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Detroit Auto Show 2017
Learn what keeps the new Honda Odyssey quiet from Honda NVH Project Leader Andrea MartinSqueaks and buzzes and rattles? Not in your new Odyssey.
A lot of us as editors, as we're reviewing cars, we imagine and we seem to find that every time you really firm up a suspension and make it substantially more aggressive it's really hard to still have a compliance soft ride. This is a constant battle, right? Those two never complement each other. Correct. Yeah, so we work together early on to set those targets for what the rubber bushings need to be and what the body rigidity needs to be. In the past we've butted heads but now we've learned to work together to make those. Cooperate. And so we can handle well, have a good ride, but still [UNKNOWN] noise and vibration at the same time. Does this come into your area at all? Things like squeaks and rattles. Is that part of the NVH engineering? Or is that just- It's a little bit separate, but it's still a concern. It still makes everything comfortable. Because nothing will interrupt the feeling of a solid, quiet Satisfying ride that chirps and tweaks. Yeah. We spend a lot of time and we conform ourselves into a lot of different ways, jamming ourselves in trunks to make sure. To listen. To try and find, where is that rattle coming from? What is that? Where is that? I mean, you can't sit there with a CAD console and find all these can you? Right, no. This is you're out on the road. You can put your hand on it. Is that it? Is that it? Yeah, you're out on the road. That's good, that's interesting. Yeah, and we do have some shakers that will put instrument panels on to make sure those kinds of rattles are covered. But we'll go out on the road, we love to go out on the road. That's what our touch engineers live to do. [UNKNOWN] There's still something in this big elaborate auto industry where you're just still Pressing. Is that it? Is that it? It's Honda's philosophy. Go to the actual place, and that's what I love about it. You've been with Honda a long time. I have. 20 years, you said? 20 years with Honda. And you've been in this field the whole time. NVH, right? Yes, NVH, correct. Okay, we have so many viewers and readers who always ask, how do I get into this aspect or this aspect of the auto industry. How did you come into this? What was your education and previous work background that made you an MBH expert? So, I grew up in Michigan, always loved driving, always loved cars, and I had an interest in noise. And I went to a school in Connecticut, University of Hartford. Now, interest in noise? Were you a musician? I was a musician. Okay. That is correct, yeah. So, I loved music. I loved playing instruments. I actually I played the bassoon. [LAUGH] No one plays the bassoon. That's very over here. Yeah, yeah, so I loved music and I loved sound. I notice that there's some very pleasing sounds and some very not so pleasing noises. And so I went to school in Connecticut. It has an undergraduate acoustic program so I'm actually doing what I went to school for. So it started for you with sound. Correct. So when I'm in a car, and we start our conversation sounds can be subjective, on engine sounds, a gear sound. I drive a lot of electric gears and some of them I get a lot of electric noises that I think, I don't think I ever wanna hear those, but maybe in the future that will be the new sound of a car. What is the, is there a signature sound for what a Honda sound like or it's always just about quiet? It's not it's depends on what target vehicle is you know if you want sporty sound, if you want sporty flavour, Honda tend to be like a little bit sportier. Have a little bit sportier flavor. So we like to hear pleasing engine noises. Little less isolated? No, that's not entirely true. There's a specific frequency that is a sporty kind of flavor. Nobody likes high frequency. Actually, so your ear I'll give you a little [CROSS-TALK] No one's watching. [CROSS-TALK] [LAUGH] So your ear is actually extremely sensitive to a thousand hertz, which is the frequency you speak at, and it's also the frequency babies cry at, and you ear actually amplifies that noise, and it can be very irritating. And it's also around the wind noise frequency. So we try to get rid of that. Nobody likes that. So what you do to begin with is reduce everything one K, that's just that was our main focus of the 2018 auto season, cabin quietness. You put your families in those cars you're going on a long ride, sometimes it's the only time the family's ever actually together, when you're driving your kids to practice. So you're having those conversations with your kids, how was your day, what happened at school? You don't want the vehicle's noise to fight your discussion, [UNKNOWN] Honda did where I now have the ability to cabin talk, I guess [UNKNOWN] And obviously, you wanted to give them a quiet stage for that division to deploy that feature, I would imagine. So the benefit of Cabin Talk is when your kids are watching with the headphones on, you don't have to smack them and say, hey what do you want. That's gonna go through their hearing apparatus. It's gonna go through the head phones, and it will stop the content of the TV. Okay. So it's like Like when you're flying and the pilot comes on and says. Like in a plane. Right, yes. Same kind of thing. Okay, so that didn't have to fight cabin noise so much. That's already a closed circuit. It will work in the cabin too, but it works with the headset as well. Okay. Now, we were talking a little bit about this idea of the frequencies that annoy. What are frequencies that delight? Are there any Of those, that you say, whenever we can bump this up or this up, people like that. Are there emotional frequencies that cars make? [LAUGH] It can be subjective. Some people tend to like the low-frequency rumble noise. Yeah. Some other people like a mid-frequency, the sound we call an audible tachometer. You can tell when you're going faster. I can hear the car doing its thing. You can feel it, but you can also hear it, and it adds to the sense of excitement. Here's my pet theory, tell me if I'm crazy, I finally have the right expert. I believe that a quiet car always feels faster than a loud car, even though you would think super cars are the loudest. But to me, when a car's quiet, it seems like it's more effortless. And I feel like it's quicker. Am I not Some people would disagree with you. Yeah. Some people like to hear the answer. No, a lot of people would disagree with me. [LAUGH] To give that feeling that you're going faster and to hear it. It's all part of your senses. You can get pushed back in your seat but if you don't feel it and hearing it can sometimes be a part of it. So it seems as though we do divide up into different camps, you can't just program to one human psyche. Different customers will have different responses to NBH and sound in particular. You kind of have to middle it and make the best or get your signature on the sound. You pick what you want and go to that area. If you want a quiet luxury vehicle we can You can do that. If you want a sporty feel to it you go toward that as well. Yeah. Different models obviously have. Yep! And once you know what you're doing you can target those different frequencies. So what else I wanna ask you about is the technology that we see in a few cars. I don't think it's spread as much as I had thought it would have by now which is this active noise cancellation. We see it fairly frequently these days. Sure. It's not gutter to gutter in the industry yet. It's an active noise cancellation. You guys use that in this new odyssey or not? We do use ANC active noise cancellation in this. And explain it in simple terms for the viewer, what does it do? So it sends out. Sound is waves Frequencies are waves and so to cancel that you send out the opposite waves Okay. so you're actually sending out sound into the cabin but it's the opposite and when you send the opposite it cancels it out. Okay so if not a mathematically is going to take it to zero? Correct. All right, so you're sampling what road noise or cabin noise? For us it's the engine we go from six cylinder mode, to three cylinder mode so that balances the engine that sends out kind of a- can you give a little bit of a more Right. Unpleasant sound when it's on three cylinders. It can if you don't have ANC. But when you take the ANC, you'll never notice it. Interesting. So that's how yours works is it targets three cylinder mode to make it seem as nice sounding as six. Right. You will never notice the difference. Okay. So a very specific Specific application of ANC. Well we can use it for other areas, too. But that's our main- But that's how you're doing it in Odyssey. Correct. Okay, so you 're not just taking every road noise and trying to flip it upside down and take it out. We can't. You're not trying to do noise cancelling headphones on wheels. [LAUGH] We could if we wanted to. You could, yeah, interesting. Okay, I appreciate the insights. Andrea thank you. All right. Very interesting. Thank you. ' Andrea Martin Working on MBH in the Odyssey, the latest product, and of course other product, I forgot to ask you. What are you driving? I always have to- [LAUGH] You can't get off this stage until you tell us what of the product portfolio you're driving right now. I drive an Acura MDX. You have a MDX okay, there you go. We love to get these snapshots of what real people in the industry drive.