In most current Audi models, some sort of Bang & Olufsen sound system. B&O is one of the best makers of speakers in the world and the systems found in most Audis are simply superb. Yet it can get even better and it has, in the new 2018 Audi A8.
With the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System, it supplies 23 loudspeakers featuring ultra-light and therefore low-distortion neodymium magnets that produce an airy, high-resolution sound pattern. But it’s the rear seat of the new Audi A8 that’s where you want to be. Audi and B&O have evolved their previously revolutionary 3D sound system into the rear seat of the new A8, creating the perfect stereophonic experience.
Two full-range loudspeakers in the A-pillars and two in the headliner above the rear seats provide the spatial dimension of height, which helps to create the 3D surround sound effect. But that’s only part of the 23-speaker, 1,920-watt Band & Olufsen system. When the infotainment system is switched on, two tweeters electronically rise from the dash, to provide a perfectly horizontal 180-degree fan of sound.
But it’s really the software that makes it 3D sound. A special algorithm that Audi has developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen uses stereo or 5.1 recordings to calculate the information for the third dimension and processes it for the four 3D loudspeakers. And the algorithm is dynamic, so it adapts to the recording that it’s playing. So no matter what, the sound will be free of distortion and crystal clear.
The sound system can also be tailored for specific applications as well. For instance, if rear seat passengers want to watch a movie, it can be programmed to a specific setting, called MovieSet. This localizes voices specifically, so if a character is talking on the right side of the screen, their voice only comes out of the right speaker.
“Integrating the loudspeakers at the right points in the car is the key to 80 percent of the audio quality,” explains Wolfram Jähn, sound/acoustics developer for the A8. “They need to be mounted as rigidly as possible, so we fixed the subwoofer in the rear panel, which is made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The aim is to isolate the loudspeaker from the body and prevent any vibrations from being transmitted.”
These speakers also look great, as well as sound great. Double-anodized aluminum speaker grilles cover the units and have LED lighting integrated into them. So they look premium and expensive in the daytime and lavish and luxurious at night.