What do you get if you cross luxurious Italian car brand Maserati with Britain’s innovative specialists in sound, Bowers & Wilkins? The Maserati Quattroporte becomes the car manufacturer’s first model to feature an integrated Bowers & Wilkins car audio system with an 805 Maserati Edition loudspeaker also created to mark the partnership.
In addition to this the two brands have revealed the “Seven Notes World Tour” – a touring exhibition which hit London on an extremely balmy July 17th 2013. The sound installation is created by producer and artist Howie B (Björk, U2), using the seven distinct notes of Maserati V8 engines and was recorded and produced at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London using Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers.
The tour took in Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, and Milan with exclusive live performances from Howie B at each location, he was supported by a local DJ from each city. London saw renowned DJ Gilles Peterson joining the project.
Speaking about the tour, Howie B said, “Every musical project has its distinct challenge, whether it is working with a big recording artist like U2 or Björk or whether it is marrying an unanimated object with an animated object, in this case the engine with the music group. The resulting Seven Notes tracks exceeded what I could have imagined. The Seven Notes World Tour will bring this music to life via a stunning audio-visual feast that has never been seen before.”
We got to experience the truly phenomenal sound of the audio system and the insanely luxurious Maserati Quattroporte with Bowers & Wilkins Brand Manager, Sean Marin who kindly took us through a demonstration of the systems capabilities and filled us in on the materials used to create the supreme sound.
“Bowers & Wilkins have a brand partnership with Maserati. On one level that means we get to do great events like the Seven Notes event that we’re here for today – partnering with Howie B and Abbey Road Studios to record the sound of the Maserati. Abbey Road and Skywalker Sound use our speakers, we’re an almost 50 year British hi-fi company and we like to say that the people that make music trust us.”
So where does this sound system differ from others? Marin replies, “It’s down to the level of speaker position. You want a really high level of performance in a car and it’s a tricky balance in a confined space to ensure the same quality of experience for the driver, passenger and people in the back. It’s a hard job to achieve that. So we worked very early on with their engineers, talking about where speakers should go.”
Giving us a demonstration from an iPod plugged into the system via a USB port, we get a gentle acoustic number that demonstrates how crisp and crystal clear the sound is. “All the tweeters are aluminium dome, very light, very precise sound. The mid-range drivers in the car are made from Kevlar, the same material they use to make bullet proof vests. It has unique break-up properties that randomises it almost so that you don’t get those standard waves of sound that are audible.”
Mixing things up we next get a sonic blast of Rage Against The Machine track, Take The Power Back. With its booming bass line it’s perfect to demonstrate the bass drivers that are made from Rohacell carbon fibre; a tough but lightweight material used in the manufacture of aircraft and Formula 1 cars. Next we hand over our own CD, Ride The Lightening by heavy metal gods Metallica. This certainly gives the 21 speakers and three tweeters across the front of the car a decent work out and it sounds immense. The 21 speaker drive units work together to give a seamless surround sound. Metallica have never sounded better.
“We do countless hours of listening, the balancing of the system, getting the tonality right. It’s the same people tuning the system in this car that tune the speakers at Abbey Road; the same engineers.”
It has to be said I rather reluctantly exit the car with a wistful sigh; this is one heavenly fusion of motors and music that I’d like to experience again.
If you want to experience Bowers & Wilkins products in person then visit the store locator at www.bowers-wilkinson.co.uk. The new Maserati Quattropole is available at Maserati dealerships nationwide. Visit www.maserati.com for more details and the Seven Notes tracks are available to download exclusively at www.sevennotes.com.