Rivian announced this week it has made some changes to the audio system for the R1T and R1T electric vehicles (EVs). The new audio system, called Rivian Elevation, was designed by the company’s own engineers.
Since the start of production Rivian has been including an audio system developed by Meridian, a leading consumer audio and home theatre equipment manufacturer based in the United Kingdom. That setup featured 18 speakers and a number of the company’s advanced proprietary technologies.
According to an update on the Rivian website this week the automaker is no longer working with Meridian and has instead moved to an in-house designed audio system. The name has barely changed, going from Meridian Elevation to Rivian Elevation, but the included hardware has undergone more significant changes.
The Rivian Elevation system now features two fewer speakers, with the R1T dropping from 18 to 16 speakers and the R1S going from 20 down to 18. Rivian says the two speakers that have been removed are the rear passenger door midrange speakers, the sound from which has been shifted to “a tweeter and woofer for seamless frequency.”
The new system is also lighter, more efficient, and uses less rare-earth metals, Rivian explains on their website.
Despite the apparent downgrade, Rivian says their testing has shown that listeners prefer the sound offered by the Rivian Elevation system, and that by using an in-house designed system they can now more easily tune it moving forward.
The change has not gone over well with existing owners, with many complaining about the change on Reddit. The speculation is the change was implemented to lower costs as Rivian will no longer have to pay to use the Meridian name, along with the cumulative savings of using two fewer speakers per vehicle. The automaker has been bleeding cash, reporting a net loss of $6.75 billion last year.
Even though many are upset about the change, it appears as though new owners haven’t noticed it. Rivian says production of R1T and R1S vehicles with the new audio system began in February 2023, meaning there are likely many already in owner’s hands. An easy way to spot which system you have would be to look at the speaker covers, as the previous system had ‘Meridian Elevation’ on them. Presumably this now says ‘Rivian Elevation.’