Lincoln executive Matt VanDyke admits he was "moderately interested" when he heard his brand was considering a partnership with a high-end speaker company. Then he listened to the silky sound they made.
"They've never been in autos before, and this is going to be an absolute point of differentiation for us." – Matt VanDyke
"I sat there and I was blown away," he said.
That may be overselling the speakers, but they do sound good – we know, we've checked 'em out.
Lincoln is betting subtle enhancements – like Harman's Revel audio systems – will help the historic automotive brand appeal to a new generation of buyers. The companies announced a 10-year deal on Wednesday to place Revel speakers in Lincoln cars and trucks beginning in 2015 models. Terms were not disclosed.
The partnership launches with the next-generation MKX crossover (concept version shown above), which arrives in showrooms in 2015, and the speakers will be available on other Lincoln models, too. Revel is Harman's top-of-the-line brand that's marketed to audiophiles, and its home systems can easily cost several thousand dollars or more.
Though Revel is a new name, Harman has long offered a wide array of car under other brands, including Harman Kardon, Infinity and Lexicon.
In Lincolns, passengers will be able to tune their Revel system to three settings: normal stereo sound; "audience," which creates concert-like acoustics; and "on-stage," which is designed to make passengers feel like they're standing among the band. Revel and Lincoln designers also collaborated on the style of the speaker grilles to integrate them into the vehicles, and the uplevel Revel system, called Ultima, will use aluminum covers.
"They've never been in autos before, and this is going to be an absolute point of differentiation for us," said VanDyke, Lincoln's global director.
Though Revel is a new name to the auto sector, Harman has long offered a wide array of in-car audio and infotainment systems under other brands, including Harman Kardon, Infinity and Lexicon.
The Revel partnership is part of Lincoln's efforts to elevate its image and make the brand more relevant to new and younger customers. Lincoln's Black Label line, a customization and service program, will launch at 32 dealerships in six states this year, before expanding nationwide in late 2015. Additionally, Lincoln signed Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey to star in its advertisements.
The company has also been focused on refreshing its product lineup and is in the midst of launching four new vehicles by 2016. The first two, the MKZ and MKC, are already on sale, and they will be followed by the new MKX. The fourth has yet to be specified.
Lincoln's moves are showing signs of working, and sales have increased 15 percent this year to 84,784 units. Much of the growth comes from the new MKC, which launched earlier this year and has added 10,767 new sales to the brand, while the updated Navigator has capitalized on low fuel prices and seen its sales rise 12.6 percent.
Lincoln Motor Company Adds Premium Sound of Revel Audio Systems to Its Luxury Vehicles
The Lincoln Motor Company announces exclusive collaboration that will add premium sound of Revel® audio systems to Lincoln's lineup of luxury vehicles
Revel uses a scientific approach to replicate a sophisticated home-audio experience for each unique Lincoln cabin
Revel audio systems, including Revel Ultima, will debut with launch of the next-generation Lincoln MKX midsize utility vehicle coming next year
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 4, 2014 – The Lincoln Motor Company announced an exclusive 10-year collaboration with Revel® that will add the premium loudspeaker brand to Lincoln vehicles. The pairing will make Lincoln the only automotive brand to offer Revel audio systems.
Since 1996, Revel has served its audiophile customer base with premium home audio equipment. Emphasizing science-based speaker architecture and acoustic precision, Revel systems are designed to recreate a musical performance as precisely and purely as it was recorded.
Revel, HARMAN International's most premium loudspeaker brand, designed both a premium Revel audio system and a Revel Ultima system for Lincoln that audiophiles will revere. Revel's automotive audio systems will be seen – and heard – for the first time in the next-generation Lincoln MKX midsize utility. Offering uncompromising acoustics and intuitive technologies, Revel audio will give Lincoln a strong brand differentiator in the luxury market.
"The Lincoln collaboration with Revel is the next step in our commitment to build vehicles that exceed luxury expectations," said Matt VanDyke, global director, Lincoln. "Revel is synonymous with the finest home speaker systems, and it's that exceptional audio experience we want our Lincoln drivers to enjoy."
An immersive sound experience
To replicate the Revel home audio experience in Lincoln vehicles, engineers from Revel worked closely with Lincoln engineers and designers. Fusing form, function and innovation, the teams employed what Revel refers to as the Science of Sound in the vehicle design process. Placement, tuning, calibration and number of speakers are unique to each Lincoln model to ensure superior audio quality and accuracy.
"The Revel system for Lincoln was created for the unique interior environment of each Lincoln model," said Phil Eyler, senior vice president and general manager, HARMAN global car audio. "The system is tuned to create an immersive audio experience unlike any other on the road."
All Revel home loudspeakers are designed with the tweeter and midrange speakers positioned close together – known as point-source architecture. This architecture is crucial to delivering the remarkably pure sound quality for which Revel is known. The Revel system for Lincoln maintains that standard by carefully integrating the architecture into the vehicle design, improving the accuracy of midrange and high-frequency reproduction, an essential element to a true high-fidelity system.
Tweeters are positioned within custom Revel Waveguides to optimize high-frequency dispersion, allowing a seamless blend between the tweeters and midrange speakers. This uncompromising design approach ensures that every detail of a song reaches a Lincoln passenger's ears at the exact same time and magnitude, for the purest, most authentic listening experience.
Revel's proprietary hybrid amplifier strategy employs Class A/B and Class D amplification to provide extraordinary fidelity at any volume.
Unique Revel technology
Revel audio systems for Lincoln feature QuantumLogic Surround®. This next-generation surround-sound technology delivers an authentic, multi-dimensional experience while eliminating the smearing effects that often hamper typical surround-sound systems.
Lincoln owners will use the MyLincoln Touch™ screen to select from three distinct listening modes – Traditional Stereo; Audience, for an intimate concert experience where the boundaries of the vehicle seemingly disappear; and On Stage, a surround-sound experience that puts listeners in the middle of it all, placing individual instruments and musical elements throughout the cabin.
Revel Ultima includes Clari-Fi, a patented HARMAN technology that works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music. Many audio details originally recorded in a music track can be lost in the compression process; Clari-Fi intelligently and seamlessly reconstructs the digitally compressed music for an enhanced listening experience regardless of the source.
Impeccable Lincoln, Revel craftsmanship
Underscoring the Lincoln and Revel commitment to quality and craftsmanship, every Revel component is meticulously tested prior to vehicle production. This attention to detail includes calibrating each Revel amplifier to within 0.2dB channel-to-channel to ensure precise system balance.
Lincoln and Revel designers worked closely to establish a speaker grille design that complements luxurious Lincoln interiors while passing rigorous acoustical testing for optimal performance. Vehicles equipped with a Revel Ultima sound system will include upgraded aluminum speaker grilles for an elegant experience.
"Revel and Lincoln have so much in common in terms of our devotion to quality, craftsmanship and performance," VanDyke said. "This collaboration is such a natural one."
Further details about Revel automotive audio systems for Lincoln will be available closer to the launch of the next-generation Lincoln MKX.