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Premium Member
Happy owner of a blue ID.4 FE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had several posts here claiming that the pedestrian warning sound of the ID4 is loud, and I agree. So I broke out my trusty sound pressure meter and took a quick reading as my wife was backing out of the garage. We didn't reach the loudest level I have ever heard from the car (I think), and the reading was 71 dB A weighted. I doubt that the weighting matters since the frequencies in the sound file all seem to fall into the middle range, but there you are for completeness.

As a reference, EU regulations require the AVAS sounds to be between 56 dB and 75 dB. The NHTSA rule in the US is much fuzzier and simply states that the sound must be clearly heard above ambient sounds. The US rule, however, has requirements like having two or four frequencies, and how those should be spaced, and the hard requirement that new cars must emit a sound was pushed out several times but is now in effect.

If you are not familiar with the dB (decibel) scale for sound pressure, it is logarithmic. For every 6 dB increase the apparent loudness doubles. 56 dB as the low threshold in the EU is about as loud as a refrigerator, 60-70 dB is about as loud as a business office, and 75 dB is as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

Given all of the above, I think VW made the sound reach the upper permissible level in the EU, i.e. significantly louder (~3-4 times louder) than required, and in my opinion much louder than necessary. I can hear our car approaching out on the street through a closed double-pane window. For comparison, the Prius whine we all know is maybe half as loud. Teslas still come with the sound off as far as I am aware. We have one friend who turned hers on and made it loud, it is slightly lower than our ID4. I heard another Tesla MY back out of a parking lot the other day, and its sound was very soft but distinctive. It only sounded in reverse, when they drove forward and away there was nothing.

I would like to put a 10 dB pad on my noise speakers, which would make the sound loudness about right. The way VW varies pitch and sound level as we accelerate is actually perfect, it gives me a great sense of what is going on without looking (frequent cyclist/pedestrian speaking here, with lots of bad experiences).

I am curious what other forum members think?
 

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ID.4 RWD Pro S Dusk Blue
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I don't have mine yet, but I am interested in how you would go about dampening the sound as when I did test drive it I also found it was loud. I like the cyclist and pedestrian warning aspect, and agree it is needed, but at the same time it should not be a nuisance to others. If you are able to get it done, please post it so others like myself can attempt to replicate.
 

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VW ID.4 1st Max | Mangan Gray
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228 Posts
I almost dont hear mine.. its that low sound wise.. tire noise takes over very quick. the few videos came with the avas of us-spec.. that thing is loud.
 

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ID.4 1st Edition White / Lunar Grey
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2,126 Posts
I don't know exactly what your setup was but it's possible the garage could be influencing your impression. I think you've really got to test this out on a residential street and a busy parking lot to really make a determination whether the volume is too loud. I imagine the volume could be tailored somewhat by snapping a resistor pack in line with the speaker. I do appreciate the value in this system and don't think it should be defeated, notwithstanding some reasonable adjustments if warranted.
 

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Proud FE owner
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I rather like it. It's only to about 19 mph. I haven't heard any complaints. There's a bunch of really dumb kids in my neighborhood who would seldom notice a Peterbilt. At least I have some chance of them getting out of my way.
 

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I don't know exactly what your setup was but it's possible the garage could be influencing your impression. I think you've really got to test this out on a residential street and a busy parking lot to really make a determination whether the volume is too loud. I imagine the volume could be tailored somewhat by snapping a resistor pack in line with the speaker. I do appreciate the value in this system and don't think it should be defeated, notwithstanding some reasonable adjustments if warranted.
I don’t have mine yet either but the the one we test drove hardly made a sound. Hopefully ours is like the one we test drove
 

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I test drive a Y and didn’t hear any noise so either it’s not there or so low you can’t hear it inside.
 

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On the FE that I did a test drive with windows open we started out of the dealers lot and I asked my wife if she liked the low speed sound. She said 'what sound?' it was that low and I could barely hear it too but I was listening for it after reading the complaints on here. But some people standing in the dealers lot were pointing at us saying 'Jetsons' about the sound :geek:

Maybe its much louder depending on where you stand outside the car, but its not bad enough to bother me while inside with windows down. Can it vary that much from 1 car to the next?
 

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When driving, I don't really hear the sound too frequently, but when I was standing in the driveway and my wife was driving, it was really loud. I'm glad it tapers off at 19 mph, I just do my best to drive above that speed...
 

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Proud FE owner
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I test drive a Y and didn’t hear any noise so either it’s not there or so low you can’t hear it inside.
The NHTSA in force date has been pushed a few times. I believe there was a six-month delay from the previous 9/2021 (manufacture date) timeline.
 

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I like sounding like a futuristic space car. I like that there is a change in noise as you accelerate and a different change in noise with deceleration. I often don't hear it at all in busier areas and the kids in the neighborhood think it is cool. So, I will be leaving that alone! The audible beep for locking the doors on the other hand... now that's loud!!! I turned that off and left the mirror fold function on to have a visible indication that the door locked.
 

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ID.4 1st Edition
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My wife said "this is like a starship docking", in a good way, when recently pulling into the garage. Honestly I don't notice it as being particularly loud when inside the vehicle, also with windows partially open, but have not heard it from the outside. I guess better safe than sorry when it comes to pedestrians.

I too turned off the lock beep and rather rely on the mirror folding for confirmation.
 

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Dusk Blue FE
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I haven't attempted any actual measurement, but the pedestrian sound when backing up is different from the sound when going forward, and the backward sound seems a lot louder.

I, for one, don't think either one is too loud. I live on a one-lane road with no sidewalks, so people are frequently walking on the road when I come up behind them. Twice, they have not seemed to hear the car coming up behind them. If I could adjust the sound, I would actually turn it up a bit.
 

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Premium Member
Happy owner of a blue ID.4 FE
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't know exactly what your setup was but it's possible the garage could be influencing your impression. I think you've really got to test this out on a residential street and a busy parking lot to really make a determination whether the volume is too loud. I imagine the volume could be tailored somewhat by snapping a resistor pack in line with the speaker. I do appreciate the value in this system and don't think it should be defeated, notwithstanding some reasonable adjustments if warranted.
To clarify, I did not measure inside the garage, I was outside about 2m from the rear bumper (as the EU spec prescribes) slightly to the side so as not to get run over. It started out at about 68 dB and reached 71 dB max, then the car was past me and the sound muffled. It appears to me there is one speaker each under the front and rear bumpers, and "gear" modes activate the correct one.

If I end up making a modification it would be the resistor (or perhaps a pot) in line with the speaker to reduce sound level to be more to my liking while still satisfying regulations - I fully agree with everyone else, some sound is necessary and good to have. I would much prefer a software solution from VW, however, where we could choose levels within the range of what is legal.

All the responses above reinforce my impression that not all our cars sound equally loud. We hear ours every time when driving, with windows fully closed, except in the loudest of parking lots/streets. So maybe there is some work to do for VW to get this leveled out first.

On a tangential note, the NHTSA rule requires the sound to be the same within a make and model, and it was recently relaxed to same sound within a given make, model, and trim after Honda requested the change. They made the case that different bumpers, body kits, and other trim differences can substantially alter the sound signature of an otherwise identical sound file. Makes sense to me, and apparently to NHTSA too. The corollary is that there will not be individualized, user-selectable sounds anytime soon, and Tesla's fart mode is illegal.
 

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Premium Member
Happy owner of a blue ID.4 FE
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
To put my sound preference into perspective: I do not need my car to be as loud as a vacuum cleaner (75 dB), a sound level of a typical business space suffices (say, starting at 60 dB and reaching 65 dB) and is actually louder than the crunch of my tires after I reach 18 mph. That appears about right to my cyclist self.
My quick and dirty measurement implies that my car does currently reach 75 dB or thereabouts.
 

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I agree, it's too loud. Imagine if every car made this sound. It would be pure cacophony. One of the benefits of an EV is less noise pollution, not more.

Granted, some cars have very low engine noise that can penetrate walls, but this is still too loud for the intended purpose.
 

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2021 1st
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Incase anyone is too young or never watched cartoons to know this great sound, here is Jetson's space car sound:
hahaha, I was going to post about generational differences :)

My wife remarked how the car sounds loud when I was pulling into the driveway and I said, yeah, like the Jetsons! She looked at a me with a blank look :/

Now I'm watching The Jetsons with the kids this morning ;)
 
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