Here’s a Tutorial Article about how Our Perception of Our Automobiles is influenced by specific assigned vehicle sounds or “Signatures” and how Vehicle Sound Signatures are used to Market Our Vehicles to Us.
Vehicle sound is one of the primary drivers of consumer perception of overall vehicle quality. Tuning a sound signature requires research, where listeners in audio laboratories are queried about what attributes create positive impressions of a vehicle’s sound.
The two areas of the vehicle that tune the sound of the engine are the engine induction system and the exhaust system. By applying engineering expertise to analysis of consumer market research, companies such as Visteon, Inc. provide vehicle manufacturers with carefully calibrated engine induction systems that deliver unique Acoustic Sound Signatures.
These cost-effective solutions help manufacturers differentiate their vehicles, reinforce Positive Brand Images, and Market their Vehicle Models.
Vehicle-specific Signature Tuning
Consumers of different types of vehicles expect different types of sounds from their vehicles, and Automotive Acoustic Engineering suppliers recognize the importance of meeting these expectations.
For instance, sports car drivers expect a deep, V8-engine sound while owners of work trucks expect a heavy, rumbling sound. Some passenger-car owners prefer just enough rumble so that their vehicle sounds sporty. Luxury buyers, on the other hand, prefer silence. Sound Engineers like Visteon, Inc have experience working with vehicle manufacturers to deliver the desired Sound Signature consumers want from their vehicles.
Providing this type of acoustic distinction is more important, and even more difficult, when working with broad vehicle platforms that support multiple brands and vehicle types. In these cases, it becomes important to maximize common components for cost efficiency while providing the different outputs required for creating brand distinction. For example, the new 2011 Toyota Avalon Sound Signature is very quiet and smooth as silk, where the new Tundra is smooth yet with a very seamless “Powerful” sound.
After consumer preferences are assessed and documented, vehicle manufacturers establish sound targets for specific vehicle makes and models. While sound attributes can be calibrated to support the specific needs of a vehicle or brand, they also have a direct relationship to performance of the engine.
Sound Engineering Companies such as Visteon use unique applications of Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) and other analytic tools, that allow engineers to fully comprehend the trade-offs between performance and acoustic tuning, and allow them to optimize the system to meet necessary targets without adversely impacting engine performance. These tools also allow Engineers to support manufacturers by providing sound files of the predicted sound, so it can be verified that the consumer desired sound is being created.
Additionally, specific systems-level understanding of engine induction helps engineers understand how other engine induction components, such as the intake manifold, air cleaner and air inlets, can impact vehicle noise, vibration and harshness. This expertise helps engineers optimize placement of devices such as Helmholtz resonators and quarter-wave tuners. However, the requirements of the customer can call for more tuning than standard resonators and wave tuners provide, so companies such as Visteon, Inc. are developing even more sophisticated solutions. These new technologies merge a company’s knowledge of engine induction systems, automotive electronics, and the total vehicle into systems that can change Acoustic tuning.