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A udiophiles are a concerned lot when it comes to buying a car, and are known to do an extensive research on which manufacturer is meeting their demand. But I think we should congratulate most of the car manufacturers for they are doing a good job. I last checked in 2011 when a friend requested me to shop for a car for him. He knew I was an audiophile and since he wanted a moving disco without interfering with the car's interiors, he reached out to me. From the look of things 6 years later, things have improved tremendously, I can say. But also considering the time people spend in their cars, then it's worth investing not only in the engine but also in the stereo system as well.
I SAMPLED 8 MANUFACTURERS AND THIS IS WHAT I GOT:
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
System: Meridian Signature Audio, 1700w 23 speakers
This is an incredible system which creates enormous soundstage to envelope the listener fully. It has two powerful modes, 3-D and 2-D DSP mode which gives a clear well-defined bass. Back seat passengers get to enjoy even more pleasant and accurate sounds.
2016 Lincoln MKX Black Label
System: Revel Ultima, 19 speakers
This is a powerful system which defines every instrument clearly. Has high levels of detail. Actually, the detailed bass comes out clearly and one is able to enjoy even at top speed. Soundstage is quite impressive.
2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed
System: Naim for Bentley, 2200w, 20 speakers
You are in for a great performance when the rear mode is on, for those back seat drivers! The sound is clean and realistic and improves rapidly when the DSP mode is activated. It’s very powerful giving a clear, pure and natural feel making it feel like a live performance.
2016 Volvo XC90
System: Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, 1400w, 19 speakers
I liked the mounted tweeter on the dashboard; it aims the sound directly to the passengers making it a very enjoyable experience. The bass is even better and I came to understand the subwoofer is mounted directly on the body which actually has paid off because that bass is deeper. Putting the surround mode and regular stereo setting gives a full new level of enjoyment. I was indeed shocked to see how it separates the sounds and effects without any harshness or edginess. The dynamics are good, I can confess, which translates to fine music. You can put loud music on which is delivered without straining, and guess what, it has a 9 equalizer control for you to tune to your favourite mix. Thumbs up, Volvo!
2015 Acura RLX Hybrid
System: Krell Premium Audio, 14 speakers
I like the bass, it’s deep and impressive. High and low frequencies work perfectly giving a superb engaging timbre, clarity and detail on instruments and voices. I also found it very innovative to use the lightweight magnesium cone on tweeters and zylon super fiber on mid-bass speakers. To top it off, the amplifier works well without distorting the sounds.
Mercedes Benz s550
System: Burmester Surround Sound, 590w, 13 speakers
Use of stainless speaker covers is fine but I didn’t find the wow factor I was looking for in a Benz. Though I came to realize that in the back seat is where you get to enjoy a lot more than in the front, where the sound is flat. Maybe it's purposely made that way, I guess because mostly it’s a chauffeured car. But anyway the system has an impressive power.
2015 Infiniti QX80
System: Bose Premium Audio
The system is not bad, though I noticed a variation when on high frequencies as the sound trails off. For you to enjoy the music you have to tune in until you get a wide life-like soundstage.
Ford Explorer Platinum
System: Sony Premium Audio system 500w, 12 speakers
The inbuilt DSP is able to elevate the sound of low digital audio files to come out clearly like in a concert hall. The problem is when you put the surround system, the sound fragments adding an artificial echo. When you put major bass the front panels rattle which is a major drawback.