The new Aston Martin DBS gets a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The car spun around on its turntable as a drum and bass track played at full volume. The staging was perfect, giving the aural illusion that a drum kit was five feet in front. Each beat on the kit gave us the distinct sound of bass, snare, and cymbal. The bass guitar joined in, and we could hear the flex of the strings. Another track with a female jazz singer placed her right over the hood of the car, then an orchestral track made banks of strings and woodwinds clear enough that we could almost tell which instrument was first chair.
Bang & Olufsen's priorities are staging and imaging, making the sound come from a distinct place, as if you had the best seat in the house, right in front of the stage. To accomplish this effect in the Aston Martin DBS, the company found places for 13 speakers, including two pop-up acoustic lenses at opposite ends of the dashboard, just like in the Audi A8. And where most companies are happy to put a tweeter at the base of the A pillar, Bang & Olufsen got to put mid-range speakers up there, mounted in the front top edge of the doors. Woofers are also mounted in a unique position, on either side of the console, in the front footwells. More speakers around mounted in the rear, along with a subwoofer, while a tweeter and mid-range acted as a centerfill in the middle of the dashboard. Mounting is of very high quality--we heard no rattle as heavy bass made the whole car feel as if it was moving.
1,000 watts of amplification power this system. 13 channels, one for each speaker, with Bang & Olufsen digital processing ensure that the audio comes out clean and well-placed. Ostensibly the DBS has two rear seats, but Bang & Olufsen ignored that charade and focused the sound on the driver and passenger seats. The audio can be set to focus the sweet spot on the driver, but when the passenger seatbelt is buckled that sweet spot is enhanced to include the passenger. Even wilder, the system is tuned for dual imaging, meaning that there are two sweet spots, letting driver and passenger enjoy equally good quality. The Beosound DBS system uses advanced audio adjustment to overcome changing environment sound, monitoring engine speed and noise in the cabin. The system changes levels quickly to compensate for noise in a manner that is supposed to be seamless to the car's occupants.