Having announced in March 2023 it was collaborating with Meridian Audio to develop a bespoke sound system for its luxury EV, the HiPhi Y, Human Horizons has now revealed further details about the vehicle’s audio system.
To meet the requirements set out by Human Horizon for its latest vehicle, a team of specialists from Meridian were involved in the early development stage, before the interior design had been finalized. Working collaboratively, the companies integrated Meridian’s audio technologies, in addition to developing the HMI (human machine interface). The team also ensured that the noise, vibration and harshness characteristics matched that of a luxury electric SUV.
“This allowed a fully bespoke approach in which our specialists in psychoacoustics were able to influence key interior design decisions such as speaker placement, size, mounting and covering materials,” explained John Buchanan, Meridian Audio CEO. “Together we were able to deliver a very high-quality system, fully integrated with their design language, without the frustrating compromises that can occur when audio isn’t considered until the interior design is largely fixed.”
This approach also helped to overcome the challenge of designing vehicles for different global markets.
“HiPhi is already established in China, so the new vehicle had to encompass the high-tech perspective of luxury that is dominant in that market,” added Buchanan. “Yet as the brand’s debut car in Europe, HiPhi Y also has to appeal to more traditional European definitions of luxury. Both companies thought deeply about how that should influence all attributes of the sound system and its HMI.”
The HiPhi Y has two vehicle trim levels consisting of the Sonic Line with 14+2 speakers and the Sonic Pro with 23+2 speakers. The +2 capability refers to additional speakers in the driver’s headrest to optimize sound quality and clarity. The speakers in the headrest can be used to provide the driver with information without majorly disturbing passengers.
Meridian’s innovations in audio electronics and signal processing enable a hardware-independent route to flexible, upgradeable in-car audio platforms. At the heart of the HiPhi system is a suite of Meridian software technologies that optimize the sound for different conditions and allow managed customization by vehicle occupants.
One of the key challenges of designing audio systems for automotive interiors is being able to recreate two-channel stereo recordings as they are intended to be heard. The issue with this, however, is that occupants sit so close to the speakers. To overcome this, Meridian employs its Horizon technology – with adaptive up-mixing – to psycho-acoustically optimize sound localization cues, creating more natural and stable sound imaging throughout the interior.
To adapt to changing vehicle conditions, Meridian’s Intelli-Q gathers data – including the number of occupants, windows being open or closed, and vehicle speed – to optimize the audio experience. Additional technologies include Meridian Digital Precision which maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio of digital audio to retain fine audio details, and Meridian RE-Q which tunes the audio system to the precise acoustics of the listening space.