ANDEngineers at Rolls-Royce work not only on how to remove sound, but also how to deliver it to our ears. In fact, it removes unwanted sounds, such as the noise of tires, air or wheels falling into potholes on the road, but it enhances what flows from the speakers, whether from Apple Music, Spotify or from the radio.
This article is from the iMagazine 12/2022 issue
I wrote about the design of the new Ghost in November 2020, mentioning many aspects of the car that are not talked about out loud. The standard suspension with additional shock absorbers or the “Flagbearer” system, which “lowers” the road ahead with the help of a camera, is one thing, but the company improves the sound already at the level of building an aluminum body. At this stage, the design of the Rolls sound system also begins, where, for example, the new Spirit uses the empty space in the doors as a resonance box for woofers, and tweeters, called by the company. exciting speakersthey are hidden behind the header and are designed to work well there.
The audio system in Rolls-Royce includes many components that are designed or modified according to the needs of the company and also different for each model. There are also complex considerations that cannot be affected, such as the placement of speakers so as not to cause a delay in the sound reaching the listeners’ ears.
The whole system has a 1300 W amplifier, to which sixteen loudspeakers and two amplifiers are connected to a special channel. The two woofers are 250W each, the seven midrange drivers use 75W each, and there are also the seven 25W tweeters and two 25W drivers mentioned above, which cover frequencies from 25Hz to 25kHz.
Then the ladder begins when it comes to digging into the technical details of the installation. I managed to find out that there are two or three component suppliers (depending on who I asked), but I don’t know if their components are mixed in one model or not, the company names are not necessarily well known, but the price is in the Hi-Fi area. However, it was clearly emphasized that this is not Harman Kardon. What we do know is that the wiring is twice as thick as usual in cars, and that the midrange driver has a diaphragm made of a combination of magnesium and ceramics.
The audio production process itself is also amazing because Rolls-Royce does not rely on suppliers, it does it all in-house. For example, the Phantom was taken on a 5,000-mile road trip that visited places the company’s customers could go. The list of songs that were used to test sound projection reaches 150, but there are two in particular that were used – “Sad But True” by Metallica and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. The playlist was created to include everything from electronic to studio-recorded club to rock ‘n’ roll records.
Another problem is adjusting the sound for people sitting in brand cars. Finally, two methods were chosen. The first one simulates the situation where a person is standing in front of the stage, so the music reaches the ears from the front and from above. The second is similar to a big club, where the sound comes to us from all sides. Rolls-Royce also takes into account the specific difference of the model and so, for example, the sound in the “short” Spirit will be changed for everyone, and in the extended model the sound will be improved for the back seat. The reason for this is that extended models are driven more by drivers.
I also managed to get an interview with Ricky Wilde (musician, producer, songwriter and younger brother of Kim Wilde), in which he confirms that the Bespoke system in Rolls-Royces allows you to achieve sounds that are not normally heard on less powerful devices. He also liked how his songs sounded from iTunes (streaming, so I think he meant Apple Music) and, by the way, said that Spotify does not match the quality of the past.
So it seems that the mission of Rolls-Royce sound engineers, whose goal was to provide a mobile studio, and not just a Hi-Fi system, was successful.