Case In Point: THX on Wheels

Article Index

But How Does It Sound?

Audio Quality: Near Perfection
Let’s talk about the sound quality. I took several extended driving sessions, playing a variety of music, ranging from classical CDs with very wide dynamic range to loud rock CDs with the dynamic range compressed to yield the loudest volumes. It all sounded very clean. This system tends toward a neutral sound, so if you like you’re music enhanced, you’ll need to tweak the bass, midrange or treble controls.

The only caveat is that on some bass-heavy material, the bass would boom loud enough to rattle some of the car fittings, like the adjustable shoulder height mounts for the seatbelt. That’s pretty loud.

Here’s just a partial list of the music we ran through the MKT’s THX sound system over the six days we had the vehicle:

  • Past, Present and Future – Al Stewart
  • 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day
  • Surfacing – Sarah McLachlan
  • Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
  • The Planets – Gustav Holst (Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Excess of Pleasure – Palladian Ensemble
  • The Crane Wife – Green Day
  • Parallel Tracks – Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

    It all sounded great. I switched between stereo and DTS Neural Surround. In general, Neural Surround worked pretty well, without too many oddball surround sound artifacts, but classical and acoustic music tended to sound more realistic in pure stereo mode.

    Yes, It Has A Radio Too

    You might wonder about the safety issues of having a DVD player in the dash, but the video will only play if the MKT is in Park. That’s not to say having a DVD player isn’t useful when driving. We discovered the joys of DVD concert videos. The audio on most concert videos is true 5.1 surround sound, and you don’t really need the video to enjoy the music.

    We played several concert videos, including Loreena McKennitt’s live concert at the Alhambra Palace in Spain, Green Day from their American Idiot tour and Bruce Springsten’s Live in New York DVD. The level of immersion was greater than we’d ever heard inside an automobile.

    We probably wouldn’t buy a Lincoln MKT just for the sound system, but that would certainly be a factor. I really don’t need a large SUV, though. Here’s hoping THX comes up with an automotive equivalent to the more budget-oriented THX Select home systems. I’d love to have something more efficient, like a Toyota Prius, with a 5.1 system. Then I could feel good about driving a green car, and have incredible audio too.

    Tags:  music, DVD, CD, Audio, sound, THX, Lincoln, SUV

    Related content