Product Review – ACURA MDX-ELS Second-Generation Automotive Sound System

24 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Product Review – ACURA MDX-ELS Second-Generation Automotive Sound System
Acura MDX

W hen LA Audio File published its recent Surveying the Best New Car Systems report comparing the that car companies offer in the way of audio systems, a lot of familiar rose to the challenge. In the end, it was a Phaeton with its obscure-sounding No. 9VE sound system option ascended to the top.

The Phaeton was an audio juggernaut. VW eschewed technology in favor of brute It lacked finesse, not to mention discrete multi-channel surround It did have a surround mode, but it was processing derived from stereo. The system made sound good, if not entirely

Still, it was the Raging Bull of the audio community, and it knocked out all of its at the last go around. That was VW of America has since retired the system as well as the car.

new systems have since to go after the championship belt. has introduced a third-generation Mark system it calls the Reference Audio system, Mercedes teamed up with Harman/Kardon to an impressive system for the latest sedan. Aston Martin up with Linn Audio (makers of the famed LP12 to design the sound system in the new V12 sports car.

One of the more interesting developments to along is the second-generation ELS system introduced as “technology” options in the Acura RDX and in the second-generation Acura MDX. ELS is the of Elliot Scheiner, who produced and some of the finest records in the era. His work in multi-channel is legendary.

The first-generation ELS system, was introduced in the Acura TL, made our top-ten list of best sound systems. It was and is a ground-breaking being the first factory system to offer DVD-Audio. As it’s the first factory designed to play discrete software specifically optimized for a vehicle environment.

The only real disappointment of the ELS system was its inability to play the catalog of excellent DVD music already available on the market. the catalog of DVD-Audio material to grow, it’s difficult to most consumers to purchase yet medium of recorded music.

The ELS system takes care of problem. Not only does it DVD videos, it optimizes the sound for the environment. Accordingly, the strong channel information found on DVDs is scaled back to be obtrusive to the front row driver and

Moreover, the rear-seat passengers left hearing only ambient sounds. They too get to the full spectrum of sonic on the disks.

The second-generation ELS system benefits from additional A new 20cm Panasonic Super Low Driver (SLDD) subwoofer is to deliver the bottom end for the sound

So how does the new ELS system compare the reigning Raging Bull? It very well. We auditioned the new ELS in Acura’s new MDX. As mentioned, the is also available in the less-expensive As good as the new MDX is, it doesn’t match the vault-like isolation of the Phaeton would one expect it to).

It comes up a little short on the end in comparison, but you’ll never it on the vast majority of music out

On the other hand, the ELS system’s of musical information is far superior to our champion, and its ability to play DVD videos is a very welcome There is an honesty to the sound of the ELS II. On the DVD and DVD-Audio disks, the sound is as and palpable as one can imagine. But then some mediocre fare, and the comes out sounding as such.

The old adage, garbage in, garbage applies here.

The Phaeton digital signal processing to two channels into surround Spectacular and lush as it is, the sound tired after a while. In one never tires of the discrete 5.1 of the ELS – particularly with true signals. In the end, the ELS system on points.

There are no knockouts or knockdowns here. But like the between the Raging Bull and Ray, it’s finesse, and accuracy that wins out brute force.

This is not to say the second-generation ELS system can’t be on. One wonders what it will like in an even quieter perhaps with noise technology (a feature that is now in the ELS-equipped Acura TL). A will do wonders on that music containing true registers below 35 cycles per (you can’t hear low, but you can feel it).

And since the ELS system has discrete 5.1 why not couple it with XM satellite that can play 5.1 home signals (the ELS does with regular XM satellite Perhaps we’ll have to for generation three (or maybe

In the meantime, the new ELS system takes you to places heretofore unheard of a few ago. For anyone who enjoys it’s a must-have option. For fortunate enough to be in the market for a new equipped with the Technology your stairway to sonic has arrived.

– Roy Nakano


Elliot is among the leading authorities in sound recording and mixing. As a producer and engineer, his efforts in sound are credited with the foundation for the genre. His career work with The Eagles, Dan, REM, Faith Queen, Sting, Van Morrison, and Washington Jr.

The Berklee College of Music Scheiner with an Honorary of Music degree for his achievements in the of music and his contributions to American He’s the recipient of 20 Grammy nominations, five Grammy and an Emmy Award for his work the Eagles. He’s the inaugural of the Surround Pioneer Award and the American to be honored by the Japanese Society with its Master of designation.

For more information ELS, see

For more about Acura products, see

Editors’ Note: A variation of article also appears in LA where it is entitled, Sugar Ray on the Raging Bull. LA Car is the automotive to LA Audio File. To view LA aim your Web browser to

20cm ELS/Panasonic Super Low subwoofer

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