The Maserati MC20’s audio system is as impressive as the supercar itself



In case you are sick of hearing the MC20 V6 racing at its high redline of 8,000 rpm just behind your head, Maserati has come up with an equally immersive soundtrack for your senses. To create an audio system worthy of its new 621 horsepower mid-engined halo car, the brains of Modena turned to audio enthusiasts. the peasants just outside the famous Motor Valley.

Sonus faber Handcraft some of the highest quality speakers on the planet since 1983. Best known for its small, screen-worthy tower units that cost up to $ 140,000, the company prides itself on reproduce the clarity, tonal balance and dynamic range of a live musical performance. Indeed, when the haunting “You Want It Darker” by Leonard Coen performed on the new range of Lumina V speakers at their headquarters outside the city of Vicenza during the Renaissance period, I was felt transported to a drab recording studio, ready to smoke a gravel smoke himself voiced the legend.


To get closer to that audio alchemy within the narrow confines of the MC20, the system (an option of around $ 4,000 on the estimated $ 210,000 ride) includes 12 amplified channels with 695 watts of power and 12 specifically tuned speakers. . Using natural materials to reproduce sound, like the silk used for the domes of the tweeters, which optimizes sound dispersion, Sonus Faber has developed a fascinating addition to the already improbable capabilities of the MC20.

Small neighborhoods, big sound

Pushing speakers designed for large rooms into a small car is like pushing an entire tray of lasagna into a toaster oven. “If you think about it, the interior of a car is a little closet,” Jeff Poggi, CEO of Sonus Faber, told me after our listening session. “It’s really small compared to a normal home space, so you face some basic physics challenges.” The goal is to create a reproduced sound that has the wide dispersion and natural mids of live music. “When you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, you have to be able to close your eyes and see the singer in the middle of the stage, the bassist on the left, the guitarist on the right, and hear the separation of those instruments. . We have a fancy equalizer system, but it ultimately comes down to someone sitting in the car, listening and tuning everything by ear. “

maserati mc20


Proximity is the key

“We took our silk dome tweeter, which is found in all of our current household products, and created an automotive version that meets the durability requirements of a car,” Poggi explains. In combination with a nearby paper cone midrange, the tweeter primarily focuses on Sonus Faber’s “voice”, which is natural, live sound. “The tight coupling of the tweeter to the midrange is very important, because it is about the temporal alignment of the different frequencies when they reach your ear. We have integrated this combination into the Maserati in five places: the doors, the center dashboard and the rear as surround speakers. Elliptical shaped woofers at the bottom of each door complete the package. While nothing can compare to twisting the MC20 around the tight curves of the Maserati track in Modena – my next stop after visiting the Sonus faber headquarters – hearing the sound of an orchestra within the narrow confines of a supercar was almost as amazing as a sensory experience.

Keep it light

Great sound can be incredibly immersive, but the MC20 is, after all, a performance car whose own dynamics deserve headlining status. “We have to make sure that the audio system doesn’t distract from the vehicle’s primary focus, which is the driving experience,” agrees Poggi. That means keeping things light, a challenge when it comes to audiophile-worthy gear. While their home speakers use ceramic magnets, Sonus faber uses much lighter neodymium magnets – a rare earth material that still provides powerful magnetic driving force – in the Maserati. This allows for powerful, dynamic speakers in an incredibly light body, a design feat similar to that of Apple who found a way to fit a five-lens camera into the iPhone Mini.

maserati mc20


Stay stylish

Sonus faber is known as much for the sleek, modern design of its speakers as it is for its meticulous sound – remember, they’re Italian too – so it’s imperative that their product looks out of the room, fits right in. in line with the MC20, and shouts their region of origin. “Our design team worked closely with Maserati to try and get our look into the car,” Poggi said. “We use string grids as a mask on the front of our home speakers – a reference to stringed musical instruments from the Veneto region – and the pattern we placed in the metal grid of the speakers. of the MC20 was designed to look like moving ropes. . It has this interesting three-dimensional look. To understand how obsessed the brand is with the local instrument, just take a look at their headquarters’ violin inspired roof.

Let it rock

A grand piano can sound grand in any setting, but Sonus Faber’s ultimate test is to capture, with stunning clarity, every beat and chirp of vocals and riffs we know by heart. “We start with singing, because the sound of the human voice is so specific,” Poggi explains. “Diana Krall or Alicia Keys or John Mayer, whatever your favorite artist is, you know that voice. Then we add more complexity to it – guitar, bassline – until you’re in an orchestra, which has a lot of momentum. Then we end with “Money for Nothing” and “Back in Black.” We make sure the system can handle rock and roll.

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