Old cars have a great fascination for many people. But for true classic car fans, the right music for the road is also part of the dream on wheels. Unfortunately, the quality of the HiFi systems in old cars is far from the perfect sound experience of a modern premium car. This is exactly where the newly founded company "Sonority Sound Systems" comes in. The team around Michael Lübbeke equips vintage cars with high-quality and individually perfected sound systems, which integrate themselves inconspicuously into the original interior.
Symphony for classic cars
Sonority Sound Systems
Discover how Sonority came to be and how the company has evolved.
For Michael Lübbeke, powerful and authentic sound and classic cars go hand in hand. The passion for a unique sound experience awoke in the 40-year-old engineer for traction technology at the age of 14. "At that time, I had saved money by doing a few part-time jobs. Because I wanted to listen to my favorite songs on a great system, I bought a high-quality Denon amplifier and two excellent Canton speakers," says the sound enthusiast.
Lübbeke brought back a 1982 Porsche 911 G Targa from a three-year stay in the U.S., where he worked for a large German manufacturer of premium automobiles. "Actually, I was looking for a typical U.S. car," Lübbeke says. He had already found a Ford Mustang in good condition, but the test drive was very disappointing: "The handling was pretty disastrous and no comparison to what I was used to with European cars." His wife then gave the impetus to look for a German make. That's how he finally found the old Porsche, which he bought from a Midwestern owner. "The car was in top condition, having never been driven in winter," Lübbeke says happily. After a few minor cosmetic and maintenance jobs, he was able to enjoy the sports car on us roads for three years already.
The jewelry vintage car had only one flaw, with which the German engineer and sound enthusiast could not make friends at all. The previous owner had given the sports car a modern radio with digital display, which looked like a foreign body in the otherwise original interior of the car. In addition, a very large amplifier was installed in the trunk, which restricted the already small space even more.
Back in Germany, Lübbeke wanted to eliminate this flaw as quickly as possible. A project at his new employer came to his aid. Together with two colleagues, his task was to develop an outstanding sound system for a new electric car. Two different audio systems, one from Bose, the other from Bang & Olufsen, had to be integrated into the car and optimally tuned. The engineer and his colleagues were thrilled with the sound experience achieved for the e-vehicle of a German premium manufacturer. "That's when I got the idea, why not transfer this great sound to a classic car and then make such audio systems available to other classic car enthusiasts," Lübbeke recounts. And so, the idea for Sonority Sound Systems was born.
The company's first project was quickly identified. The high-quality sound system was to premiere in Lübbeke's own 911 Targa. The clear premise was to integrate the modern system inconspicuously into the interior. The original Blaupunkt radio ("Bamberg QTS") with cassette deck was to be integrated into the system, while at the same time enabling the smartphone to be connected via Bluetooth.
During the long winter nights of 2019/2020, the team put their heads together several times and threw all their ideas into one pot. They worked out a strategy for transferring the excellent sound experience from a modern car to a classic car.
"I wanted to create a sound with a real goosebump feeling in the 911. The driver should have the impression that he is sitting in the middle of a live concert with a grandiose sound experience," Lübbeke explained his idea.
The project finally took shape in the spring of 2020. The Porsche's door panels, seats, and rear shelf were dismantled, new cables were installed, insulation was fitted, and the original radio was coupled with a modern DSP (digital signal processing) amplifier. In addition, the old Porsche was given eight speakers and a particularly flat neodymium subwoofer. Both the amplifier and the subwoofer could be installed inconspicuously under the front seats, and the four installation slots of the original speakers could also be used.
The small installation space under the rear shelf was once again a big challenge for the Sonority crew. In the end, however, the sound tinkerers managed to integrate two-channel systems on each side that play in the upper league in terms of quality and thus create a unique enveloping sound experience.
The measurement of the system and subsequent fine-tuning of the DSP amplifier created an unique sound experience. The result was an inspiring mix of crystal-clear highs and sonorous basses, underpinned by the gritty and characteristic boxer sound of the Porsche 911. In June 2020, it was finally: Mission accomplished!
In the meantime, company founder Lübbeke has already taken his sound-optimized Porsche out for a few drives. He often accompanies the music of the Australian singer Lorde, a "cool mixture of electro and classical elements that comes across extremely well on a good system," as he says. But sometimes he also rides along with the guitar solos of the old Eagles classic "Hotel California" and enjoys the newly created experience.
Mr. Lübbeke wants to make these emotions and this sound experience accessible to other classic car enthusiasts. The company owner sees an absolute gap in the market for this: "I searched the Internet for a long time for suppliers of high-quality hi-fi systems specifically for classic cars, but found little that was comparable," he says. "There are indeed a few companies that install a fashionable retro radio in an old car and occasionally combine it with an amplifier. But I haven't found anyone offering a custom-tuned high-end system in combination with the original radio." Lübbeke is convinced that there is a good market for this among the many classic car fans in car country Germany.