News / 2012 T.H.E. Show Las Vegas / Announcement

For those of you attending the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, I’m pleased to announce that, for the first time ever, the world-famous “Magic Bus”, will be available for you to see and hear! I cordially invite you to experience the ONLY mobile audio system in the world to appear on the cover of the abso!ute sound® magazine as “The World’s Best Car Stereo”. The Magic Bus will be exhibited at The Home Entertainment Show, or "T.H.E. Show" for short, at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, on January 10-13, inclusive (, and will be located near the “Red Rock” rooms, out-of-doors, conveniently near T.H.E. Show’s Main Exhibit Floor. There will be plenty of signs and personnel available to direct you to the Magic Bus. The Flamingo is just a short distance from the Las Vegas Convention Center, conveniently accessible using the Las Vegas Monorail ( 

For those unfamiliar with my work, the Magic Bus is my lifetime masterpiece, and considered by many to be a mobile audio system without rival (please refer to the publications and endorsements at The Magic Bus' audio system, installed in an unconventional, but acoustically favorable, Mercedes Sprinter van, was designed purely for sound quality and comprises of nine Dynaudio loudspeaker transducers, powered by six Genesis amplifiers capable of producing 4,620 Watts! Each of the six loudspeaker transducers (two Esotar tweeters, two MW150 midranges, and two MW180 woofers) in the two-channel, three-way, stereo front sound stage are powered by a dedicated monoblock amplifier and actively controlled by a dedicated channel of the 96 kHz - 24 bit digital signal processor (Alpine’s F#1 Status PXI-H990). The mono subwoofer, comprises of three large Dynaudio Esotar subwoofer transducers powered by three Genesis amplifiers capable of producing 3,300 Watts! The 300-pound subwoofer enclosure was laminated from multiple layers of Baltic birch, and resides on properly tuned military-grade generator mounts. A seventh channel of the digital signal processor actively controls the subwoofer system, which has full, proportional output down to 10 Hz!

As most audiophiles know, audio systems are only as good as the room in which they are installed. The scientifically designed, and computer-optimized, acoustics inside the Magic Bus takes mobile audio listening to a new height with an unprecedented balance of studio quality reverberation times. This remarkable achievement was made possible by an industry-first use of 54 acoustically functional panels, consisting of 34 Helmholtz absorbers and 20 binary amplitude diffusers, resulting in what surely must be the highest performance mobile listening room ever built. To combine functionality with aesthetics, a prominent interior designer coordinated the colors and fabrics for the Magic Bus’ interior, which includes suede-covered headliners, custom carpeting, and acoustically functional draperies and window valances. The entire audio system, its supporting infrastructure, and the acoustical treatments weigh over 3,000 pounds! Although the interior of the Magic Bus, and its audio system, were meticulously tuned using state-of-the-art computer-based measurement systems, Steve McCormack (, legendary audio component designer, performed the final system voicing by ear. The audio system took more than 9,800 hours to build and tune over the course of 6-1/2 years.  

Robert Harley, Editor-in-Chief of the abso!ute sound® magazine, heard the newly completed Magic Bus at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach (June 2011) and wrote in his show highlights,

“Jon Whitledge showed the latest incarnation of his ‘Magic Bus’, a van that houses what I called ‘The world’s best car stereo’ when I heard it five years ago. Since then, Whitledge has taken the system to an entirely new level of performance. The design, construction, passion, and dedication that went into the Magic Bus are unprecedented, and it showed in the sound quality. The system had effortless dynamics, very high resolution of low-level detail, and tremendous timbral fidelity, throwing a soundstage that rivaled that of a well-set-up home system.”

Other prominent audio industry veterans have also heard the Magic Bus and commented on its performance ...

“The Magic Bus by Jon Whitledge defines a new standard for mobile audio. I had the pleasure, via my company Straight Wire, of being involved with many of the top sound quality competition and demonstration vehicles since the mid 90’s. The Magic Bus is a testament to Jon Whitledge’s vision and great efforts to produce a moveable high end aural experience that will captivate all who have the pleasure to listen.”

-- Steven Hill / President / Straight Wire

“Sound like none other - ‘music from the inside’ - the goal of those with ears and hearts that care for what is left on earth as truth and beauty!”

-- Jim Merod / Writer & Reviewer / Positive Feedback & Enjoy The Music

“Absolutely phenomenal - both in terms of the result, and also the fantastic amount of work he has put into it.  His ‘Magic Bus’ audio van is far and away the highest-performance audio system I have ever heard on wheels, but more importantly, it rivals the best home systems in many ways.” 

-- Steve McCormack / Designer / SMc Audio and McCormack 

“Audio References for me are based on tonal quality, stage height, width and depth and install quality. And until recently, there was not one vehicle that encompassed all of these characteristics. So I guess you could say I had many references. Jon’s van encompasses all of these, and even raises the stakes by smacking around many of the high-end home systems I’ve heard. Jon has worked, and will continue to work, very hard to achieve unparalleled excellence in his designs. This vehicle has been regarded as the best sounding vehicle many of the home and pro audio guys have ever heard, and they are a hard bunch to convince.”

-- Paul Messett / Sales and Marketing Manager / Cascade Audio Engineering

“It is always a pleasure when you discover someone focused on following his or her passion.  As a musician & producer, I have learned to gravitate towards people like this, for there is where you find the single-mindedness necessary to create the very special things in life ... Jon Whitledge loves musical performance. He has devoted himself to creating the ultimate automobile audio system. Armed with his extensive knowledge, ingenuity and attention to detail, along with the dedication of countless hours, he has produced a mobile listening environment that rivals the experience of being present when the music was created…  In these days of minimization, compression and dithering, it is a pleasure to come across someone interested in bringing out all the fullness and nuances of musical performance. On his system, my own recordings sounded as I remembered them in the studio.” 

-- Chuck Perrin / Musician / Producer

Notably, the Magic Bus is the only audio system in the world (to my knowledge) that is extensively autographed by Grammy award-winning, and otherwise famous and talented musicians. To date, I've acquired over 200 musicians' autographs, and continue to acquire more. I consider the Magic Bus a “rolling shrine” and a tribute to the musicians who light up our lives with harmony and sound. 

Because most of you will have traveled from all over the world to see and hear the Magic Bus, I feel you deserve the best listening experience possible. Therefore, I'll be conducting one-on-one listening sessions at approximately 5-minute intervals. That means only about 80 lucky people per day will get to experience the Magic Bus. Feel free to bring your favorite audiophile recordings on CD (44.1 kHz - 16 bit) or DVD-Audio (96 kHz - 24 bit). As a special treat, I'll be playing selected, recently recorded, ultra high-resolution (192 kHz - 24 bit) BluePort Jazz ( recordings. The realism of these recordings is simply jaw dropping! Once you hear these, you won't want to listen to CDs anymore!

As an added bonus, Larry Mitchell, Grammy Award winning producer, and guitar virtuoso (, will be performing periodically at my exhibit. Larry, a sponsored representative for Ibanez guitars, is a world-famous guitarist who toured with Rick Ocasek, Tracey Chapman, Billy Squire, and many others. Larry tours all over the world conducting guitar clinics, and took time from his busy schedule to support the Magic Bus! Because of this, we will attempt something that may never have been done before - we will attempt to play Larry’s live guitar feed directly into the Magic Bus’ audio system! For the first time ever, you’ll be able to experience live, uncompressed, electric guitar like you’ve never heard before! And wait until you see Larry play – simply incredible!

As a lover of music, I’ve attempted to build an audio system that re-creates that special moment in time when the music itself was created. With live music as my benchmark, I’ve engaged faithfully in the challenging and virtually impossible task of re-creating it. Larry and I cordially invite you to experience the sonic thrill of the Magic Bus and hear for yourself what others have said. We’d be honored to share it with you. 

Warmest Regards,

Jon R. Whitledge

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