Bentley Taps Naim for High-End Audio

The exclusive agreement will provide the luxury auto maker with vehicle-specific sound systems that are the most powerful in the industry.

Bentley Motors Inc., in an effort to accentuate its already-exclusive image, partners with Naim Audio Ltd. to develop and supply the most powerful OE sound system on the market for use in future Bentley vehicles.

The tie-up is branded “Naim for Bentley” and is the result of 18 months of research and development to design an in-car audio system that rivals the best ultra-high-end home-entertainment technology, Bentley says.

Salisbury, U.K.-based Naim, founded in 1969, offers a wide array of premium home-audio components and has built a reputation for hand-making some of the finest amplifiers in the world.

“Our customers expect the ultimate in every experience when they commission a Bentley,” says Chairman and CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen.

“The Naim for Bentley sound system delivers the world’s ultimate in-car audio experience – allowing for ‘as-live’ audio entertainment that is as pure as the Bentley driving experience, itself.”

The auto maker does not offer details of the exclusive agreement or as to the rollout of the audio systems, but says each application was designed for a specific model and will feature a 1,100-watt multi-channel amplifier.

Development work was conducted in Salisbury, as well as at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, U.K., and included rigorous acoustical analysis of the cabin areas of every Bentley model.

Depending on the particular vehicle, up to 15 Naim-designed speakers make up the business end of the new audio suite.

“Within the tiny (packaging) area, we need to incorporate some of the most densely-packed, high-tech components imaginable and still ensure the amplifier meets our strict performance targets,” says Steve Sells, amplifier designer for Naim.

“The amplifier is hand-assembled to ensure a perfect lineup of all the circuit boards and cable dressing and every single input and output is computer-tested (for quality).”

In addition, Naim for Bentley systems represent the first commercial use of next-generation digital-signal-processing (DSP) technology.

The DSP features eight modes for various music types and listening tastes, the auto maker says, and incorporates a dynamic equalizer function for varying individual sound levels based on vehicle speed.

With the DSP making acoustical adjustments for every 0.6 mph (1 km/h) change in vehicle speed, the result is more than 300 unique EQ levels for each DSP setting, Bentley says.

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