A winning combination:
Bose Performance Series in
the new Corvette Stingray
“Our mission was to develop a new type of sports car…”
Executive Chief Engineer, Corvette
It all started with the car itself, and the courage of Chevrolet to dream big and act boldly. After all, the Corvette Stingray enjoys a decades-long, storied history, and a special place in the hearts and minds of sports car enthusiasts everywhere. A true American icon ─ strong and fast ─ this next-generation Corvette is conceived for world-class agility as well as power and speed.
In the words of Tadge Juechter, Corvette Executive Chief Engineer: “Our mission was to develop a new type of sports car, combining the successful attributes of Corvette with the performance and driving experience of mid-engine supercars.”
Chevrolet took a momentous step in choosing a mid-engine design. That had a ripple effect for virtually every aspect of the vehicle, including the sound system. For Bose Automotive, this presented a formidable set of acoustic challenges.
It begins with a large and powerful engine that acts and sounds like a force of nature. Placing the engine in the middle of the car means that significant and ever-changing visceral sounds are generated right behind the driver and passenger.
Then, all the sports car driving characteristics come into play. Lightning-fast acceleration and on-a-dime braking mean that all the software-driven audio system features must react even faster than in a vehicle with less demanding dynamics. And the wrap-around, asymmetrical cockpit design makes speaker placement tougher for Bose engineers obsessed with getting the right sounds to the listeners’ ears at just the right time.
At Bose Automotive, we dove in undeterred, as this kind of situation plays to our strengths and our drive to overcome challenges, often turning barriers into advantages. And of course, it helps immensely to work in tandem with a great organization like the team at Chevrolet. In fact, we were inspired by their passion and dedication to make every part of the Corvette contribute to the car’s overall performance.
Here’s what we did:
Creating a system worthy of a legend
This is an extraordinarily powerful car, and the Bose Performance Series System is engineered specifically to handle how that affects the listening experience. “The new Corvette Stingray is phenomenal, and it delivers a special kind of experience that doesn’t happen very often,” explained Tobe Barksdale, Chief Audio Engineer, Bose Automotive Systems. “So, getting every detail just right is critically important — and that includes audio.”
We designed our 16-channel Bose amplifier with enough horsepower to make our system perform loud enough to prevail in a vehicle powered by a 6.2L V8 engine roaring right behind the driver and passenger. It is our loudest sports car system ever, reaching 126dB — live rock concert territory.
“The new Corvette Stingray is phenomenal, and it delivers a special kind of experience that doesn’t happen very often.”
Chief Audio Engineer,
Bose Automotive Systems
Sports car character drives speaker placement and inspired industrial design
The new Corvette’s interior hugs you, like a jet cockpit. Adjacent areas offer very little space for our system’s speakers, but we refused to regard this as a limitation. Instead, we found deft ways to place speakers (14 in all) where they matter most. For example, two very large 10-inch (255mm) neodymium woofers are placed efficiently in the lower doors, using the space inside as an enclosure. With ported venting at the bottom of each door, all-important low-frequency sound is delivered without the need for a traditional bass box.
This acoustic solution yielded advantages for industrial design. Thanks to the bottom-door venting, there are no grille covers for the woofers. The lower doors have a smooth, padded surface that doesn’t rub against your leg when cornering at high speed ─ a subtle, yet important detail when putting the vehicle aggressively through its paces. In each upper door, polished metal grilles covering the 2.5-inch (60mm) mid/high-range neodymium Twiddlers® and 1-inch (25mm) neodymium tweeters are crafted for elegance and precision, signaling that you have entered a very special place indeed.
Taking everything a step further
The Bose Performance Series System has many software-driven features that are custom engineered and must be carefully adjusted to the vehicle cabin where they are implemented. The unique requirements of the Corvette were taken into account, so the high standards of Bose Performance Series could be maintained without compromise. To Mark Armitage, this meant “paying attention to every detail to create a system that can be balanced and precise, and also bold and powerful.” That’s not easy, given the acceleration and braking capabilities of the Corvette.
“…paying attention to every detail to create a system that can be balanced and precise, and also bold and powerful.”
Systems Engineering Manager,
AudioPilot 2 Noise Compensation Technology
AudioPilot is so much more than speed-compensated volume. This dynamic feature adjusts the volume and equalization of the sound system as driving conditions vary, to preserve the listening experience. Microphones located in the upper-rear portion of the door monitor for the presence of cabin noise. This microphone-detected noise, as well as the vehicle speed, are monitored in real time by the Bose amplifier, which makes sound adjustments much faster than a human can. The ultimate goal is to provide consistent audio performance, regardless of road and engine noise in the cabin.
The quick acceleration and deceleration capabilities of the new Corvette required some additional work for AudioPilot 2 to operate at its best. For example, the system needed to be optimized to keep up with the vehicle’s fast acceleration and adjust the volume upward quickly and accurately. Then, the system had to reduce the volume just as fast to a normal level as soon as the brakes were applied and the vehicle slowed. Bose engineers and General Motors test drivers worked as a team at GM’s private proving grounds as well as during instrumented driving stints on public roads. Together, they worked to ensure that AudioPilot helped provide the best Bose listening experience possible, regardless of driving conditions.
Centerpoint 2 Surround Technology
The Corvette Stingray was designed with three different listening modes: Centerpoint, Normal, and Driver. Centerpoint takes the two-channel stereo input and up-mixes it to create a fully immersive surround sound experience. In the Corvette, Bose engineers had to customize the way Centerpoint works, to accommodate the acoustic effects of such a powerful engine, especially during acceleration. The soundstage is designed to maintain the surround experience as you increase speed.
Advanced Staging Technology
This is Chevrolet’s first application of Advanced Staging Technology, to produce a generously wide soundstage together with detailed separation between instruments and vocals. Using five dedicated speakers and digital signal processing, it brings an even greater level of precision by directing every instrument, vocal, and note to its ideal location, regardless of music genre. Bose engineers worked closely with Chevrolet to package three mid/high-range speakers in the instrument panel, plus two tweeters in the upper doors, that work together to deliver an expansive soundstage that seems much wider than the car itself.
“Many hours were spent tuning on the road to make sure the system could properly adapt to any condition.”
Systems Engineering Manager,
The new Corvette is offered in a variety of configurations, each with its own acoustic signature, and each requiring a unique tuning performed by Bose Automotive system engineers. This hands-on work is as much art as science, involving the use of advanced, proprietary tuning tools and the engineer’s own critical listening skills. As Mark Armitage explained, “Many hours were spent tuning on the road to make sure the system could properly adapt to any condition.”
So, whether you drive with the removeable hardtop on or off, or with the convertible top up or down, the output of the Bose Performance Series System delivers a complete and consistent listening experience.
It is clear from the many accolades already received that Chevrolet did everything possible to make the final product exceed all expectations. Every subsystem has been engineered for outstanding performance, befitting the spirit and heritage of the Corvette. At Bose Automotive, we took that to heart with our newest expression of Performance Series. We crafted our system to be as winning as the car itself.