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automotive

Mercedes-Benz and Harman Kardon

Mercedes-Benz and Harman Kardon: a perfect match

The Mercedes-Benz® and Harman Kardon® brands share a common philosophy: striving for perfection. The decisive factors are excellent performance and quality, as well as first-class technology. The prestigious Harman Kardon brand has been the first choice for the most discerning music fans, who not only love listening to music, but who also recognize brilliant sound quality that meets the highest standards. The numerous technical innovations that guarantee authentic, 360-degree surround sound in every seat from normal stereo and modern 5.1 recordings represent a significant competitive advantage and have dramatically increased the perceived value of the sound systems and the satisfaction of drivers. Thus, there are good reasons for the Mercedes-Benz/Harman Kardon acoustic partnership.

Since the first Harman Kardon Logic 7® surround sound system was introduced in the E-Class in 2002, all models, from the A-Class to the S-Class, have been fitted with the pioneering audio system in a genuine sound-offensive campaign. The installation of Harman Kardon discrete Logic 7® high-end sound system in the new-generation Mercedes-Benz SL in February 2008 means that all Mercedes-Benz models are now available with Harman Kardon sound systems and therefore with superior Logic 7 surround sound technology, further strengthening the brand partnership.

The development partnership between the two premium brands started in 1999, three years before the market launch of the then E-Class. Since that time, the aim has always been to offer the best possible surround quality in Mercedes-Benz cars. Thus, Harman Kardon acoustic specialists in Karlsbad design a custom sound system for each Mercedes-Benz model that must meet the high quality standards of both partners. Naturally, the audio experts are already working on new sound-system generations, taking the next step toward auditory perfection in the car and once again setting new standards for the ultimate in listening pleasure.

The optimum integration of high-end audio components is already taken into consideration when a new Mercedes-Benz car is in its first design phase. The Harman Kardon principle: Every car requires a tailor-made solution. Optimum surround sound can only be achieved if an audio system is developed that is carefully tailored to the conditions of each model of the specific automobile. That's why it takes three years, on average, from the first designs for a sound system until it is ready to be installed in the car.

Because all interior components have a dramatic impact on the acoustics, Harman Kardon engineers also work on sound system development directly at Mercedes-Benz locations. These resident engineers harmonize the requirements of the automobile manufacturer with the proposed solutions from the sound specialist. Among other aspects, the number, size and position of the loudspeakers must be defined, and the individual components have to be coordinated to optimum effect. Computer simulations use the vehicle data to define the multiphysical parameters of the loudspeakers and their ideal positions.

Integration and further acoustic tuning take place in numerous complex steps. When a new Harman Kardon sound system has passed the complex scientific tests, it must still undergo one more important test: the human ear. After the simulation tests on the virtual model, top Harman Kardon and Mercedes-Benz acoustic experts employ detailed and direct audio comparisons. "The human ear remains the most precise measuring instrument," says company founder Dr. Sidney Harman. The final sound must always match high Harman Kardon standards, but it may feature fine nuances - depending on the particular car model and the relevant target group.

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