I got the chance to drive the N-BOX Slash while on a trip for a night and two days. I deliberately tested its special audio system called the “sound mapping system” that I heard was developed with strong emotional anchors. Its X Grade standard can also be set to G Grade.
The best feature of this system is that aside from the elaborate sound mapping, its front seats are equipped with 17cm back road horn subwoofers manufactured by Fostex (at the bottom part), 17cm Kevlar cone speakers and aluminum dome tweeters. Meanwhile, the back seats are equipped with 12cm Kevlar cone speakers and aluminum dome tweeters. It has eight speakers and a subwoofer as well together with 7 channels manufactured by Pioneer; it also drives a 360W amplifier. As a Kei car with an original system, it clearly plays powerful bass and high quality sounds. The sound of the subwoofers come from the front (though it is typically equipped inside the trunk).
It was developed with the concept of being “A music box car!”. It is suitable for Western music such as rock, blues, and surf music; it was designed in such a way that the best space for listening to music be in the front seats (as for the back seats, the C-pillar speakers are positioned near the listener’s ears).
Unlike cars without soundmapping, it is soundproof, guaranteeing your peaceful enjoyment of the music inside the car. If you want to play music from your smartphone, it also offers wireless charging for phone model compatible with the Qi wireless charger. You can simply enjoy the music without worrying about your phone’s remaining battery life.
Furthermore, it is also designed with the sound-deadening kit called “Pure Sound Booth” (for an additional 38,880 yen) that has the same quality of sound tuning as pro-car audio shops. A staple accessory for car owners who want to enjoy the sound mapping system on mega volume in its full-scale.
The Pure Sound Booth performs sound absorption and sound damping of the door and tailgate panels in the vehicle’s interior, all the while boosting the silence inside the car, it also serves as a mechanism that reduces the vibrations of the speakers in the door panels.
As a result, it can increase the overall ambiance by recovering the balance between low to high tones, separating each sound and the thickness of its hollow sound range. To elaborate, the Pure Sound Booth is mainly composed of 12 sound absorbing sheets, two sound absorbing urethane foams, and two sound deadening mats (featuring an emblem).
Thereafter, I tried listening to a song “What You Won’t Do for Love” (Japanese translation: Kaze no Silhouette) while driving the vehicle with the X Grade Hawaii Glide Style interior. A 1970’s hit song covered by Bobby Caldwell included in the album “Smile Blue” of Ricky Peterson, it is often used by a renowned producers in testing the sound system in concert venues of a very popular Japanese female singer-songwriter.
According to the producer, this AOR (adult oriented rock) song has a wide sound range, it also has a low frequency range for the bass guitar part and a lot of strong swift voices. According to that person, it is suitable even if you were to do sound tuning in a concert hall.
When the song “What You Won’t Do For Love” played with the sound mapping system, the overall balance, sharpness of the sound attack as well as the firmness of its bass, and even the dazzling sound of bar chimes seemed surreal. It seems difficult to listen to it the same way in just normal car audio speakers. It has an audible feature different from high and low frequency boosters, its as if I could directly feel the mood of the musician in the front window and it made me feel emotional while listening to that Western sound.
Inspired by the Hawaian Glide Style, they also played clear Hawaiian music that was both refreshing and pleasant, as if one could feel the trade winds blowing while in a Hawaiian hotel lobby.
Incidentally, if you want to listen to music in a volume level that would not distract you from driving, you might feel that the low tone is quite insufficient with the flat equalizer. In case you want to raise the level of both low and high tones, its impact will really increase further; you should really try it. (it is advised by the developers of the sound mapping system as well).
Lastly, I have very important information.
If you wish to have sound that would strengthen its low tones and enhance high pitched tones, you should select PVC materials instead of fabrics. It has special features that won’t absorb low tones very much and reflects high pitched tones. PVC material sheets are provided in the interior color packages of the X or X Turbo as a factory option (It is available in California Diners Style, Hawaiian Glide Style and Tennessee Session Style).
I think, the N-BOX Slash will be most complete if its sound mapping system is also equipped with the Pure Sound Booth. While it is more suitable for playing Western music, it also offers an advanced setting of having a silent interior that is impossible for most other kei cars.
Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/ Dock Life Journalist
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an
automotive magazine. He started as a writer to specialist on automotive
magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on
publications about pets (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related
television programs, as well as events. He is currently, expanding his
career as a dog life producer. He has also worked as a professional musician (keyboard and guitar) since his late 10’s up to his 20’s.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)