Focal makes sound systems in models of the DS, Peugeot, Alpine and Bentley. We took a tour of the factory in Lyon and found out what it takes to have good sound.
For most drivers, the right soundtrack, an exciting audio book, an entertaining podcast or their favorite radio station at the wheel is just part of it. Playback quality has a big impact on the listening experience. We visited Focal, a hi-fi specialist in France. Among other things, the company equips production models of the DS and Peugeot with loudspeakers, subwoofers and amplifiers.
First, the French show us in a special projection room how high-quality recording with a high-end system at a total cost of about half a million euros can really sound. The result: with eyes closed, individual band members could be located exactly in the room – as if there were no speakers in front, but a live band. An experience that unfortunately cannot be reproduced in a car with such intensity. Guillaume Sirami, Automotive Business Manager at Focal, explains his preferred configuration using the DS9 as an example.
“We have installed the Focal Electra sound system here. Apart from the treble, midrange and bass, surround sound can also be defined in the car. We put a lot of effort into it and so the standard setting is really already perfect. It really is. It’s only worth adjusting to if you have specific personal preferences, like more powerful bass,” says Sirami, who has worked at Focal for more than 14 years. He had previously tuned the sound system in Peugeot. Similar to vehicle components such as a drive or chassis, sound engineers perform acceptance and test drives to test the soundness of a sound system under various conditions – for example in city traffic or at 130 km/h on a motorway.
Simple Tips for a Better Voice
Now if you are someone who values good sound in the car, then there are some simple tips that will bring better sound in the cockpit. It’s always better if the car offers the possibility, for example, to connect a smartphone via cable and not stream via Bluetooth. You should also make sure that you save high playback quality songs on your device with your favorite streaming provider. Spotify and Co. Here it is recommended to download high-quality files due to the large amount of data in the home WLAN network, providing various gradations.
There is still a disadvantage in using a smartphone as a playback device. Smartphones often have an integrated equalizer that affects the output signal. It is worth searching thoroughly in the menu to see if this is the case and how to deactivate the function. Chances are that the harmony of the settings is quite low by chance with those in the car. In the podcast Ames, Guillaume Sirami explains what else needs to be considered, for example removing loose objects that vibrate around door compartments and the like.
Good sound in a car is important for many drivers. Whether it’s music, news, audio books or your favorite podcast. In this article and in the podcast “Ames Explains” you can find out how the sound quality can easily be improved and what you need to pay attention to.
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