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13 and 19 speaker systems for Lincoln MKX

Revel Ultima установленная на приборной панели решетка динамика


Revel is one of the most respected brands high end speakers ; I personally use a pair of Revel Performa3 F206 column speakers for reference. Revel is part of Harman International, the parent company of JBL, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Lexicon and numerous professional audio brands. All of the brands listed above are also used in car stereos, factory installed . So it wasn’t much of a surprise when we got an invitation to go to Detroit for a joint Lincoln and Revel press event.

Over the course of the 10-year partnership, «Revel systems will go ahead in every new Lincoln,» said Lincoln CEO Matt VanDyke. The first Revel-equipped vehicle will be the new Lincoln MKX.

At this event, we listened to both versions of the Revel system for a long time, which we will talk about shortly. First, let’s see how the system works.

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How does it work

Revel боковые колонки


The Revel system in the MKX is available in two versions: a 13 speaker version and a 19 speaker version (albeit with 20 channels).

Both reminded me of the Revel F206 I own. The core of the system is an array with an 80mm mid range and a 25mm tweeter, which you can see in the picture above. (You can barely see the midrange driver through the grille.) It’s designed much like the Performa3’s speakers, with a waveguide on the tweeter to smooth the transition between the two drivers, and the two drivers are very close together so they function more as one. sound source. Even the crossover points and slopes are similar to those used in home speakers. (In a car, crossovers are done in digital signal processing rather than with passive components such as capacitors and inductors.) Each of the four passenger doors is equipped with a 170mm mid-range woofer, and each passenger door also has a tweeter. The rear subwoofer provides bass.

The 19-speaker system, which bears the Ultima designation used on Revel’s overhead speakers, adds a full array of mids/tweeters in each passenger door and two more arrays of mids/tweeters in the rear. He also has subwoofer double coil, which can use an additional amplifier channel. Thus, a system with 19 speakers has 20 amplifier channels.

The amplifier is a hybrid design with traditional class AB tweeter amplifiers and high efficiency class D amplifiers for all other drivers. This is designed to provide the best combination of efficiency, compactness and sound quality. It is mounted in the left rear corner of the car, opposite the subwoofer.

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Revel скриншот


As the only audio journalists present at the event, we spent a lot of time listening to the quality of the 13 and 19 speaker systems. Although we only listened to the provided music videos, most of them were familiar to us.

We were very pleased to hear how great the sound quality of our home system, seems to infiltrate car systems. The first thing we noticed was that, as with our home speakers, we couldn’t hear transitions between drivers; Basically, that’s why we bought the home system. As with home speakers, the coloration is very, very slight, and the whole system sounds exceptionally neutral and inviting — unlike the vast majority of car audio systems, which sound rather dull in my opinion.

Equally important was the soundtrack of the system, which for us was not at all like what we had heard before in car systems. We got a wide sound space extending across the dashboard; to us, it almost sounded like the dashboard had virtual speakers spaced about 1 foot on each side, sort of like a real home system. Our ears are not localized side panels mid/treble — arrays for everyone .

To show us what the system is capable of, Harman’s chief audio engineer Ken Dietz turned on an EDM tune with massive, ultra-dynamic bass and kicked it into full swing. It did not distort, nor did the sound become thin, nor did the woofer become obnoxious. It sounded much the same, only much louder — thanks, Dietz told me, to advanced limiter circuits. “We work with 35-volt [источниками питания] into 4 ohm loads, so it has plenty of power,” he said.
“Typically, audio companies get about a week to set up a car,” Alan Norton, manager of global entertainment systems for Ford Motor Company (Lincoln’s corporate parent), told us. «Harman had a car with that for months.»

Earlier in the day, we visited the Novi, Michigan plant where Harman does most of the development of these systems. This is where the setup of the Revel system in the MKX was done. The company actually installed a Revel speaker system in the next room so that during the setup process, engineers and trained listeners could hear the Revel system and then walk right next door and hear the Revel system in the car. So we shouldn’t be surprised that a car system sounds the same as home speakers.

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Harman's Novi средство


This is in stereo. Revel/Lincoln systems are also the first to feature Harman QuantumLogic Surround, or QLS, surround sound technology. QLS analyzes the incoming signal, digitally separates the various instruments, and then routes them to different speakers in the surround sound array. Conventional matrix surround decoders such as Dolby Pro Logic II and Lexicon Logic7 (which will replace QLS) simply analyze the differences in level and phase between the left and right channels and route sounds to the surround channels without much regard for their frequency content. Working in Dolby at the launch of Pro Logic II, we are very sensitive to the control and phase artifacts that most matrix decoders produce, and we were surprised not to even hear about it in QLS. It sounded like real 5.1 or 7.1 sound.

“What I like about the QLS is that it doesn’t add anything,” Ford’s Norton said. «You can add all the signals together and you get the same stereo signal you started with.»

Two QLS modes are included: Audience, which provides a fairly subtle ambient effect; and on stage, which directs sounds more aggressively into the rear channels. There is also a direct stereo mode. The factory default setting is Audience mode, but I was surprised to learn how much I liked the dramatic effect of switching to Onstage mode. One of the great things about the system is that there is no mute or click when switching modes, it just fades invisibly from one mode to another.

Both Revel systems use a full-time Harman Clari-Fi system. Clari-Fi is designed to restore high frequency content in audio files compressed using MP3 and other codecs. The more compressed the music, the greater the Clari-Fi effect. Therefore, on satellite radio signals with low bitrate Clari-Fi does a lot. When you play CDs, it does nothing. We got a brief demo of the Clari-Fi at the Harman’s Novi factory and it appears to work as advertised.

Of course, as a Revel owner, we’re biased, but to us, this really does sound like a completely different kind of car audio system. Listen and see if you agree.

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