There’s just something about music. Something universal, but also personal.
It can transport listeners back to the moment they first heard the notes of a favorite song come to life. Sound leaves behind such an imprint, it can linger for a lifetime. By creating a sonic profile of all the sounds and noises we have ever heard, our brains are able to recall moments that span the emotional spectrum; sounds that remind us of all the selves we’ve ever been and all those that we aspire to be.
And that’s why The Lincoln Motor Company is dedicated to creating unforgettable sound experiences — so dedicated, in fact, that we designed the cabin of the new 2017 Lincoln Continental around the 19 speakers of the Revel audio system to foster an incredible listener experience.
But we didn’t stop there. Determined to create a one-of-a-kind sound experience celebrating talent across the auditory spectrum, we called in some outside experts: virtuoso musician Gary Clark Jr. and Ben Fargen, a renowned amp builder who designs equipment for individualized sound. The task: build a custom amp designed to accommodate Gary’s impressive range, in celebration of the power of sound, in collaboration with the team at Revel.Play Pause Volume Fullscreen
A COLLABORATION GROUNDED IN HARMONY
With the sound system in the Continental, “you get back this opportunity to listen to music at this level of something you probably haven’t done since [listening to vinyl] records: taking it out, reading the jacket, sitting there and actively listening to the music,” says Dave Larson. “You’re transcending being in a vehicle, listening to music.”
There’s an intimacy inherent in the convergence of car and sound, one that brings listeners into the experience in a way that can take them outside of themselves. It feels personal.
“Music has always held a special place in the car. You get in, you crank up your sound system, and it can remove you from wherever you were,” says Andy Georgescu, the Lincoln communications manager. “It’s part of that refuge you seek: to provide solace or stimulus or excitement, or whatever you need in that moment. Music in your car can transport you away from your day-to-day life. If you sit inside a Lincoln and crank up a Revel sound system, it is completely transformative.”
It is this transformative experience that lies at the heart of the amp collaboration, and the promise of creating a larger, shared version of it.
“Music is everywhere,” says Andy. “We thought that by taking Gary’s work and putting it through a Revel amp, we could deliver some joy to people. We thought it could be something special.”
A CONTINENTAL BALANCE
To achieve just the right balance of design and performance, the amp builders looked to the Continental for inspiration, studying the materials, the tooling of the grille, and of course, the power of the Revel audio system itself.
“When you talk about something like craftsmanship, it’s more than just putting things together or getting all the technical bits and pieces pulled together right,” says Dave. “[The amp] really tied to this craftsmanship and the feel that you get on the inside of the car.”
In creating the Continental, the creative team obsessed over even the finest elements to allow each person who sits inside to feel something. As an amp builder, Ben Fargen is similarly attuned to the details, with an eye toward the same end goal.
“If you look at one of Ben’s amps – here’s a guy that’s obsessing over every little component,” says Dave. “He’s really looking at things on a detailed level, but not just for the sake for every little piece. It’s about how that all comes together to deliver this listening experience.”
In the final amp, the grouping of the Revel speakers amounts to a full-range guitar speaker — but one that generated from the sound system found inside the car itself.
The Lincoln grille looms front and center, a cabinet built of leather, fine woods and chrome, waiting to greet the lights of the stage. And then there’s the sound itself…
“It sounds like a 100 mph fastball… WHAM,” says Gary Clark Jr. “it’s just that big.”
The amp was balanced to create a warm tone that would allow Gary to fill the room with sound that extends across a wide range: a big, open sound with a lot of flexibility to accommodate any guitar Gary chooses to play. And play, he can.
“Gary Clark Jr. is so interesting because he is incredibly thoughtful in his music, and soulful in the way he plays,” says Andy. “He’s a master craftsman of a genre of music that has lived for almost a hundred years before him, yet his music is forward-looking. It’s fresh. It is taking all those influences and bringing it together in a new interpretation that looks toward tomorrow as much as it does yesterday.”
And as Gary strums the opening chords to bring the amp to life, the full possibilities of sound feel infinite.
Sound, with its potential to unite our history and future in a single note.
We were proud to collaborate with Gary Clark Jr. and Ben Fargen on the design of our one-of-a-kind amplifier to celebrate sound and the spirit of That’s Continental for music’s biggest week. Check back later this week to hear about Gary’s unique approach to music and check out what makes a Fargen amp so unique.