"Why your car stereo sounds lousy"
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Cooley On Cars
Cooley On Cars
Why your car stereo sounds lousy
Let's face it.
If it weren't for car audio, I think automotive fatalities would go through the roof.
We'd all be killing ourselves out there, stuck in our commutes.
That's one reason car makers throw an awful lot of money at coming up with the next greatest amazing audio system cuz they know you'll appreciate it.
So whether you're buying A new car, and you want a great audio system, or upgrade to the one you've got in your car, I think it helps to be aware of why car audio is difficult before you do anything else.
Okay, challenge number one, it's the 21st century.
That most of the stuff we listen to is basically crap, MP3s, Streaming, satellite radio, all of its been rung out like this and all the life's been drained out of it.
Compression is the new devil.
People want, they want things quickly, they want them cheaply, and they And they want the maximum amount they can put on their phone or whatever it is and they're paying a price for that.
The big challenge is when you send digital compressed audio, is you are taking things out of the file but not only are you taking things out of the file, you're adding things into that file that create anomalies and distortions.
And they're really compression in two ways.
One is they're compressing data rates.
So, they can get more down the same tunnels.
And the other things is they're doing [UNKNOWN].
[UNKNOWN] they're making the Quite things sound louder and the louder things sound more quite.
You can combat this playing only audio CD's which means you have very little variety or nice plump wave or flac files which almost no one Does.
Or you can put back what got screwed up.
That's what bambu goes after with what they call AWSM technology.
It figures out what's missing and puts it back just before it goes to your amp and speakers.
We've gone from the Porsche, we're now in a same year, '04, but now a Crown Vic.
Factory system, it says audio file and it's lying, I can tell you by personal experience.
And as an additional challenge, you're gonna go through a bluetooth
To FM modulator.
That's a big challenge, but the great part is this technology really works in any sound system in any car.
And I think we're gonna prove it here.
All right, let's hear it.
All right, let's do it.
This is flat, no effect, right?
Flat, no effect.
No processing, I should say.
And this is what this system has always sounded like.
It's kinda flat and cardboardy.
So we're going to enable an effect.
So you hear a lot more pleasing sounds, a lot more harmonics that come out of that.
Yeah, what I'm hearing is I'm hearing more bass without it being tubby.
And I hear a little more detail in there.
Yeah, again, that goes back to reshaping the wave and bringing this sound like it was meant to be in compression.
What I like about it is, it's not showy.
It's not like I crank the base and crank the treble.
Anyone can do that to get a juicy sound.
This is a little more mature I would say.
[LAUGH] Let's do...
Well we're in a Crown Vic.
Unlike even the most elaborate EQ setting the Bamboo technology is always adjusting the sound in real time.
Once you set your equalizer most customers
If they want a different piece of music, they don't go to their equalizer and change it around right, they start it and they let it go.
What our particular software does is analyses every piece of music or every piece of content that comes in and looks again to restore what was lost.
Dynamically and real time, there is no delay.
Bamboo isn't making this up.
HARMAN, a major maker of factory audio for new cars, is now also touting a technology it calls CLARI-FI.
That seeks to put back what the industry hoped we hadn't noticed was missing all these years.
Now after you deal with compressed sources, the next big issue is what they call staging.
The location of sound, literally or perceived.
The good thing is you know where the listeners are, the bad things, they're in the wrong place.
So it's all asymmetric we're left or right.
It's never going to be realistic.
You're never going to get the sound you've got at home when you're sitting in front of your stereo speakers.
In a car speakers are usually where they fit not where they sound best.
Door speakers that hide behind legs or the lack of any center channel speaker in so many cars you would never do that in home theatre.
And I've always been a big fan of this THX car audio systems because you can't get them out of shape, it always stays in a nice sweet Because of the smarts they built into the system.
Kept the customer out of trouble.
That's really what you talk about.
No matter how misguided your actions were.
We just sort of really it was a little bit autocratic.
We saw the second guest.
Basically if you turn the bass up too high we just quietly nudge it down a bit and we sort of got away with it.
Finally there's noise.
The quietest car is louder than the loudest living room.
That's one reason Lori Finchim likes to have plenty of amp on tap.
I always like to have the biggest amplifier I can afford.
And I don't mean by that delivering 100 watts continuously.
But to have it in hand like a car may have a few extra bits of horsepower.
And you put your foot down, and it goes.
So you need a Almost like a turbo charged amplifier in a way.
It gives you what you want when you need it.
While Bamboo's Dan Sealing said they wouldn't mind if cars actually had fewer watts in speakers in the future.
We're saying no.
You need to think disruptively.
It's actually opposite of that.
Less is more because the auto manufacturer can't control the content that's coming in And if they can it is a software issue and that's where we come in.
Next time you are irked by the sound of your car stereo at least you will know why.
It deals with a basket of challenges that your ear buds, laptop, home TV, or local cinema don't quite encounter.
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