Wales is not usually the first place you think of when it comes to a gathering of in-car audio technology specialists, but that’s exactly that happened recently with the opening of the Audio Foundry in Bridgend.
Created by Tymphany, it is the home of a slightly different kind of audio lab. It features a listening room, measurement room and a studio room, as well as 3D printers, wood and metal workshops and hot desks. The latter is somewhat unusual but that’s because Audio Foundry is run like a members’ club, a collaborative workspace for advanced automotive audio ideation, prototyping, benchmarking and research.
It recently hosted a grand opening attended by OEM and supplier audio specialists from around the world. Panel experts gave their views on the challenges facing this part of the industry and how they can support the next generation of technology including AVAS, ADAS, multi-voice telephony and autonomy. Creators of the Audio Foundry say that this is the main reason for the space – a location where OEMs, suppliers, innovators and university researchers can all collaborate.
Those making use of the facility also have access to The Rig, an SUV-sized development module with the ability to test everything from traditional and non-traditional speaker placement to software. The Rig also features Audi Weaver, an integrated toolkit for debugging and tuning.
Should anything need to be changed in a component then the facility has the tools to do it or to create prototype items and then put them through modelling, testing and benchmarking before undergoing full proof-of-concept delivery.
It’s definitely a different approach to the usual secretive testing labs and one we imagine could actually be quite a fun environment.