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THX Certified Second Generation Car Audio System Debuts in 2006 Lincoln Zephyr

THX and Ford Motor Company introduce state-of-the-art car audio system in new entry-luxury sedan

Second-generation THX system offers incredibly precise audio and an exceptional surround sound experience

Ford Motor Company and THX Ltd. today announced that the second-generation THX Certified Car Audio system will be introduced in the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln’s entry-level luxury sedan coming this fall. This new system incorporates THX technologies, providing occupants an exceptional surround sound experience. Lincoln is the only brand to bring THX theater quality sound to the automotive environment.

THX and Ford are building on a successful collaboration, which started when the companies worked on the world’s first THX Certified Car Audio System in the 2003 Lincoln LS. The second-generation THX system, which will be unveiled in the Lincoln Zephyr at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10, 2005, offers significant improvements to the first-generation system. The Lincoln Zephyr is geared to a new generation of luxury car buyers who grew up with CDs, MP3s and digital surround sound in movie theaters and are likely to consider a car’s audio capabilities a top priority when making a purchasing decision.

The second-generation THX system in the Zephyr introduces innovative, new technologies for controlling and distributing sound waves throughout the vehicle’s cabin. This technology is built into a configurable speaker array, which is mounted in the car’s dashboard. This array is comprised of several small, powerful speakers, and uses dedicated amplifiers and THX’s proprietary digital signal processing (DSP) technology to dramatically widen the image of sound before distributing it optimally throughout the car’s interior.

“The 2006 Zephyr’s next-generation THX audio system adds to the overall comfort and luxury experience Lincoln customers expect,” said John Fitzpatrick, general marketing manager, Lincoln Mercury. “Our exclusive use of this technology is another example of Lincoln and THX breaking new ground in automotive audio performance.”

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This second-generation THX Certified Car Audio system leverages the Zephyr’s acoustically engineered cabin and strategically placed speakers to encircle occupants with crisp, natural sound. The result is a THX surround sound experience similar to what moviegoers encounter in THX Certified Cinemas and THX Certified Home Theaters.

“We are thrilled to continue this relationship with Lincoln and to introduce the second-generation of THX Certified Car Audio into what is expected to be one of Lincoln’s most popular luxury sedans,” said Joseph Lias, president of THX. “Today, buyers of luxury automobiles demand the very best when it comes to design, vehicle performance and in-cabin digital entertainment. We are confident that this system will exceed customer expectations, delivering a level of sound quality never before experienced in an automobile.”

The second generation THX certified system in the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr offers the following:

14 speakers
— 600 watts of amplification
— 12 channels of digital signal processing power providing:
o Individual speaker EQ
o Three optimized seating position modes (Driver, Front Seat, All Seats)
o THX patented configurable speaker array processing
o Surround processing of stereo CDs

After the second generation THX Certified Car Audio system was implemented and a prototype of the Zephyr was built, THX performed rigorous testing of the acoustical and speaker system performance under a wide range of road and driving conditions. In addition to providing advanced technologies for distributing sound, Lincoln engineers found ways to reduce engine and exterior noise, and eliminate in-cabin vibrations and distortion. The result is a rich and effortless sound experience, one that allows drivers and passengers to optimize the system for specific seating locations.

“Many of today’s car audio systems require the auto manufacturer to constantly increase the number of visible speakers throughout the vehicle to improve sound distribution,” said Laurie Fincham, vice president of engineering at THX. “Our system is different, because much of the technology that drives it is heard, but never seen. We made it a top priority to develop an innovative solution to widen the range and directivity of the sound presentation without cluttering the dashboard with speakers and amps. This was cosmetically pleasing to Lincoln’s designers and provided them with more room to add new features that appeal to luxury car owners.”

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