Presented by Panasonic

Artists, audiophiles, and enthusiasts agree that the sound they hear from ELS Studio is like nothing they have heard before. The man behind the sound is eight-time Grammy Award winner Elliot Scheiner. He describes pressing his ear to an acoustic guitar while working on an early Van Morrison record to hear the instrument’s tone with the goal back in the control room to get it to a point where he knew it sounded like the artist intended. He applies the same precision to tuning the all-new ELS Studio 3D™ premium audio system available in the 2019 Acura RDX. “The goal of the system is to provide an emotional experience and let the user hear what the artists and I hear in the studio,” he said.

Music has the power to transport us, helping us pass the time and bring joy to our days in a way few other mediums can. In our fast-paced, mobile world, it’s no wonder Americans are spending more time listening to music than ever — Nielsen reports a 12.5 percent growth in music consumption in the past year.

Much of this listening takes place in cars.

Artistry, emotion, and tech innovation

Ironically, as electronics technology has evolved, producing incredible consumer innovations, from smartphones to tablets and wearables, it has become more difficult to find an audio environment designed to inspire emotion. As recorded media shifted from the record shelf to iPods and, most recently, the cloud, technology followed suit, emphasizing convenience over quality — with most people listening through headphones or small computer or Bluetooth speakers. Because of this, when people sat in a car with mediocre sound they accepted it.

Frustration over mediocre car audio compelled music legend Elliot Scheiner to take action.

From the studio to the car

It all began in 1999. Surround sound was emerging, and Scheiner was working with bands like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. At the end of a mix, his final step was to take it to the vehicle — where people listened to most of their music. “It was so disappointing to hear our final mix on subpar systems, even in luxury vehicles,” Scheiner recalls.

He realized the car provided a perfect environment to optimize the musical experience. Panasonic saw the promise and brought the idea to Acura with the goal of introducing listeners to the emotion and intimacy of the recording studio.

But there were hurdles, including engine, road, and wind noise along with the need to optimize system performance while considering the design tradeoffs of cost, weight, and packaging space. Panasonic automotive system engineers collaborated with their counterparts at Acura and Scheiner to address the hurdles.

The first ELS Studio sound system hit the road in the 2004 Acura TL and was quickly recognized for amazing sound quality that inspired emotion in listeners.  Scheiner recalls an anecdote relayed to him at the time: one commuting couple would park their Acura and keep listening to music in their garage for another 30 minutes. The unique experience of ELS Studio sound systems would go on to amaze listeners in tens of thousands of Acura vehicles sold every year.

An unparalleled music experience

The all-new, 2019 Acura RDX is available with 16 speakers, including four ceiling-mounted Highline speakers. This elevates the soundstage in the cabin and fills the environment with a more natural and high-fidelity listening experience. The ELS Studio 3D system is powered by 710 watts across 16 channels. “This is, by far, the best we’ve ever done,” says Scheiner.

Read more about how Panasonic creates authentic, artistic, emotional audio experiences.

Tom Dunn is Director of Global Audio Solutions at Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. of America.

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