In this article, we would like to continue introducing the products of highly innovative high-end car audio brand Bewith and delving deep into the intriguing world of car audio.
In this installment, let’s consider Bewith’s processors. First, we’ll discuss what a processor is and what it does. Then, we’ll look at the ways that Bewith’s processors stand out from others in the industry.
To put it simply, a processor is a device that is used for sound tuning. The processor is one of the essential items that ever modern hi-fi car audio system must have. The inside of a car is not an ideal listening environment. The acoustic problems of a car interior must be addressed and the processor is a device that can help to do this.
There are two factors that make a car’s interior unsuitable. The first is that it’s impossible to obtain a perfect listening position where the listener is the same distance from both the right and left speakers. The whole idea behind stereo sound is to create 3-dimensional sound through the use of two speakers. A car’s interior is absolutely fatal to achieving this aim because the listener’s position will always tend toward one speaker over the other. The way this is handled is to delay the speaker closest to the listener so that they experience both channels simultaneously.
The second is that the acoustic environment is inferior. When music is played inside a car, sound reflection from the glass and instrument panels and sound absorption from the seats and other areas can easily cause the character of the sound to be corrupted. This is dealt with through the equalizer feature of a processor. Power amps are also used to adjust crossover and levels.
The first product Bewith put out into the world was 2002’s Confidence speaker system. It was a high-end two-way system that featured the world’s first all-eccentric cone. Bewith then rolled out other products such as power amps and source units, and October 2007 saw the company releasing its first processor. This product was the Mirror Station AZ-1 digital processor and D/A converter.
Like other products Bewith had released until then, the Mirror Station AZ-1 made a huge splash. The reasons were its premium price and outstanding sound performance. The price of 800,000 yen made it a high-end unit that was four times the price of its Mirror Media MM-1 source unit, which itself was considered expensive at the time at 200,000 yen.
The price may have been high, but its high quality was affirmed by all who heard it. When the demo started playing the music, it was as if a sound stage had opened up right before listeners’ eyes. The performers sounded like they were right there in the car.
The Mirror Station AZ-1 offered something special even among Bewith’s products. The appearance of Mirror Station AZ-1 created the first system built entirely with Bewith products. It was thus Bewith’s first chance to show the world its own 100% unique sound and its vision for what a sound system should be.
Three years later, Bewith unveiled a processor with a new concept behind it. The name was BEWITHSTATE. This product had even more impact than the Mirror Station AZ-1 and there are two reasons why.
The first was its revolutionary approach. Instead of replacing a system to make improvements, you could simply add to it. This was a tough concept for many to grasp at the time, including yours truly. But there are two reasons why this was so revolutionary.
First, BEWITHSTATE’s approach offered an ideal way to handle a multiple channel system. Its development was actually part of a specific project. Mercedes-Benz wanted Bewith to craft a special system for the Japanese version of its Maybach luxury grade. The original idea behind its sound system was to have a total of 30 speakers in one system. Bewith set out to create its own proprietary system as well as a factory-built system that would allow the user total control over all of its speakers. To handle a multiple channel of this scale, the system would require a processor the likes of which the world had never seen before.
The company came up with BEWITHSTATE, which is a connectable processor. With just this one unit, you can control 6 channels. It then follows that with 10 units, you could control 60 channels. BEWITHSTATE was designed to handle luxury car systems, which were increasingly coming with complex, multiple-channel systems.
One more aim of BEWITHSTATE is complete channel separation. In order to tweak the sound down to its minutest details using a processor, a multi-amp system is used. This is a system where there is one channel of a power amp for each speaker. This allows you to control each speaker individually. The result is that you can have perfect separation for each individual channel. The best way to do this is to each channel its own unit even with a processor. By then adding more to the system, you can achieve a heightened level of separation.
This is an extremely sensible approach to building a multi-channel system, but no maker had yet put it into practice. It was a fresh idea that was a revelation to many.
The second reason that BEWITHSTATE had such an impact was its operational amp. It was developed in collaboration with New Japan Radio Co., Ltd. to optimize specs for car audio. The operational amp is a necessary component that’s at the heart of determining processor sound quality. It is integrated in the circuit board.
Every high-end audio maker relies on suppliers to provide their electrical components. Makers carefully select the best components for their luxury goods, but besides passive components like condensers and resistors, there is not one car audio maker that develops its own components in-house. Bewith was the first.
By providing its own in-house built electrical components for the Mercedes-Benz Maybach, Bewith brought its 100% pure sound to the world.
BEWITHSTATE could handle a full system with just one unit and the price was quite amenable at 200,000 yen per unit. At one-quarter the price of the Mirror Station AZ-1, you could create a complete Bewith sound system. This greatly pleased the brand’s loyal fans. A product that fully realizes the vision of the brand, it is also user-friendly, which even further boosts its appeal.
Three years later in November of 2013, STATE A6 was born. While continuing with the original BEWITHSTATE concept, the internal construction is completely changed. The housing uses the Magneola magnesium compound, newly developed specifically for acoustic applications, which further improves its sound performance toward the ultimate ideal of perfect sound reproduction.
This is how Bewith tackled the obstacles to creating car audio excellence and also brought its high quality to more of its fans.
Don’t miss the next installment, where we’ll go into the history of Bewith’s power amps and explore related topics.
(Translated by Greg Scott)