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The Lucid Air Sedan Will be the World's First Vehicle to Feature Dolby Atmos Audio Technology

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【Summary】The upcoming Lucid Air sedan will be the world’s first vehicle to offer a state-of-the-art surround sound audio systems featuring Dolby Atmos technology from Dolby Laboratories, the company announced on Wednesday. Lucid Motors calls its Dolby Atmos-powered audio system “Surreal Sound” and it raises the bar for the in-cabin audio experience.

Eric Walz    Mar 17, 2021 12:00 PM PT
The Lucid Air Sedan Will be the World's First Vehicle to Feature Dolby Atmos Audio Technology

The upcoming Lucid Air sedan from California luxury-performance electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors will be one of the world's most advanced vehicles, with an electric powertrain delivering up to 1,080 horsepower reaching 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. 

The Air sedan will also be the world's first vehicle to offer a state-of-the-art surround sound audio systems featuring Dolby Atmos technology from Dolby Laboratories, the company announced on Wednesday. 

Lucid Motors calls its Dolby Atmos-powered audio system "Surreal Sound" and it raises the bar for the in-cabin audio experience.

Dolby Atmos technology, which first debuted in 2012, is normally associated with blockbuster Hollywood movie soundtracks. It uses upward firing speakers that creates an immersive three-dimensional audio experience with sounds that come from overhead, below or 360 degrees around the listener.

Audio equipment featuring Dolby Atmos technology is a popular choice for home theater enthusiasts and gamers and it's offered in many TV soundbars. But it will now be available in a vehicle for the first time ever with the launch of the Lucid Air sedan.

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The Lucid Air will offer passengers an immersive audio experience with Dolby Atmos technology.

Most people listen to music via a 2-channel stereo setup that uses left and right speakers. Many vehicles today offer a basic, 2-channel stereo audio system with left and right side balance controls and a front to rear fader, which generally use 4 to 6 speakers throughout the cabin. 

However, Dolby Atmos technology takes this a bit further by expanding the sound 360 degrees around the listener. This provides an immersive sound experience with audio that appears to come from overhead or below or even behind a listener.

"It was very obvious to us that Lucid Motors was trying to do something different and something that's unique to the automotive experience," said Tim Pryde, Director of Music at Dolby. "I think Lucid is going to inspire a whole new way for creatives within the auto industry and beyond to do new things with the automobile, whether it will be entertainment or driver safety."

With music mixed for Dolby Atmos, instruments and vocals can be isolated and articulated with exceptional and precise clarity. Using multi-dimensional space for audio instead of just left and right channels makes listeners feel like they've stepped inside their favorite song. Lucid's Surreal Sound system will offer the same type of experience inside the Air's cabin.

"From the beginning we tried to get the most of this vehicle from an audio standpoint," said Derek Jenkins, Senior VP of Design at Lucid Motors. "The Lucid immersive system is really about the further evolution of dimension and depth."

"We have the ability to position sounds, whether that's music or vehicle sounds anywhere in space, whether that's front-to-back, side-to-side or up and down...with movement," added Jenkins.

Lucid's Surreal Sound audio system however is not just for listening to music. All of the Lucid Air's miscellaneous sounds and driver warnings have been created to take full advantage of the technology, the company said.

For example, if a rear passenger forgot to buckle up the seat belt warning sounds will come from the area where the passenger is seated, instead of from the front or rear speakers.

"All of the Air's indicators, warnings, signals and how the car communicates back to you...we're able to control those sounds and really design that to be immersive," said Jenkins.

The Atmos audio system in the Lucid Air can even handle hundreds of sounds simultaneously, so the company's designers have the ability to create an even more immersive audio experience.

"The Lucid Air Dolby Atmos experience is truly going to blow people away, I think is going to really get people excited about music in ways maybe they haven't in a long time," said Pryde. "This is going to be one of those moments where people are going to remember the first time they experienced this."

The Lucid Air is set to go into production this summer. The first model will be the limited production Dream Edition. The more affordable Air Grand Touring, Touring and Pure editions will follow.

The Lucid Air will be built at Lucid's $1 billion, state-of-the-art electric vehicle factory in Casa Grande, Arizona which is nearing completion.

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