New Kia EV9 gets EV-optimised Meridian Audio

SEOUL: Kia is set to introduce the highly anticipated EV9 luxury SUV across Asia, Europe and the US for the 2024 model year, positioning itself as a formidable competitor in the luxury vehicle market.

A distinctive feature of the EV9 is its cutting-edge sound system, developed by British audio pioneer Meridian Audio. This 14-speaker system is specifically designed to meet the unique acoustic challenges posed by electric vehicles (EVs).

The EV9 marks the third collaboration between Kia and Meridian, following the K8 luxury sports sedan and the EV6 premium electric crossover.


Meridian Audio's chief executive, John Buchanan, highlighted the collaborative effort to engineer an immersive surround sound system that enhances the luxury experience for all occupants while maintaining the design purity of the EV9 concept car.

One of the challenges addressed by Meridian was managing the acoustic environment in EVs, characterised by higher-frequency and more random noise sources compared to traditional combustion vehicles. Meridian's solution involves a software-focused approach, using proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms to tailor the sound to the vehicle's specific requirements and the preferences of occupants.


Key DSP technologies for the EV9 include Meridian RE-Q, which optimises the audio system to the vehicle's cabin acoustics, and Meridian Digital Precision, maximising the signal-to-noise ratio.

Meridian Horizon, an upmixing technology, delivers a surround sound experience, and Meridian lntelli-Q Data-Driven Equalisation optimises audio playback based on the changing in-car acoustic environment with varying speeds.

A unique feature is the use of an open-air connected subwoofer (OCS), eliminating the need for a large box enclosure and providing exceptional bass performance. This, combined with Meridian's tuning techniques, addresses issues such as resonances, rattles, and frequency limitations associated with traditional enclosures.

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The collaboration with Meridian extends beyond audio quality, benefiting from the audio specialist's sourcing approach that facilitates a hardware-independent, flexible, and upgradeable in-car audio platform. The close partnership with Mobis, Kia's chosen first tier hardware supplier, has supported improvements in manufacturability, packaging, and costs.
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