Wheels

Morgan roadsters adopt vibrating no-speaker technology for future in-car audio systems

A Morgan Plus Four sports car roars along a country road

Anybody who’s ever driven, or been a passenger, in a Morgan convertible will know that the primary form of in-car entertainment is the sound of the wind whistling past your ears.

Sure, there’s a Bluetooth amplifier plus speakers fitted in the £84,995 Plus 6 (it’s an option on the £65k Plus 4) but when even the manufacturer barely mentions it in the owner’s manual you know it’s a pretty token gesture.

But matters audio-related have just got rather interesting at Britain’s last family-owned car maker. That’s because Morgan has announced an intriguing partnership that suggests it will soon be possible to turn its wooden-framed cars into the road-going equivalent of a Stradivarius…

Morgan has announced an intriguing partnership with Sennheiser and Continental…

An explanatory diagram of the Sennheiser sound system coming to Morgan cars
What to expect from the Continental Sennheiser sound system coming to Morgan cars

Its collaborators on the new project are German audio legends Sennheiser, who will take care of digital audio tuning, working their immersive AMBEO magic on hardware supplied by US-based automotive tyres, and tech giant Continental.

And it’s the latter’s Ac2ated Sound System, announced at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, that’s going to form, quite literally, the beating heart of Morgan’s new in-car audio miracle.

Essentially, the Ac2ated system is a full-range evolution of the haptic transducers that for many years have been bolted to chairs in high-end home cinema systems, to add low-frequency, ‘seat of your pants’ vibrations, with Buttkicker being perhaps the best-known implementation. 

Sony has been using a similar technique, which it’s dubbed Acoustic Surface technology, on its premium OLED TV ranges, to great acclaim.

The stated plan is for future Morgans to ditch conventional loudspeakers and instead replace them with Continental’s transducers; these exciters will be strategically placed in the vehicle interior. 

The idea is that they’ll generate sound by vibrating large body panels, such as door trims: a good analogy is the way the strings of a violin vibrate its body to add resonance and body. For its part, Sennheiser’s job will be to finesse and optimise the system’s output for the challenging environment of a convertible’s cabin, no mean feat.

A Morgan Plus Four parked on the road, gleaming in the sunlight
The look is classic but Morgan motors will soon debut immersive audio technology

The promised pay-off for drivers and passengers, we’re told, will be ‘an extremely natural and enveloping sound’, not to mention a near 90 per cent reduction in weight and space, compared to a conventional audio system. 

So well as better audio quality, drivers can expect gains in both performance and interior room.

Although there’s no timeline for availability, Morgan states that the forthcoming system will be available for both ‘new and existing Morgan customers’, suggesting that it will also be retro-fittable to at least current and, perhaps, even older models. 

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