on the development of an immersive automotive audio experience. The plan is to show the combination of the two companies’ technologies – Dirac’s audio optimization algorithms and Dolby’s Atmos immersive audio – to create an immersive in-vehicle audio experience, to be showcased in both Dolby’s and Dirac’s demo vehicles across the globe.

To date, the two companies have addressed the challenges in automotive audio from different directions. Dirac uses digital signal processing to upgrade the sound system performance and overcome acoustic challenges inherent in cars – such as suboptimal positioning of loudspeakers and reflective surfaces that muddle the sound – so that the system faithfully reproduces any content without any unwanted colorations, and without requiring any hardware upgrades.

Dolby Atmos, meanwhile, has changed the way artists create music. Rather than recording in stereo, with a limit of only two channels, Dolby Atmos allows for each sound – each instrument or vocal – to be placed anywhere in three-dimensional space in the recording. This allows for a fantastic immersive listening experience in cars, fully engaging drivers in the music they love.

“The car is a natural place to listen to music, but vehicle cabins are also the most acoustically challenging listening environments,” stated Lars Carlsson, head of business development, automotive, Dirac. “For 20 years, Dirac has been developing tailored solutions for some of the world’s leading auto manufacturers, optimizing sound systems to achieve entirely new levels of audio performance. Now, through this collaboration with Dolby, we’re for the first time combining the world’s most sophisticated audio algorithms with the world’s most immersive content to quite literally establish a new standard in automotive sound.”

Dolby and Dirac will leverage the Dirac automotive audio solution to optimize the sound system performance in Dolby and Dirac’s demo cars, which are used around the world to showcase to automotive manufacturers and the consumer public the immersive power of Dolby Atmos in cars.

“Reproducing a faithful Dolby Atmos experience in a car that translates well from the point of creation in the studio into the challenging acoustic environment of a car cabin is a lofty task,” said Andreas Ehret, director – automotive at Dolby. “The Dirac technology is a great solution for car makers to optimize this experience. We have found that in our demo cars, the results were excellent – with excellent detail, accurate staging, and a well-balanced sound field in all seating positions. Dolby works hand in hand with the entire automotive supply chain, to deliver an authentic entertainment experience inside the car.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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