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      10-06-2013, 01:35 PM   #1
nachob
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Fake Engine Sound (Active Sound) is Last Straw

I know that "real car guys" are a diminishing breed and some may just prefer to call us "old school" but fake engine sound is the last straw that shows the BMWs lack of caring for real car guys. I must admit that they grudgingly put manual transmissions in their cars for us but deep down BMW resents it. Life would be much simpler for them with just an automatic that lets you "shift" or drive in full auto but at least they do it and I still own a BMW for that reason.

Lexus on the other hand doesn't do it on their IS 350 and I will not buy one because of it BUT after having read that Active Sound is mandatory on the new M cars.......I am puzzled and seriously saddened by it.

This is the new height of poserdom. I cannot buy a car with fake engine sound and to make matters worse you cannot disable it without disabling the stereo system. I have been seriously holding out of M235 or M2 but I don't know if I can overcome this. I would be embarrassed if other car guys found out I was driving with fake engine sound track.

Not only is there the embarrassment but more importantly the it is one more loss of connection to car. I listen to my engine! As some have called it, I have "mechanical empathy" and I listen to it. Every ping when accidentally lugged, every VANOS rattle when the idle drops to low and the crescendo of mechanical music when making serious power. Even turbos and wastegates are part of the "rhythm" when you are autocrossing or cruising on a mountain road. That is a another connection lost. With automatics, you do not control or manage the engagement so you lose that connection, then the new steering racks further detach you from the road feel and now you cannot "really" listen to the engine.

Sad. I know most of you don't feel the same way, I understand, since you grow up with iPhones that are set to the "old" analog phone ringer and think it's quaint.

I was just wondering if there were any of you out there that are also sad about fake engine sound?
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      10-06-2013, 01:40 PM   #2
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There's a reason why I'm jumping ship to Porsche. You just listed most of them.
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      10-06-2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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To be honest it isn't intrusive at all, I was surprised at how little active sound there was. But it's fairly easy to eliminate it, as I had done.
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      10-06-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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I am 18 (and therefore part of the iphone generation), and I agree with you 100%. In fact, I am planning on going into the automotive industry for that very reason, to bring the connection back.
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      10-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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i really struggle to understand how they cant make the real engine sound in the cabin.
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      10-06-2013, 03:56 PM   #6
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A bit of a overreaction don't you think? If it 'enhances' your driving experience, what's the problem? I't's no like the sound is being blasted outside of the car.

I remember a audio-file chap I knew once saying that there was no need for graphic equalizers in stereos as it takes away for the sound the artist intended...BS.

Do you feel less 'connected' to the car because of power steering...
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      10-06-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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Some people are exaggerating the active sound. You really can't even tell because it's the actual sound of the engine simply enhancing the sound coming from the engine bay. It's not like you turn a corner, step on the gas, and all of a sudden you hear the sound of a Ferrari V12! I do think BMW should have add an option within Idrive to turn off Active Sound, although 9 out of 10 drivers would probably just leave it on. It enhances the driving experience, the refined cabin mutes the sounds you don't want while active sound allows you to hear the sounds you DO want. I also like how when listening to B&O system loud, you can never tell there's any "engine noise" coming through the speakers distorting your sound. Quite clever system IMO. I thought Active Sound was step backwards for BMW until I got my M6 and now see how it's implemented. I haven't noticed a "fake" engine sound while driving.
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      10-06-2013, 06:55 PM   #8
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What many people fail to realize is many other car manufactures are doing this too.

The 2010 GTI comes to mind. I believe the 2009's had an actual tube that went into the cabin, and for the 2010 models people began to find sound symposeurs tucked in the dash.
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      10-06-2013, 07:38 PM   #9
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Lexus IS and GS have a sound pipe to enhance engine noise into the cabin.

The problem with BMW is its a pre-recorded engine noise that is FAKE, as its not being generated by the actual engine in your specific car.

What happens if you blast the music while revving the engine???
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      10-06-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
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Sound pipe or Active Sound, it's all to produce the same result! More of the engine sounds people like inside the cabin while removing the unwanted sounds. Some people make it sound as though all engine noise you hear (in cars with active sound) is coming from the speakers. That's simply not the case, you'll hear real sounds and it's difficult to detect if and when they're being amplified with active sound. You'd need to be able switch active sound on and off to tell any difference.

Nothing happens if you blast music and rev the engine? You hear loud music and your engine rev. Lol, most of the people that have the most issues with Active Sound obviously haven't experienced it. It's just the thought of engine sounds coming though speakers that have them complaining.
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      10-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #11
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Drive the car before you make complaints based on what's written on paper. Active sound isn't a big deal. You can't even tell its there and the cars that have it have alot of sound deadening so even if you put a loud ass exhaust you won't hear all of it.
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      10-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #12
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"Hey guys I just picked up my new M4 but want a little more engine noise. What do you guys recommend?

A: Don't even waste your time with a drop in filter or an exhaust. Alpine just released an amp that claims at least 20% increase in BMW's active sound. Also try putting tweeters in two of the four exhaust tips since artificial sound is way better than the real thing."
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      10-06-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by late apex View Post
Some people are exaggerating the active sound. You really can't even tell because it's the actual sound of the engine simply enhancing the sound coming from the engine bay. It's not like you turn a corner, step on the gas, and all of a sudden you hear the sound of a Ferrari V12! I do think BMW should have add an option within Idrive to turn off Active Sound, although 9 out of 10 drivers would probably just leave it on. It enhances the driving experience, the refined cabin mutes the sounds you don't want while active sound allows you to hear the sounds you DO want. I also like how when listening to B&O system loud, you can never tell there's any "engine noise" coming through the speakers distorting your sound. Quite clever system IMO. I thought Active Sound was step backwards for BMW until I got my M6 and now see how it's implemented. I haven't noticed a "fake" engine sound while driving.
I can see this being true what you said. how you cant really tell. its more of the principal to many people.

i don't understand how they couldn't enhance the cabin with natural engine noise though.

cant say i have never heard anyone say a stock E92 m3 or E60 m5 was to loud from factory or allot of times to quiet (engine wise not exhaust) . what happen that made BMW HAVE to use this system ? was it maybe this new FI engines were not producing the sound BMW wanted? were the old engines just more vocal by nature ?
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      10-06-2013, 09:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by late apex View Post
You'd need to be able switch active sound on and off to tell any difference.

The M135i's system actually adds quite a bit to the sound of the car. With the system off, it loses quite a bit of the "intake sound" that it has with the system on.

And like Enzio said, its the principle that bothers me.

Last edited by bimmerjph; 10-06-2013 at 09:54 PM.
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      10-06-2013, 10:12 PM   #15
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I can here it now. Customer: My car has a really bad rattle in the door panel and behind the dash and in the head liner. Service Advisor: That's the sound system. BMW adds rattle sounds along with clunks and buzzing to give it a performance feel. Waste gate rattle...nope that sound is an option. Only 2K extra.
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      10-06-2013, 10:44 PM   #16
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Artificial sounds i'm not a fan of especially when you're paying six figures for a vehicle. I wish they would utilize the "Sound Sympose" fords using for their focus ST. At least with that you're taking actual engine acoustics.
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      10-06-2013, 10:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ezio View Post
I can see this being true what you said. how you cant really tell. its more of the principal to many people.

i don't understand how they couldn't enhance the cabin with natural engine noise though.

cant say i have never heard anyone say a stock E92 m3 or E60 m5 was to loud from factory or allot of times to quiet (engine wise not exhaust) . what happen that made BMW HAVE to use this system ? was it maybe this new FI engines were not producing the sound BMW wanted? were the old engines just more vocal by nature ?
That is a by-product of forced induction, a quieted exhaust note as some of the exhaust gasses are being recycled to spin the turbos, which are natural "mufflers". Of course, the solution is make the post-turbo exhaust more open, but that can produce too many "uncouth" noises which isn't premium. The market demands premium vehicles, which are utterly silent, because that's what luxury is all about, right?
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      10-06-2013, 10:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger_Extract View Post
That is a by-product of forced induction, a quieted exhaust note as some of the exhaust gasses are being recycled to spin the turbos, which are natural "mufflers". Of course, the solution is make the post-turbo exhaust more open, but that can produce too many "uncouth" noises which isn't premium. The market demands premium vehicles, which are utterly silent, because that's what luxury is all about, right?
makes sense ,and i have heard of turbos acting as mufflers before.

Ya i these M cars are made to be classy, and sporty. i get the part where they want the exhaust to be fine tuned.

i wouldn't say premium = utterly silent though. kind of depends on the premium car. i mean a Audi R8 V10 is most likely going to scream somewhat
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      10-07-2013, 03:01 AM   #19
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That is a by-product of forced induction, a quieted exhaust note as some of the exhaust gasses are being recycled to spin the turbos, which are natural "mufflers". Of course, the solution is make the post-turbo exhaust more open, but that can produce too many "uncouth" noises which isn't premium. The market demands premium vehicles, which are utterly silent, because that's what luxury is all about, right?
It's got nothing to do with 'premium vehicle' bullshit......it's got everything to do with European Noise regulations bullshit, which is forcing ever more stricter drive by noise regulations on European manufacturers.
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      10-07-2013, 09:34 AM   #20
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Artificial sounds i'm not a fan of especially when you're paying six figures for a vehicle. I wish they would utilize the "Sound Sympose" fords using for their focus ST. At least with that you're taking actual engine acoustics.
Interesting you mentioned the Focus ST as I just purchased one to use as a commuter car. The sound symposer system sounds good, but IMO it's not implemented as well as active sound in my M6. For example, in the ST if you slowly accelerate pass 3,000 RPM you can clearly hear the symposer activating similar to valved exhaust systems. I've never been able to clearly hear active sound coming on in the M6 so it's difficult for me to differentiate what's actually coming from the engine bay and what's coming from the speakers.
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      10-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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Ya i these M cars are made to be classy, and sporty. i get the part where they want the exhaust to be fine tuned.
I disagree. M cars should be raw; manual seats, manual transmission, minimalist interior and sound damping, lightweight, with an "exhaust note be damned" powerful engine. You know, kind of like the homologation special E30 that arguably started this whole thing.

If that theoretical car described above isn't your cup of tea, perhaps the 335i is a better car for you. They're M cars. They're not supposed to be for everyone.

The fact that BMW continues to dumb down the M cars for the masses is how we end up engine noise being played through the stereo.

Just my $.02. It's disappointing to see where BMW is with the M cars these days.

Last edited by Kyle B; 10-07-2013 at 10:10 AM. Reason: punctuation
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      10-07-2013, 10:15 AM   #22
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I disagree. M cars should be raw; manual seats, manual transmission, minimalist interior and sound damping, lightweight, with an exhaust "note be damned" powerful engine. You know, kind of like the homologation special E30 that arguably started this whole thing.

If that theoretical car described above isn't your cup of tea, perhaps the 335i is a better car for you. They're M cars. They're not supposed to be for everyone.

The fact that BMW continues to dumb down the M cars for the masses is how we end up engine noise being played through the stereo.

Just my $.02. It's disappointing to see where BMW is with the M cars these days.
maybe the M cars are not your cup of tea. because they simply do not make them that way anymore.

People like the luxury and sports side to this car. Thats where the market is. M cars are now luxury and sports cars. thats the bottom line.
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