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> Test-drove a Bentley Mulsanne
VCR
post Feb 20 2011, 12:10 AM
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Excellent car!

Exterior: in a word, huge, but in a positive way. I did some comparison: it's about 3/4 of a size smaller than a Phantom and 1 size bigger than a Ghost. A more accurate description would be that the Mulsanne fits right in between a RR Phantom and an old RR Silver Spur. But the Mulsanne is a much more beautiful car that any current RR. The Phantom is simply too big and doesn't look right when one drives it himself. Forget the Ghost, to be fair, it is a good car but that's because it's a BMW 7-series. The Ghost has zero street presence. The Mulsanne, on the other hand, has ample but not being flashy. It's just majestic and classy. The lines of the car, the shoulders in particular, are crisp, clean and modern; yet the overall profile of the car is curvy and has a hint of nostalgia. I am toss between the 2 types of wheels: the traditional disc/dinner plate looking ones vs. the modern double 5-spokes sporty ones. On the one hand, traditional ones would go well given the identity of the car but on the other hand, the sporty ones make the car more at home with the younger owners. The headlights still need some time to get use to but they don't look as weird as initially thought anymore. One thing that deserves kudos is that all the bright works --- radiator grille, side vents, door handles, window surrounds etc... are of genuine polished metal instead of cheap chrome plastic like the handle of the Ghost. As this is a tall car, the rear side doors do resemble a big slab and the rear of the car has a faint hint of the Maybach. But overall, I think this is the best-looking yacht-size sedan on the planet.

Interior: well, it is a Bentley afterall and this one got much less German DNA spliced into its interior design. The wood is typical RR/Bentley quality as is the leather. It still doesn't "smell" right though but I guess with Connolly long defunct, that olfactory signature is forever gone. As with most high-end British cars, the feel and "click" of all the buttons and stalks are just right although some do feel more plasticky than say the Arnage. The centre console is a dilemma: the GPS/media screen hidden behind the wooden panel is a nice surprise although it's been done before by other marques. The iPod drawer is silky smooth and classy but everything else below that part is less so. The genuine chrome surround somehow looks sub-class and a bit out of place. The flush-mount "piano black" switches are more like glossy black push buttons that seem just a bit sub-par. Everything works and the layout seems fine and legible. Just that when compared to the chrome "organ levers" that controls the vents' air flow, the switches isn't classy enough. All the gauges are clear with the speedo & tach indicators starting at the 2 o'clock position --- a la traditional Bentley style. The multi-function TFT display in between is informative and very easy & pleasant to read. The steering wheel is surprisingly small for such a large car but it doesn't the job just fine. All seats are comfortable but perhaps slightly too supple and soft; they do have sufficient support though. I don't like the vanity mirrors as they are too small and look just like the ones in all the other VAG cars. Not a big issue especially for the driver but since this is supposedly a bespoke automobile, I thought more attention should be paid to the details and upping the unique factor. I am also a bit surprised that rear entertainment is not standard on the car. And the rear compartment ash trays literally seem like an afterthought or they simply forgotten about it and instead provided a pair of stainless steel cups with cover and dropped them in the door compartment that serves double duty as cup holders. But those are all minor flaws that won;t affect much and there are some nice toys to play with such as the power sun/privacy shades on the rear and side windows. One more criticism would be that the front windshield is actually rather raked and for a car this size, it makes the glass area seems a bit narrow. But not to the point that it is impeding; just that I expected more. Overall, classy would be a repetitive theme for the interior.

Drive: As with all huge sedans, there is the initial daunting feeling of maneuvering such a yacht especially within the city core. But the right power and especially the torque played a major role in alleviating the worries. In reality, the car feels much more nimble than its size suggests. Never did I feel its length being a handicap; in fact, it's not noticeable at all. Of course, physics cannot be defied so the initial launch from a full stop takes a bit more effort from the right foot but once on its way, the ride is smooth, swift, effortless and tranquil as if it was gliding. Body roll is surprisingly little and the suspension settings do work as they suggest --- comfort, sport & custom --- but at times a bit noisy. The brakes are a joy; again effortless is the word but not in a dead-feeling way and there is no negative drama despite the car's heft. Steering is quick and very precise for a car of such size. The greatest news to me is the feel of the drive: while the Phantom is a good drive, it feels more German than British; the Ghost even more so, in fact, there is hardly any British feel to it at all. The Mulsanne did a splendid job on retaining that British gliding and majestic feel; but also injecting the spirited and performance factors in what makes it a true Bentley. Make no mistake, this car isn't just for the looks and the presence; it can be driven fast and it can perform, straight roads or curvy ones! Yes, it is without a doubt huge but with its freight-train-like torque, this car also delivers on a spirited drive. It is much more just a cruiser! And of course it does that without a sweat --- cruising at 60mph feels like you are in the book room of the UK mansion. I would not mind driving this car all day long at all.

Overall: This is a great car. Perhaps I am a bit old school but as afore-said, I never really liked the Continental series. While those are very fine cars, they just don't feel 100% Bentley. That, of course, could be a good and bad thing but I cannot help but getting a bit confused on the CGT/FS/GTS's true identity and DNA. Even with the version 2 now available; while much improved and a lot better styled, I still don't truly feel for the CGT. The Mulsanne on the other hand, preserved the Crewe's DNA much more effectively. It looks British, feels 95% British and rides/drives like a fine British premium sedan but without its British quirkiness. And while it is without a doubt a looker, it doesn't scream for attention like a Phantom. With due respect, the Phantom is a "hey-you-mere-mortals-look-at-me" type of car; it literally and psychologically belittles everything and everyone else on the road. Its unique upright-strong-stalk-lines styling, massive bulk and the suicide door all contributed to the fact and if that's your cup of tea, please do enjoy it. The Ghost, again with due respect, is a neither nor car. Yes, it tones down the look-at-me factor but its soften lines and styling also contributed to its lack of presence. Either you don't see the Ghost at all or you see it outright but dislike its appearance (well, I guest it conjures up the true meaning of "Ghost" then). It is a fun drive and it drives well. But it's way more German than British. By comparison, IMO, I think BMW did a much more effective job on retaining/mimicking the original DNA of the Mini than the RR. The Mulsanne is far more successful in retaining its tradition and heritage. The grace and grandeur of its styling along with power and performance --- the lexicon that makes it a genuine Bentley. In fact, for the pass few decades, Bentleys are mere variants of Rolls Royce with added performance (ok, perhaps the Continental R & the Continental T are a bit more different), the new Mulsanne hits the jackpot on retaining the British formula without bearing any relationship to RR. It is quite graceful and unique but without demanding attention. And it is not by any means a sloth despite its size and weight. It goes well and fast and it does not fall apart. It commands the looks of other drivers and pedestrians but more in admiration and approval rather that something else like that from a RR. I don't know if something this massive can be truly called a beauty, but it certainly does have grace and it absolutely has the performance to match its racing heritage. Negatives are minimal but it does convey that one stereotype impression --- this is a car for the "mature" audience or, bluntly put, this is an old man's car. But I think it also conveys good taste and sophistication; refinement and subtlety. And most importantly, if one pulls up to a Mulsanne in a family car and judge this Bentley in a stereotypical way, he will soon learn how wrong he was when his car doors are blown off by the Mulsanne.

Conclusion: Opulence, check! Majestic, check! British yacht on wheels, check! Performance, check that too! It's about 10% more than a Ghost but a lot less than a Phantom so the price is sweet too. And it also is scarce enough to be unique --- unlike the Continental series where they are everywhere. The Mulsanne feels equally at ease in cruising on the highway, doing the twisties up & down the hills or rolling along in downtown. Yes, those headlights still looks slightly bizarre but daytime running lights helps to up the acceptable factor. I think sooner or later, the Mulsanne will find its way into the stable.




**Mods, don't know if this should go in the Bentley/RR section or the L/P Tried & Tested other cars section. So I left it in General, please relocate as you see fit, thanks.
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capt_chaos
post Feb 20 2011, 12:35 AM
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Cracking review, thank you for the write up. I am putting it in here unless another mod sees it serves a better purpose in the Bentley section.


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Fortis
post Feb 20 2011, 03:11 AM
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The review I was waiting for icon_super.gif

VCR is the man!
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Chipster
post Feb 20 2011, 04:28 AM
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I've only driven an Arnage T, but I love the looks of the Mulsanne, Phantom and Ghost. Great review!


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dragvorl
post Feb 20 2011, 05:04 AM
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Great review!


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speed2
post Feb 20 2011, 06:49 AM
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QUOTE (VCR @ Feb 20 2011, 04:10 AM) *
Excellent car!

Exterior: in a word, huge, but in a positive way. I did some comparison: it's about 3/4 of a size smaller than a Phantom and 1 size bigger than a Ghost. A more accurate description would be that the Mulsanne fits right in between a RR Phantom and an old RR Silver Spur. But the Mulsanne is a much more beautiful car that any current RR. The Phantom is simply too big and doesn't look right when one drives it himself. Forget the Ghost, to be fair, it is a good car but that's because it's a BMW 7-series. The Ghost has zero street presence. The Mulsanne, on the other hand, has ample but not being flashy. It's just majestic and classy. The lines of the car, the shoulders in particular, are crisp, clean and modern; yet the overall profile of the car is curvy and has a hint of nostalgia. I am toss between the 2 types of wheels: the traditional disc/dinner plate looking ones vs. the modern double 5-spokes sporty ones. On the one hand, traditional ones would go well given the identity of the car but on the other hand, the sporty ones make the car more at home with the younger owners. The headlights still need some time to get use to but they don't look as weird as initially thought anymore. One thing that deserves kudos is that all the bright works --- radiator grille, side vents, door handles, window surrounds etc... are of genuine polished metal instead of cheap chrome plastic like the handle of the Ghost. As this is a tall car, the rear side doors do resemble a big slab and the rear of the car has a faint hint of the Maybach. But overall, I think this is the best-looking yacht-size sedan on the planet.

Interior: well, it is a Bentley afterall and this one got much less German DNA spliced into its interior design. The wood is typical RR/Bentley quality as is the leather. It still doesn't "smell" right though but I guess with Connolly long defunct, that olfactory signature is forever gone. As with most high-end British cars, the feel and "click" of all the buttons and stalks are just right although some do feel more plasticky than say the Arnage. The centre console is a dilemma: the GPS/media screen hidden behind the wooden panel is a nice surprise although it's been done before by other marques. The iPod drawer is silky smooth and classy but everything else below that part is less so. The genuine chrome surround somehow looks sub-class and a bit out of place. The flush-mount "piano black" switches are more like glossy black push buttons that seem just a bit sub-par. Everything works and the layout seems fine and legible. Just that when compared to the chrome "organ levers" that controls the vents' air flow, the switches isn't classy enough. All the gauges are clear with the speedo & tach indicators starting at the 2 o'clock position --- a la traditional Bentley style. The multi-function TFT display in between is informative and very easy & pleasant to read. The steering wheel is surprisingly small for such a large car but it doesn't the job just fine. All seats are comfortable but perhaps slightly too supple and soft; they do have sufficient support though. I don't like the vanity mirrors as they are too small and look just like the ones in all the other VAG cars. Not a big issue especially for the driver but since this is supposedly a bespoke automobile, I thought more attention should be paid to the details and upping the unique factor. I am also a bit surprised that rear entertainment is not standard on the car. And the rear compartment ash trays literally seem like an afterthought or they simply forgotten about it and instead provided a pair of stainless steel cups with cover and dropped them in the door compartment that serves double duty as cup holders. But those are all minor flaws that won;t affect much and there are some nice toys to play with such as the power sun/privacy shades on the rear and side windows. One more criticism would be that the front windshield is actually rather raked and for a car this size, it makes the glass area seems a bit narrow. But not to the point that it is impeding; just that I expected more. Overall, classy would be a repetitive theme for the interior.

Drive: As with all huge sedans, there is the initial daunting feeling of maneuvering such a yacht especially within the city core. But the right power and especially the torque played a major role in alleviating the worries. In reality, the car feels much more nimble than its size suggests. Never did I feel its length being a handicap; in fact, it's not noticeable at all. Of course, physics cannot be defied so the initial launch from a full stop takes a bit more effort from the right foot but once on its way, the ride is smooth, swift, effortless and tranquil as if it was gliding. Body roll is surprisingly little and the suspension settings do work as they suggest --- comfort, sport & custom --- but at times a bit noisy. The brakes are a joy; again effortless is the word but not in a dead-feeling way and there is no negative drama despite the car's heft. Steering is quick and very precise for a car of such size. The greatest news to me is the feel of the drive: while the Phantom is a good drive, it feels more German than British; the Ghost even more so, in fact, there is hardly any British feel to it at all. The Mulsanne did a splendid job on retaining that British gliding and majestic feel; but also injecting the spirited and performance factors in what makes it a true Bentley. Make no mistake, this car isn't just for the looks and the presence; it can be driven fast and it can perform, straight roads or curvy ones! Yes, it is without a doubt huge but with its freight-train-like torque, this car also delivers on a spirited drive. It is much more just a cruiser! And of course it does that without a sweat --- cruising at 60mph feels like you are in the book room of the UK mansion. I would not mind driving this car all day long at all.

Overall: This is a great car. Perhaps I am a bit old school but as afore-said, I never really liked the Continental series. While those are very fine cars, they just don't feel 100% Bentley. That, of course, could be a good and bad thing but I cannot help but getting a bit confused on the CGT/FS/GTS's true identity and DNA. Even with the version 2 now available; while much improved and a lot better styled, I still don't truly feel for the CGT. The Mulsanne on the other hand, preserved the Crewe's DNA much more effectively. It looks British, feels 95% British and rides/drives like a fine British premium sedan but without its British quirkiness. And while it is without a doubt a looker, it doesn't scream for attention like a Phantom. With due respect, the Phantom is a "hey-you-mere-mortals-look-at-me" type of car; it literally and psychologically belittles everything and everyone else on the road. Its unique upright-strong-stalk-lines styling, massive bulk and the suicide door all contributed to the fact and if that's your cup of tea, please do enjoy it. The Ghost, again with due respect, is a neither nor car. Yes, it tones down the look-at-me factor but its soften lines and styling also contributed to its lack of presence. Either you don't see the Ghost at all or you see it outright but dislike its appearance (well, I guest it conjures up the true meaning of "Ghost" then). It is a fun drive and it drives well. But it's way more German than British. By comparison, IMO, I think BMW did a much more effective job on retaining/mimicking the original DNA of the Mini than the RR. The Mulsanne is far more successful in retaining its tradition and heritage. The grace and grandeur of its styling along with power and performance --- the lexicon that makes it a genuine Bentley. In fact, for the pass few decades, Bentleys are mere variants of Rolls Royce with added performance (ok, perhaps the Continental R & the Continental T are a bit more different), the new Mulsanne hits the jackpot on retaining the British formula without bearing any relationship to RR. It is quite graceful and unique but without demanding attention. And it is not by any means a sloth despite its size and weight. It goes well and fast and it does not fall apart. It commands the looks of other drivers and pedestrians but more in admiration and approval rather that something else like that from a RR. I don't know if something this massive can be truly called a beauty, but it certainly does have grace and it absolutely has the performance to match its racing heritage. Negatives are minimal but it does convey that one stereotype impression --- this is a car for the "mature" audience or, bluntly put, this is an old man's car. But I think it also conveys good taste and sophistication; refinement and subtlety. And most importantly, if one pulls up to a Mulsanne in a family car and judge this Bentley in a stereotypical way, he will soon learn how wrong he was when his car doors are blown off by the Mulsanne.

Conclusion: Opulence, check! Majestic, check! British yacht on wheels, check! Performance, check that too! It's about 10% more than a Ghost but a lot less than a Phantom so the price is sweet too. And it also is scarce enough to be unique --- unlike the Continental series where they are everywhere. The Mulsanne feels equally at ease in cruising on the highway, doing the twisties up & down the hills or rolling along in downtown. Yes, those headlights still looks slightly bizarre but daytime running lights helps to up the acceptable factor. I think sooner or later, the Mulsanne will find its way into the stable.

Great review. I drove the Mulsanne twice. The first time I did too much talking with the sales guy and did not pay enough attention to the ride. The second time and paid attention and started to appreciate the car. I also drove the ghost which is, by design, more sporty. the Ghost does not LOOK special and kind of left me flat. The Mulsanne was $32lK compared to about $290K for the Ghost. your analysis was in depth, unlike mine and I really appreciate that. I could see me owning this car!


**Mods, don't know if this should go in the Bentley/RR section or the L/P Tried & Tested other cars section. So I left it in General, please relocate as you see fit, thanks.

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Nath4N
post Feb 20 2011, 09:54 AM
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Awesome write-up VCR! I love your reviews.
I think the car looks really good, it's nice to hear that it drives and feels well too icon_thumleft.gif


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Tev
post Feb 20 2011, 10:14 AM
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Your attention to details is amazing to say the least. Great write-up!
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TRANSAMERA
post Feb 20 2011, 10:34 AM
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Excellent review, as always when it comes from you! icon_thumleft.gif


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TheFilipinoStig
post Feb 20 2011, 12:13 PM
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No write up on the stereo? (I know, all car systems suck). But I thought all the Mulsanne's came with the Naim system?


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Fortis
post Feb 20 2011, 12:24 PM
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QUOTE (TheAmericanStig @ Feb 21 2011, 06:13 AM) *
No write up on the stereo? (I know, all car systems suck). But I thought all the Mulsanne's came with the Naim system?


If VCR didn't mention it I bet it isn't worth talking about or second possibility, perhaps he isn't done writing about it icon_mrgreen.gif
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LPDADDY
post Feb 20 2011, 06:30 PM
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How long did it take you to write this lol?


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VCR
post Feb 20 2011, 09:01 PM
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QUOTE (BMWRACER @ Feb 20 2011, 06:30 PM) *
How long did it take you to write this lol?


icon_mrgreen.gif You know I'm long-winded.
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VCR
post Feb 20 2011, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (TheAmericanStig @ Feb 20 2011, 12:13 PM) *
No write up on the stereo? (I know, all car systems suck). But I thought all the Mulsanne's came with the Naim system?



QUOTE (Fortis @ Feb 20 2011, 12:24 PM) *
If VCR didn't mention it I bet it isn't worth talking about or second possibility, perhaps he isn't done writing about it icon_mrgreen.gif



Ok, per your request: smile.gif

The stereo is probably at the bottom of the priority list on my test drive. Anyway, Naim, as some of you may know, is a very well-known brand from the UK. Not the best of the best but has high reputation and in all honesty never made a product that sucked. And it's always been very very well built. But it also has your typical "British Sound" --- cultured, refined but overly conservative. Great for chamber music but not so on rock and some hardcore jazz. Henceforth, with all the ambient noise that associates with driving, I was not the least interested in testing the Naim+Bentley combo. And true enough, when I auditioned the Naim in the Bentley CGT, it sucked big time! Well, ok, it's not that bad and in fact, not too bad at all but the refined tune gets drown out by road noises and the exhaust of the car. It clearly lacked the proper level of treble, air and speed (i.e. the music); the amplifier inside the truck gets in the way and the stainless steel name plate will likely gets scratched and/or damaged. Added by the nearly 5-figure option cost, it was a complete waste of time & $$. That was for the CGT. And so I wasn't too warm on trying the Naim + Mulsanne combo.

But...to be fair, it sounds quite a bit better in the Mulsanne than the CGT; probably due to a larger cabin all around especially the added height. The fact that the CGT was already on the market long before Naim was put in the car means it had limits for the acoustic whereas the Mulsanne being a clean sheet design from scratch probably gave Naim more freedom to build around and fine-tune this new system. And yes, there is no protrusion in the massive trunk; everything has been tucked away. It fits the car's classy design and refined character but it's still sound too conservative which isn't what the car's performance is about at all. The highs, although much improved, still falls short and thus lacking air and ambiance. While wood panel is abundant, yards and yards of soft supple leather and all the thick carpeting most likely added further damping to the sound. Bass is sufficient but not solid enough; again, likely due to too many soft surfaces. No need to discuss sound stage as, IMO, no car has yet to get that right but to be fair, it is limited by the very position of the driver's seat. There is that surround sound and 3D feel to it but that's not too difficult to mimic with modern DSP car stereo. Accordingly, the standard stereo comes with 14 speakers powered through 6 channels with DSP. The optional Naim that was in the car has 20 speakers all individually powered by its own channel and has 8 DSP mode. I don't know the costs of the Naim upgrade but put it this way, with cars of this calibre & standard cost, the so-called upgrade costs should not be more than $3000.- If it is indeed more, then it is not worth it at all. Technically, the Naim is an option even for the Mulsanne but I think most dealership spec'd the car with this option anyway and, of course, charge you for it! Ironically, you and the car will feel right at home if you were to drive to the concert hall or the opera house to listen to some genuine live music performance. And after that when you are driving home, you will be greatly disappointed by the car's standard stereo and most likely kicking yourself for paying so much for the Naim upgrade and yet it doesn't even sound remotely close to what you had just experienced in the concert.


And thank you everyone for the compliments on the write-up.
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Fellippe
post Feb 21 2011, 07:05 AM
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Nice write up, VCR.

Quick q on the system:

When you say conservative....are you just referring to the top end or all over the spectrum? Top end conservative in a car: good. Conservative dynamics and bass in a car for rock,pop,etc.: boring.

Too conservative isn't ideal but it's better than fatiguing and bright, which is common for car audio.

BTW, do you consider all British brands to be overly conservative? Quad, ProAc, and Audio Note I feel buck the trend, but none are mass market enough to get a contract with a car manufacturer probably. Sad.




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VCR
post Feb 21 2011, 11:30 AM
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QUOTE (Fellippe @ Feb 21 2011, 07:05 AM) *
Nice write up, VCR.

Quick q on the system:

When you say conservative....are you just referring to the top end or all over the spectrum? Top end conservative in a car: good. Conservative dynamics and bass in a car for rock,pop,etc.: boring.

Too conservative isn't ideal but it's better than fatiguing and bright, which is common for car audio.

BTW, do you consider all British brands to be overly conservative? Quad, ProAc, and Audio Note I feel buck the trend, but none are mass market enough to get a contract with a car manufacturer probably. Sad.


Thanks.

Conservative overall --- like using the older Naim gear to drive some older Spendor speakers. I think you know what I mean. Or in audio speak, lacks air and transparency. It's bright enough, just lacking air.

The new Quad, ProAc and perhaps even Cambridge buck the old British Sound trend but they are still, IMO, not "open" enough. I guess it depends on what type of music one primarily listens to. Audio Note sets a different genre of sound as far as tube gears are concerned.
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ADV.1 Wheels
post Feb 21 2011, 12:43 PM
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Great detailed writeup. Thank you very much!
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TheFilipinoStig
post Feb 21 2011, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the stereo write-up VCR. So what do you do in your own cars, just drive without a stereo all day? I can appreciate good ears, I have them, but yours seem to be as well trained as a special ops soldier!


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VCR
post Feb 21 2011, 02:21 PM
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QUOTE (TheAmericanStig @ Feb 21 2011, 12:52 PM) *
Thanks for the stereo write-up VCR. So what do you do in your own cars, just drive without a stereo all day? I can appreciate good ears, I have them, but yours seem to be as well trained as a special ops soldier!



And thank you!

Well, I opted out the stereo on my G-SL. smile.gif Actually, on my 1st G, I gave it the whole works; figured that I want a stereo to match the car and to test how far has car stereo advanced (aside from the fact that the OEM stereo was pure crap). Well, car stereo had indeed advanced but it was $$$ wasted as the cabin of any Lambo just isn't made for good car stereo. In fact, IMO, hardly any car is and it's rather obvious --- speaker placement is very limited (for design & safety reasons), too much ambient noises (the road, the car itself) and the position of the driver's seat (I guess the McLaren F1 is as close to the ideal as things get). And in a hardcore way, enjoying music takes concentration too so it & driving don't really mix together (I admit this is a bit extreme). Compare it to live music and it is obviously far from the ideal for sure. For me, the OEM car stereo serves to inform: news, weather & traffic conditions and to entertain as background music. Serious music appreciation is done live or at home.

As to good ears, playing a musical instrument and attending concerts help (ok, hardrock concert may be less so but it provides reference to ambiance). And it needs not to be elaborate, a simple seat at a jazz bar will do. Hearing genuine acoustics from an actual instrument or live vocals will offer good references when compared to music playback. It's not as esoteric as it seems. As in many things, exposure & experience helps. Like jumping into a C0vette from a Lambo, it's still quite quick but it just isn't the same. smile.gif
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Fellippe
post Feb 21 2011, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE (VCR @ Feb 21 2011, 06:21 PM) *
And thank you!

Well, I opted out the stereo on my G-SL. smile.gif Actually, on my 1st G, I gave it the whole works; figured that I want a stereo to match the car and to test how far has car stereo advanced (aside from the fact that the OEM stereo was pure crap). Well, car stereo had indeed advanced but it was $$$ wasted as the cabin of any Lambo just isn't made for good car stereo. In fact, IMO, hardly any car is and it's rather obvious --- speaker placement is very limited (for design & safety reasons), too much ambient noises (the road, the car itself) and the position of the driver's seat (I guess the McLaren F1 is as close to the ideal as things get). And in a hardcore way, enjoying music takes concentration too so it & driving don't really mix together (I admit this is a bit extreme). Compare it to live music and it is obviously far from the ideal for sure. For me, the OEM car stereo serves to inform: news, weather & traffic conditions and to entertain as background music. Serious music appreciation is done live or at home.

As to good ears, playing a musical instrument and attending concerts help (ok, hardrock concert may be less so but it provides reference to ambiance). And it needs not to be elaborate, a simple seat at a jazz bar will do. Hearing genuine acoustics from an actual instrument or live vocals will offer good references when compared to music playback. It's not as esoteric as it seems. As in many things, exposure & experience helps. Like jumping into a C0vette from a Lambo, it's still quite quick but it just isn't the same. smile.gif


Cars have problems, but this goes a long way. Cheaper than the watches talked about in the watch subforum. icon_thumleft.gif eusa_dance.gif
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