LAS VEGAS-Perhaps the most talked about pickup of 2015 is the Ford F-150. With its military-grade, aluminum-alloy body and high-strength steel frame, stylized design and fuel-efficient engine, the new F-150 has been the most anticipated new vehicle of the year, earning honors as the North American Truck of the Year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.
But while most of the F-150’s promotional focus has been on the vehicle exterior, the truck’s standard interior sound system remains, well, standard. That’s why Harman, the audio, visual, infotainment and enterprise automation group, recently announced it has developed an aftermarket system specifically made for installation in the new F-150.
Available in late spring 2015, the Harman JBL Concert Edition package is designed to utilize the truck’s existing wiring harnesses and speaker locations to bring a superior audio experience into the vehicle that transcends current aftermarket products.
The package provides a complete system solution in a single box that includes four speakers, a pair of 8-inch DVC subwoofers and a DSP amplifier each professionally tuned to the interior of the car for the ultimate acoustic performance. They are cosmetically designed to integrate into the cabin of each specific model, reducing installation costs associated with aesthetic modifications for traditional aftermarket products. Unlike conventional aftermarket amplifiers, JBL Concert Edition amplifiers are specifically contoured for individual vehicles and feature EFI shielding to protect them from picking up unwanted engine noise when powered up.
In addition to this near turnkey installation and seamless design, Harman’s F-150 system includes amplifiers that feature the company’s Clari-Fi technology that is capable of analyzing and improving sound quality of compressed, digital music sources in real-time. Originally introduced by Harman at CES in 2014, the company’s JBL GTR and Infinity Kappa amplifiers will feature the technology to provide a superior audio experience when playing digital music from streaming audio services such as iTunes, Pandora and Spotify.
With streaming audio services supplanting CDs as the go-to source consumers use to listen to music, the result is lower-quality audio streaming due to compressed audio that discards significant components from the original recording, according to Harman. Clari-Fi reconstructs the stereo image of digital audio files for improved quality in a number of audible areas to bring audio back the way the original artist intended.
“We are trying to bring back awareness of sound quality to the customers,” says Jeffery Fay, vice president and general manager Global Car Audio Services SBU at Harman International. “Clari-Fi provides an amazing solution so people can hear music as the artist intended, without being hindered by the limitations of mobile bandwidth and file compression.”
At the Harman exhibit in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Fay was able to demonstrate the high-quality sound that Clari-Fi produces in an actual vehicle outfitted with the sound system. The difference between standard digital sound and the Clari-Fi sound was stunning.
“This is really a campaign to bring music back to its original quality,” says Fay, “the way that it was meant to be heard.”
Retailers will have the opportunity to demonstrate the difference through headsets and music that can be swapped back and forth between Clari-Fi and standard streaming digital music.
So, while the 2015 Ford F-150 may be earning honors for its radical exterior styling, perhaps the innovation that customers will truly be seeking is the high-quality sound installed after the purchase.