2006 Lincoln Zephyr THX Sound System
The 14-speaker, 600-watt system includes some cool stock-stereo firsts, chief of which is the dual 6 x 9-inch woofers in the rear deck. During a test drive around Los Angeles, I gave the woofers a good workout with Wilco's "A Shot in the Arm" from Summerteeth and OutKast's "Ain't No Thang" from Big Boi & Dre Present. In both instances, the woofers pumped out impressive low end; the bass in the Wilco track was tight and controlled, while OutKast's Dirty South down-low was plump and punchy.
What THX dubs a Configurable Speaker Array - two 2.8-inch midranges that radiate into a chamber with their output directed through slots that face outward (as opposed to straight up) and a 1-inch tweeter beneath a grille in the center of the dash - yielded a particularly wide and high soundstage.
Also on hand is digital signal processing (DSP), which "steers" the sound so that it precisely matches the acoustics of the vehicle, as well as a proprietary surround mode that up-mixes two-channel recordings and adds ambience to stereo fare. While I've never been a big fan of such processing, it did add extra dimension to the Flaming Lips' panoramic Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The DSP software also monitors the input signal, the volume-control setting, and the available amplifier power and automatically dials the system back before it starts to distort.
The rest of the speakers include a 5x7-inch midwoofer and 1-inch tweeter in each front door, another 5 x 7-inch mid in each rear door, and a 4-inch mid between the woofers in the rear deck that serves as a rear center channel.
The system is controlled from a six-disc CD changer in the center of the dash with a 6.5-inch touchscreen that was very easy to use. If THX can make a sedan like the Zephyr sound this good, I can't wait to hear what they can do for an open-air roadster.