Who needs speakers in 2020? That’s what Sennheiser is asking at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the audio company will not only introduce its signature sound technology to cars; it will do so without woofer in sight.
Already available in sound bars and headphones, Sennheiser’s Ambeo 3-D audio technology seems like a natural fit for the the high-end automobile sound system market. What’s more surprising is how German audio giant intends to enter that market.
The company has teamed up auto supply company Continental to create a groundbreaking sound system that features no speakers, according to a press release. Unveiled at the electronics show on Monday, the new system uses actuators located throughout a car to turn the interior into an instrument by stimulating its surfaces to produce sound.
The collaboration combines Sennheiser’s Ambeo Mobility software with Continental’s speakerless Ac2ated Sound system. The software calibrates and fine-tunes sounds which are then created by the system’s actuators to vibrate surfaces throughout the interior. Inspired by instruments with resonant wooden bodies like the violin, the system uses parts of the dashboard, A-pillar, door panel, rear parcel shelves and headliner to help reproduce your favorite songs.
“Our Ambeo immersive audio solutions deliver the ultimate quality in sound capture, processing and playback,” Daniel Sennheiser, co-CEO of Sennheiser, said. “Crucially, the ability to enjoy breathtaking immersive sound does not require specific 3-D audio sources—AMBEO Mobility’s spatialization algorithm can turn any stereo material into an immersive experience. By intelligently analyzing the content, the patented algorithm artistically remixes the sound to provide an emotional experience, transporting the listener into the music.”
According to the two companies, the system is capable of creating immersive 3-D soundscapes similar to that of listening to a performance in a concert hall. But in addition to the stellar sound, the system has other collateral benefits. Not having speakers installed can shave a car’s weight by nearly 90 pounds and reduce the required space in the cabin by as much as 90 percent. This makes the system well suited for electric vehicles where lowering weight is vital.
It’s unclear whether or not Sennheiser and Continental’s sound system will ever make its way to the market, but attendees at this year’s CES will get their chance to experience a speakerless sound system throughout the week. Welcome to the new roaring ’20s.