Dolby team-up promises more immersive car audio

Dirac will help bring Atmos and higher-quality sound to more cars.


You might not have to buy a Lucid Air or Mercedes to listen to spatial audio in your car. Dolby and Swedish firm Dirac are collaborating to demo more immersive in-car audio technology. The partnership melds Dirac's optimization algorithms with Dolby Atmos support to deliver 3D sound as well as improve audio quality across the board. The combo can compensate for poor cabin acoustics (such as reflective surfaces and awkward speaker placement) while promising advanced sound staging normally reserved for home theaters.

The two companies are showcasing their teamwork in demo cars, but you may have to wait a while to hear it in a vehicle you can drive. The first car to take advantage of Dolby and Dirac tech is the Nio ET7. The electric sedan won't come to Europe until later this year, and the Chinese brand has yet to commit to a North American expansion.

Still, the efforts might go some way toward democratizing Atmos and quality car audio. You might not need to buy a luxury car (or a pricey option package) to listen to spatial sound or otherwise enjoy the quality you normally get at home. Audio performance could be a particularly strong selling point as self-driving cars rise to prominence. If your car is going to be a lounge on wheels, you'll probably want the speaker system to match.