DETROIT — As link-ups with high-end audio companies are now an expected perk of the luxury-vehicle experience, Lincoln announced today it has inked an exclusive 10-year deal with premium loudspeaker developer Revel to supply premium audio systems for the entire Lincoln lineup.
The first Lincoln model to feature the new Revel audio will be the redesigned 2016 Lincoln MKX midsize crossover, which is due in dealer showrooms next year. Revel, the high-end loudspeaker brand of Harman International, will fit the next-generation MKX with a 13-speaker premium sound system as well as its 19-speaker Ultima setup.
Phil Eyler, senior vice president and general manager of Harman global car audio said, "We've waited literally 20 years to find the right (auto manufacturer) to collaborate with." The Lincoln collaboration marks the first-ever development of automotive sound systems for Revel, a brand well-known to audiophiles for its residential speakers that can run upwards of $20,000 apiece.
"We sought out the very best in audio," added Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln.
Revel boasts that its speaker systems for Lincoln will feature the same "Revel sound signature" that is a trademark of its home-audio speakers. For Lincoln, the Revel design is centered on its QuantumLogic Surround effect that eliminates the artificial elements of many surround-sound systems. The Revel system's QLS will give MKX occupants the ability to choose from three distinct effects: standard stereo, "audience" mode and an "onstage" mode designed to make listeners feel they are on stage with the music performers. The modes will be selected via the MyLincoln Touch screen in the center dashboard.
Another unique aspect of the Revel systems for Lincoln will be what the speaker maker calls "point source architecture" that locates the system's tweeters and midrange speakers in close proximity to deliver the most realistic sound reproduction. Revel's Eyler said this arrangement, as opposed to currently common placement of tweeters on the vehicle's interior A-pillar (the roof support on each side of the windshield) improves sound reproduction so as to be perceived as more "pure" by the occupants.
Lincoln and Revel said the audio systems will be specifically tailored for each Lincoln vehicle, including the design of the speaker grilles, which for the Ultima system are crafted from aluminum.
The new Lincoln-Revel collaboration effectively marks the beginning of the end of Lincoln's relationship with THX, which while renowned for its development of premium-audio specifications and certification, does not make audio system components. A Lincoln source said existing Lincoln models will continue with their THX-based audio systems until a significant redesign presents the opportunity to recraft interiors using Revel speakers.
Edmunds says: Lincoln moves forward from the existing THX branding of its audio systems to a more premium positioning with Revel, a switch that may strike a chord with luxury-car shoppers who also happen to be serious audiophiles.