Even though it is hard to guess exactly how many road trips have already been spoiled by the inevitable ‘which music will we listen to?’ family fight, we suspect the number is rather high. We do know for sure, though, that Harman has come to the very same disturbing conclusion. In fact, the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas breathlessly witnessed the presentation of the audio equipment company’s ISZ technology, its own revolutionary solution to the all too recognisable problem.
The ISZ concept, short for Individual Sound Zones, is designed to divide a car into different listening areas, in each of which the passenger can control their own music or media. For instance, it will be perfectly possible for you to follow that much anticipated cricket match on the radio, while your partner can enjoy Chopin’s dulcet sonatas and your metal-preferring offspring can fill their zone with the heavier guitar work – without using headphones.
Moreover, limiting the navigation system’s directions to the driver’s ‘territory’ will no longer be utopian, so that the other passengers can appreciate their music flow without any maddening interruptions such as “Turn left in 500 metres”. And if you suddenly get a phone call from that one very annoying person, nothing will prevent you from redirecting it to another passenger sector and let them listen to Mr./Ms. X’s terribly exasperating message.
The technical details all seem pretty straightforward. In order to create the different audio segments, one simply needs to connect the car’s existing sound system to dual speakers in every headrest, as well as to four additional Electro Dynamic Planar (EDPL) speakers in the car’s headlining.
Proudly labelling their project “the ultimate car audio upgrade”, Harman adds that passengers may still experience background noise, but emphasis that this will only be a minor and limited hindrance. The firm further explains that customers can also link the IZS technology to HALOsonic, its noise reduction programme.
Harmon has not yet touted an official release date, but stated that manufacturers can integrate ISZ in their current Harman audio functions. Since its clientele includes MINI and Mercedes, it is likely that future models will boast this innovative remedy to musical miseries.