Porsche The Limits
Thesis, a study in limitless car audio
FOUR UK’s Porsche 911 (964) has become a familiar feature at many shows. We have used it as a demonstrator on our Driving Sounds stand many times when it was equipped with Audison Voce speakers and we always received great feedback. It has been updated with the introduction of a very special set of speakers.
Audison Thesis is an unashamedly high-end range of speakers and amplifiers. It represents the very pinnacle of audio excellence in a car. We tend not to speak much about it, purely because of its niche audience. Resellers tend to display them with reverence, often in prominent display cabinets.
FOUR UK joint founder and industry visionary, Brian Parton, treated his Porsche to a pair so that we could finally have a good listen and attempt to describe what a customer can expect for their money.
It is important to bear in mind that these speakers are very, very different from the rest of the products we regularly speak about. The product information released by Audison runs to 58 pages of highly technical detail on the design development and construction of the range. This is available to view on the Audison website – www.audison.eu. You need a fairly strong scientific constitution to get through it though!
All you need to know for context in this article is that the tweeters (TH 1.5 II) and woofers (TH 6.5 II Sax) carry a combined retail price of just short of £2K.
In the Porsche, they are driven by an Audison Voce 5.1K amplifier that in turn is fed by a bit TEN receiving its input signal from a proprietary Bluetooth interface. An Audison Prima APS 8 D sits in a tiny custom enclosure in the glove box firing downwards.
The woofers are set quite low in the doors on this vehicle. However, the installer managed to get some angle on the woofers to make them sit more on axis. The same is true for the giant-sized Thesis tweeters.
Brian and I share a good deal of music between us. However, we decided that to share the experience properly, we should audition the speakers with a piece of music not quite so familiar to us. We chose “Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity” from Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite. The rendering was a Qobuz hi res (24bit 44.1kHz) one, performed by the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Valdimir Jirowski waving the white stick about.
This particular track has been borrowed by many over the years. The two examples that spring to mind are the poem by Sir Cecil Spring Rice (so close to being a favourite menu choice on a Chinese takeaway menu!), “I Vow to Thee, my Country”. The second was the Manfred Mann hit, “Joybringer”. I am certain many other songs have been inspired by the many strong themes that run throughout the piece.
I do not listen to this tune a lot, but I have always wondered about the start which features a lot of instruments being very busy for the first 20 seconds. On the radio, it is difficult to make any sense of it at all, but when streamed to this system, everything was crystal clear and beautifully separated. Even when the heavy brass and thunderous timpani join in. On a lesser system, the high violins and woodwind would be just an incoherent mush.
The subsequent “call and answer” interplay between different brass instruments demonstrates the astonishing image. You can physically point to each instrument in turn. Despite the speakers being physically set low in the vehicle, there is an unbelievable height and depth too. Sound seems to come at you from all angles and it really does feel like you are the man waving the white stick!
At about 1min, the Manfred Mann hit main theme comes in. Somewhat pacier than their version. The descending bass runs, a mix of double bass and brass, are very intricate and articulate perfectly allowing plenty of space for the main theme. At 1:29 Horns carry another strong theme with string stabs underneath - surely must have been borrowed by someone at some stage. Again, amazing depth of bass but not an inkling of any swamping of the delicate strings going on. At 1:40, Timpani punctuate the string chord accompaniment with incredible discipline and accuracy. We hear a tambourine join in. This is well down in the mix and we can almost tell how many little cymbals it has on it! The theme is then supplemented with high strings and woodwind and everything is served up as if the musicians are in the car with us! It actually gets quite crazy with so much going on. The speakers are dealing with it perfectly, but I am not sure our brains can take much more.
Brian and I are lost for words – This is absolutely unheard of - our jaws slacken and we just get carried away by the introduction of new themes and threads to this busy section. At 2:46, “I Vow to Thee, My Country” which you will know as it has been featured in many TV and radio adverts, comes in. The theme is carried by a mixture of brass with low Violins, Violas, Cellos and beautiful warm Double Bass. The theme grows stronger as new higher registers are found and introduced. I am now thinking of coverage of the Rugby on the telly – Someone must have used it for that at some point!
The remainder of the track consists of call backs to previously heard themes and “riffs” but with more intricate orchestration. All of these themes are intertwined and mixed up. It is easy to see where the prog rock greats got their inspiration from.
All in all, this is an amazing piece of music that, in this car, with Audison Thesis speakers, cannot fail to move the listener. Brian and I are left completely shell-shocked – what an in-car experience that was!
Brian later told me, that he listened to the entire Planet Suite on his way home. Despite the throaty roar of the engine, he was just as blown away by the intricacy and dynamic reproduction that only speakers without any dynamic compression are able to deliver.
I am not at all certain that many FOUR MASTERs have Thesis speakers installed in their demonstration vehicles, perhaps they should. However, you can request a no obligation demonstration by completing the form at the end of the introductory text for this article on this website and we will endeavour to point you toward a suitably equipped car. You may even get to hear this actual car. You will not get a heavy sell from a pin-striped smarmy salesman though, you won’t need one. These speakers do all of their own talking!
Find out what our partner, The FOUR MASTER Network, can do to bring Hi-Fi quality to your car. Simply put some brief details into the form below.
Not ready for that yet? You can use the same form to book a demonstration at your home, place of work or with your local FOUR MASTER