GM High-Tech Performance Blogs
Mixing art and science to enhance engine sounds
As technology has improved there has often been the criticism that there is a disconnection between car and driver. Some have thought the solution is to throw away any such technology. GM's solution: use more of it.
Though I have not sat in the 2014 Cadillac CTS, if it is like any other Cadillac built in the last 9 years it is extremely quiet – devoid of most wind and road noise. They are built this way by design, I mean who wants to be deafened by the hum of the tires or the screaming of the wind? The unfortunate consequence to canceling out unwanted noise is that it often takes with it the stuff you do want, like engine noise. To solve this issue, GM engineers strategically placed microphones around the cabin of the CTS and Vsport to pick up the engine's roar, and used an integrated electronic system to enhance the sound and play it through the Bose sound system. The study of psychoacoustics helped determine what tones sound most pleasing to the ear. GM is quick to point out that no artificial sounds are used.
“The sound enhancement system acts like a choir conductor, calling forth certain engine sounds to sing the loudest depending on the driving mode,” said Dave Leone, CTS executive chief engineer, Performance Luxury Vehicles. “We used our ears to tell us what sounded the best and programmed the system to listen for those tones. It is Cadillac’s Art and Science design philosophy applied to engine sound.
And of course this system is integrated into the driving mode. In Tour, Sport, and Track (this mode is only available on the Vsport) the sound becomes more and more aggressive. Crazy stuff.