Soundracer V8 Review – It’s Crap!


UPDATE: 11/30/2015 – You can see my post from nearly five years ago below.  I wanted to edit this in light of some conversations I’ve had with person(s) representing Soundracer.

I never expected this review to blow up and I certainly never expected top results from Google for the search Soundracer, but here we are.  And due to this, and the negative tone of the review overall, the folks at Soundracer have acted quite unprofessionally with me.

Let me be absolutely clear.  I only tested this on one car.  That was not a purposeful “negative spin” on the product thing, it’s because I’m just an everyday working man and I only have… one car.

Let me be additionally clear, this is a novelty device.  It’s not a driving experience game changer.   I knew that going into it and reviewed it as such as well as by the claims represented in the viral Youtube video.

Despite this, I was accused of being misleading, of misrepresenting facts, and of skewing the test conditions to result in failure.  All of this is bullshit.  I bought one, I put it in the only car I own, I used it, and I wrote my opinion.  That’s all.

So, if you were considering purchasing this item for Christmastime, etc, I would invite you to read my review below and make your own informed opinion, but also know this: the folks at Soundracer are unprofessional at best, and I think it’s important to not only know the product you are buying but also the folks you are buying it from.  The quality of their character as an organization was revealed as soon as this post made the first search page of Google and I’ve had to spend my time defending a five-year-old review of a plastic shitplug that I’ve long since thrown away because they can’t act like adults.

Review from April 2010 follows:

 


 

A while ago, this video hit the Intarwebs:

After cleaning the crap out of my pants, I immediately rushed to my wife and said, “Can I have $70 for something really stupid?”  Bemused, she agreed and I bought a Soundracer V8 on eBay.

Now, I want to state up front that I really didn’t have very high expectations for this.  Even so, the actual product leaves me slightly deflated.  The packaging was exceedingly nice and the product is well-designed from a physical standpoint.  Once you plug it in, however, everything goes wrong.

The car I tried this on is a 2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan with manual transmission.  Perhaps an older car or different car has better results and if so, kudos to them – my review is based on my Suzuki.

Ideally, you are supposed to rev the engine at idle up to 2500RPM to give it a high measurement from the alternator and then let it idle down for a low measurement.  After that, good to go!  Except it wasn’t.  The device read the signals from my alternator seemingly with a mind of it’s own – when I was sitting at idle, it would make V8 revving sounds.  When I got to driving, it would peak and valley with no real parallels to my actual pedal usage.  It also had a hard time telling the difference between 2K and 3K RPMs and as far as I’m concerned, that should warrant SOME pitch change.

Unfortunately, that really doesn’t address the core issue.  Even if it read the alternator perfectly and was in timed step with my gas pedal and transmission, it still didn’t deliver.  As much as a YouTube video might suggest otherwise, the fact is that once you’re behind the wheel of a 4-cylinder economical car, sound coming from even the best speakers will not allow your brain to think it’s a V8 muscle car.  At all.  The feel is still wrong, the sound coming from a speaker system is not the sound coming from beneath the hood (and your brain knows it) and the SoundRacer cannot do the job it implies.

What the soundracer essentially does is turn itself into the annoying brat friend of your kids that sits in the backseat and makes sound effects while spitting on the back of your neck.  Not fun.

On the plus side, as an FM transmitter, it does the job nicely – but for JUST an FM transmitter, you could do a whole lot better price-wise than I did by just going to WalMart and getting a Belkin.

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19 thoughts on “Soundracer V8 Review – It’s Crap!

  1. This review is still one of the most unfair reviews I have seen. Mike understands that a “different car has better results” and still he continues to complain with the argument “my review is based on my Suzuki”. Not many products works in 100% of all cars and SoundRacer works in about 85% of all tested and reported, we list more than 450 cars models on our website, working and not working.
    The sound experience is individual but with all those very positive customer emails and videos we know that the 140 000 sold SoundRacer brings a lot of fun around the World.
    And the new SoundRacer X will be even more popular since it is delivered with six great engine sounds, including the Classic V-Twin bike, and customers can add more sounds.
    For the sound enthusiasts that want to connect the system to the car for best performance, we have a sound module with 2x20W amplifier that also works in Electric vehicles.

    • First of all, I don’t understand that a different car has better results. I understand that perhaps they might. I did not check dozens of models and then purposefully choose the worst of the lot, as this implies – I tested it on one car: mine. And to be as FAIR AS FUCKING POSSIBLE, I stated that, allowing the possibility of a better experience in other ways, but that I did not want my review to be a blanket statement attributed to every make/model in the automotive world.

      Second of all, congratulations on twisting my words, then ignoring the core issue I stated in my review. Bravo.

      Third, seriously – the balls on you all. Trying to take my review, attack it with harsh verbiage, ignore the core issue, AND THEN tout your new and improved model with all the new bells and whistles – JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, FOLKS!

      And why? Because this has a pretty decent spot on Google’s results for your product. But you know what would have impressed me? If you had simply acknowledged things humbly. Here, I’ll show you how it’s done:

      “Thank you for reviewing our product. We regret that it did not perform to expectations on your model car and are always seeking new ways to test and improve functionality. As far as the limitations of providing an immersive experience goes, we urge our customers to recognize our product for the fun and unique item it is while managing expectations regarding the disconnect between watching a video online and experiencing it first-hand. Soundracer is a novelty device intended to bring smiles and we will continue to work toward that goal.”

      So, Kenneth (Soundracer), if you want to talk about fucking UNFAIR, choke on your own damned reply and learn how to take, absorb, and roll constructively with criticism. Time to put on your big-boy pants.

      • Thanks Mike for the “How to write a polite comment” lesson. Nice text, I read and learn:) But your headline It´s crap! is still not relevant for a vast majority of SoundRacer users and potential customers. And we add all reports also of not working cars to our Listed car web pages so that customers have a better chance to know before they buy if their car is among the 15% where SoundRacer do not work well.

      • I don’t speak for your vast majority of users and potential customers. Just as I specified I didn’t speak to all makes and models of cars, which you saw fit to use as an attack on me.

        I speak for myself and I speak for my car – that’s it. And honestly, even if your product were sound, your customer service and public relations in dealing with my writing would steer me far away from your products and your company. I hope everyone is reading this and getting a clearer picture of what to expect when dealing with Soundracer, both in product and in customer service.

  2. kenneth hi,
    First off i want to congradulate you on the design of this unit. The idea is awesome!
    Let me introduce my self. my name is Bryan. I am a Electronics Technichian/Designer working with embbeded processor designs for a Custom manufacturing company in the states.

    I to have had the same issues on a couple different vehicles that i have tried this in.
    It does seem to have a very hard time hearig the signal from the alternator. I am not suprised that this happens, because the newer vehicles DC systems are filtered so well. Frankly i am suprised you were able to even get this type of pickup to even work at all. I realize you were trying to keep this as simple to use as you could, but i think your design would benefit from an actual digital input coming from the TAC signal of the ignition system. For most car enthuiests this would not be a big issue to hook up, and it would improve your product considerably. Sync would no longer be an issue, and your customers would be thrilled with the result.

    As far as the realisim goes with the audio, If your trying to create the sound and feel of a super charged 427, then your going to have to add a few things to your audio system, like start out with a good powerfull amplifier, a 5 or 7 band equilizer, a good 8 inch wooffer with a big magnent and a lot of movment under the hood, then under the dash a couple of 6 inch mid drivers, under the 2 front seats mount some bass shakers, and a 12 inch dual voice coil sub wooffer in the trunk with a 400 watt amp.
    Then it will not only sound like a 427 it will feel like one too!.
    I did this to my old 90 4 cylinder 5 speed Honda civic i used to have and it was Awesome! it turned a lot of heads.

    If you might be interested in colabrating on this idea, shoot me an email.
    I am always interested in new and interesting projects.

    Thank You,

    Bryan S.

    sync

    • Hi Brian,
      You are right about the problems to pick up the signal and it took a lot of testing and adjusting to get it to work on the about 85% of tested and customer reported car models. It is a combination of features in the frequency analysis software and the amplification level for the small ripple from the alternator on the 12V supply. I think that we can increase the number of cars that work with a self adjusting amplification but that requires further development that we cannot do at the moment. By excluding diesel cars we could use the pulses from ignition that is easier to detect but in many countries there is a lot of diesel cars so it would limit the market.
      One customer found a solution on his car by winding the 12V cable to the Soundracer plug three turns around an ignition cable, we have not tried it but the customer said that it worked great.
      If you want to hook up a system to the car our Electric Vehicle Electronic Engine Sound System (eveess.com) is the best solution. It has analog or digital speed or rpm input, 2x20W digital amplifier and MicroSD card with 6 great engine sounds included in delivery. New sounds can be added and we provide information on how to make your own sound files and change sound parameters.
      You are also right about the importance of good amplifier and speakers. When I bought a small Suzuki Swift for my daughter I also thought that it sounded like crap with the two 4” speakers so I added two 10” behind the seats, just for fun, see YouTube video SoundRacer “mid-engine V8” Sports Car. In my SAAB 9-5 with 9 speakers the sound is good enough.
      Thanks for your interest and you are welcome to contact me again.

  3. I can’t understand why this gets good reviews. If you’re a real car enthusiast it will disappoint you.

    The soundracer does not work as advertised. Although it did work properly for me (except for idle revving sometimes). The sound is terrible and the soundracer can’t keep up with the car. When I shift it takes 2 seconds for it to recognize. When clutching, the revs drop to idle even when I’m already back at 4000rpm in the next gear. It’s only somewhat realistic if you drive the car and match the car’s revs to the soundracer.

    I’d rather hear the noise of my 2l diesel engine and a good tune than listening to this annoying crap.

    I returned it after 20 minutes of testing. I guess it’s impossible to get a satisfying sound unless you have a ODB2 cable that reads the car’s rpm.

    • The fact is still that it gets a lot of good reviews – from people, like me, who get some good laughs when their silent car suddenly sounds a lot more powerful. Maybe they are not real car enthusiasts but they know how to have fun. Btw. the SoundRacer Android app for $3 takes the RPM from an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter, and you get five engine sounds to choose from. Our new sound modules for electric vehicles are also connected to the car for reading rpm or speed. /Kenneth

  4. why do you all have crappy 4 cylinders and expect to pull off a 10 cylinder sound? that seems stupid to me, if you have a v6 and a good stereo setup than yes you could go full on ricer but until than, you can go put along with your 4 cylinder POS :D!

  5. As the inventor of SoundRacer, this review and the comments was not a happy reading. But with 110 000 SoundRacer sold, very few returns, 700 positive customer videos on YouTube and a lot of very positive customer feedback, I am still proud of my product. SoundRacer does not work in 100% of all cars models, only about 85% and we are open about it on our website where about 450 car models are listed, working and not working. The sound coming out of your car speakers is not 100% like the sound from a real world Shelby or Ferrari, if you expect that from a USD45 device in your car, no wonder that you get disappointed. I think that a fair product test should be made in car that SoundRacer works in. Thanks /Kenneth

  6. I had the V8 model in a shopping cart ready to purchase but am now closing that tab and moving on. Thanks for the honest review. You saved me $50AUD!!

  7. Same problem with my 2010 SEAT Ibiza & 2012 SEAT Leon. Mine starts off okay, but it seems to get confused and revs of its own accord regardless to what im doing, but when it is in sync, it does sound pretty good!

  8. I was looking into getting one for my car since I drive around my Special Needs brother who enjoys the sound, is there any alternative to this device you would suggest?

  9. Was just about to buy one off eBay for $52 AUD and thought I’d better check reviews first. Thank god I did! It sounds great in the YouTube video, I would have been really dissappointed if I got it and it was crappy and complicated to get working! Even if it was only for a bit of laugh. Will wait til I can get one from a $2 shop!!

  10. I drive a 1999 Honda Civic Hatchback DX so I couldn’t wait to get my Ferrari (V12 model) until I did yesterday… was soo stoked to jump in, fire her up and go roasting the tires down the street… then I tried. Plugged it into my lighter and followed the instructions, after several times I got frustrated and decided it wasnt worth my time… it just doesnt work. Got it to for a moment but once I started to drive, it would mess up. I’m somewhat disappointed… didn’t expect much out of a $40 gadget. If I were to make something of this idea I would hook it up like a tachometer so you get real results… that what most car enthusiasts want. Id spend $150-200 if it sounded and worked like it should with technology today. Hope no one else makes my mistake by not listening to everyone else… good luck.

  11. a long long time ago in galaxy far away ….. I owned a Fireball 318 V8 with a 2 1/2 inch exhaust. the sweetest note I ever heard. I still pine for my val. so like a fool I did the same thing … spent my money ( of which I have little ) and got a soundracer …. why… why… why did I fall for this … I confess I get what I deserve for believing this #**!^## …. I snow own a VP commodore … the best sound I ever heard was when I pulled the soundracer out of the lighter socket …. and BLISS… SILENCE !!…

  12. Exactly the same issues with a 2010 Ford Focus SES.

    Absolute rubbish, this is.

    Not worth sending back, will give it to an unsuspecting relative.

    Buyer, BEWARE!

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