Should BMWs use the Active Sound?

Interesting, Others | January 22nd, 2015 by 18
BMW Concept M4 exhaust tips pebble beach launch 15 750x500

BMW uses Active Sound, among other auto manufacturers, to create the sound of a high-performance engine and exhaust

I wanna talk about fake engine/exhaust noises for a bit. BMW uses them, among other auto manufacturers, to create the sound of a high-performance engine and exhaust by pumping those noises into the cabin, via speakers, to enhance driving pleasure. They do this because sound isolation has become so good in modern cars and turbocharged engines are much more muted than their free-breathing brethren, so you can’t hear the engines anymore.

Now normally I like funny gizmos and gadgets to entertain me, because I’m a small child at heart. But for some reason, fake engine sound, or Active Sound as BMW calls it, is just bothersome to me. I’m not a fan of fake anything; not of fake watches, not of fake sunglasses and not even of a fake particular part(s) of a woman’s body. Though I may be able to make an exception for that last one (or two, technically). So, fake engine noise just doesn’t do it for me.

bmw active sound

I understand BMWs need for this and I don’t necessarily blame them for doing so, but I just wish they could figure out a better way. AMG can make incredible engine notes with their turbocharged engines, why can’t BMW? Let’s say they can’t figure out a way to provide excellent sound deadening and still provide a good engine note. Let’s say it’s impossible. Can’t BMW just give me a button to turn it off?

READ ALSO: BMW Active Sound Design

I’d rather it be as quite as a sermon for deaf church mice than have artificial exhaust pumping through my speakers. A button to turn it off would not only be better, but simple as well. It’s not a hard fix that could take months and many dollars to do. Yes, I know that if BMW didn’t tell me I would have never known.

The problem is that they did tell me. Now I can’t un-know it. I wish they didn’t say anything, this way I could be a happy, ignorant idiot, thinking to myself “WOW this exhaust sounds awesome!” But now, if I hear a BMW exhaust from inside the car, I know that it’s just speakers and computers generating it for me.

That takes some of the fun out of things.

18 responses to “Should BMWs use the Active Sound?”

  1. disqus_um7Ce9uY38 says:

    even if you unplug it you will hear the same thing thats how realistic it is. its on 2-3% amped.. not even a big deal in person it just sounds horrible on youtube in real life its nice

  2. Thinker says:

    You have to be deaf to not hear, that V8 (yes, V8!!!) engine sound in BMW i8 is fake. It’s not 2 or 10%, it’s 95% of sound you hear! Worst BMW invention ever !

  3. Mark PG says:

    It’s not fake, it’s a note prerecorded and played back through the speakers. Customers want comfort as well as a sporty note, with Active Sound it makes it possible to have both.

    • Ash says:

      its probably something BMW are looking at since electric cars are so silent. if electric vehicles become the norm, then powerful engine sounds we all know and love may disappear :(

    • G Gould says:

      It is fake. Now if they had a mic inside the engine and pumped that into the cabin so you could hear the actual engine and have sound dampening, then that wouldn’t be fake.

      But they are literally taking recordings of high performance engines that aren’t in your car and pumping them into the cabin. They might as well play Ferrari v12 sounds, at the end of the day.

  4. jason bourne says:

    Whether it’s 1% or 10%, fake is still fake.

    You want to hear engine sound? Roll down the windows.

  5. WAZUP says:

    There is a fuse you can take out and pre-recorded (fake as you say) exhaust note will stop bothering you.

  6. Will says:

    AMG’s sound great with turbos because they use a great V8. The old 335i derived engine in the new M3/M4 is never going to sound like an AMG, unless BMW pipe a fake V8 note into the cabin of the F80 cars.

  7. Behzad says:

    If I really want to enjoy a simulation of a V8 monster , i mean if i accept the fact that fake stuff does it for me , then why pay 40000- 70000 $ or more for a BMW i can simply get the same pleasure from a Video Game (NFS for example) they’re pretty much close to reality in simulating cars and their noises too and All i have to pay is 50$ tops !!!!

    The Thing is No Matter How Realistic or good it is it will never Make you feel Really Satisfied because deep down in your subconcious you know it it’s FAKE ! it’s Not REAL !

    Why playing video games and simulated worlds never do it for you ?
    Why playing video games never make you Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ?

    You’ll never feel like a true achiever , like a Real Person , A Successful and valuable one because you’re not achieving anything

    at some point you realize you have to stop playing games and get off your ass , get out there and Make something of your self , and imagine if i’m gonna study hard work hard become rich and successful and finally buy a BMW And then Realize that all my endeavor and hard workings in my entire life has led to the same Fake Simulated Piece of Shit !!!

    WTF ? i was having the same fun with my video games for years ! so why do all of that stuff so i could pay extra money for the same fake piece of rubbish ??? !!!

    I Deserve Real Pleasure , Real Stuff , Real Value For All My Hard Working And Endeavor BMW !

  8. Behzad says:

    What’s The Point of So Much Sound Isolating The Car If you’re going to inject the same noises through an amplifier and stereo into the cabin ???!!!!

    Why isolate the car in the first place ?
    and then why amplify the engine sound and pump into cabin ??? !!!

    if it’s going to be quiet car , then there’s no need for engine roar ….
    but if it’s going to be a sporty fire spitting monster then why silence it in the first Place ?

    if i want a car that’s quiet when i need it and Loud as Godzilla when i request it i can simply bring the windows down and listen to the engine roaring , BMW can do all of these by smart valve equipped exhaust systems which can be both quiet and noisy whenever the driver needs it

    mercedes benz have done it already , and you can even adjust the volume of the exhaust noise from the computer !

    So why is BMW having a f***ing identity crisis here ? putting an always-on sound simulator for a noiseless car is kinda Defeating Your own Purpose !!!

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