Right from the beginning, it was a natural fit for both companies: a relentless quest for the purest sound, alongside a driving experience that is second to none.
While the mindset, standards and pedigree were familiar ground to us, our team of engineers faced an entirely new kind of playing field. Not least, designing for the close confines of a car cabin – and an environment more than capable of traveling at speeds up to 200mph. To bring true Naim Audio sound quality into this unique space we had to flatly reject traditional approaches, and re-write the rulebook of in-car music playback.
For this bespoke system, we started with a full acoustic analysis, every inch of each Bentley vehicle was assessed by our engineers. We even ascertained how the body panels behaved in motion, and the way varying sound levels reverberated around the cabin. From that, we developed a brand new amplifier that produces 1100 watts of power, in a space no larger than a conventional 420 watt unit.
Even the testing protocol needed to step up a gear – with the amp subjected to a specially-designed series of grueling tests for thermal management. We also needed to create a highly-complex six-layer circuit board, with electrical wiring uprated to three times its previous capacity and a special feed taken from the car’s twin batteries. Then we had to ensure it could deliver breathtaking sound quality for years to come, in temperatures ranging from 70oC to - 40oC. Which it does, of course, every time.
Although a car cabin isn’t perhaps the ideal listening environment to design for, it did give our engineering team the advantage of knowing where the listener is located at all times. That meant we could optimise sound for that precise position using Digital Signal Processing, or DSP. This is the electronic brain of the system, fine-tuned by our engineers in the listening room.
Through the DSP, we’re able to tailor individual drive units to different areas of the car. For example, without it, a speaker projecting across a back seat might sound distorted or dull, because the upholstery absorbs some of the treble. It even re-times the sound so the bass from the boot-mounted subwoofer reaches the driver’s ears at the same time as the treble from the front dashboard-mounted tweeters.
The new benchmark
The result? New worldwide benchmarks for in-cabin sound technology and incredible depth of music quality that has to be heard, to be believed.