By on November 23, 2016

Porsche 911 Soundbar, Image: Porsche Design

If one of your DIY car enthusiast friends built a home or office audio system from the muffler and exhaust pipes of their favorite car as both an acoustic and visual part, you’d probably think it was a clever idea — something like using an engine block for the base of a glass coffee table, only more practical.

What, then, to think of the $3,500 Porsche Design 911 Soundbar Bluetooth loudspeaker that incorporates an actual titanium rear silencer and twin chromed exhaust tips from a Porsche 911 GT3 in its subwoofer?

My older brother says that his younger male sibling is too clever by half. I admit to having a fondness for clever things and, even more so, clever people. I plead guilty to a sense of wonder at human creativity. That’s probably a big reason I like cars.

I also think the exchange of goods and services for things of value — for lack of a better word, let’s call that capitalism — is pretty cool, particularly when clever. But all I can do is mock the 911 Soundbar, or more accurately, anyone who’d be silly enough to spend the price of a serviceable used car on a desk accessory that matches their driving accessory.

I say desk accessory and not audio component deliberately. More than a few of our readers are audio buffs, and many of you know how to read a spec sheet on audio equipment. Though Porsche Design touts its audio quality, the features and specifications sheet for the 911 Soundbar’s amplifier shows a single listing of 200 Watts with no sign whether that’s a peak or average power measurement. Your guess for frequency response and harmonic distortion levels of the speaker’s electronics is as good as mine, because those stats aren’t listed, nor are things like what kind of loudspeaker drivers it uses.

That lack of detail on the technical side of things says to me that the 911 Soundbar is more about reminding oneself and one’s guests that one has a Porsche in the garage than it is about good sound quality. It may sound okay, or even better than that, but audio quality is not what the 911 Soundbar is about.

Though the performance specifications listed are paltry, all the latest “connected” and DSP tech features are listed: 2.1 virtual surround and stereo sound, Bluetooth 3.0, aptX lossless audio transmission, bass and treble controls with a remote control, Dolby digital decoder, DTS TruSurround virtual surround signal processing, LipSync technology for synchronizing the audio to your TV set, analog audio inputs, coaxial and optical digital inputs, plus an LED display panel.

I don’t judge the looks of a car until I see it in person with my own eyes. I can’t say whether the 911 Soundbar sounds scintillating or if it will make your ears bleed until I get the chance to listen to one, something that’s not likely to happen. The only close friend I have who owns a 911 would more likely spend $3,500 on a pair of Magneplanar 1.7i loudspeakers, some decent electronics (with published technical specifications) to drive them, a bunch of CDs and LPs, and still have enough left over to buy some exhaust parts at the junkyard to use as wall art.

However, perusing eBay, I see that the 911 Soundbar is only a few hundred dollars more expensive than a GT3 rear muffler by itself. This new old stock OEM silencer has an asking price of $2,850. It doesn’t include the Soundbar’s snazzy OEM chrome exhaust tips, which must surely be more expensive than something similar you’d find at Pep Boys. At $3,500, then, the Porsche Design loudspeaker is probably not priced exorbitantly when you consider that it comes with at least $3,000 worth of 911 exhaust parts.

That still sounds ridiculous.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view over at Cars In Depth. – Thanks for reading – RJS

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16 Comments on “$3,500 Porsche Design 911 Soundbar Sounds Ridiculous No Matter How Aurally Pleasing...”

  • avatar

    I don’t see my wife going for one of those in the living room…and I already has a pair of Magneplanar MGIIIa speakers…

  • avatar

    For $3,500, it better be ORALLY pleasing as well.

  • avatar

    At that price, each song should have a happy ending, to match the ego of the owner.

  • avatar

    what a smug company. those welds are atrocious.

  • avatar

    And here I thought BOSE was overpriced and full of themselves, yeesh.

  • avatar

    Maybe RCA will come out with a soundbar using a Thrush muffler for the rest of us.

  • avatar

    I think they misplaced the decimal point. Surely they mean

    “Just 35.00/month for 12 months, this exclusive piece of dreck from Franklin Collectibles/Danbury Mint/Stauer/etc.”

  • avatar
    David Walton

    As noted, this is manufactured from the true OEM center muffler, which is a heavy, expensive part.

    Considered in light of various options on the 991 GT3, it’s not entirely unreasonable for an office conversation piece:

    Buckets $4,730
    Lift $3,500
    Painted Key $365

    All relative

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I’d want the whole 911 motor for 3500….

  • avatar

    If you’re focused on specifications to determine the quality of a $3500 speaker, you’re not the right person to be evaluating the speaker. People will spend 20x that on a speaker and I guarantee, they’re not looking at the specifications.

    Is this an overpriced POS? Probably, but your arguments don’t bring us there.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m familiar with the world of high end audio gear. I assembled the loudspeakers in my living room myself, using an “equal pressure” design by Focal for the woofer(s), a Dynaudio dome midrange and a Morel dome tweeter, with a bi-wired passive crossover that Madisound made for me. Driver alignment was first approximated by measurement, then fixed permanently by ear.

      No doubt, loudspeakers and any other audio gear ultimately needs to be judged by ear, not by specification. That being said, every loudspeaker company that sells quality audio gear lists specifications for drivers, frequency response, etc.

      Magnepan’s listed specs for the 1.7i mentioned in the article:
      Magneplanar 1.7
      Description 3-Way, Full-Range, Quasi-Ribbon
      Freq. Resp. 40-24 kHz
      Rec Power Read Frequently Asked Questions
      Sensitivity 86dB/500Hz /2.83v
      Impedance 4 Ohm
      Dimensions 19 x 65 x 2

  • avatar

    A very amateurish amateur- review by Porsche ethusiasts:

    There’s people out there who own more than 1 Porsche, that soundbar is ideal for their mancave.

    • 0 avatar

      The money quote, literally, from that review:

      “*Full Disclosure: Porsche Design is a sponsor of and sent us a sample of the 911 Soundbar to review. Unfortunately, despite our begging, we still had to return it.”

      The funny thing is that some reason, after this post has run, I just don’t think Porsche Design is going to send us a review sample.

      While there aren’t many comments here, this post has gone viral via Reddit and at this point it has close to 200,000 pageviews. Ironically, it’s probably helped Porsche Design sell a few of these.

  • avatar

    Use it in a newer BMW for the stereo-engine noise and irony.

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