Yamaha Creates Acoustic Design for Engine of the Lexus LFA Super …

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Yamaha Creates Acoustic Design for Engine of the Lexus LFA Super Sports Car

On display at the October 2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Now, in the new Lexus LFA, you can experience the same sound that professional drivers hear in their cockpits when they careen around test courses.

Click here to listen to a three-minute run of the dynamic sound of the Lexus LFA and get a feel for what racing drivers experience.

(The first 17 seconds and the last 30 seconds were recorded outside the LFA, and the rest is what the driver hears.)

The Center for Advanced Sound Technologies of Yamaha Corporation (Headquarters: 10-1, Nakazawa-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, President: Mitsuru Umemura) and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. performed acoustic design work for the engine of the Lexus LFA, which will be displayed at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show that begins on October 23. Yamaha Motor assisted in developing the engine for this sports car.

The goal of the acoustic design project was to generate the dramatic and exciting acoustic properties that people expect of mass-produced super sports car like the Lexus LFA.

The Lexus LFA and its engine will be on display at the Lexus booth at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, and the prototype engine will be shown at the Yamaha Motor booth.

The acoustic designing concept

The objective of this acoustic design was to utilize sound as a medium that can achieve a direct link between the driver and the vehicle. To accomplish this goal, Yamaha and Yamaha Motor decided to base the design on the following two goals.

This approach was based on Yamaha’s expertise in creating relationships between performers and musical instruments to give the perfomers the full enjoyment of playing an instrument.

When playing a musical instrument, performers hear the delicate changes in volume, tone, and nuances that they produce themselves. Hearing these subtle changes allows performers to make instant revisions as they play the instrument. For these performers, access to high-quality audio feedback is vital to achieving the best possible performance.

In this case, sensing the direct feedback of the musical instrument is what provides the performers with the enjoyment of playing an instrument.

Figure 1: The important interactive loop linking a “musical instrument, space, and performer” and “engine, body, and driver”

Feedback is equally important when driving an automobile. In this case, feedback refers to how the vehicle responds to the driver’s actions. In a super sports car like the Lexus LFA, providing a high-grade engine sound that changes with even a delicate operation by the driver can contribute directly to the enjoyment of driving.

We believe that sound is a valuable means of communication between the driver and vehicle. Accurately passing on high-grade engine sounds to the driver makes it possible to feel the vehicle’s condition and instantly take the next minute action that is required.

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This is how sound can be used to establish and enhance an interactive loop between drivers and automobiles. Our goal was to make the experience of operating a super sports car even more exciting and enjoyable.

Features of the acoustic design

To perform this acoustic design, we viewed the engine as the generator of sound and the automobile as a medium for conveying sounds from one place to another. We then came up with an idea for how to achieve a smooth interaction between drivers and vehicles, and it was adopted.

The Lexus LFA is powered by a 10-cylinder engine that was co-developed by Yamaha Motor and has an even firing interval. Only physical acoustic methods were utilized to give the driver a direct sensation of this engine’s characteristics. There is no electrical or electronic sound processing.

As a result, sounds that reach the driver are clear, dynamic, and smooth.

Furthermore, this acoustic approach has two advantages. The first is the ability to hold down noise under normal driving conditions, such as in a city. The other advantage is an outstanding response in engine sound during strong acceleration.

1.Acoustic design using the engine as a sound generator

We studied and used the surge tank (note 1) as part of the intake system to radiate the sound. The vibration mode of this tank was controlled by optimizing thickness, rib configuration, and other aspects of its design. When accelerating at an engine speed of about 3,000rpm, the driver hears a powerful harmonic sound structure centered around 250Hz, which is the primary component of combustion tone (note 2). At a high engine speed of about 6,000rpm, the harmonic sound structure is centered around 500Hz. This produces a sound that is rich and smooth.

For even higher engine speeds, we further increased the number of high frequencies to create a sound that clearly reflects how the engine speed is climbing.

Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept
Yamaha Motiv city car concept

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