The Mobile Audiophile

If you find yourself spending more time in a car seat than in your audio system's sweet spot each day, the trend pairing high-end audio companies with car manufacturers may offer a little relief. Lexus made a big splash last year by incorporating Mark Levinson technology into its latest cars, joining collaborations between Dynaudio and Volvo among others.

Latest to tie the auto/audio knot are Aston Martin and Linn Products, who announced last week that they will work together in a partnership that will result in a "unique audio system" to be offered on the AM V12 Vanquish, and Harman Industries and Mercedes Benz, set to develop "infotainment/telematics" systems for the MB S Class range.

AM claims that the V12 Vanquish is the "most technologically advanced Aston Martin ever built," inspiring the company to work with Linn to develop an audio system specifically for Vanquish customers. AM says 12 75Wpc amplifiers will drive 12 loudspeakers "strategically positioned" throughout the vehicle's interior, along with 200W RMS amplification supporting the bass channel. The company adds that the active-servo bass system uses an accelerometer to provide the feedback required for "pitch accurate performance" down to the lowest frequencies.

Aston Martin's Dr Ulrich Bez says his company spent considerable time trying to find the correct audio partner. "Linn has a similar approach towards its customers, wanting to provide the best quality product available." Linn and AM will be showcasing the Vanquish at the upcoming Home Entertainment 2002 Show in New York May 30–June 2.

Harman and Mercedes Benz announced that Harman's optical bus technology, "MOST," will provide multi-media, DVD-based navigation, Internet access, radio and music reproduction, hands free telephone and voice activation for the all new Mercedes S Class cars scheduled for 2005. The audio will be Harman's proprietary seven-channel Logic 7 system developed by Lexicon.

Harman's Dr. Sidney Harman said in a statement, "This remarkable system will establish a new benchmark in infotainment/telematics, including innovative bit-stream processing and storage technologies. Harman now becomes the worldwide integrated systems provider for the full range of Mercedes-Benz platforms."