Our original look at the SoundRacer became one of Gizmag's most popular videos ever, and it's easy to see why. Plug a SoundRacer into your quiet, responsible family car, and suddenly the engine sounds like a race-tuned V8 monster – at least, inside the car. Now, SoundRacer is raising money for the SoundRacer VX, which carries a bunch of different engine sounds and lets you choose between them on the fly.
It's been nearly 4 years since we first put the SoundRacer device in my brother Shonky's Kia and made one of Gizmag's most popular YouTube videos ever:
The original unit plugged into a car's cigarette lighter and read the revs of your car engine through the alternator, before outputting another engine sound that could be accessed through your car radio. Inside, it made the car sound like a gigantic V8 monster truck, and it was an absolute hoot.
Since then, SoundRacer has developed a number of other devices to give you different engine sounds to play with. There's a Mustang V8, a Gallardo V10, a Ferrari V12 and a Lexus LFA V10J. We've also played with another unit that had a sound like a Harley.
The same company is also building engine-sound systems for electric vehicles, both as a way to appease petrolheads, and as an external audio soundtrack to alert pedestrians to a vehicle's presence. This is through a split-off business called EVEESS.
There's also a SoundRacer mobile phone app that lets you connect a Bluetooth ODBII diagnostics dongle to your car's engine management system and select between five sounds which will then play through the phone's audio system.
And now, SoundRacer is raising funds on Kickstarter to build a version of the original device that can store multiple engine sounds for you to choose between. The SoundRacer VX will come pre-loaded with all the above sounds, plus a Japanese sportsbike sound, and a MicroSD card slot that'll allow you to add extra sounds as you go.
The VX will also function as an FM transmitter for music as well, with a 3.5 mm audio input. Plus it'll now offer a USB socket for device charging as well.
Backers will need to stump up SEK 495 (about US$66) for the new VX and the SoundRacer VX Kickstarter is up and running now. Pity it won't be out for Christmas (shipping, if all goes to plan, is estimated to start in May 2015); I've got a fair bit of mileage out of these as presents, they're a great laugh.