Sound Hits the Road
Twenty years ago, car audio meant a cassette player and some haphazardly placed
speakers. Sound wasn't a priority for auto manufacturers and the quality of the
sound reflected the times.
Fast forward two decades and the automotive landscape has changed dramatically.
Cars are sanctuaries now, private retreats demanding comfort and performance.
Audio is a critical component in a unique driving experience. And Bose® surround
sound systems are helping lead this intensified focus on automotive sound.
The excitement of automotive surround sound
timing is right to make this technology available in cars," says Bud MacLellan,
support group manager of Bose Automotive systems. In some vehicles, such as the
legendary Maybach, a Bose surround sound system has already changed the way people
think about automotive sound. Depending on the recording, listeners can experience
the wide soundstage and ambience of a concert hall, or the sense of being on stage
and in the middle of the performers.
But developing automotive surround sound was no easy feat. The interior of an
automobile features a variety of very difficult and inflexible acoustic challenges.
The challenge of the mobile concert hall
conventional home theater systems, surround sound recordings are played through
speakers carefully positioned around a central listening area. Listeners often
sit in the middle of the listening area to experience balanced sound. But in a
vehicle, no one sits in the middle. Seats are off-center, very close to some speakers
and far from others.
Achieving balanced stereo for everyone in the vehicle becomes even more challenging
with a surround sound system. Engineers must consider not only left-right balance,
but also a full 360-degree sound field for each listener.
Sometimes a challenge outpaces current technologies, requiring engineers to invent
new approaches instead of relying on the solutions of the past. Such was the case
for automotive surround sound. Bose had to develop a new suite of technologies
to deliver a full surround experience, no matter where the listeners sit in the
"These technologies are the result of extensive research and we believe they are
the most advanced automotive audio tools available today," MacLellan says. "They
represent a major advancement in automotive audio systems."
Centerpoint® signal processing circuitry delivers a multi-channel
surround sound experience from two-channel sources, including matrix surround
recordings and conventional stereo CDs.
SurroundStage signal processing circuitry sends each audio
channel to a carefully chosen combination of speakers for balanced surround sound
throughout the vehicle. It helps compensate for the fact that vehicle seats are
off-center. It also addresses the need to distribute five audio channels to more
than five speakers. SurroundStage signal processing circuitry is used with both
Centerpoint technology and discrete surround technology.
Personal surround sound speakers. Selected systems include
our exclusive Personal surround speakers. Each pair of speakers is dedicated
to a single listener for optimal surround channel delivery. This unique design
creates an individual sonic zone at each seat for a truly immersive multi-channel
surround sound experience.
Truespace® signal processing circuitry, used with the Bose
Personal surround speakers, provides full, spacious sound, even from speakers
that are just inches from your head. Personal surround speakers are installed
in the headrests, headliner or other select locations. They optimize the surround
channels for each individual listener, ensuring a balanced, accurate surround
With these technologies, MacLellan is confident Bose has created surround sound
solutions unlike any other, "With our expertise in home theater systems and over
two decades of experience designing automotive sound systems, we believe we have
developed systems consumers will appreciate."
To learn more about our Automotive Systems Division, click