Auro-3D was developed in 2005 by Galaxy Studios founder Wilfried Van Baelen. In 2010, he founded Auro Technologies for the development of the revolutionary format he baptised as ‘immersive sound’, which became the new generic term for ‘Sound in 3D’. Today, Auro-3D technology is adopted by some 1,000 movie theatres and over 20,000 home cinema configurations worldwide. What’s more, Auro-3D has also successfully entered the gaming industry and the smartphone-market, now boasting some two million users. Now, it is making a play for the motoring market.
“After a first Auro-3D introduction in the Porsche Panamera, we are consolidating our commitment towards the automotive market with the new Porsche Cayenne,” explained Van Baelen in his welcome speech before the international press gathered in Mol, Belgium. “With the high-end Burmester Audio system, the immersive sound experience is now offering a new driving experience.”
The Auro-3D sound system for both the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne was designed by Berlin-based audio manufacturer Burmester. The company was founded in a living room in 1972 and has steadily grown to become the last independent full range high-end audio manufacturer on the planet.
“We’re a small, family owned company, with less than 100 staffers, and that’s the key to our success,” underlines Andreas Henke, CEO of Burmester Audiosysteme. “Already in 2009, we pioneered high-end sound in the luxury automotive segment, setting a standard for ultimate sound quality in vehicles.”
The audio configuration for the two Porsche models consists of 21 (seven tweeters, seven mid-range and two broadband speakers, four 120W woofers and one 400W subwoofer) loudspeakers, piping the music into the cabin. All of the speaker enclosures were tailor made to fit the interior and meet the dimension and weight restrictions of the car designer.
“We’ve opted for a fully symmetric signal feed,” said Henke. “And against all principles of digital audio, we decided to use analogue filters for quality reasons. The system is powered by Class D amplifiers with a total output power of 1,455W (including 4 x 120 W for the woofers and a separate 400 W for the subwoofer) offering elegant performance even when using high power. The new configuration is also equipped with the Burmester Air Motion Transformers (AMT), an exclusive for Porsche, resulting in extremely clear and detailed high frequency reproduction.”
To achieve the Auro-3D sound, an extra broadband two-way AMT centre speaker was integrated in the dashboard and two more broadband speakers were positioned in the windscreen pillars on either side of the passenger cabin. This new set-up is designed to drastically improve the clarity of vocal reproduction, benefitting the music playback, as well as broadcasts, hands-free telephony and GPS traffic announcements.
“We’ve been looking for the perfect algorithm adapted for the Porsche passenger compartment and the Burmester technology,” explained Mathias Renz, business manager Audio Acoustics with Porsche. “We did some research and decided on Auro-3D, who developed a dedicated algorithm enabling to create a natural 3D-effect in music playback. Together with Burmester, we have been able to lift the musical experience on a higher emotional level – the challenge being the room for the components in the car, the choice of lightweight components and power consumption.”
When asked whether these extra features in key construction elements of the car would compromise the safety of the Porsche, Renz assured that all of the configurations were thoroughly ‘crash-tested’, citing the example of the speakers in the two (L-R) front pillars where Porsche engineers carried out a number of tests before giving the green light for the installation.
In addition to existing preset functions for the Burmester car soundsystems, the Auro-3D system includes the Pure preset, offering unfiltered sound reproduction with no additional effects.
To restore the sound quality of compressed music content, the Porsche Auro-3D configuration is equipped with a special software Auro-Matic algorithm enhancing the audio signal.
“Today, music is not limited to audio CDs or high quality USB files,” said Renz. “Some content is imported via radio, Bluetooth, smartphones or MP3. This software makes use of the amplifier’s internal calculation capacity to restore these types of audio files, improving the quality of the playback. Auro-3D is already used to deliver spatial music playback in cinemas and is now revolutionising the automotive sector as well.”