HomeNewsDirac, HARMAN and Volvo Cars collaborate to recreate the sound experience of Sweden’s famed Nefertiti Jazz Club in Volvo’s 2021 60 and 90 series of vehicles

Dirac, HARMAN and Volvo Cars collaborate to recreate the sound experience of Sweden’s famed Nefertiti Jazz Club in Volvo’s 2021 60 and 90 series of vehicles

December 18, 2020

DIRAC Volvo Harman

The Dirac-enabled Bowers & Wilkins system adds “Jazz Club” mode, expanding the success of the acclaimed “Concert Hall” mode.

Swedish digital audio pioneer Dirac, HARMAN International, and Volvo Cars, today announced acoustical design collaboration for the 2021 Volvo 60 and 90 vehicle series. The all-new “Jazz Club” mode transports drivers and passengers to the Nefertiti Jazz Club in Gothenburg, Sweden, by recreating the acoustics of the club within the car cabin.

According to the companies, the new sound mode expands Volvo’s initiative to deliver accurate real-world acoustic replications that began with its “Concert Hall” mode, which simulates the aural experience of a live performance at the celebrated Gothenburg Concert Hall.  

Both modes were developed in collaboration between Volvo Cars, Dirac, and HARMAN – and combine Volvo’s acoustic engineering excellence with Dirac’s digital audio technology and HARMAN brand Bowers & Wilkins’ speaker system.

“Volvo’s successful vision to deliver truly unique in-car audio experiences reflects the growing capabilities of Dirac’s software and Bowers & Wilkins’ hardware,” commented Lars Carlsson, Dirac General Manager of Automotive Audio. “Through this second implementation of an in-car audio system that replicates lauded live music environments, our partnership has once again demonstrated the cutting-edge of audio technology and its ability to fundamentally transform the in-vehicle listening experience.”

Faithfully simulating a jazz club or a concert hall in a vehicle cabin presents significant challenges for audio engineers – as each space has unique acoustical characteristics that alter how sound travels and therefore how it’s perceived. The original acoustical characteristics of a car cabin are significantly different from a hall or a club considering the cabin’s size, shape, reflective surfaces, and more.

The companies’ approach to simulating a jazz club or concert hall begins by removing the unwanted acoustic characteristics of the car cabin to allow for the re-creation of new characteristics as realistically as possible – just like using a blank canvas so that an artist can paint freely.

To do this, Dirac leverages its patented MIMO mixed phase correction technology, which co-optimizes all speakers’ magnitude and phase response to optimally reproduce each input channel. In doing so, the technology makes it possible to remove the unwanted effects of a car cabin such as reflections and modal patterns and improve impulse responses digitally – which was previously regarded as possible only in theory. 

The patented technology is the foundation of Dirac’s most advanced cabin sound optimization solution, which has been utilized by Volvo and other leading auto brands for several years.

Once the unwanted acoustic characteristics of the car cabin are removed, new ones are then re-created with high degrees of accuracy. Dirac Chief Scientist Lars-Johan Brännmark and his team began the process by visiting the club to measure and collect its “acoustic fingerprint data” – e.g. reverberation patterns, reflections, frequency and spacing – from various sweet spots. The team then copied the “fingerprint” into the car cabin – creating an algorithmic structure to accurately mimic those attributes in a vehicle interior.

The algorithm was handed off to Harman specialists, who – with Volvo’s support – integrated it with the 19-speaker, 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo system available in the 2021 Volvo 60 and 90 series.

nefetiti dirac

“The performance of the new Volvo 60 and 90 series is a testament to our internal engineering excellence and strategic collaborations with select companies that provide deep expertise in highly-specific fields,” stated Vito Di Fonzo, Product Owner Audio, Volvo Cars. “Through our continued work with Dirac and Harman, we’re able to leverage their decades of experience in acoustics engineering to jointly develop pioneering solutions that set new standards in automotive audio.”

The Nefertiti Jazz Club opened in 1978 and is still run as a non-profit association today. The club’s vaulted cellar is a famously loved performance space for the biggest names in the international jazz community, and thanks to Dirac, Bowers & Wilkins and Volvo, music lovers no longer have to fly halfway around the globe to enjoy a world-class audio experience.

For more on Dirac automotive audio solutions, click here.

About Dirac:
Dirac was founded to revolutionize the way the world hears. We are inventing the future of sound with superior experiences, for any content, device and space. For the many, not the few. Based in Sweden, Dirac optimizes digital audio, perfecting sound for better listening in any environment. The patented sound solution technology spans across mobile, gaming, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, headphones, streaming, automotive, residential and commercial AV, boosting whatever sound you’re listening to, wherever you’re listening. For professionals, Dirac produces the industry’s most powerful suite of audio tools for signal processing. Some of the world’s most respected brands bring the Dirac sound experience to their customers, including Rolls Royce, Volvo, Polestar, BMW, BYD, Harman, Datasat, NAD, ASUS and OPPO.

As well as headquarters in Uppsala, Sweden, Dirac has offices in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, China; a Research & Development facility in Copenhagen, Denmark; and representation in Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and USA.

HARMAN International (harman.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co, LTD., designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions, and services supporting the Internet of Things.  With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Our software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information visit www.harman.com.