Putting sound in the driver's seat

© BillionPhotos.com - Fotolia.com

No need to reach for the volume dial with Sonamic Loudness: the technology ensures a constant volume level when switching between radio stations, media sources, or individual audio tracks.

New Sonamic® technology is a major step forward for in-vehicle audio.

With Symphoria®, Fraunhofer has brought 3D sound for your car to series maturity. The new Fraunhofer Sonamic family of technologies comprises intelligent audio processing solutions that take the customer experience of in-car entertainment systems to a whole new level of comfort and quality. The new family is currently made up of three members: Sonamic Enhancement, Sonamic Loudness, and Sonamic TimeScaling.

To ensure optimum sound quality, audio codecs should be used at sufficiently high bitrates. However, in commercial practice, low or very low data rates are often chosen to reduce transmission costs, sometimes resulting in audible artifacts. Using intelligent, blind detection, Sonamic Enhancement can substantially reduce the occurrence of such artifacts. After the signal is analyzed, the necessary repairs and optimization are performed in real time. Among other operations, the semantic algorithms restore high-frequency signal components, remove scratches or roughness, and reconstruct lost spatiality.

The number of in-vehicle media sources has increased significantly in recent years. It is a simple matter to play back audio data from USB sticks, mp3 players, or smartphones in your car. Unfortunately, the volume level from the various audio sources varies considerably, requiring frequent adjustments. This is not just an inconvenience: it is also a safety risk, as the driver’s attention is momentarily disrupted. Sonamic Loudness addresses this problem, ensuring consistent volume when switching between radio stations, media sources, or individual audio tracks. In spite of the automatic volume adjustment, the music’s dynamic range is preserved.

With hybrid radio, listeners on the road can stay tuned in to a particular station even when leaving its broadcast area. This is achieved by switching from a broadcast signal to a web stream by the same station. However, the two sources can be separated by a time offset of up to 20 seconds. When switching from one to the other, these seconds are either lost or played twice. Sonamic TimeScaling synchronizes the two signals in the radio receiver, ensuring a precise, unnoticeable transition, allowing passengers to seamlessly continue listening to a radio broadcast wherever they are.