Sennheiser partners with Karma to showcase first in-car immersive audio system
Sennheiser is aiming to take its Ambeo immersive audio technology on the road, and has teamed up with Karma Automotive to kit out a Revero GT with a specially-designed entertainment and communication system to be showcased during Monterey Car Week.
We were quite impressed with Sennheiser's Ambeo technology when we took the company's Smart Headset for a spin last year, remarking that when "playing a binaural recording back through headphones, you get a stunning 3D picture of the audio space that lets you distinguish location and distance of sound sources much more clearly than a regular stereo mix." But transferring that technology to an automobile setup was no easy task for the acclaimed audio house.
Indeed, it has taken engineers over two years to develop and fine-tune the technology for cars. "The main challenge was to bring immersive high-quality audio into the complex and difficult environment of the car, which is quite unlike our usual use cases for immersive audio and beamforming technologies," said Sennheiser's Dr. Véronique Larcher. "We almost had to start from zero, with the objective of not only bringing a good solution to market, but creating the very best available."
The system installed in the 2020 Karma Revero GT makes use of a two-layer, multi-channel speaker setup, a subwoofer has been added, and even the vehicle's headrests have been integrated into the design. Listeners don't have to line up special 3D audio tracks to enjoy the immersive experience, the Ambeo system's upmix algorithm will convert any stereo source material into an immersive audio experience.
Using a graphical interface, the driver and passengers can personalize what they hear, set the degree of immersion, and choose their positions on the soundstage. Beamforming microphone arrays on both sides of the cabin serve to reduce background sounds such as wind and tire noise to focus on the speaker during a call. Sennheiser says that other occupants can join in the conversation or continue listening to music or movie audio without being disturbed by voicecall chatter.
"We set out with the aim to create nothing less than the best-in-class sound experience," said Andreas Sennheiser. "The system we designed will amaze with its authentic immersive sound, voice intelligibility, and possibilities for sound personalization."
The Revero GT with Ambeo technology will be on show on Peter Hay Hill at Pebble Beach from August 15 to 18.