TechTalk Becker car audio unit

Published on March 27th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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What you pay for factory car audio systems? RM15k and more?

Factory installed car audio is getting more professional and its included in your new car.

There was a time when car audio installers where mostly millionaires in Malaysia. Why? well, we knew a few and because Malaysians love their cars, many car owners will spend in excess of RM10k on after market sound systems which offers true Hi-Fidelity in a moving vehicle. 

The problem is, this was time when new cars did not come with the best of sound insulation and having the best audio system only worked to drown out traffic noise.

At the installers shop they always sounded great…..because you were not moving, your engine was not switched on and the shop had better sound insulation than the highway you drive on.

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Even with higher prices and so many ‘sound-off challenges’, aftermarket audio installers were laughing all the way to the bank as more and more Malaysians just wanted the best audio experience without realizing many of them were just installing added weight to their rides. Profit margins were more than 150% and many were foolish enough to return for upgrades to their sound systems (us included). 

Mercedes-Benz Becker audio unit
The original Becker in car units for Mercedes-Benz

Then car manufacturers got smart. They decided to get high end sound systems into the products, even with lower priced models. One example is Mercedes-Benz. 

Remember the days of the ‘Becker’ head-unit in every imported Mercedes-Benz? In 1953, HARMAN Becker introduced the first FM car radio, allowing occupants to hear music while they drove. The first Mercedes-Benz car to use a Becker audio was the 300SL. 

However, in time, this American company (HARMAN Becker) lost the Mercedes-Benz supply contract and German Hi-Fi sound system manufacturer started providing systems to Mercedes-Benz.  

Mercedes-Benz Harman Becker audio unit

PRESS RELEASE: Since 1977 Burmester Audiosysteme has been manufacturing high-end audio components of unsurpassed quality. From the very beginning the objective has been to create a perfect blend of highest-quality sound, technological innovation and timeless design. Highly trained technicians assemble all Burmester components by hand in its Berlin factory. Because “Made in Germany” is a label that is taken very seriously by Burmester. 

Burmester’s research and development department constantly strives to not only keep up with the latest advances but to set its own trends and standards. From the first design sketch via a number of prototypes to the final product shipped from the Berlin factory: each component that bears the Burmester name has been developed in its entirety in-house. As an audio pioneer, Burmester has created a number of legendary components that have become icons of the high-end audio universe.

Mercedes-Benz Harman Becker audio unit

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class gets a Burmester sound system. With its 12-speaker sound, it envelops the passengers with a sound quality previously unknown in the compact class. And sets a whole new standard in this segment – with rich, dry basses, natural voices and crystal-clear trebles. 590 watts of amplifier power are available to produce a fine yet, powerful sound.

120 watts are provided for the dual voice coil subwoofer alone, which incidentally saves on space by being housed on its side in the luggage compartment; a level of performance, which many music fans won’t even be familiar with from their living rooms. In this way, the sound system effortlessly delivers the relaxed Burmester “feel-good sound“ for both short and long car journeys. In line with our own high standards, the performance of the system also proves beyond doubt its direct relationship with the Burmester sound systems in the luxury class Mercedes-Benz cars.

Mercedes-Benz Burmester audio unit

In the Mercedes C-Class you get 13 speakers, a nine-channel amplifier and 590 watts (7x50W, 2x120W) of power as standard.

Midrange/tweeter combinations can be found in each of the four doors (paper domes for midrange drivers and fibre domes for the tweeters), and there’s a centre speaker in the middle of the top of the dashboard. The drivers are positioned behind attractive speaker grilles etched with the Burmester logo.

Two full-range parcel shelf speakers and two woofers complete the speaker ensemble.

The lowest frequencies are aided by Mercedes’ ‘front bass’ technology, where the woofers are built into the front of the car body instead of the doors. The tech uses the driver and passenger foot wells as acoustic horns to boost sound pressure.

A recent article in British Hi-Fi magazine WhatHiFi said that the Burmester Surround Sound System in the Mercedes C-Class costs £2995, which is about RM15,500.00.

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By the way, Burmester also supplies their systems to Porsche, not all models, Panamera for sure. 


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