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Bowers & Wilkins Redefines Car Audio

Bowers & Wilkins, the British loudspeaker manufacturer with a global reputation spanning over 40 years renowned for its dedicated pursuit of the perfect loudspeaker design, has partnered with Jaguar – the luxury automobile manufacturer that embodies all that is best in British automobile manufacturing. Together, the two companies have developed a reference quality car audio experience for the 2008 Jaguar XF with fourteen speakers that deliver extraordinary clarity and faithful sound reproduction as the artist intended.

In a sharp departure from the typical OEM car-maker/speaker-supplier relationship, in which speakers and audio components are selected to accommodate “leftover” spaces and available locations, Jaguar and Bowers & Wilkins engineers began their cooperative work even before the new car hit the drawing board. Working together, Bowers & Wilkins and Jaguar engineers performed extensive computer analysis and prototype testing to determine the ideal layout, and locations, for the XF’s fourteen Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers. Their cooperative efforts targeted a common goal: to deliver the best-ever audio experience in an automobile.

The foundation of the effort is Bowers & Wilkins’ exclusive speaker-design technologies, such as its patented woven Kevlar driver material, whose yellow stranded appearance has become a Bowers & Wilkins hallmark. More importantly, Bowers & Wilkins’ uniquely textured, square-weave cones of the bulletproof material eliminate standing waves in its midrange and bass drivers, for unprecedented clarity, truly lifelike punch, and remarkable freedom from coloration. Another famous Bowers & Wilkins technology drafted into the XF effort is the company’s well known metal dome tweeter transducer, which extends treble response a full octave beyond conventional designs for sweeter, more open and transparent sound.

Bowers & Wilkins worked with select electronics partners to complete a unique and sophisticated installation for the XF. The Jaguar’s layout features the latest Pro Logic II 7.1-channel surround technology from Dolby Laboratories (another company with, coincidentally, British roots), to deliver a powerfully involving surround-sound musical experience from every stereo source, including FM or satellite radio, compact discs, and additional, as yet unrevealed options.

The system incorporates a total of 14 loudspeakers: four metal-dome tweeters strategically positioned to deliver smooth, even coverage to all four XF occupants, nine Kevlar-diaphragm woofer and mid/bass units, including a solo front-center and rear-surround pair, strategically located to preserve natural tonal balance and spatial localization, and a single, rear-mounted high-powered subwoofer that delivers true deep bass extension. Each amplifier channel is individually tailored to its respective loudspeaker by the system preamplifier-controller, making extensive use of advanced digital signal processing (DSP) techniques.

The fourteen Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers are driven by 440 watts of amplifier power, producing sound that remains clear, dynamic, and transparent right up to true concert levels and beyond. Even more importantly, the Bowers & Wilkins Jaguar XF car audio system preserves its unique sound quality at all speeds, under all road conditions, and for driver and passengers alike. According to Bowers & Wilkins Sr. Automotive Business Manager Martin Lindsay, it was only the tight collaboration with Jaguar’s engineers that made this achievement possible. “Working so closely with Jaguar at the concept stage empowered us to aim extremely high,” says Lindsay. “Because the audio environment in a vehicle is constantly changing with speed, occupancy, and conditions, you need to perform continual optimization to extract truly the best possible performance.” Lindsay continues, “In the XF, the Bowers & Wilkins sound-system design constantly monitors the vehicle’s interior environment and dynamically adjusts amplifier equalization to road speed and other proprietary parameters. We also extend the Dolby Pro Logic II to 7 channels and ensure that it delivers the right sort of immersive experience for front and rear passengers, wherever they are sitting.”

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The net result: Bowers & Wilkins has redefined the ultimate audio experience available in a luxury automobile which will have audiophiles and car-enthusiasts alike lined up at Jaguar dealerships in the spring/summer of 2008, when the XF is expected to debut to the public.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:
Bowers & Wilkins is one of the world’s greatest names in hi-fi speakers. Formed in 1966, its products are available from over 3,000 retailers in 62 countries around the world, making it Britain’s leading exporter of hi-fi speakers. Since 2000 several dedicated B&W showrooms have opened around the world, and in 2005 the company received the Queen’s Award for Innovation. A passion for music- deeply engrained by found John Bowers and remembered by many still at B&W that worked for him in the early days — remains a core value of the company. www.bowers-wilkins.com

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