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New Sonus faber Premium Speaker System Comes Wrapped in a Maserati Grecale

We took the 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo equipped with the Sonus faber High Premium Speaker System for a test drive in Vicenza, Italy. Bravo!

Maserati Grecale Trofeo Side

Performance Audio Meets Performance Auto

High-end Italian loudspeaker maker Sonus faber has a new reference audio system available. It starts at $63,500 and comes with a free Maserati Grecale. OK, it’s possible that buyers will be interested in the new Maserati Grecale crossover utility vehicle (CUV) for its performance, utility, elegant lines and luxurious interior. But the car also happens to have one of the best car audio sound systems I’ve heard, thanks to Sonus faber.

I recently had the pleasure of listening to the Sonus faber “High Premium” 21-speaker system in the 2023 Maserati Grecale. I listened to a sampling of music, both with the car stationary and in motion on a spirited drive through the Italian countryside. The results were impressive.

Maserati Grecale in Italy
2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo and his brother Grecale Modena pose together in Vicenza, Italy.

While Sonus faber artisans design and build the company’s high-end home loudspeakers by hand in their factory in Vicenza, Italy, the company needed to take a different approach for a car audio system. Car speakers need to not only sound good when the car is parked, but they need to withstand the rigors of the automotive environment with its bumps, turns, road noise, engine sounds and extreme temperature variations.

“We selected a performance-oriented third party OEM manufacturer to provide the speakers and electronics,” said Fiore Cappelletto, Sonus faber’s General Manager of Automotive Business. “We worked closely with this partner, providing the design specifications for the speakers and amplifiers and we tested these components throughout the manufacturing process to assure that they met our specifications. Our designers worked with the Maserati team to make sure that the speakers were placed in the optimum locations for sound quality and that visible components like the speaker grilles reflected both Maserati’s and Sonus faber’s standards for excellence and luxury.”

Sonus faber premium car speaker in 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
Sonus faber premium car door speaker in 2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
The grilles of the Sonus faber High Premium audio system are machined aluminum, designed to resemble the strings of a musical instrument.

Sonus faber ensured that the drivers were made of natural materials such as silk tweeters and paper midrange cones, similar to the ones in the company’s home speakers. After the final drivers, cabinets and electronics were assembled into a prototype vehicle, the company performed rigorous system measurements, testing and tuning of the components within the car’s cabin to attain the highest possible performance.

Sonus faber’s home speakers are well-known for their musicality, transparency and seamless integration between high frequencies, midrange and bass. The so-called “Voice of Sonus faber” is built on proper time, phase and amplitude alignment between the tweeter and midrange drivers. When the high and middle frequencies arrive at your ear at the same time and in proper phase with each other, the sound is much more natural and cohesive. The Sonus faber team carried this concept over to the car audio system via careful driver design and placement, acoustic treatment and advanced tuning software. The end result is a natural-sounding system that holds up even at high volumes (and at high speeds, don’t ask me how I know).

2023 Maserati Grecale Trofeo
Sonus faber app screenshot
The Sonus faber app embedded in the Maserati infotainment system allows you to play music from a connected device and make adjustments to the audio parameters such as balance, EQ, sound profile and surround mode.

“We monitor the amplifier’s voltage at high levels so that it doesn’t clip,” said Mario Passarelli, Sonus faber R&D manager. “This prevents the speakers from breaking up or sounding harsh even as you crank the volume to its limits.”

And those limits were rather high. With a selection of tunes from artists including Daft Punk, Lorde, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton and Creedence Clearwater Revival, we cranked it up almost to the point where I feared permanent hearing damage, and yet the cohesive sound of the system held together.

It was clear that the many months of design and testing had paid off; the treble was finely detailed, midrange frequencies from voices and guitars sounded full and natural, bass drum, bass guitar and bass synths reached deep into the lowest registers, yet remained precise and controlled.

Maserati engineers have also done a fine job minimizing road and wind noise inside the cabin. This allows the driver and passengers to hear every last detail of the music. But performance car fans will be happy to hear that the telltale growl of the Maserati engine comes through when you punch it, particularly on the high performance “Trofeo” trim (which starts at $102,500). This model features a 523-hp 3.0 Liter V6 which has plenty of kick when you need it.

Eric Clapton’s rocking riffs are punctuated with the throaty growl of the Grecale’s 3.0 Liter V6 Engine.

The Maserati infotainment system features Sonus faber’s own app, where you can play music from a connected device and adjust sound parameters such as EQ, balance, fader and 2D or 3D surround modes. With 3D surround turned on, the system uses all 21 of the built in speakers (and all of the system’s 1285 watts) to create an immersive soundstage throughout the vehicle, from top to bottom. Purists can defeat the surround processing for a more typical 2-channel stereo experience, though I found the sound with 3D surround engaged to be the most natural-sounding and immersive overall.

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Sonus faber Surround Sound Option in 2023 Maserati Grecale
Choose between standard stereo sound, 2D or 3D surround.

Sonus faber engineers tell us they optimized the sound for the most important occupant (the driver) but they also measured the sound from all of the seats in order to make sure that passengers have a great listening experience as well. The High Premium system offers 2 different tuning modes: Reference and Extrema (Ex3ma). Reference is intended to sound more “precise” (accurate) though I found the Ex3ma sound profile to be more dynamic and exciting, without sounding fake or overly processed.

The system comprises seven tweeters, nine midrange drivers, four woofers and one subwoofer. The subwoofer is built in a custom enclosure mounted inside the rear hatch and vented to the outside rear wheel well for deep bass extension. A 1285-watt Class D dual DSP amp module powers the whole system with 200 of those watts dedicated to the subwoofer. EQ controls allow you to customize the sound to your liking with a dedicated slider that only adjusts the low bass from the subwoofer. If you like the boom, Sonus faber can definitely bring the boom.

Sonus faber car subwoofer in 2023 Maserati Grecale
You won’t see the subwoofer — it is mounted behind the side panel in the rear hatch — but you will definitely hear it… and feel it.

The High Premium system is available as an option on all versions of the Maserati Grecale. On the Grecale Modena and Trofeo versions, the High Premium system comes in the “Premium Plus” package ($3500 on the Modena, $4200 on the Trofeo). A base Sonus faber audio system is available on all versions of the Grecale at no additional charge. This system is also hand-tuned and designed by Sonus faber but it includes fewer speakers (14, rather than 21) and has a less powerful amplifier (860 Watts vs. 1285). But really, if you’re going to spend upwards of $60,000 on a car, why not go for the gusto?

2023 Maserati Sonus faber High Premium
Here you can see where the 21 speakers are located in the Sonus faber High Premium Audio System inside the Maserati Grecale.

Orders for the 2023 Maserati Grecale can be placed now on the Maserati website, or through a local dealer. Deliveries to Italy and the rest of Europe have already begun and deliveries to the United States are expected to begin soon. A company spokesman told us that an all-electric version (the Grecale Forgole) is expected to begin shipping in 2023.

For more information:

Related reading: Factory tour of Sonus faber Headquarters in Italy

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