The new EQS SUV: the Sound Experiences

Apr 19, 2022

Electric cars are inherently quiet. If desired, the ride in the EQS SUV can nevertheless become an acoustic experience: with a holistic sound production, the sound experts from Mercedes have made the paradigm shift from the combustion engine to the electric car acoustically perceptible. A total of three soundscapes are available. A separate interior driving sound is optionally available for each soundscape. It adjusts adaptively to the driving style and driving mode.

A variety of soundscapes allows for an individual acoustic set-up. If the Burmester® surround sound system is on board, the EQS SUV features the two soundscapes Silver Waves and Vivid Flux. Silver Waves is a sensuous and clean sound. Aimed at EV enthusiasts, Vivid Flux is crystalline, synthetic yet humanly warm. They can be selected or switched off as Sound Experiences on the central display.

Another soundscape can be unlocked using over-the-air technology. "Roaring Pulse" fits the character of the SUV particularly well. This Sound Experience is reminiscent of powerful machines, and is sonorous and extroverted.

Driver and passengers are already greeted acoustically when approaching the vehicle and when getting in. A corresponding Aura sound also accompanies the exiting and locking of the EQS SUV. Also part of the particular soundscape is the driving sound, which is reproduced by the speakers in the interior. It stirs emotions and inspires. At the same time, the driving sound is interactive, as it responds to a good dozen parameters such as the accelerator position, speed or energy recovery. The choice of driving mode also influences the driving sound; in SPORT mode, for example, the sounds become more dynamic and further effects are activated. The amplifier of the Burmester® surround sound system uses intelligent sound design algorithms to compute the sounds in real time, and the speakers reproduce them.

The algorithms and sounds for the sound design are created in-house at Mercedes-EQ. In addition to physicists, the interdisciplinary team also includes sound designers, media designers and mechatronics specialists. They work on the sound of the EQS SUV and its sibling models in the acoustics laboratory, which is completely shielded from external noise and vibrations. The sound experts determine which emotions the soundscapes evoke in real traffic during test drives. The mobile listening tests take place with interactive demonstrator vehicles, including at the new Immendingen Test and Technology Centre (PTZ).

In order to achieve an interplay between the driver's action, the vehicle's reaction and the feedback of the sound, musical composition such as harmony theory is not the only foundation. The vividness of the soundscape varies as the result of many sound dimensions. In this way, the sound design creates a holistic, multi-sensory experience that interacts with the entire vehicle. This experience is somewhere between comfortable quiet on the one hand and precise feedback with emotionally appealing design on the other.