Apple has announced a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to get the company’s Spatial Audio technology in select models of the latter’s vehicle lineup. Specifically, the new Mercedes-Maybach models, the EQS and EQS SUV, EQE, and S-Class are getting the system which is available through Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system. It’s obviously exclusive to Apple Music.
The sound system seems pretty complex, as you’d expect from an array of speakers that deliver Spatial Audio in a car. According to Apple (at least in the limited edition Mercedes-Maybach by Virgil Abloh), it uses a high-end, 4D sound system by Burmester consisting of 31 individual speakers. There are six 3D speakers that emit sound from above, four near-ear speakers in the two front seats, an 18.5-liter subwoofer, eight sound transducers, two amplifiers, and 1,750 watts of power behind the whole thing.
The experience is supposed to deliver “studio-quality sound better than in any concert hall, and giving drivers a fully immersive listening experience with unparalleled, multidimensional sound and clarity.” That sounds incredibly luxurious and quite the feat of engineering, but as you might expect, I have no clue if any of that’s true since I haven’t actually listened to the sound system. And given that the tech is exclusive to high-end Mercedes vehicles, chances are myself and many others never will.
Still, this is a pretty cool step forward for Apple’s push into premium sound quality. It’s the first time a non-Apple device has shipped with Spatial Audio through Apple Music, so here’s to hoping that trend continues on lower-priced vehicles and sound systems in the future.
“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music, which is why we are so excited to be working with Mercedes-Benz to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “Spatial Audio is revolutionizing the way artists create and fans listen to music, and it’s an experience that is impossible to explain in words; you have to hear it for yourself to appreciate it. Together with Mercedes-Benz, we now have even more opportunities to bring wholly immersive music to our subscribers all over the world.”
“We’re joining forces to offer our customers a benchmark music experience unparalleled in the industry,” said Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s chief technology officer and a member of the board of management. “We are proud that our vehicles will be the first-ever non-Apple devices to feature immersive Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. This seamless experience shows how in-car entertainment can reach exciting new levels by perfectly integrating hardware and software.”
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