Perfect vehicle acoustics and innovative sound system: The Sound of Silence - Resounding Performance of the New Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Technical progress in the automobile is audible and tangible – as amply demonstrated by the new S-Class with its unique noise, vibration and tire performance, which ensures one of the most important conditions for the legendary long-distance comfort of the Mercedes’ top model. Engineers from various different areas cooperated closely to achieve this benchmark per-formance. Through the precise alignment of body, interior, drive system and chassis, they have developed an automobile that is agreeably quiet while exuding powerful self-confidence, also in terms of acoustics. This harmonious overall composition gives the Mercedes S-Class a totally new sound. Equally unique is the listening experience of the sound system, which was especially developed for the S-Class: The state-of-the-art digital technology, deployed for the first time in the automobile, enables a new level of three-dimensional sound pleasure.
The optimisation of noise, vibration and tire comfort began as early as in the planning phase of the new Mercedes saloon. Using high-performance computer programs, vibrations transferred from the engine and axles were simulated and the body area constructed to avoid generating any unpleasant resonances. An-other important contribution to the high level of stress comfort is made by the rigid body shell structure, which contains up to 50% high-strength and ultra-high-strength high-tech steel alloys. In comparison to the predecessor model, the static tortional flexibility of the body shell has been improved by app. 12%.
The focus of the stress tests was the floor plate of the new S-Class, whose innovative relief embossing makes it five times more rigid, thus reducing vibrations to a minimum. The asymmetrically arched floor plate, based on findings from bionic research, was developed and patented by Mercedes engineers and their colleagues at DaimlerChrysler Research.
Highly efficient insulation materials, which damp vibrations and absorb sound, further contribute to the high level of ride comfort in the new S-Class. Computer simulation techniques were also used for calculating the use and fitting of materials. Subsequent tests under realistic conditions confirmed the high effectiveness of the insulation measures. The sound level in the rear of the new luxury saloon is two to five decibels lower than in the predecessor model. The tire noise in the interior has been audibly reduced – at 80 kilometres an hour by up to 3 decibels.
Overall Mercedes-Benz deploys some 170 fibre, fleece and foam elements for sound insulation in the new S-Class.
Body: Exterior mirror developed in the aero acoustics wind tunnel
The aerodynamic body of the new S-Class, which with a drag coefficient of 0.26 has one of the most drag-reducing saloons in the luxury class, also offers the best conditions for perfect aero acoustics. Mercedes engineers examined various body areas in the wind tunnel to achieve further progress with innovative measuring techniques. For example, they designed the casing of the exterior mirror in a way that eliminates disruptive wind noises. The form of the A-pillar and the multiple door seals are also the result of aeroacoustic tests.
Engines: Package of measures for low sound levels and sonorous sound
Noise alignment is one of the main tasks in developing an engine. In order to solve the conflict of objectives between low passing noise and agreeable, sonorous engine sound, a complex package of measures was realised. Two-cartridge air cleaners with integrated resonators, hydraulic engine mounts, more rigid engine supports, a newly developed camshaft drive and a twin-pipe exhaust system are some of the means used to insulate noise and vibration. In addition, by deliberately accenting certain agreement frequencies, the engine engineers further enhanced the typical S-Class sound.
Sound system: New digital technology for maximum listening pleasure
In cooperation with the harman/kardon® audio specialists, Mercedes-Benz sound engineers developed a powerful sound system, which offers perfect three-dimensional sound pleasure. It is based on the DTCP technology (Digital Transmission Content Protection) which is celebrating its global premiere in the automobile. This method enables the digital transfer of all signals from the source to the amplifier thus alleviating the necessity for digital-analogue conversion. As a result, the modern multi-channel formats of DVD audio, DVD video and DTS-CDs can now be played with absolute fidelity for the first time.The spatial sound impression is provided by harman/kardon® with its professional multi-channel technology LOGIC7®. With unique digital algorithms the system achieves a realistic and enveloping surround experience true to the original master, not comparable to other sound systems, The heart of the harman/kardon® system is a 600 watts amplifier with a digital signal processor.
A further innovation is the metal matrix loudspeakers developed especially for the S-Class. This high end cone material is three times stiffer than traditional loudspeakers which results in a more transparent, resonant free sound. The sound system for the Mercedes top model includes 14 of these high-performance loudspeakers, which are integrated into the vehicle structure, providing unadulterated distortion-free sound.
harmann/kardon® is a leading manufacturer of top class audio systems. Since its invention of the world’s first high fidelity receiver - the Festival D 1000 - in 1954, the American company has been among the audio sector’s pioneers.
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