Time to get things started with the first post! I’d like to bring to attention a video by Audi as this video showcases a little bit of everything this site is about. Give this a watch and a listen:
I think this video showcases a few very important principles of vehicular audio. The narrator’s first lines, for example, include “When you first think of an Audi’s sound, you think of the roar of an engine.” It is true that the engine, and more specifically the engine’s sound as modified by the exhaust, is what we initially think of when we think of the sounds cars make. However, as the commercial highlights very well, there are a million other sounds cars make, and all of these sounds have a perception attached to them. For example, there used to be an old adage that you could tell the quality of the build of a car by what sound it makes when you shut the door. A sturdy, solid door would have a heavy, solid clunk when shut, whereas a cheap, flimsy door would have a lighter, brighter, even rattley-er sound. The differences in sound can affect our perception of the vehicle even if only on a subconscious level. As highlighted by the video, Audi takes great care in making sure every noise their product makes speaks of quality and liveliness.
What I really dig about the video are the shots of the car rigged up with microphones. Here, you can see exactly how the sound technicians at Audi have approached the task of recording the cars’ sounds in a manner that is consistent from car to car, and of the utmost quality. You can see suction cups mounted to the car, and light rigging equipment used to attach the wind jammers. Care has been taken to tape down the cables to prevent noise and also to prevent scratching the paint.
As Sound Designer Andy Hoppe says in the video, “Now we have nearly every sound in all driving situations from every model in a library for sound designers to draw from. So in post production we’ve got the sounds for every situation.”