THX II 5.1 Audio System in the Lincoln MKS Review Whitehorse YT
THX II 5.1 Audio System in the Lincoln MKS Review
February 9, 2010 By Geoffrey Morrison
I don't drive big cars. Hate them. In my book, if a car's going to weigh 4,300 pounds it better have a second car sitting on top of it.
And despite all that, I was sad to see the MKS go. It's a fantastic ride, mostly due to the THX sound system and, gasp, Microsoft's Sync.
I'll spare you most of my thoughts on the car itself, as I'm sure you're more interested in how the audio sounds, how Sync works and so on. If you want read me indulging in my inner car reviewer, I put all that on page 2 .
THX and Ford have been working together for some time now, and like high-end car audio on a whole, each generation keeps getting better. It's as if with each new model THX can get a little better placement, a bit better drivers (the audio kind), and a little more concession from the car engineers as to weight, power, and so on.
The result in the 2010 MKX is a 16 speaker audio system with 600 watts of power. You get a slot speaker in the center dash, mid-range drivers in the dashboard up by the windows, and tweeters in the A-pillars. The doors and rear parcel shelf have mid-range/woofers. That same shelf holds a 10-inch woofer.
Sound quality is outstanding. It's better balanced than other high-end car audio systems I've heard. At any volume, all the frequencies come through with none of the coloration you may expect from a car environment. At highway speeds this is also true, though I found on louder roads (concrete and such) I would have liked a little more volume.
Bass response is tight and controlled, with no boominess. Perhaps even better is how deep it goes while retaining its composure. Playing some organ music, the pedal tones were strong, never overwhelming, and most impressively, it didn't rattle anything or bottom out at high volumes.
The surround sound aspect was less pronounced than I've heard before, which isn't really a big deal in my book. Enabled, it spreads the sound more across the front soundstage, creating a better stereo effect than it did in "stereo" mode. That soundstage is centered mid-dashboard. Many car audio systems have the soundstage below the dash or above it, which is unnatural in my book.
While my testing was mostly with my iPod and CDs (there's a 6-CD changer in dash), you can also hook up via Bluetooth to your phone and any music there, as well as an internal 10-GB hard drive. Not a ton of storage capacity, but certainly enough for your favorite driving discs. It even plays DVD-Audio, and DVDs if you're parked.
Not surprisingly, THX has designed an excellent audio system definitely worth the upgrade money. Not sure why you have to get the nav system with it, but so it goes.
As great as the audio system is in itself, it is only part of the story. Microsoft and Ford developed Sync, and if that isn't enough to have you terrified, I don't know what is.