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JBL MS-8 Sweeps Sound Quality Competition at Spring Break Nationals


Digital Signal Processor Sets New Standard for Pristine Sound Quality and Ease of Setup

JBL’s MS-8-equipped BMW 325i took top honors in the IASCA ISQC and MECA SQ Extreme classes and earned the MECA PHAT SQ award for highest sound quality score of the event at the 2007 Spring Break Nationals, held March 23-24. The BMW’s system, built by Harman Consumer Group’s Gary Biggs, includes the JBL MS-8 OE-integration digital signal processor (DSP) connected to the BMW’s I-Drive factory-installed head unit, a trunk full of JBL’s Power Series amplifiers and a pair of JBL W12GTi woofers.

The JBL MS-8 includes a display, a wireless remote control, a binaural microphone, a setup CD and an eight-channel amplifier/preamplifier that can be connected to any car’s existing head unit via speaker- or line-level inputs. The DSP provides signal summing and conditioning that can reconstruct a flat full-bandwidth stereo signal if the radio does not provide one. At the heart of the MS-8 is a new and proprietary equalization algorithm that makes achieving contest-winning sound quality a snap.

The JBL MS-8 also includes Lexicon’s Logic7 soundstage enhancement processing. Coupled with a center channel speaker, Logic7 can create a seamless image across the dash for every listener in every seat. The onboard digital electronic crossover is fully configurable and can support any system of up to eight channels. MS-8 also includes an auxiliary input with a system volume control for high-quality signal from any portable audio device.

“This thing rocks. The installation was almost too easy. I remember looking up after it was done and thinking to myself, ‘Is that it?’ Plus, with less than an hour of tuning, the system had the highest sound quality scores in both IASCA and MECA. Unbelievable,” said Biggs, applications specialist, Harman Consumer Group.

“We’ve developed MS-8 to meet a need. People want to customize their cars and improve their systems without replacing their factory-installed head units. MS-8 is a game-changer. No longer does a great sounding system have to cost a fortune, require extensive modification of the car or require that the local installer is a PhD-level acoustician,” remarked Andy Wehmeyer, product marketing manager, Harman Consumer Group. “The most important feature of MS-8 is not that it can be connected to any head unit in any car, it’s that it tunes itself automatically in a matter of minutes and can make any car sound great.”

“Many other currently-available automatic equalizers try to fit good sound into an existing mathematical theory or marketing definition like ‘perfect phase EQ,’ ’64-band parametric EQ’ or ‘512-tap filtering,'” says Dr. Ulrich Horbach, principal digital audio engineer, Harman Consumer Group. “In developing our algorithm, we were under no pressure from marketing philosophers and were free to work as audiophiles. We have used as little math as possible and relied on our wealth of information about human perception as tools to achieve the ultimate goal of great sound. The result is a car-tuning tool that works; and that is the feature that distinguishes it from the rest. It won’t replace the skills of a professional tuner, but will come close in most cases.”

JBL’s MS-8 will be available in the fall of 2007 at authorized JBL Car Audio retailers worldwide.

The Harman Consumer Systems Group (HCSG) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a wide range of high-fidelity loudspeakers, audio and video components and multi-media systems for use in homes and automobiles, and with computers. The Group’s brands include JBL, Infinity, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, Madrigal Imaging, Revel, Proceed, Audioaccess and Lexicon.

HCSG is a division of Harman International Industries, Inc. Harman International ( is a leading manufacturer of high-quality, high-fidelity audio and video products for the consumer and professional markets. The Company’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HAR.”

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