Sound system

Sound system

Any Model S owners tried listening to just the rear speakers? I think either something must be wrong with my rear speakers or they are just quite poor. The sound coming from my iPhone is about the same quality.

Getting Amped Again | January 3, 2013

@Thomas25 - have you tried turning Dolby off? There have been many posts about this and that seems to have helped others.

There's no solid proof, but some people (like myself and I think you) believe that the Studio Sound system is trying to play every source in Dolby 5.1 format, which as you know, requires the source to be encoded for that (normally only movie soundtracks). What they really need is "Surround", not Dolby 5.1. Generic "Surround" just takes a stereo source and splits it up for 5.1 speaker setups, and tweaks the rear speaker delay to create a concert hall effect (I'm no expert).

I've emailed TM about this and many people have complained, but AFAIK turning the Dolby off is the only solution for now, which is a bit lame.

jat | January 3, 2013

@Steve_P445 - I actually listen to most stereo music at home in a synthesized 7.1 format -- my Yamaha receiver processes the sound with DSP to recreate various sound stages, and I find I prefer it that way, particularly for live recordings which makes it feel like you are there. A car should be even better for that sort of thing, since you know exactly where the listeners are.

EclecticCitizen | March 23, 2013

I really noticed this issue when service came out to evaluate crackling in the speakers. Anyone have a fix yet besides turning off Dolby?

side note, the speakers crackling with Slacker and Tune in is apparently known to Tesla & should be fixed in 4.3 per my service team. Annoying for now.

Brian H | March 24, 2013

Dolby is designed for movie scores, not music. Rarely suitable.

GeekEV | August 8, 2013

(cross-posted to reach a wider audience and dispel some myths)

Alright everyone, I've asked some very clear specific questions about the Dolby Surround features to ownership and here's the definitive answers from Tesla. Specifically, see the last question and answer. Perhaps that accounts for much of the confusion here.

Q: Both the car and website simply reference "Dolby Surround". Specifically, what Dolby mode(s) are implemented? Dolby Digital? Dolby TruHD? Dolby ProLogic? Dolby ProLogic II? Dolby ProLogic IIx?

A: Model S with the Ultra High Fidelity Sound package features Dolby ProLogic IIx.

Q: If one of the Dolby ProLogic II types, do you implement the Movie or Music mode?

A: Model S uses Music mode as a bases, but [our] ProLogic IIx is specifically tuned to Model S. In fact, we have different tuning with or without the panoramic roof.

Q: Some people are asserting that they've been told by service that they need specifically encoded multi-channel audio sources in Dolby Digital 7.1 and that the Dolby Surround ON setting is only useful in those scenarios. Is that true?

A: This is not true. The purpose of ProLogic IIx is to convert 2 channel sources into multichannel sources. There is no need for the customer to provide multichannel media. That said, Dolby is not available with AM, FM, or XM sources, which is displayed in the vehicle.

shs | August 8, 2013


Thanks for posting this important information about the Dolby processing in the Tesla.

First, stating the obvious, the point of the Dolby Prologic Iix Music processing is to extract ambience information from 2 channel sources and use that information to create a realistic sound field for listeners in the primary listening area - which I strongly suspect is the front seats. This means that the rear speakers are only putting out ambience information and may therefore sound weak to those in the back seats.

Second, while the PL Iix Movie mode has no user adjustable parameters, the Music mode typically does. Perhaps future software releases will allow users to adjust parameters such as the width and depth of the sound field.

GeekEV | August 8, 2013

@shs - That would be a nice idea...

petochok | August 8, 2013

The purpose of the rear speakers is commonly referred to as "rear fill". Most rear speakers may sound dull and less crisp when compared to the front ones (commonly referred to as "stage"). The last thing any sound engineer would want is to take focus away from the stage of a stereo mix, which is meant to be perceived as being in front of the listener. So the rear speakers are not meant to be listened to separately, although it does come in handy when you prefer to hold a conversation with a front seat passenger and still want to have ambient music present.

GeekEV | August 8, 2013

One more Q&A:

Q: Aside from a name (and price!) change, is there any difference between the old Sound Studio package and the new Ultra High Fidelity Sound package?

A: There is no functional difference. We’ve modified the price to reflect current costs of manufacturing and cost of goods. Also we’ve re-designed the package description to better reflect value. Prior to the new options, the sound system was underpriced.