It’s not every day that I find myself in Mark Knopfler’s recording studio in Chiswick. In fact, until last Monday, I’d never been there before, and realistically I’m unlikely to go there again.
But that’s where the ‘unlikely’ ends, because it was a particularly suitable place to introduce us to the sophistication of the Range Rover’s top-end Harman Kardon sound system.
I’m pretty fussy about what we used to call car stereos. I didn’t foresee the huge development and improvement in quality over the last five years, but now that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy it I’d be lost without it. The car has become the place to listen to music.
In Autobiography form, the Range Rover has a 1200W Harman Kardon system with Logic7 surround sound, 15 independent channels and 19 speakers.
Record producer king Steve Levine recorded up-and-coming band Patch William for us, with the musicians playing in separate sound booths at the same time, allowing him to mix the instruments live in the studio.
We watched and listened as he balanced and tweaked the sounds of the instruments around the mixing desk’s huge seven-speaker set-up and then heard the same effects reproduced in the back seat of the Range Rover ten minutes later.
The Haman system is uncanny, it really does put you right in the middle of the stage. You almost expect to find a guitar in your hands.
Most luxury cars have got advanced sound systems nowadays, of course. Many are so sophsticated that our iPod-friendly MP3s don’t actually sound that great any more. What the recording studio was unable to demonstrate, but I was able to confirm last weekend on a trip to Bournemouth, is that the Range Rover still has a 4x4’s typical cabin isolation from the drivetrain and suspension, which vastly reduces disturbance from road noise.
So if all its competitors had a 1200W Logic7 sound system too – they don’t – you get the impression it would still be the best way to enjoy it.