7/9/2014 Summer 2015 About the Author Beautiful Sounds for Every Journey By Neil Szigethy 7/9/2014 Summer 2015 When Sidney Harman joined forces with Bernard Kardon in 1953, he had one driving principle – everyone deserves great sound. From humble beginnings to becoming a central brand in a global audio powerhouse, the secret to the success enjoyed by Harman Kardon®1has always been to listen to consumers rather than engineers. The result is beautiful sound that’s affordable and easy to use. AUDIO INNOVATIONS AS ART Click to learn about the Harman Kardon heritage. From the first stereo receiver, to the first stereo cassette recording deck with Dolby® B noise reduction, to the first CD audio recorder with 4x dub speed, Harman Kardon has a rich heritage of innovation. Throughout the years, the company has earned dozens of international awards for both audio excellence and outstanding design. In fact, Harman Kardon SoundSticks® are featured in the design collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Today, Harman Kardon audio components for home theaters and premium in-car entertainment systems continue to follow Sidney Harman’s vision. SUBARU AND HARMAN KARDON Subaru first turned to Harman Kardon for brand-name audio systems in the 2009 Legacy and Outback, then the 2010 Tribeca, 2014 Forester, and 2015 WRX and WRX STI. Whether listening to radio, CD, or an iPod®, each system is designed to deliver beautiful sound, mile after mile. BEHIND THE PREMIUM SOUND What makes these audio systems “premium”? Stated simply: advanced speakers, powerful amplifiers with digital signal processing (DSP), and intensive engineering effort. Advanced Speaker Designs For example, the front-mounted midtweeters in the 2014 Forester use metal matrix diaphragms (MMD) and neodymium magnets. MMD speaker material is a layered composite of thin ceramic on a lightweight metal base. It is very strong and specifically designed to issue bright, clear high notes as well as bold, natural low notes with greater accuracy. Neodymium is a rare earth element that makes a more compact and powerful magnet than traditional iron-based materials. These lightweight yet powerful magnets ensure superior dynamic sound performance. Powerful Amplifiers and DSP In the 2015 Legacy and Outback, an eight-channel, 576-watt equivalent2 amplifier divides the audio signal into eight channels, delivering specific digital output to each of the specialized Harman Kardon speakers. Proprietary DSP converts analog signals, such as radio broadcasts, into digital, and continuously examines more than 100 specific parameters to issue rich, powerful, and fully nuanced audio to the listener. Fine Tuning All of this is just the foundation for a superior audio system. HARMAN International and vehicle engineers from Subaru collaborate on audio system design, speaker placement, and, most critically, the final tuning of the system for the unique acoustic characteristics of each Subaru model. Only after hundreds of engineering hours is a Harman Kardon audio system deemed ready for the public. GREENEDGE™1 TECHNOLOGIES The Harman Kardon system in the 2015 Legacy and Outback raises the bar even higher with innovative, environmentally friendly GreenEdge technologies, which produce higher sound with lower power consumption. This advanced approach to audio system design delivers improved dynamic performance while reducing the load on the vehicle’s electrical system. GreenEdge technologies are engineered holistically – speakers, amplifier, and equalization are developed to work in synergy to provide beautiful sound with the greatest of ease. The system’s reduced weight, condensed packaging, and simplified componentry contribute to a lighter vehicle, reduced energy demand, and efficient design. It’s just what Sidney Harman would have wanted. Improved Performance with Reduced Environmental Impact HARMAN International’s GreenEdge technologies accomplish the seemingly impossible – minimizing the amount of power required to run a vehicle’s audio system while maximizing the audio system’s dynamic performance. GreenEdge engineering breakthroughs began with high-efficiency speakers, which require far less input power to generate higher sound pressure levels. Not only that, but their innovative designs result in a dramatic increase in dynamic sound quality. Powering HARMAN’s GreenEdge systems are high-voltage yet high-efficiency switching amplifiers. They can operate at up to 90 percent efficiency compared to the typical 30 to 50 percent efficiency of conventional amps. GreenEdge audio systems also benefit from optimized Digital Signal Processor (DSP). This new, active DSP refines the sound by continuously monitoring performance and optimizing the amplifier signals for each dedicated speaker. GreenEdge has many environmental benefits: Reduced electrical system load Reduced weight and easier audio system “packaging” for the manufacturer Cooler operation, which, in many cases, eliminates the need for a traditional audio-system cooling fan GreenEdge systems also have significant performance benefits: GreenEdge-enabled systems can generate an additional 3 decibels of output while still using 50 percent less energy. The systems’ dynamic response, especially during short spikes in music, is enhanced to professional levels. Distortion is dramatically reduced. Audio breakthroughs like this are rare, but when they do occur, they have the potential to revolutionize the industry. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE HARMAN KARDON SPEAKERS IN THE 2015 LEGACY AND OUTBACK In the 2015 Legacy and Outback with Harman Kardon audio systems, four different types of speakers are used to deliver specific sound frequencies. Extended Bandwidth Speaker An 80mm wide-dispersion speaker is mounted in the center of the instrument panel. This innovative speaker uses an acoustic lens to distribute the sound throughout the passenger compartment. Its position also helps place the sound of the main vocalist or performer at “center stage” – as if you were experiencing a live performance. Unity™ Speakers One of the efficiency gains from GreenEdge technologies was the development of this next-generation coaxial speaker, one of which is mounted on each end of the instrument panel. It features a small 16mm tweeter for crisp, clear higher frequencies, plus an 80mm midrange speaker for optimal sound clarity in the middle range of human hearing. The twist with the Unity design is that it uses only one neodymium magnet for both the tweeter and midrange speaker. High-Efficiency Woofers Although woofers can handle a full range of sound, from relatively high to lower frequencies, they are optimized to produce rich, clear bass notes. Two of these 7 x 10-inch high-efficiency woofers are mounted in the front doors, and a third woofer is placed in the rear deck in Legacy or the rear quarter panel in Outback. With these large speakers, Legacy and Outback now have twice the surface area for low-frequency sound as their predecessors. The total surface area has grown from the previous systems, and these speakers now provide an increase of over 6 decibels in total system output. High-Efficiency Coaxial Speakers To fill the passenger compartment with immersive sound and enhance the listening experience of rear-seat occupants, 170mm/25mm coaxial speakers are fitted in the rear doors. With both a large midrange and a small tweeter, these coaxial speakers can handle the full spectrum of audible sound. Like all of the speakers in the Legacy and Outback systems, these have high-efficiency designs with optimized components for exceptional clarity and response. 1 Harman Kardon is a registered trademark and GreenEdge is a trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Inc. 2 Harman Kardon optimized systems are rated in equivalent watts in the same way as compact fluorescent bulbs – based on their performance.