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automotive

MINI and Harman Kardon

A Unique Car Deserves a Unique Sound System

MINI and Harman Kardon® both embody excellent performance, top quality, individuality and lifestyle in combination with distinctive design. Together, these two iconic brands stand for pioneering technology and passionate engineering. As partners, MINI and Harman Kardon jointly developed tailor-made sound systems that enrich the dynamic MINI driving experience with a fascinating listening experience. The uncompromising sound quality is delivered by the powerful Harman Kardon DSP amplifiers in Class D technology, driving ten speakers that are optimally positioned in the car and specifically adjusted for the respective MINI model. These high-performance transducers feature specially developed membrane materials. The tweeters, with metal matrix diaphragms, employ a complex sandwich structure with an aluminum core and a ceramic surface. Midrange speakers in the door panels feature ALumaprene diaphragms that are characterized by excellent damping characteristics for a finely balanced frequency response. The new diaphragm materials ensure a careful balance between stiffness and weight.

In addition, the MINI models also use a high-performance 480-watt DSP amplifier in Class D technology, a power pack whose superior sound pressure level (SPL) fulfills the desire for fun and produces a richly detailed sound. Compared to the previous model, the module, which weighs only 1.3 kg, allows twice the performance; low bass tones are passed on to the speakers powerfully and precisely. Because of its superior efficiency, the amplifier radiates very little heat, rendering additional cooling unnecessary. Thus, the amplifier features very compact dimensions of just 19.2 × 11.6 × 5.2 centimeters, enabling space saving installations.

Harman Kardon is a world leader in the development and production of high-quality audio systems, and has worked with the engineers at MINI to design the perfect solution for these unique cars. It was clear from the very beginning that this was not a matter of standard solutions, as each model has its own unique set of requirements. For example, the MINI Convertible needs a system that can offer the same outstanding sound experience whether the top is up or down. With the MINI Clubman, on the other hand, the acoustic experts had to take the larger interior space into account when tuning the sound. Furthermore, the additional door on the passenger side for rear seat passengers required the development of a speaker that is specially optimized for small volumes.

The high standards of both brands were the top priority during development: The system meets the most demanding requirements of an excellent, uncompromising sound experience. Even at an early stage in the design phase, this required close cooperation between the engineers from both brands.

As all interior components have a dramatic impact on acoustics, Harman Kardon engineers work on sound tuning in the different phases of vehicle development. To ensure a faithful, three-dimensional listening experience, the number, size, and position of the speakers have to be defined, and the individual components optimally tuned.

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