The Science Of Psychoacoustics—Why Mufflers And Exhausts Sound the Way They Do

What makes some car engines purr like a kitten, other vehicles roar like a lion, and still others sound like a sack of alarm clocks in a cement mixer? It’s the exhaust system, specifically, the muffler.

How a muffler controls engine noise

An engine creates pulses of alternating high and low pressure when an exhaust valve opens and a blast of vapor enters the exhaust system at high pressure. Through an incredibly sophisticated system of physical and psychological processes, our brains perceive these pulses as sound. Psychoacoustic scientists exploit these complicated relationships to design mufflers that deliver specific sound experiences to suit different consumers under various circumstances.

The driver and passengers of a high-end luxury sedan will be looking, and listening, for more of a purring sound, while a competitive muscle car racer will be after a more intimidating roar. At Kia of Laurel, our tech team knows how to select the right muffler for your circumstances.



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