Traditional Car Speakers May Soon Go The Way Of The 8 Track

Ac2ated eliminates car speakers on Bobby Owsinski's Production BlogLet’s face it, we do so much listening in our cars that we know the sound probably better than in our studios. In fact, the automobile is still the main reference point for many mixers. Forget the expensive studio monitors, if it sounds right in our car then the mix is right with the world. But would that intimate connection change if the traditional speaker technology in our cars went away? We may soon find out as German auto accessories manufacturer Continental is introducing a new technology that will eliminate car speakers, yet still keep the sound.

How, you might ask? The company has developed technology called Ac2ated that makes parts of the car’s interior vibrate in a way that’s said to be on a par with any premium sound system currently being used today. The sound is generated by compact actuators instead of normal transducers, which are similar to the core of a conventional speaker

The way it works is that the rear window becomes a subwoofer, the windshield, floor, dashboard and seat frames produce the midrange, and the A-pillars (the posts between the windshield and the doors)  become your tweeters. What you get as a result is a very 3D immersive soundfield.

While this sounds like a great innovation, it is fraught with problems however. Auto interiors aren’t designed with audio in mind, so ill-fitting parts that rattle would definitely affect the sound, as would the materials used. Then if there were any damage due to a minor accident, that would affect the sound as well.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of Ac2ated is that it wasn’t really developed with audio quality in mind, but to decrease the weight of the car. This was successful in that it reduced to the weight significantly in that a top of the line sound system typically runs around 20 pound while Ac2ated is around 2. The fact that it’s said to sound pretty good is a happy byproduct.

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