In-Car Virtual Audio

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Group Design Project
Development of an audio system to improve the in-car listening experience and enable the playback of 3D audio
Group Members
Daniel Wallace, Ergo Eelmets, Filipe da Cruz Soarez, Delphis Migliori, Gergely Orosz

Supervisors
Dr. Keith Holland, Dr. Fillipo Fazi

The stereo listening experience from conventional automotive entertainment systems is inherently compromised as loudspeakers are non-optimally positioned relative to listeners. Virtual audio techniques can be used to overcome the limited range of loudspeaker positions, producing immersive spatial audio for each passenger in the car.

By exploiting the mechanisms by which the human auditory system receives and processes sound, the brain can be “tricked” into perceiving sound sources in any location in 3D. This relies upon the independent control of sound arriving at each ear, which was achieved in the designed system through crosstalk cancellation. Optimal Source Distribution theory was used to optimise the performance of the system through the careful placement of multiple loudspeaker pairs according to their working frequency range.

The wide variety of sizes and shapes of car interiors necessitates a flexible design, rather than a single “one size fits all” system. A set of guidelines have been developed which allows virtual audio systems to be designed for particular vehicles, and adapted to different seat positions.

For maximum flexibility, the system uses a parametric model of the loudspeaker geometry and the listener’s head and ears, rather than relying on expensive and time consuming binaural measurements.

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