Automotive

SoundRacer VX: Choose your car’s engine sound on the go

SoundRacer VX: Choose your car...
The Soundracer VX plugs into your cigarette lighter and lets you choose between half a dozen high-performance engine sounds for your car
The Soundracer VX plugs into your cigarette lighter and lets you choose between half a dozen high-performance engine sounds for your car
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The Soundracer VX plugs into your cigarette lighter and lets you choose between half a dozen high-performance engine sounds for your car
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The Soundracer VX plugs into your cigarette lighter and lets you choose between half a dozen high-performance engine sounds for your car
Soundracer VX - choose a frequency to broadcast on
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Soundracer VX - choose a frequency to broadcast on
Internal componentry ready to build the Soundracer VX
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Internal componentry ready to build the Soundracer VX

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:

Shonky and the Supercar V8

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.

Source: SoundRacer

7 comments
Cyndysub
A system like this could be made and used in electric cars and instead of the sound being played inside the car it could play the sounds thru some type of sound tube under the car at the rear and could be made to play the sounds omnidirectionally. You would have 10 or so different hotrod sounds to select from. It could work by having a rpm sensor for the electric motor. I suspect that when electric cars are cited more often that a device like this would be in demand because after all, america is hung up on hotrods so why not give them some hotrod sounds for their electric cars. Rugged Testosterone charged men would be able to have an electric car and keep their macho egos intact. A win for the environment and a win for male egos, what's not to like?
martinkopplow
I am driving my electric car since three years now, and never (NEVER) have I felt the need to electronically recreate the sound of exploding dinosaur bones while doing so. After getting used to the elegant low turbine like sound, it is even better than dumb hot rod sound could ever be. People who decide to drive an electric car do not need such stuff. People who belive electric cars could benefit from devices like this have simply not understood why electric cars exist.
Stephen N Russell
LIke mine to sound like KITT from Knight Rider, be awesome.
Grumpyrelic
Ah! 75% of my hybrid's available power channeled into my 4000 watt stereo... Just blow the windows out and I will die happy in first gear (I do miss the wheelspin screach though). What am I thinking? I am 68 years old and my first car was a 63 Oldsmobile 394cu in rag top. If I put this in my V6 Sonata, I would kill my engine in a (and my heart) in in a heartbeat. Mankind seens to have a love for things that are completely useless but give us a warm fuzzy feeling 'cause it is soooo COOL!
Michael Wilson
the tuned tesla has a much better solution to the lack of engine sound IMHO http://youtu.be/mWdatUMNmTI?t=7m19s I"m one of those rare birds though. I prefer a turbocharged vehicle to an NA one and the sound of a turbo to that, so the gear whine of the tesla sounds wonderful.
Kenneth Palmestål
Kickstarter did not work for this project but during 2015 the SoundRacer VX will be on the market anyway. To Cyndysub: You are right, many EV owners (Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Zero MC and many others) like to have some great engine sound now and then so they order the SoundRacer EVSound system (eveess.com). Pedestrian safety laws soon will require an external engine sound at lower speed to reduce the number of accidents with silent EVs, it is becoming a large market for SoundRacer EVS. To martinkopplow: People are different, some like it hot (rod:) EVs should be for everyone, not only for the idealists. If also petrolheads start buying EVs it is better for the environment. To Stephen N Russell: It can be done! To Grumpyrelic: True! I am 69 years old and I invented SoundRacer to revive the memories of my car racing long ago. To Michael Wilson: The SoundRacer EVSound is delivered with six exciting engine sounds and more sounds can be added by the user, one customer made a turbine sound that I am sure you would like.
SoundRacer
Some updates: I found that VX is a very unpleasant substance so I changed the name to SoundRacer X (for the possibility to have X number of sounds on it). It is on the market since July 2016. Demand for EV sound is increasing, legislations in USA, Europe and Asia will require all electric and hybrid cars on sale from 2019 to have a warning sound up to 30 km/h and manufacturers are now placing orders. Interesting to see what type of sounds they will choose. The main idea with the warning sound is that a person at risk should immediately perceive the situation and be able to take the right action in order to avoid a dangerous situation. A realistic engine sound will have that effect while a synthetic sound need to be analyzed by the brain first, causing a delay that can be fatal. Engine sounds will also be less likely to be disturbing compared to adding new types of synthetic sounds into the traffic environment. But the sound generating software can be downloaded when the cars are produced so the manufacturers can select the sounds in 2018.