Listen Up – 2021 Escalade Audio Technology

The 2021 Escalade features industry-first AKG audio technology with an available 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference system that produces professional studio sound. AKG is known worldwide for microphones and headphones used by leading musicians in recording studios and live venues.

The available 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference system is powered by three amplifiers that deliver 28 channels, offering an immersive listening experience. (Fig. 4) The standard AKG Studio system includes 19 speakers and a large enclosed subwoofer, powered by a 14-channel amplifier.


Fig. 4


AKG technology also enables other advanced features, including:

  • Front Passenger Volume Control – Front-seat passengers can take charge of their personal audio experience with a dedicated volume control for each front seat (included with the 36-speaker Studio Reference system).
  • Audio Rendering for Navigation – Turn-by-turn navigation instructions feature audio prompts exclusively from the audio system’s left- or right-hand speakers, with the prompt moving nearer to the driver as the turn gets closer.
  • Conversation Enhancement – Communication within the vehicle is enhanced for front and rear passengers using the embedded microphones and 19-speaker or 36-speaker system.


Conversation Enhancement

Communication between front seat and 3rd-row seat passengers in larger vehicles like the Escalade is made easier with the Conversation Enhancement system, or In Car Communication (ICC) system. Using microphones and AKG speakers for front and rear passengers, the system provides amplified speech between the passengers for enhanced listening capability. Interior microphones capture the voices of the driver and front passenger and naturally blend them with the audio played to the second and third rows. On the available 36-speaker system, the rear microphones (Fig. 5) can project the conversation from the rear back to the front of the vehicle as well.


Fig. 5


The system uses two channels for microphone inputs. Performance Audio RPO UQP (19-speaker system) uses one channel for front-to-rear amplified speech and two front cabin digital array microphones. Premium Audiofile Audio RPO UQH (36-speaker system) uses both channels for front-to-rear and rear-to-front amplified speech and two front cabin and one third-row seat digital array microphone.

The radio utilizes three digital array microphones: driver, passenger and rear. Each array contains four independent voice-type microphones. These microphones are connected through a high speed Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) with the master chip housed in the radio. The microphones are positioned between the radio and the amplifier on the bus. These microphones will support speech recognition and hands free calling in addition to In Car Communication.


System Settings

The rear-to-front portion can be turned off by selecting Settings > System > Conversation Enhancement and selecting Rear Microphone Off. (Fig. 6) The In Car Communication system can be turned on or off using the infotainment system settings or the Conversation Enhancement button on the left side of the steering wheel.


Fig. 6


TIP: The Conversation Enhancement system is disabled when any door, liftgate, window or sunroof is opened.

When the system is turned on, but inactive, a white icon is displayed in the instrument cluster. (Fig 7) When the system is active, the icon is green.


Fig. 7


– Thanks to Hassan Abdallah and Matt Bunting

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