Aux input

Aux input

Any idea why TM didn't add an aux plug so we could use our ipod or phone directly?

BYT | 30. Dezember 2012

I wondered that as well, but to be honest, after the 3.5mm audio issues I have had with the iPhone's, I fear plugging in a cord and use only Bluetooth enabled devices. The issues seem to occur when the iPhone doesn't trigger the cord has been removed so it instead will not allow audio to be passed to the ear piece (you can still hear the caller if you switch it to Speakerphone, but that's annoying).

Volker.Berlin | 31. Dezember 2012

I agree that it is a weird omission. It seems natural if not expected to have an AUX socket next to the USB and 12V sockets. You could plug a lot of things there, including (heaven forbid) a portable CD player!

stevenmaifert | 31. Dezember 2012

Same reason there's no CD player... too 20th Century!

olanmills | 31. Dezember 2012

steven, I get what you're saying, but then again, the car does have the cigarette lighter-type outlet. A 3.5 mm jack in the same location would be discrete enough, I think.

mathwhiz | 13. Februar 2014

Aren't we talking around the actual issue, though? The real reason we're asking for an AUX LINE INPUT for the Model S is to make up for the fact that Tesla doesn't support the iPod Accessory Protocol (IAP) on USB. I for one so wish they would add support for it.

I mean, just adding a LINE IN to the car means wasting the tremendous resource of the Model S 17" display, and reverting back to driver distraction, fiddling around with an IOS device interface when attention needs dedicated to operating the vehicle.

Also, the iPhone 3.5 mm jack is the wrong audio source anyway, as it's a headphone output—a mismatch for line level signals. AUX LINE INPUT needs line out impendence from the IOS device, which is gotten via the lightning connector (to USB)...

Personally, I'd take IAP support first, then Tesla could throw in an AUX LINE INPUT for good measure...

AoneOne | 13. Februar 2014

Is IAP an open protocol, or is it limited to Apple products? Apple makes great products, but doesn't have a monopoly on portable devices that can store and play music, nor does it have a monopoly on the devices that might control such portable devices.

At least bluetooth and aux cables are open standards.

Skotty | 14. Februar 2014

I too wish there was an aux in available. It's the universal port when your vehicle doesn't support whatever oddball device you want to use.

There is an issue of line-in vs headphone. Most devices don't provide a line out, so most of the time it will be a headphone out that is used to plug into an aux in. Usually, this works okay, but aux in ports should really be designed to support headphone level signals.

TSwift | 14. Februar 2014

If you have a device w/out bluetooth you can use an adapter like this:®-TT-BA01-Wireless-Bluetooth-Transmitter/dp/B004B8GF7Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1392396242&sr=1-2&keywords=bluetooth+audio+dongle

ChopinBlues | 14. Februar 2014

Yep, there's lots of workarounds, but the bottom line is, there are probably hundreds of millions of previous generation iPods out there still in use, that can't be played in this $100K car. And this is surely the only car, at ANY price, that has this shortcoming. And it's one that's easily fixed in software. C'mon Tesla!

mclary | 14. Februar 2014

Old School. Do you want the old or the new style Apple adaptor?


Can you use a BT connection to play your music? | 14. Februar 2014

Does anyone actually still use an iPod? Seems so 1990s, since almost every cell phone offers a better music capabilities, better UI, features, Bluetooth, expandability and more.

Mr Odd Job | 14. Februar 2014

Phone does it for me with Bluetooth just leave it in my pocket auto connects its self and auto plays my music perfect been waiting years to be able to take my own record collection any where with me.

ChopinBlues | 14. Februar 2014

Old vs new adapter is irrelevant, since either would connect via USB. Regarding bluetooth, I have been told that it has inferior sound quality compared to a direct usb device. And this is probably the best reason why I want this. I could just leave the iPod in the car always connected to USB, and, get to take advantage of playlists, and shuffle (and, if Tesla did this right, could do both of the those via the controls on the steering wheel).

cerjor | 14. Februar 2014

TeslaTap: Use my ipod only occasionly but use a Zune 80GB frequently for listening to books. I now have 6 audiobooks waiting to be read. The aux input would be helpful to me. When driving from Seattle to Phoenix I used a battery powered speaker with my Zune, completely independent of the car.

mathwhiz | 15. Februar 2014

[quote=AoneOne]Is IAP an open protocol, or is it limited to Apple products? Apple makes great products, but doesn't have a monopoly on portable devices that can store and play music, nor does it have a monopoly on the devices that might control such portable devices.

At least bluetooth and aux cables are open standards.[/quote]

True enough AoneOne, IAP is an Apple protocol for all IOS products, but supporting it isn't a big deal and you'd be covering a big part of devices. By witness, my Camry's support for it, and many other reasonably current vehicles—not just luxury ones.

I'm not down on AUX LINE INPUT per se, expect for the fact that in the Model S it would make you deal with the device UI while driving for anything more than sequential playback (i.e., playlists, et al). And I'd really like to see driver distraction reduced.

[]Does anyone actually still use an iPod? Seems so 1990s, since almost every cell phone offers a better music capabilities, better UI, features, Bluetooth, expandability and more.[/quote]

Yes, smartphone sales are indeed slowly supplanting the iPod, but the millions of iPods sold to-date haven't simply vanished into thin air... But it matters little, since the iPhone *is* an iPod, just with added features and functions.

I actually use a current generation iPod nano for my in-vehicle music. It helps to preserve my phone battery without having to charge it all the time. BTW, it does support Bluetooth, and there is something to be said about more simple devices for dedicated purpose (music)... Although with the Model S, I'll probably be using a FLAC-populated USB key, to maximize fidelity. But unfortunately, as I understand it at present, there are limitations to non-album sequence of track playback. | 15. Februar 2014

@cerjor - I hadn't considered audio books. Makes sense.

@mathwhiz - It's always best to work with devices you have no matter how old. I was being a bit too down on the iPod just to have a little fun.

You are correct that Bluetooth is not ideal if you want the best music quality. For that, USB with FLAC files is one of the best approaches to having high quality sound in the MS.

Anyway, there isn't an AUX input, and I doubt Tesla is going to make any modifications in future cars to support one. That leaves you with the other options talked about already. As to specific support for Apple products, that's less clear. For the short term it seems the Tesla engineering team is more supportive of open standards like Bluetooth. Maybe 6.0 will offer something extra, but I've not heard a peep about it yet.

mathwhiz | 15. Februar 2014

BTW, is this your book I'm leafing through now about the Model S? ;)

Nice work...

When I get done with it, it's going to occupy an honored location — on my coffee table.

:) | 16. Februar 2014

@mathwhiz - Yep, I co-wrote the Model S book with Kim Rogers. Glad you like it!

PhilG | 29. Mai 2014

I am anxious to figure out how to install a stereo mini-plug analog output in my Model S so I can take advantage of this tremendous device called Pono. If you haven't heard of it do yourself a favor and go check it out in detail at

Here's the output jacks it has..
The PonoPlayer has two output jacks: one is a normal mini-stereo headphone plug, and the output is specially designed for headphones or earbuds and is meant for personal listening; the second is a stereo mini-plug analog output and is specifically designed for listening on your home audio system, in your car, or as an input to your Sonos Connect, so you can share the PonoMusic experience with your friends and family.

Any ideas?

PhilG | 29. Mai 2014

Typo - I meant to say I'm looking for a way to install a stereo mini-plug analog input (not output) :)

TonyR63 | 29. Mai 2014

This is unfortunate. I have a iPod classic with a whole lot of tunes and audiobooks. A smart phone would not even come close to holding it all. This, combined with the fact that the FM reception is terrible, leaves me to wonder how the heck I'm going to be able to listen to music. I have a dumbphone (Like phone, like owner?) and dislike smartphones. So, hopefully there is a work-around. That bluetooth adapter might work.

2-Star | 30. Mai 2014

We were driving a Toyota rental car yesterday and plugged my iPhone into the USB port I noticed in the console just below the dashboard. Magically, I found that the music on the iPhone started playing through the stereo system in the car. Why doesn't my Tesla S do that ?? Anybody know??
Thanks for any info.

jai9001 | 30. Mai 2014


Copy your ipod music over to a thumbdrive and you will be able to listen to entire music collection with ease.

I use this one:


Tesla uses bluetooth to play off the iphone. Works extremely well

TonyR63 | 30. Mai 2014

Thanks. I didn't know they made them with that big of a capacity.That will work out OK.

Still, I wonder why Tesla doesn't have the capacity to use an iPod. Tesla, are you listening? Hope you all fix that by next fall, when I order my Model S. :-)

stevenmaifert | 30. Mai 2014

@fredtowers - Direct connect of iDevices requires the auto manufacturer to liscense the intefacing software from Apple. For reasons unknown, Tesla has never done that or possibly there is some incompatibility between the software that runs the media center and Apple's software: BT streaming is the workaround.

TonyR63 | 30. Mai 2014

I have heard that BT streaming is of lesser quality than direct connection. How bad is it, or is it not very noticeable?


harman408 | 30. Mai 2014

hahahahahaha aux cables? really? who uses those anymore? bluetooth people.

TonyR63 | 30. Mai 2014

TeslaTap -
I just got your book, and read it all in one day. Nice job.

Rocky_H | 30. Mai 2014

@arice, I'm not a hifalutin stereophile person, but even I notice the distortion from Bluetooth when you turn it up a bit.

@harman408, That's why. As low tech as an auxiliary cable is, it sounds better than Bluetooth.

Red Sage ca us | 30. Mai 2014

I'm fairly certain that a 1957 Tesla Model S would have had awesome fully analog, high fidelity, monophonic sound options. Possibly even offering an optional 1/4" input jack!

stevenmaifert | 31. Mai 2014

The point is that AUX input jacks are still offered on most new cars these days in addition to the USB port because there is a large segment of buyers born before the digital age with gear that could use one. I'll forgive Tesla for not putting a CD/MP3 disc player in my Model S (although my Leaf has one), but come on... how hard would it have been to provide an AUX jack? They did provide a 12V power socket... that's pretty 20th Century too. In fact Red Sage, my '57 Chevy had one!

2-Star | 02. Juni 2014

@jai9001: Thanks, I just tried iusing my iPhone again, and Bluetooth worked like a charm. Not sure why it didn't seem to work last time. To my 80-year-old ears, the sound seemed just as good as the USB drive plugged into the car with all the music from my CDs. Younger ears will probably notice a difference. | 02. Juni 2014

@TonyR63 Thanks!

Bluetooth works fine, but it forces high-compression (no matter what the source is on your device) to reduce the over-the-air bit-rate. This means even if you have lossless files, they will be highly compressed (i.e. low quality) when sent via Bluetooth.

For the absolute best quality, use a non-DMA lossless format such as FLAC on a USB flash drive.

Seems like every smartphone has a far more sophisticated music player than the ancient iPod. You can store your music in the phone, then either use Bluetooth (lower quality), or plug it into the USB port and get higher quality.

mbenjam1 | 10. Juni 2015

Anyone who thinks BT is going to sound as good as AUX input doesn't know what good sound is. The Hi resolution players- PONO in particular, only connects via AUX - and the Tesla doesn't have an AUX input. I just rented a Ford Focus on a trip and being able to plug in the PONO to AUX made the car have 20x better sound than my $80,000 Tesla. -Other than that- Tesla =best car ever. Sound- Ill give it an F-

Trowbyb | 10. Juni 2015

Interested to know if A2DP in the Tesla will accept the Hi Fi content from Tidal via iPhone 6? Is there any advantage in doing this? Thanks

kirk | 10. Juni 2015

I didn't think about the CD player... I listen to a lot of books on CD. What is the easiest way to do this in a Tesla? | 11. Juni 2015

@mbenjam1 - AUX input is only as good as the car's A/D converter. It's likely to be at best as good as a FLAC encoded file from the USB, but more likely somewhat poorer in quality. That assumes the PONO D/A conversion is good (and reports are quite good). Seems silly to take a digital recording convert to analog and have a car convert it back to digital before finally converting back to analog. All those conversions are not ideal. If it's a very old car, you might skip the A/D to D/A steps. Just wait for the tubes to warm up first :)

@kirk - For audio books, rip it to a USB stick (yep, a minor hassle).

stevenmaifert | 12. Juni 2015 - Any thoughts on what the sampling rate might be for the car's A/D converter? If it's 320kpbs or higher, the average ear won't be able notice any degradation in fidelity by the conversion. | 12. Juni 2015

The Model S doesn't have a A/D converter (and is one reason why no AUX input). As for other cars, I have no idea. The bit rate is only part of an A/D design, the analog portion is critical as the best conversion can't fix a crappy analog section. Next the true resolved bit depth is as important as the sample frequency. A number like 320 kbs is somewhat meaningless by itself. Lastly, AUX inputs are susceptible to all the electronically generated noise in a vehicle (ICE and EVs produce a lot of this noise). Designers filter the AUX input to eliminate the noise, further reducing the actual quality.

All that said, a reasonably good quality AUX input can be designed. You would have to know a lot more to evaluate any specific manufacturer's system.

mbenjam1 | 13. Juni 2015 -while I guess its true that AUX input is only as good as the car's A/D converter- every car that Ive played the PONO player in- thru the AUX input that was there, has been many levels better than radio, bluetooth or MP3. Why is it that Tesla omitted an AUX input? Im hearing its too old school but hi res audio is hardly old school- and the Pono can only be played via AUX in a car. Any chance a software upgrade could fix the matter? or is there any solution you can offer? Ive called many car stereo places and no one has a solution - but Im sure if Elon wanted hi res audio in the car a solution would be found! :) Thank you

mbenjam1 | 13. Juni 2015 - I loaded FLAC and mp3 files onto a USB memory stick- and the system would only read/play
the mp3. Anything I am missing there? thanks again | 13. Juni 2015

@mbenjam1 - AUX can't be added in software - it requires additional hardware that doesn't exist in the Model S. It also looks to be quite difficult to add as an aftermarket change.

One crappy fix is to buy a AUX to FM modulator and send it through the FM radio. I don't recommend it. Staying all digital is far better (i.e. use a USB stick)

@mbenjam1 - FLAC has a number of options. We know it works for 16-bit formats and up to 44.1 kHz sampling rate 16/44 (CD rate). Some owners claim it works with 24-bits up to 176 kHz sampling. A common hi-res format is 24/192, but I don't know if the Tesla can handle it. You might try to encode a FLAC file with a lower sampling rate. I use the most common 16/44 from CD rips. Any higher for CDs is just wasting file space.

In researching this a bit more, I came across this interesting technical analysis that using 24/192 is audibly worse than 16/44. I must say, I agree with the analysis, but would not have before reading it. Quite unexpected!

mbenjam1 | 14. Juni 2015 read the article that 24/192 is audibly worse than 16/44, (not the first Ive read from the critics) and have to say it reminds me of most of the articles I read in the media about Tesla and Elon. Tesla is a fad, its not a green car, Elon will lose all his $$, the stock has topped, lead acid batteries are just as good as lithium ion, etc etc. Let's not even get into Mars!
All the arguments that the ear can't hear the difference seem great, until you hear the difference. Then its game over. I would encourage you to listen to Pono and then a Cd version of the same song and trust your own ears. 24/192 is vastly superior to 16/44. Music -in addition to the sound, has a feel (sound waves) and that feel and fullness of sound was lost in the move from vinyl to CD in the 80s. Hi res audio, thru the right equipment (PONO) brings back the sound and feel, IMO, superior even to vinyl. Respectfully have to say I couldn't disagree more with the article! and no I don't work for Pono :)
If you Google Pono/Tesla, the rumblings are that Tesla is in talks with Neil Young to have it installed in new Tesla's (some articles saying it is a done deal), but it would be nice if I didn't have to sell my car and get a new one to have it!

johngilmour | 24. Dezember 2015

As some one I the audio industry, I just don't even know where to begin to deal with all the misconceptions,.

First off. In order to move a speaker cone you need voltage.

There are a very few all digital amplifiers , and of course class d amplifiers which are pulse width modulated. But for the most part cars use class a/b amplification.

That being said if you were to tap into the path just before these class a/b amps and mute the music source from tesla (leaving Nav and the phone intact), you could create an AUX in jack yourself.

The issue is today many cars head units don't just do audio, they do climate control and sometimes other functions, so you can not swap had units out so easily to improve sound. Some cars use CAN bus a communication protocol that allows microprocessors to talk without always relying on a CPU... And taking out the head unit guts Can Bus.

So sadly since Tesla is such a quiet car it's a shame not to put in a better audio system. As one of the recognized better audio tuners, I look at the platform with awe and then frustration over some of the choices that have been made.

With autopilot people will need to feel more engaged in their car and connecting to the car environment through music will be more important.

Hat I will likely end up doing is a separate audio system from the rest of the car feeding tidal and hi Rez files to separate amplifiers and even separate speakers and subs. The rear foot well under the third row of seats area is enough cubic space for subs- which I will make removeable ,and the front kick panels have enough room for speakers. The door midbass driver could be replaced and fed directly .

There are a few ways to get better signal into a Tesla. You could buy a CEntrance skyn case for your iPhone 5,6,6plus or iPod touch. This doubles your battery life and gives you a better DAC AND amp than is in your phone.

Or you can feed signal via AirPlay to an Apple TV ( you don't need a wifi router for this anymore) and feed .... Well I'll leave that for people to ask me.