2021 Cadillac Escalade Ditches The Bose Stereo For An AKG System – But Why?72
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is available with two different audio systems: a standard 19 speaker system and, for the true audiophiles, an upgraded 36-speaker system.
Both of these stereos were developed for Cadillac by Austrian audio specialist AKG. This represents a rather significant departure for the Cadillac brand, which has formerly relied on American audio company Bose for its high-end car stereo applications.
So why did Cadillac decide to ditch Bose, a longtime partner of the company, in favor of AKG? We asked Cadillac Escalade Marketing Manager Dave Schiavone about the reason behind the change, who had this to say:
“We specifically wanted something unique for Cadillac and AKG was a great opportunity,” Shiavone told GM Authority Executive Editor, Alex Luft in a recent interview. “AKG has a great history and what it does for us is, here’s a brand we can work with, they’re good people, they have good technology, and exclusivity is what we wanted and it’s what we got.”
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is the first and only vehicle to feature an AKG audio system. The company has previously stuck to what it knows best: headphones, microphones and home audio equipment, but with the Cadillac partnership, it’s set to break into the automotive space in a big way.
The standard AKG audio system found in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade features 19 speakers, along with a large enclosed subwoofer and receives power from a 14-channel amplifier. The upgraded AKG Studio Reference system, meanwhile, has 36 speakers powered by three amplifiers that deliver 28 channels, offering a listening experience that is “astonishingly crisp and immersive,” Cadillac says.
The 36-speaker AKG audio system in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade also features a ‘Conversation Enhancement’ mode, which captures passengers’ voices and reproduces them through the audio system, allowing front and back seat passengers to conversate without having to raise their voices. The front seat passenger gets their own dedicated volume knob, as well, allowing them to adjust sound volume separately from the driver’s side.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is set to go on sale later this year. It will be built at GM’s Arlington Assembly plant in Texas.
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Bose is now viewed as a mass market brand, while AKG is clearly not.
Bose is good, but it’s just about everywhere now. They should have developed a higher-end alternative with separate exclusive marketing. I thought they did try this, but can’t recall now (anybody know?).
@edo and JOHN A MORRISON:
Agreed. When you can now buy a cheap as hell Nissan (Juke or whatever it’s called) with a “Bose” system, you know it’s time to move on. It’s not that I don’t like Bose, but just feel they have lost the premium.
Still better than the crappy Entune system used by Lexus.
What the F is going on at this Train wreck of a “Company”??? Move manuf out of the States….open up sales worldwide only to find out they don’t sell and shut it down……kill the entire Buick sedan line incl the outstanding Regal….SUV CUV ONLY…..”import” vehicles from China….. make a mess of the all hands on deck to crank out ventilators….and NOW let’s EXPERIMENT with our flagship Premium Vehicle with an audio company FIRST effort in car audio systems. The S don’t stink execs in that ugly Ivory Tower in Detroit need an intervention. Quick before they need another taxpayer bailout they ain’t getting.
I don’t think licensing a brand name from a different audio company is nearly as big of a deal as you are making it out to be.
Great, let’s use some Austrian company and send more business to our bosom buddies in Europe. Why not move corporate HQ to Vienna while you’re at it? Cadillac suits continue to display symptoms of corporate decay.
It’s not Austrian. Instead let’s use Google and look things up before ranting online to people like us that have no control over this anyway.
AKG has a Wikipedia page, with the info you need to not say dumb things.
Its not the vehicles, it’s the people behind GM. Who’s always sucking the financial life right out of this company. Then they exspect the tax payer to bail them out. And by the way did we ever get our money back out of that last bail out.
I really believe the GOV’T bailed out the UAW – not GM. If GM failed, there would be a lot of people out of work in GM plants in the US and around the world.
GM will Not get a bailout.
GM will not need a bailout.
one vehicle is imported from china.
Bose has become another a Chevy parts bin par.
Brembo also is loosing name equity with so many mass market systems.
Skilly me. I look at if the brakes can stop the car properly over and over. I also listen to the sound system to see if it fits my requirements. Others look for names to drop at wine-tasting parties.
Some of their systems yes! But the Panaray in my CT6 was the equal of any system I have heard including the Bower and Wilkins (top line system) in BMW’
@Martin smrek: I agree. At a Cadillac drive event last year, I took the time to really sit in and listen to the Panaray system in the CT6. Absolutely amazing! I sell at a Volvo and Mazda store. I’ve been with other brands too. I’ve heard nearly every Bose system out there and Volvo has the (very expensive) Bowers and Wilkins system. It’s certainly nice and better than the average Bose. They also use Harmon Kardon in some. Not impressed. I have two Buicks: an Encore in which I have the base system, but I found plug n play speakers that are direct fit. They are from Sound Matrix out of Germany if I’m not mistaken. My standard system with those speakers is outstanding. My second Buick is a 2006 Lucerne CXL with the optional Harmon Kardon 9 speaker system. Sounds fine, but way too much bass even with the adjustments lowered.
So far, out of all the systems I’ve heard, the Panaray is by far the best. Can’t wait to hear this new AKG system!
When I was selling audio equipment, you didn’t have to be an audiophile to know Bose was overhyped garbage. The power of marketing
We always said “no highs, no lows, must be Bose”. Overpriced crap.
No highs, no lows. Bose.
Audiophiles love record albums, because they offer a wider range than digital recordings (higher highs & lower lows)
CDs, MP3s, SiriusXM, broadcast radio is all digital. You’re not getting the highs & lows.
Audiophiles don’t use Bose. Bose is a mass market brand.
Audiophiles use a wide range of systems. For a wide range of applications. The question isn’t if they use Bose. The question is where they would use Bose.
Yes, Bose is the Chevy Silverado of audio equipment. It’s not:
– the blow your ear drums out Silverado HD
– the all around(Movies, Video games) day & night GMC Sierra Denali
It’s not the high maintenance premadona Ram Laramie, or fragile aluminum F150
What it does really well is reproduce digital music. Which makes it the best damn work truck(car audio system) on the market.
The problem is may want to play video games or watch movies in the back of an Escalade. GM needed an upgrade.
They make very high quality headphones. We’ll see how they do with car audio.
I suspect they dumped American made Bose because AKG was cheaper.
How much Bose is actually made in the US?
And, how much AKG is Austrian?
According to wikipedia, not at all.
Made in Mexico, at least their amps in the ATS and CTS
Thanks for helping out America GM. Disgusting!
Conversate is not a word, it is slang
Fortunately, there is a shorter, real word that expresses the very same meaning:
This is America, the man uses whatever word he damn well please.
“damn well pleases.”
AKG Acoustics is an acoustics engineering and manufacturing company. It was founded in 1947 by Dr. Rudolf Görike and Ernest Plass in Vienna, Austria. It is a subsidiary of Harman International Industries, a division of Samsung Electronics.
Hmmm head rest speakers like a Fiero…..
Like a first year Fiero. Even the Fiero ditched them.
While I never really cared for the original Bose 901 back reflecting speakers, the Bose 1801 power amplifier (83 pounds – 250 watts (R.M.S.) per channel was a very reliable power-house. This amplifier was needed to power the “power hungry” 901s. I purchased one “used’ – in 1975 ( made in 1972 ) – still working today. However, in 1988, a diode failed in the right channel (only “background” level music was playing at the time) and destroyed the cross-over network and all four drivers (the tweeter, 2 mid-range, and the 15 in woofer in an Infinity Rock Monitor rated for 300 watts RMS.
Of course the new power amplifiers today can achieve very high power without the weight of very large power transformers. However, old McIntosh amplifiers command very high prices and are extremely heavy.
I hope I am wrong, but I think GM/Cadillac is making a serious error in judgement going with very expensive “off-shore” audio hardware from a maintenance standpoint. When some of the drivers “die” from the car getting extremely hot climate outside – Florida, Texas, Arizona, etc., the cost to repair/replace parts will make these buyers very unhappy. In addition, how about out-of-warranty failure of the tuner/amplifier, itself! I do not believe “snob appeal” will work with a Cadillac, or Lincoln buyer in today’s market. Might be good for a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, etc., but not Cadillac.
I hope the Cadillac Marketing “lizards” are not sitting in the HQ’s Ivory Tower coming up with this “stuff” while passing a bong around room! I think the “marketeers” have this need to verify that Darwin was right!!!
Bose is likely mostly made in China and its aura of superiority faded long ago when folks found out that Bose is nothing more than a marketing company that sells audio gear.
AKG is an Austrian company; I’m willing to bet most of their stuff is Chinese as well. Austrian means imported, “Everyone” “knows” that everything imported, especially from Europe, is automatically superior to anything from here. So, in an informed marketing move, Cadillac is using AKG instead of Bose. No one will care if it ACTUALLY sounds better, the AKG name provides bragging rights at boardroom gatherings and wine tasting parties.
Bose made its name with its early transmission line speaker stuff. That concept was patented here in Rochester NY by Stromberg-Carlson with the Labrynth enclosure back in about 1934!
wow, nice to know.
OK from someone who actually owns at Cadillac with a Bose Panaray sound system. It is simply incredible. 34 speakers, well balanced and bring tears to your eyes clarity and volume. Yea, I get that Bose wasn’t exclusive, but going to AKG has to have been #1, cost, #2 exclusivity. AKG might be very good, but they are following a system the yes, even audiophiles agree was great!
First I heard of AKG was from the headphones included with the Galaxy S8. My expectations were rock bottom; they’re the best wired headphones I’ve ever used. I still use them over my wireless ones for movies or music when I’m on a plane. Good move by Cadillac.
I agree that this is a great move, and probably a way to be more exclusive. Bose is everywhere, and doesn’t (or shouldn’t) impress anyone just because of the name.
Those are OK for build in headphones. I have the ones that came with my S9. Now I do have a pair for studio quality headphones that are very nice.
Luxury is about perceived benefits and or exclusivity
Bose is notorious for using DSP to make super cheap speakers sound good. I’m sure GM loved that they spend pennies per speaker and charged through the nose for the “upgrade”. Bose also makes it very hard to replace their components with authentically good parts.
I’ve had AKG monitor headphones. They’re very good. If Cadillac wanted snob appeal they’d partner with Focal. That’s what I’ve been using in my cars for decades.
I’ll reserve judgement until I hear the Bose in a 2021 Yukon Denali, and the AKG in a lower-end Esky – hopefully this summer.
Dude, It’s a Caddy Escalade only option. Wait until January 2021 until the high end GMC models get this system…..maybe.
Denali has the Bose Performance Series system, basically an updated Bose CenterPoint system from the Escalade.
I’m not some snobby audiophile, but I do enjoy great sound. Doesn’t even have to be in the form of music, but can be the sound coming from the engine or even the “lack” of sound on a very well done interior with great isolation. If I’m in a sports car, I then want to hear that and know I’m in something powerful. A great example of this? Volvo. Every standard Volvo now uses only a 2.0L 4 Cyl. and the sound coming from them is pathetic. Just stand on a corner as a Volvo S90 or XC90 pulls away.
Now back to the music side of sound: As others stated above, the Panaray from Bose is fantastic and I feel it’s quite possibly the best out there for now in a factory system. Personally, I’m really excited to take the time to listen to this new AKG system and I have great hopes it will be as good or better than the Panaray. I also hope to see this be exclusive to the Cadillac brand and NOT for Buick or GMC or Chevy or any other brands. This is what Cadillac must do in other areas too in order to become premium again.
I bought a pair of AKG headphones as my cheap emergency carry around pair for my car. They ended up becoming my main set because they were so good. Can’t wait to hear what they’ll do in the Escalade.
“The 36-speaker AKG audio system in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade also features a ‘Conversation Enhancement’ mode, which captures passengers’ voices and reproduces them through the audio system, allowing front and back seat passengers to conversate without having to raise their voices.”
We like to conversate with our passengers. 🙂 Is this feature available from any other manufacturers?
Yes. Two that I know of are Honda and Chrysler in their vans.
I can think of situations where Voice Cancellation would be nice… masking the back seat chatter from the front!