Who would buy a Harley® without the legendary chug of its engine or a Ferrari® shorn of its roar? Might as well ride a scooter!
Sound miexers who have a Harley-Davidson® and use it to get to their outdoor recording locations are usually surprised when they arrive and turn off their engine to find their surrounds as silent as a monastery - even though there seems to be considerable traffic around the place!
In acoustics this is down to what is known as the signal to noise ratio.
In the summer of 2019 Harley-Davidson® is going to begin marketing an electric motorbike – the LiveWire™, which it has been trailing since 2015.
Fans of the brand are not exactly thrilled by the prospect of this new sound identity, a move from a deep rumble to quite a futuristic turbine noise.
Imagine Easy Rider – that silver machine Odyssey, the Iliad with an iron steed – with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, complete with their long oily hair, leather jackets, shell necklaces and road-worn tattoos, astride bikes that sound like washing machines on a spin cycle. What sacrilege! It would have been a B-movie farce!
Fans who fork out fortunes for the Milwaukee brand want their rides to be noisy!
In 1994 Harley-Davidson® tried to register its engine sound with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Their attempt was unsuccessful, unlike the application for the roar of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion or the NBC 3-note chimes (G-E-C), both of which are registered trademarks.
It is hard to imagine a world in which the sound of a turning engine becomes exclusive property because, lest we forget, the noise made by exhaust does not have a "fixed" tone.
So we came up with the idea of making a Biker-Box™ that reproduces the sounds of a Harley and can be adapted to the LiveWire™.
The kit features a modified muffler (with manifold) that acts as an acoustic transducer (loudspeaker co-designed together with a famous french startup specialized in sound reproduction) identical in all respects to a Harley's, as it is made from original parts (initial choice of two exhaust models: 1200 Custom™ or Road King Classic™, with others under development, including some classics) and a discreet box (that can be fitted onto the saddle) to be connected to the muffler and the power point along with a multi-selection bluetooth device on the handlebars. Beside this handlebars selector is under development an app to setup the Biker-Box™ with an iOS or Android smartphone.
Thanks to a speed and tilt sensor, the simulated sound is entirely synchronous with the bike's actual accelerations. The sound level is preset in our workshops to stay within European standards but can be configured by the user. A system, similar to that used in noise-cancelling headphones, removes the bike's "electric" sound so that only the "gas" sound is carried. The multi-selector device on the handlebars can be used to activate (or deactivate) sound, adjust the level or choose the type of Harley sound sought. Thanks to firmware updates it will be possible to download new ones beyond the three offered by default. Sounds are realtime synthetized after real samples.
DC Audiovisuel Harley Biker-Box™ - Sound Type 1, 2019
DC Audiovisuel Harley Biker-Box™ - Sound Type 2, 2019
DC Audiovisuel Harley Biker-Box™ - Sound Type 3, 2019
Our automotive acoustical engineer, who is a Harley fan, handles the installation of the kit and the first level settings to suit the wishes of the happy owner of a Harley-Davidson® LiveWire™.
An electric machine that emits no atmospheric pollution but retains the sound of a genuine V-Twin! With that, no need to worry about Dennis Hopper turning in his grave in Taos.
Thanks to our Biker-Box™ for its LiveWire™, Harley Davidson® will remain an iconic brand with its renowned engine sound.
The challenge is to reinvent history without venturing too far from the legendary Route 66.