If you have taken a close look at Mazda models, you will have noticed that the audio systems in the vehicles are often from Bose, a company which has been producing premium audio systems for over 50 years. Bose makes systems for home as well as professional users, and also develops premium sound systems for automobile manufacturers to use as original equipment.
Mazda is one of the companies that Bose has had a long relationship with in this area, having first started working together with the third-generation Mazda RX-7 thirty years ago. While Mazda has long experience in making cars, it also understands that in some areas, it is better to work with specialists in the field to get the best solutions for customers.
In the case of the RX-7, the requirements of the team working on the sportscar were to provide powerful bass and impactful sound. In their search for exceptional audio performance that could meet these requirements, the development team came across the Acoustic Wave Cannon system by Bose. The bass reproduction system comprising a 3.6-metre-long tube with a high-power woofer inside provided exactly what Mazda was looking for, and the two companies set to work integrating the speaker technology into the car.
While the task seemed insurmountable at first, an ingenious system of folds and bends allowed the engineers from the two companies to package the long tube into the rear of the car without compromising space or sound quality. “The Acoustic Waveguide technology and the RX-7 made music effortless,” remembers Mike Rosen, Principal Engineer Bose Automotive Systems, who was involved in the project.
The success with the RX-7 led to a continuing relationship with Bose and its systems are offered as premium features in Mazda models. And Bose does more than just supply systems as it also helps to optimize speaker placement for the best sound reproduction in the cabin. While Mazda engineers care a lot about vehicle dynamics, they also know that how the system sounds and the listening experience adds to the driving experience.
One particularly challenging milestone was the MX-5. Providing great sound quality for convertible cars when the top is down is a challenge for manufacturers and sound designers the world over, but Mazda and Bose came up with an innovative solution for the fourth-generation MX-5.
An EQ switch automatically adjusts the sound setting when the top is down, and Ultra Nearfield speakers embedded directly into the seat headrests allow for an immersive listening experience, even when the roof is open. Furthermore, Bose’s AudioPilot noise compensation technology continuously monitors the noise environment and automatically adjusts the audio playback to any changed circumstances, such as road and wind noise. This way, the driver can focus their attention on the music and driving experience without the need to make manual adjustments.
The latest generation of Mazda cars saw another breakthrough in the 30-year collaboration. In almost all models since the 2019 Mazda3, the woofers were moved from the door panels to the cowl side above the kick panel. This new placement not only frees up space for bigger door pockets, but also contributes to a better sound experience, as the bass energy is reflected by the floor, firewall and kick panel area simultaneously. This corner-loading effect creates a remarkably impactful, rich bass reproduction that is neither overbearing nor prone to rattling.
An aluminium grille fitted over the midrange speakers contributes to both the interior’s premium look and sound quality. The grille protects the speaker, but it causes complex vibrations between the two and affects sound direction. To minimize this, the grille was made thinner and features more holes.
The cowl-side bass enclosures are complemented by an additional subwoofer in the rear to ‘match’ the low-frequency performance across the cabin. The new configuration – aptly called BassMatch – shows its full potential in the all-electric MX-30, because there is no engine sound, the driver and passengers can experience even more detail and a richer audio experience than ever before.
“The acoustics are a lot clearer than in previous models, and you can really feel the expansion of sound,” said Koji Wakamatsu, Assistant Manager in Mazda’s Electrical & Electronics Performance Development Department. “You can enjoy listening to music that sounds exactly as it was intended by its creators,” added Atsushi Hinokidani, an acoustic engineer at Bose.
To know more about Mazda vehicles with Bose sound systems, visit www.mazda.com.my