The powerful revving sound of the engine is undoubtedly the best part of owning and driving a muscle car. However, the purring of your latest car could very well be a synthetic recording.
Automakers have been accused of replacing the authentic engine purr with a shallow, mechanical one that emanates from a sound-generating engine. This sound generation tech is merely synched with the gas pedal. As proud muscle car owners stepped on the gas to hear the sweet signature rumbling, they were treated with fake sounds that were produced from another machine dedicated to producing these fake engine sounds.
Essentially, if you’ve bought a car within the last few years, chances are high you’re not actually hearing your engine growl, but instead a recording of it.
Car manufacturers, including BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Porsche and Ford, are all in on the deception, working hard to make sure the synthesized versions truly sound like their iconic old car engines. Shockingly, Ford even surveyed its customers to get the sounds just right.
Take into consideration the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost. Ford sound engineers and developers boast about creating “Active Noise Control” system that amplifies the engine’s purr through the car speakers. They even surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs to find out which “processed sound concepts” they enjoyed the most.
Volkswagen has a similar deception technique, however, it chooses to call it “Soundaktor,” a special speaker that looks like a hockey puck and plays sound files in cars such as the GTI and Beetle Turbo. Lexus adopted a little more professional approach and sought help from sound technicians at Yamaha to more loudly amplify the noise of its LFA supercar toward the driver seat.
Why would automakers fake engine sounds? Though it may sound deceptive and dishonest, automakers have been forced to offer synthetically boosted versions of the engine sounds which had initially made their cars famous. Stricter pollution control norms coupled with fuel efficient and advanced engines have made the cars quiet or to some car enthusiasts, a little too quiet for their liking.
Without the speakers belting out artificial engines sounds, automakers fear potential buyers would view the quieter vehicles as less powerful and walk away. Moreover, federal safety officers are also in on this scam, but have an interesting justification ready. They feel these quiet cars might catch an inattentive pedestrian or a blind person by surprise.
While you may curse this deception, fake engine sounds are here to stay. In fact, mandates are expected to be finalized later this year requiring all hybrid and electric cars to fake engine sounds in order to prevent this danger.
So the next time you rev your engine to hear its thunder, it might as well be purring under the hood and the booming sound might just be a recording.
[Image Credit | Bold Ride]