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Your Girl is Faking It! - The Deflating Truth About Your New Car Engine Sound - Carponents

Feb 24, 2015

fake car engine sounds


Rev’ing your engine at a stop light was always the first indicator to your opponent exactly what you may be packing under the hood.   The roar of your muscle car's engine was always sweet, sweet music to your ears, and an inflated ego as you cruised around town.   Louder the better, and when you stepped on the gas, you were unleashing the beast within as those engine cylinders propelled you from zero to sixty in a respectable and admirable 3 to 5 seconds.  In fact, we even took it one step further and altered our exhaust pipes to make sure you could hear us from miles away.   There is no denying it, the louder your car was, especially when you accelerated, the more power everyone just assumed it had.  

Now a days when you step on the gas of the latest 2015 muscle car or luxury sports import, you will still hear a glorious sound come from the enngg... er... speakers...  Yes.  You heard right.  Or wrong...  Just like Milli Vanilli, your car is most likely lip-synching it’s performance sounds, and girl, you know its true.   This life altering engine growl you expect to hear from your 6-cylinder beast of burden is actually a timed audio output your car has been designed to make every time you accelerate so you believe that your engine is actually roaring like a lion - but in the reality of it, she's purring like a kitten.  

Faking it, (the engine noise that is) has been a trick of the trade that is becoming more and more widely used by automakers across the board, and the fact is we only have advancing technology to blame.   The new innovations in gas, fuel efficiency and general auto engineering have lead to extremely quite and barely audible engines.  Engines that most car owners associate with electric and extremely fuel efficient cars... (you know, the cars that aren't as fast or as powerful as their gas guzzling counterparts?)  For this reason automakers fear that they are being overlooked for not sounding as powerful.  

BMW and Volkswagen are two automakers that have made use of these dirty little tricks, and now more recently Ford. Ford had a set of "sound engineers" working on the audio output or "Active Noise Control" system for their 2015 Mustang EcoBoost who surveyed an array of sounds outputted through the car's speakers to find out which combination car owners most enjoyed.    

Ford said in a statement that the vintage V-8 engine boom “has long been considered the mating call of Mustang,” but added that the newly processed pony-car sound is “athletic and youthful,” “a more refined growl” with “a low-frequency sense of powerfulness.”

Car lovers are on the fence about this...  some love the fact that they can still hear the roar of a quieter, yet more powerful and fuel efficient engine to the decible of thier old gaz guzzling 6 or 8-cylinder, and others are upset with the smoke and mirrors saying the car is pretending to be something it's not...  like a hot girl with a pushup bra, you're exaggerating features the car simply does not have.  

While ford has played around on a more musical note, testing the different sounds to pretend to come out of the engine, car owners politely disliked this idea, preferring that if any sound was to come out of their quite noiseless engine, they'd actually prefer it at least sound real.  

Volkswagen uses what’s called a “Soundaktor,” a special speaker that looks like a hockey puck and plays sound files in cars such as the GTI and Beetle Turbo. Lexus worked with sound technicians at Yamaha to more loudly amplify the noise of its LFA super car toward the driver seat.

Some, including Porsche with its “sound symposer,” have used noise-boosting tubes to crank up the engine sound inside the cabin. Others have gone further into digital territory: BMW plays a recording of its motors through the car stereos, a sample of which changes depending on the engine’s load and power.

On the flip side - fake engine noise is a necessity in some cases, especially electric cars that can potentially cruise down the road so quietly they could do a lot of harm to inattentive pedestrians and the blind.  Federal safety officials were coming to an agreement as to the required noise level needed to keep people safe and alert to oncoming vehicles.  

What's your take on orchestrated engine noises?   Are you thrilled that new cars can still be loud, or do you think we should just let go of the roaring engines gracefully and accept the ear saving advances in technology?  Let us know in the comments below!



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