The 2025 Infiniti QX80 has cool new audio feature that isolates your phone calls 

Infiniti just debuted an all-new version of its full-size SUV, the QX80, with big changes. Not only is it taller, wider, and longer than the previous generation, it’s equipped with a new engine. The 2025 QX80 boasts more power and efficiency with a 450-hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, replacing the seven-speed gearbox and 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 in the 2024 model.

More power, more cargo space, and more fuel efficiency are words most people like to hear. Infiniti says the six-cylinder setup offers a 12 percent improvement in fuel economy, which is a nice bonus. However, the real indulgences are secreted inside the cabin of the boxy three-row SUV in the form of a high-tech audio system and infotainment display.

Partnering with Nissan, Panasonic, and Klipsch, Infiniti applied the latest technology to the QX80’s speaker system. If you’re not familiar with Klipsch, this Arkansas-based company builds high-quality home audio. While the firm was founded in 1946, it’s new to the in-car audio space and it’s making a major splash with Infiniti by offering a slick 24-speaker, 1200-watt system that includes some very cool party tricks.

three images showing speakers inside the car, including on the door and in the head rest
QX80 SUVs in the top two trims get the full Klipsch treatment with 24 speakers and 1200 watts of power. Images: Kristin Shaw/Popular Science

‘Golden ears’ refine audio quality 

Every person has differently shaped ears, and we all hear differently. Some of us are born with hearing challenges, some develop hearing loss as we age, and some of us stood too close to the speakers at rock concerts in our youth and damaged our hearing even after our mothers issued a warning about that very thing happening.

The shape of the ear has a big effect on how you hear. If you’ve ever cupped your outer ear (called the pinnea) to catch a sound more clearly, you understand how the shape of your ears makes a difference. Add to that unique quality scores of data and experience in analyzing noises, vibrations, frequencies, and reverberations and you have someone with what’s called a “golden ear.” At Panasonic, the company employs these trained hearers who can listen to different sizes and shapes of speakers and understand the subtleties–whether it’s for a home theater or in a car.

“A golden ear is really someone with experience and training,” says Tom Dunn, director of Global Premium Audio for Panasonic. “They can discern different frequencies and have knowledge of certain music they can rely on to pull out a vocal or low frequency nuance, or emphasize a smooth midrange.”

With these trained listeners on call, Infiniti was able to build the QX80 around a 14-speaker Klipsch audio system with 600 watts of total power and a 12-channel amplifier for QX80 Pure and Luxe trims, and a 24-speaker, 1200-watt system for Sensory and Autograph trims. And yes, the whole sound profile is incredible. 

But that’s not even the best part. 

Managing sine waves

On the dash of the 2024 QX80, dual 14.3-inch screens hold court side by side under one piece of glass. That alone is a massive improvement over the outgoing 12.3-inch touchscreen, and Infiniti took the opportunity to convert to Google built-in, a first for the brand. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both also enabled and easy to connect. 

the interior of a car with dual infotainment screens
Infiniti completely refreshed the QX80 inside and out for 2025. Image: Kristin Shaw/Popular Science

Typically, when making an in-vehicle phone call through the infotainment system, the call takes precedence over the music. As a result, passengers in the middle of car karaoke are denied access to their vibe. A frivolous challenge, yes, but even this issue is addressed by the updated QX80 technology in the form of frequency management and noise cancellation. Available on the top trims, this amenity allows the driver to conduct a phone call or heed navigation directions privately through Klipsch headrest speakers while the rest of the vehicle continues listening to music or podcasts. 

Infiniti’s individual audio feature is a combination of traditional noise canceling often used to manage noise, vibration, and harshness. The brand created a “sound bubble” by canceling the frequencies from all of the other speakers. In math terms, the sine wave is inverted for the driver location. 

“There are two parts when it comes to sound: frequency and time,” says Luke Blaszczynski, the director of infotainment and connected engineering for Infiniti. “Because the sounds travel at different speeds, we can measure that and localize and cancel for a specific location. In the sound bubble around the driver, all of the frequencies are canceled except for the Bluetooth call coming through.”

Through the Panasonic, Klipsch, Nissan, and Infiniti partnership, the team designed the system using a combination of hardware and software. 

“The cancellation is driven by software, but the speakers, amplifier, digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters have to do the work to make sure it happens in a timely manner,” Blaszczynski explains. “I’d say 90 percent of the magic happens in the software.”

That’s a fitting balance for a new SUV making giant leaps from its past iteration into one much more focused on tech. Starting at $82,450 for Pure and ranging up to $110,595 for the top-of-the-line Autograph trim, the 2025 QX80 arrives at dealerships this month. 

an suv parked on a road near a lake on a clear day
Infiniti rolled out big changes for the QX80. Image: Kristin Shaw/Popular Science

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