(A short 4 minute read)
By: David Van Allen, COO
At Fabspeed Motorsport USA we sell a whole lot of products that make great sound - it’s what we’re famous for. I oftentimes hear customers say … ‘I’m looking for that Fabspeed sound’, and that’s music to our ears.
There are a number of reasons why our products sound so good and why our customers enjoy the unique sound of Fabspeed exhaust products. I have another BLOG post coming soon that goes into all of that in more detail, but first, a little about the science of sound from a guy - me - who designed recording studio audio processing equipment way back in the day.
Here’s a question: Could you tell the difference between someone picking a single C note on a guitar and then hearing the exact same C note on a piano? Sure you could - both instruments played exactly the same single note, but each sounded very different … ever wonder why?
Harmonics and overtones are the answer. When a tone is produced, as on a musical instrument, that tone changes as it takes on the influences of the surroundings before it reaches your ear. Influences such as the sound hole below the strings, the hollow body of the guitar, the housing of the piano - and the air itself - changes the tone. It’s influences like these and others that give each instrument its unique audible signature as it turns a simple tone into a complex and pleasing sound.
Now let’s associate this theory with your sports car. Your car produces its sound not by strings, but by the rush of air out of the running engine. So instead of a guitar or piano, let’s play that same C note by blowing air into a flute or trombone. The wind instrument sounds much different than does the string instrument because of its own unique harmonics and overtones. Here it's the size and length of the tubes, the valves, the bends, the back pressures … sound familiar? It sure does, because those are all the things you find on an exhaust system!
Here’s the Fabspeed difference, we think of a cars OEM exhaust system as an untuned wind instrument. Then we design our systems not only to increase performance but also to enhance the quality of the instrument’s sound.
How do we do that? That might be a secret but I can reveal a few of the ingredients that go into that magic Fabspeed sound recipe.
First, count on our founder Joe Fabiani to oversee and influence every product we make. There is real magic is his decades of design experience.
Then look at how we handcraft our products. To give you an example, anyone can buy pre-made bended tubular stock at classic angles like 45 or 90 degrees rather cheaply. If you want to hack together an exhaust system quickly, you could use a combination of inexpensive standard stuff and get the basic job done.
That’s not us. At the Fabspeed Motorsport manufacturing plant, our team custom bends our quality tubing in-house on computer based mandrel bending systems to the exact angles and shapes we want and need.
Does that really matter? You bet it does!
We have decades of proof that controlling all aspects of production gives us the flexibility to test, tune and perfectly refine the sound of our exhaust systems. We know that a slight change in the angle of the bend could help make the sound signature unique. Just like bends of a trumpet are different from the bends of a trombone.
At Fabspeed we just don’t weld stuff together to fit under your car to make it louder, we leave that to others who don’t care as much as we do. Instead our R&D team takes the time to carefully look at how each bend, each orifice, and each tube’s size and length affects the harmonics and overtones produced by our exhaust systems.
In the end, it's a deliberate balance of science and art (along with a little magic) that produces that classic Fabspeed sound our customers desire and appreciate, and that others can’t duplicate.