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McIntosh Speakers in Your Grand Wagoneer? How Car Sound Systems Are Going High End

The days of muffled, underpowered speakers are over.

Naim Pininfarina sound system Naim/Pininfarina

Far from the days of cassette decks and tinny, underpowered speakers, the contest for best car stereo has become a high-stakes, high-tech affair, with automakers enlisting some of the biggest names in the precision in-home audio business. And for 2021, three teams are aiming for the top prize with new, revved-up sound systems for exclusive models.

On the sporting front, Maserati’s newly unveiled MC20 supercar comes equipped with a 12-speaker Sonus Faber High-Premium system driven by 695 watts of power delivered via multiple dedicated amplifiers, an exhilarating and refined setup befitting the first supercar to bear the trident in 15 years.

Meanwhile, UK manufacturer Naim Audio has developed a 1,300-watt presentation for Pininfarina’s Battista. The deceptively peaceful cabin of the otherwise savage, 1,900 hp, all-electric Italian hypercar is an ideal environment in which to appreciate Naim’s 10-speaker configuration, which includes a massive subwoofer between the driver and passenger, plus super tweeters behind the seats and in the panels of the Battista’s butterfly doors.

Maserati Sonus Faber speaker

Sonus Faber’s amplifier for Maserati.  Maserati/Sonus Faber

For its recently debuted Grand Wagoneer concept, Jeep turned to McIntosh, one of America’s oldest and most respected acoustic pioneers, known for rugged gear accented with unmistakable blue meters. Its 1,375-watt Reference System, with a 24-channel amplifier and 23 speakers, was engineered for Jeep’s new flagship SUV, transforming its vast interior into a rolling concert hall. It just goes to show that, while the speed of sound is a constant, how it’s carried is constantly being fine-tuned.

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