CES 2020: In-car sound without the speakers

Pimp my ride… not!

If you are the types who decide on the car’s audio system before they decide on the car, well, it’s clear that you are serious about in-car entertainment and audio.

And the more elaborate the setup gets, the more the added weight (up to 40 kg) thanks to that subwoofer, amplifiers to drive them and all those speakers placed in every imaginable position. In a move that would completely disappoint Xzibit (from Pimp my ride), the audio specialists at Sennheiser showcased an in-car audio system that skips on the speakers.

Sennheiser tied up with Continental to announce their speakerless in-vehicle audio system that brings together the best technologies from both brands. The brands claim that their new sound system can fill a vehicle’s interior with ‘lifelike’ immersive audio, which to us sounds believable. The system integrates Sennheiser’s patented AMBEO 3D audio tech and Continental’s Ac2ated sound system that does not require the fitment of conventional speakers and achieves 3D sound all around the passengers seated in a vehicle.

While Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D powers the sound, Continental’s Ac2ated system vibrates certain surfaces (parts of the dashboard, A-pillar trims, door panels and more) inside a vehicle to produce sound, just like with a wooden musical instrument. The whole system works with tiny actuators in a manner quite similar to the piezoelectric actuators inside some premium smartphones that skip on the receiver speaker. Does that mean we can kiss high-end in-car audio systems goodbye?