DETROIT -- Lincoln will bring concert-quality sound to its vehicles through a new collaboration announced today with Revel, a manufacturer of audiophile speaker systems.
The 2016 MKX premium midsize crossover, due to go on sale next year, will be the first vehicle Lincoln offered with a Revel system. Revel, a brand owned by Stamford, Conn.-based Harman International Industries Inc., has been making high-end audio speakers for home systems since 1996. A pair of Revel home speakers can cost up to $22,000 a pair.
Lincoln and Revel said the collaboration will run for ten years.
“We’ll be bringing Revel into each and every new Lincoln,” said Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln, at a press event this week.
Lincoln will offer two Revel systems in the MKX: the 19-speaker Revel Ultima system, standard in premium Black Label versions of the MKX, and a 12-speaker system.
The Revel system will be offered as an option on other MKX trim levels. Lincoln won’t announce the option price for the Revel system until the 2016 model goes on sale.
Phil Eyler, senior vice president and general manager for Harman, said Lincoln and Revel “shared brand values, the commitment to quality, craftsmanship and high performance.
“We’ve waited 20 years to find the right OEM to partner with,” Eyler said in an interview.
Eyler said Lincoln engineers were willing to work with Revel to make changes in the vehicle’s structure to accommodate Revel’s “point source architecture,” which involves locating the tweeter and midrange speakers close together.
This design “ensures that every detail of a song reaches a Lincoln passenger’s ears at the exact time and magnitude for the purest, most authentic listening experience,” the companies said in a release.
Revel wanted to move the tweeter out of the A-pillar, where it is commonly found in many in-car systems, and into the door next to the midrange speaker in front of the door handle. Lincoln was willing to relocate certain mechanical and electrical elements of the door’s structure to allow this to happen, Eyler said.
The system, controlled via the MyLincoln Touch infotainment screen, has three listening modes: traditional Stereo, which mimics two-channel home stereo; Audience, which replicates the sound of a good concert seat, and Onstage, a surround-sound mode akin to being onstage with the musicians.
The system can play a variety of audio files including compressed MP3 files, which have degraded sound quality because data has been removed for easier streaming.
The Revel Ultima system comes with Harman’s Clari-Fi technology that makes MP3s sound better.
“Our scientists have come up with an algorithm to rebuild what is destroyed in compression,” he said.
The system can crank out 2,000 watts or more.
Though the Lincoln venture marks Revel’s first collaboration with an automaker, other Harman brands have been installed in luxury vehicles including Harman/Kardon in BMW and Mark Levinson in Lexus.