New Peugeot 308 and premium Focal Hi-Fi system: acoustic excellence

Developed in partnership with Focal, a French brand expert in high-precision acoustics, the new PEUGEOT 308's FOCAL® Premium Hi-Fi system is the result of over four years of co-design work. Perfectly integrated into the PEUGEOT i-cockpit® of the new 308, it offers a tailor-made sound experience, combining the pleasure of perfectly clear listening with that of high-fidelity driving. 

The PEUGEOT and FOCAL teams worked together to define the customised locations of each speaker, in order to offer all passengers an outstanding sound immersion. The teams performed a cross study of the strategic parts (definition of the doors, grilles, trimmings, glazing, etc.), so as to guarantee the best rendition within the passenger compartment.  Nothing has been left to chance, right down to the structure of the boot which integrates the subwoofer. On board, the sound atmosphere is stable and precise, voices are clear and detailed, and the bass is deep and striking.

The alliance of two great French brands

French manufacturing, high technology and innovation bring PEUGEOT and FOCAL together: the two companies share the same desire to offer intense sensations, enhanced performance and rare emotions – the pleasure of listening to your music while driving or travelling, thanks to a high quality installation perfectly integrated into a state-of-the-art car.

The collaboration between PEUGEOT and Focal began in 2014, and was first rolled out with concept cars: the Bistrot du Lion foodtruck, FRACTAL, INSTINCT, e-LEGEND… It was then extended to the production vehicles in the PEUGEOT range: 2008, 3008, 5008, 508 and 508 SW.

For more than 40 years, Focal has established itself as a reference brand in the manufacture of speakers, high-fidelity speakers for the home, monitors for recording studios, headphones and audio kits for cars and boats. PEUGEOT called on FOCAL’s teams based on this unique know-how in acoustics and their research and development at the cutting edge of audio.

The secrets of the on-board acoustic technology of the new PEUGEOT 308

The FOCAL® Premium Hi-Fi system in the new PEUGEOT 308 is made up of 10 speakers with exclusive patented technologies:

  • 4 TNF aluminium inverted dome tweeters,
  • 4 woofers/mediums with Polyglass membrane and 16.5 cm TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) suspension,
  • 1 Polyglass centre channel,
  • 1 Power Flower™ triple coil ovoid subwoofer.

They are connected to a new 12-way 690W amplifier (boosted class D technology) supported by ARKAMYS digital sound processing.

TNF aluminium inverted dome tweeters

A Focal signature, the inverted dome tweeter has never stopped evolving since its creation. Its main advantage, apart from its very low directivity, lies in the use of a small diameter coil (and therefore very light for better acceleration) coupled directly to the rigid dome.

As for the bass and midrange driver diaphragms, Focal’s specificity is to work directly on the sound emission, therefore on the mechanical characteristics of the materials.

The woofers-midrange (16.5cm) and the centre channel (8cm) with Polyglass membrane and TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) suspension

The Polyglass technology is exclusive to Focal and consists of applying fine glass microbeads to a cellulose pulp cone.

This process makes it possible to reconcile the excellent damping of paper with the rigidity of glass. The stiffness index is almost 10 times higher than that of polypropylene, and even exceeds that of single skin Kevlar®.

The adjustment of the mass – stiffness – damping ratio results in a remarkable linearity of the frequency response curve, right from the design of the diaphragm. This innovation also means a significant increase in definition in the midrange.

The TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) suspension with harmonic damping is a patented innovation to enhance the midrange. The midrange is probably the most complex part of an acoustic system to master. On the one hand, it must ensure uniform energy connection with the bass channel. On the other hand, it must be coherent with the tweeter in terms of scattering and acceleration. The homogeneity of the timbres and the spatialisation depend on it.

Thanks to the power of numerical analysis using finite elements, the Focal teams have developed a simulation tool to visualise the dynamic behaviour of the suspension that ensures the connection of the cone with the bowl and reveals the shortcomings that need to be addressed.

Once the shortcomings had been identified, the problem was to think up a device to control them. The usual solutions to increase the damping of the suspension lead to an increase in mass, and consequently alter the definition. Focal found an innovative answer by transferring to acoustics a technique used in anti-seismic systems for skyscrapers, which can also be found in the suspensions of racing cars! This is the “Tuned Mass Damper” technique: an additional mass oscillates in opposition to the resonance to control it.

The Power Flower™ triple coil ovoid subwoofer (20cm equivalent)

The Power Flower™ technology is another strong identifier of the Focal range. Directly inherited from the technologies of the iconic Utopia loudspeakers, the Power Flower™ replaces the simple ferrite usually used on speakers, and is the source of a powerful magnetic field. The result: stable and healthy bass reproduction up to extreme sound pressure levels.

Over the years, this system has been adapted to the requirements of the automotive industry. This technology has revealed another decisive advantage: not only is the magnetic energy substantial thanks to the replacement of ferrite by Neodymium, but above all, the spacing between the magnets allows hot air to circulate freely, ensuring unparalleled thermal ventilation of the outer face of the coil. As the coil heats up less, it is no longer a limitation on power: its behaviour is optimal, both at peak power levels without dynamic compression and during prolonged listening sessions, where its output remains constant.

Another advantage is that the coil is decompressed because it is completely open to the outside. Distortion, linked to mechanical compression phenomena (the coil is no longer braked by the small volume of compressed air in the air gap), decreases very significantly at high or very high power.

Digital audio processing by ARKAMYS completes the FOCAL sound signature, after hours of tests carried out by the acoustics engineers in an anechoic chamber and many kilometres of real-life driving on all types of road.

SOURCE: Stellantis

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