Automotive

Video: SoundRacer V8 turns your boring family car into a fire-breather

Video: SoundRacer V8 turns you...
SoundRacer V8: not everyone needs to know that you're a hooligan at heart.
SoundRacer V8: not everyone needs to know that you're a hooligan at heart.
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SoundRacer V8: not everyone needs to know that you're a hooligan at heart.
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SoundRacer V8: not everyone needs to know that you're a hooligan at heart.

Call me childish, but I reckon this is one of the best gadgets I've seen in years. The SoundRacer plugs into the cigarette lighter socket of your boring family car, then sends an FM signal to your car stereo that makes your car sound like a roaring V8, faithfully matching revs and basically making the meekest of cars feel like a monster truck. So you can enjoy a ribald hoon factor from the driver's seat without looking or sounding like a petrolhead to passers-by or the local constabulary. We had a blast making the demo video:

Shonky and the Supercar V8

There's nothing quite like the feeling of giving a highly tuned performance car a proper gumboot full. The screech of the tyres, the acceleration as it pushes you back into your seat - and the glorious, heart-stirring noise!

But tyres and noise pollution tickets are expensive - and the prevailing attitude to road safety these days is that anything fun is to be punished in the harshest way possible - so the majority of cars are becoming quieter, more economical and generally less exciting to drive than ever before.

Which makes the SoundRacer V8 such a great idea. It's an incredibly simple device to use - plug it into your car's cigarette lighter socket, select a radio station, and tune your car radio to that frequency. Instantly, the sound of a highly tuned V8 engine starts coming out of your stereo speakers, matched to the revs of your own car's engine in real time.

The effect is outstanding - the cardigan-wearing Kia Sportage we used in the video felt like a 20 foot high monster truck the second we turned up the stereo volume. And nobody outside the car has a clue why you're laughing your head off in the driver's seat.

It's entirely guilt-free fun - you're not harming the environment by running a straight-through exhaust, you're not wasting the amount of petrol you'd normally need to to get this kind of noise, and you're not waking up any old ladies. A warning though - it's almost impossible to stick to the speed limit when your car sounds this damn good. So beware!

When you're not in the mood to tear up the streets in a muscle car, the SoundRacer doubles as a resender for your MP3 player, so you can listen to your iPod through the car stereo if the stereo doesn't have a 3.5mm input jack. A nice touch.

The version we tested was the V8, but there's a V10 model as well that gives your car the sound of a Lamborghini. Yay!

You can get the SoundRacer throughout America, Europe, Asia and Australia. We paid around AUD50 - you can find a local dealer through the SoundRacer website.

23 comments
Dranreb
Lotus had this in-house a number of years ago - two family sedans were placed in the hedges - did not have the brakes to match the engine sound - sound great though...
Hired_help
How many \"days\" before some stupid kid buys this thing and install one or more loudspeakers OUTSIDE his car to make itsound hot !!!! I live in Montreal suburb and young kids with rusty Honda Civic change the muffler to a muffler that \"makes noise\". There is law against that but the police doesn\'t do anything. And now this !!! Great. :-(
t2af
they could also have a scifi setting for speeder bikes, land cruisers etc .. you get the idea ..
Gerard Gallagher
I seem to recall a version of this featuring on BBC\'s \"Tomorrow\'s World\" show years back...
Craig Jennings
Maybe with the noise on the inside they might not bother with making it on the outside Hired_help, you might get lucky mate! ;)
Furzey
I\'m sure the owner of the Kia is thrilled with the cardigan reference. Sadly this thing didn\'t like the Tarago... :(
mokkybear54
This idea occurred to me over 10 years ago when interference in my car radio rose and fell in pitch with engine revs (alternator interference). My hope was to use sounds recorded from my beloved Ducati 900SS, although I didn\'t have the tech smarts to implement it.
CreativeApex
High tech, and grown-up version of baseball cards in bicycle spokes. Awesome, I\'m getting one for the wife\'s car as a birthday present for myself. I\'ve joked with my brother\'s for years that electric cars will get no where until they are exciting to drive. This \'toy\' would be a good start. I joke that they should make the throttle response of an EV like a carburetor with a second or two of \'engine lag\'.. coupled with a spooling sound like a jet turbine. Muscle cars stimulate our sense of sight, touch, hearing, smell, and balance (acceleration). Remove one of those components and they aren\'t as much fun. Modern cars are not much fun... this is a great cheap product to elicit more fun. @Giz:Much appreciated, accurate, and informed review surpassing the 4 1= __th gear review. Keep up the great work.
Ed
Most people want to get *RID* of engine noise in the cockpit! And besides...if I want to hear a big V8, I\'ll just take my 72 Cutlass 442 for a spin...455 cubic inches of raw power (7.7 liters to you metrically inclined) and over 500 horses and 600 foot pounds of torque...and that\'s basically a stock engine! Ed
Alan Meeker
You have to see this!! I want one. Where can I get one??