Audio Technology

Metallica, Radiohead help Rolls-Royce take bespoke to new decibel levels

Rolls-Royce customizes the Phantom's audio system using components from premium sound equipment brands, but prefers not to name them.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce cars are the epitome of bespoke luxury automobiles. They can be completely custom crated or, for the more pedestrian buyer, they can simply be customized.

Before buyers place hands on the their new Rolls-Royce Phantom, the company has already tailored its audio system to create an encompassing audio experience for driver and passengers.

Unlike premium automakers who tout available systems from JBL, Bose, Harman Kardon, and B&O, Rolls-Royce prefers not to name its sound system suppliers, letting the system's engineering speak for itself.

It all starts with the car's frame. The Architecture of Luxury is made of aluminum, which was selected, in part, because it has a higher acoustic impedance than steel. This reduces the amount of noise that is passed on to the cabin. Engineers also gave the model a double-skinned bulkhead and floor sections to help keep road and tire noise permeation at bay.

Rolls-Royce Phantom body in white The Phantom is crafted at the company's Goodwood manufacturing facility in England. Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Designers took note of the car's bass speaker size and let it define a resonance chamber in the car's sill section resulting in the car's materials working to turn the entire Phantom into, basically, a subwoofer.

The windows of the Phantom feature 6mm of double-pane acoustically dampened glass. It also has 130 kg of sound insulation throughout the car with a special focus on the headliner, designed to minimize reverberation.

Engineers even went so far as to work with their tire partner to invent "Silent-Seal" tires, which feature a layer of foam inside the rubber that reduces tire noise by 9 decibels compared to a standard tire.

Rolls-Royce audio experts drove thousands of miles in the Phantom before releasing it for public consumption. To determine the parameters in which to tune the system. Here's what they listened to:

  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here [1975]
  • From Here to Eternity – Giorgio Moroder, From Here to Eternity [1977]
  • Across the Lines – Tracy Chapman, self-titled [1988]
  • Sad But True – Metallica, self-titled [1991]
  • Bembe / Abakwa – Terry Bozzio, Solo Drum Music II [1992]
  • Klangfarben Melodie – Terry Bozzio, Solo Drum Music II [1992]
  • Know Your Enemy – Rage Against the Machine, self-titled [1992]
  • Fistful of Steel – Rage Against the Machine, self-titled [1992]
  • Passion - Gat Décor (Naked Edit) [1992]
  • Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York (Live) [1993]
  • Stimela (The Coal Train) – Hugh Masekela, Hope (Live) [1994]
  • Hotel California – The Eagles, Hell Freezes Over (Live) [1994]
  • Paranoid Android – Radiohead, OK Computer [1997]
  • Lyric Lickin – Del The Funky Homosapien, Future Development [1997]
  • Insomnia – Faithless, Insomnia [1995]
  • Raining in Baltimore – Counting Crows, Across a Wire: Live in New York City (Live) [1998]
  • Safe in New York City – AC/DC, Stiff Upper Lip [Deluxe Edition] [2000]
  • Scrappy – Wookie, Wookie (Deluxe Edition) [2000]
  • Marionette – Matthew Jonson [2004]
  • Intro – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]
  • Bass Solo – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]
  • Drum Solo – Nemesea, Pure: Live @ P3 (Remixed & Remastered) [2012]

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is handcrafted upon order in England and on sale now.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Bullet takes its name from years of company history.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The sleek silver large-body convertible is a bit of a relic of a bygone era. No, further back than the days of the Toyota Solara and Chrysler Sebring. The trend that started near the last bit of the Roaring 20s and continued in its prime until the late 60s.

The Jazz Age decadence and free spirit of the early part of the 20th Century is embodied in the latest model from Rolls-Royce, the Dawn Silver Bullet Collection. The new vehicle is the first Rolls-Royce Collection Car of the new decade.

Rolls-Royce Dawn Silver Bullet The car features a unique silver paint job.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Its name comes from the company's storied past, which includes cars named the Silver Dawn, Silver King, Silver Silence and Silver Spectre.

This particular model features an ultra-metallic silver paint finish. Its aero cowling moves the car from brute to glamorous speedster. It features a rakish silver centre spine brings the bodywork into the cabin. A vapour-blasted titanium finisher completes the aero cowling windbreak and proudly displays the Silver Bullet name and silhouette.

Rolls-Royce Dawn Silver Bullet Artisan design touches fill the car with bespoke elements.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Dawn Silver Bullet Collection features dark exterior detailing; dark headlights and a new dark front bumper finisher, providing a dominant and determined expression in heighted contrast to the silver hue. The part-polished wheels offer a translucent shadow finish with a single silver pinstripe.

Inside, the Dawn Silver Bullet Collection has a unique open-pore carbon fibre fascia and a quilted transmission tunnel with design cues taken from a leather jacket.

Rolls-Royce Dawn Silver Bullet Designers sketched out the car's design well in advance of one reaching production. Here is one of the sketches showing the transmission tunnel design.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Just 50 of these models will be made. Pricing is likely in "if you need to ask, you can't afford it" territory.

The company will be be curating a special series of "Silver Bullet Drives" featuring epic road trip suggestions for Rolls-Royce owners in its Whispers app.

Rolls-Royce has rolled a new app that caters to the brand's exclusive clientele.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce can customize nearly everything about a vehicle for the right price. Now, the company is moving forward with plans to help owners customize their own lives with bespoke experiences befitting their luxurious lifestyle.

The world is at the fingertips of Rolls-Royce owners who use the new Whisper app, billed as, "an entrepôt to a world that Rolls-Royce intimately and uniquely understands – a digital gateway to a curated world of luxury."

Whisper by Rolls-Royce The app offers customized experiences for users.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce describes Whispers as,

"An ever-changing collection of beguiling products has been curated to surprise, delight and intrigue. Members can create their very own bespoke experiences or products. They are invited to work with experts to design and build their own personal racetrack, or commission a personalized Monopoly set incorporating one's own properties and assets. Need entertaining? - book a private performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Commission a beautiful portrait of your favorite pet or design your very own minaudiere.

From truffles to caviar or crafting your own Cognac, patrons can peruse and purchase a diverse and eclectic selection of luxurious products and curiosities – all on the Whispers platform, in the comfort of their own home.

Whispers provides Rolls-Royce clients access to transformative, inspiring and entertaining experiences. From backstage-access at the Grammys, front-row seats at Fashion Week, walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards, VIP previews of Art Basel, to meeting artists at Coachella, players at Wimbledon or athletes at the Olympics, Whispers unlocks a world of exclusive access.

Worldwide luxury travel experiences are offered. An expedition to Antarctica or an African Safari can be facilitated at the touch of a button. And, of course, Whispers members are invited to join Rolls-Royce at exclusive, hosted experiences, for example, an Art Weekend visiting the private collection of one of the world's most prestigious collectors, or a weekend at the sumptuous Villa D'Este Concours D'Elegance. Members may receive an invitation to an intimate dinner on the production line at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, or even a private, curated tour of luxury goods manufacturers in the capitals of global luxury. Additionally, members of the Whispers community receive exclusive world-previews of new Rolls-Royce products and offerings before they become public knowledge.

The app isn't truly new. It launched in trial phases two years ago to a select group of global Rolls-Royce clients. After rounds of feedback, the app has been successfully deployed in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Membership is strictly limited to owners of new Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Whisper by Rolls-Royce From concierge services to curated experiences, Whispers offers it all.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce has plans to constantly adapt Whisper's offerings to align with client interests.

Users can download the app for the Apple device via the App Store.