Bad Audio Noise Error -- Test Audio files included

Bad Audio Noise Error -- Test Audio files included

I am seeing a serious audio problem in my system on certain pieces of music. It appears to be "crackling" or "static" noise when certain low frequency stretches are played.

I have two clips that demonstrate the problem in my car, and I would appreciate if others could take a few moments to download the clips and test this out on your Model S as well.

The first sound is a small segment from a commercial song that is looped many times. [Note: I believe this falls under fair use, as it is a small clip used for testing and criticism. Kudos if you guess the original song.]

The second sound is simply a 30Hz test tone.

My sound system is the basic model (not the upgraded Sound Stage, nor the super upgraded sound as announced this morning). I would appreciate other owners to test the sounds and see if you hear the distortion. The noise becomes even more evident if you boost the low frequency slider on the EQ in the settings panel.

The noise appears on all channels no matter the balance/fader settings.

I was trying to figure out if only my car is affected, in which case I'll ship it back to the dealer for fixing. Thanks for your help and participation.

Schlermie | August 3, 2013

I gave it a try in my car and heard some static/distortion as well. It was most pronounced on the 30HzTest. I have the upgraded sound system. My settings were:

Bass = +11.5
Mid = +4.0
Treble = +4.5

Dolby = OFF

Balance = 0
Fade = 11

Volume = 5-6

The Tesla sound system isn't the greatest in the world. I tried your MP3s on my PC's 3-speaker system as well and heard some similar noise on the 30HzTest. My PC isn't exactly audiophile quality either.

RDoherty | August 3, 2013

Schlermie thanks for testing. To me, the playback is remarkably different in the Model S versus my PC, and the static in the car is obvious.

GeekEV | August 3, 2013

I've heard similar artifacts on my car, but could never pin it down. Some songs had it some didn't. For me it's mostly a curiosity more than anything. I think I read in another thread that Tesla was aware and working on it, but even with volkerize, I'd be hard pressed to find that citation now...

Musterion | August 3, 2013

FYI more info and my response at TMC:


You may be on to something here. I confirm your two files behave exactly as you describe on my car, which moreover has the Sound Studio option (Firmware 4.5 1.33.61). However here are some more details and observations:

1. All the low frequency parts have a static/crackling sound over the low-frequency tones, and indeed on all channels.
2. Can be heard even with null EQ settings, and worse with increased bass.
3. Gets worse with Dolby on (but I think you may not have this option on non Studio).


1. Your looped file has a periodic clicking sound every 10 seconds or so when the sound is looped presumably, audible when played on PC, so for others ignore this on Model S.
2. Your files downloaded as 128kbs MP3. I would really encourage you to make and test lossless audio to see if this is a compression/codec artifact vs a larger problem. (I did confirm the static is not heard on a PC but haven't yet listened with headphones and high-quality player yet).
3. I don't have a 30Hz uncompressed tone (but can make one), but re-listened to other lossless audio and can't immediately hear the same problem.
4. Another thing I worry about your test files is that changing the volume on the MS when playing your files causes clicking sounds each bump of the volume, but such sounds are inaudible when playing my FLAC files, even with quiet and loud passages.

So in summary suggest you make complementary FLAC files from uncompressed source and post them to compare. In any case, can confirm your problem is not unique to your car so hold on to it for now.

RDoherty | August 3, 2013

The response from TMC:

Here are the FLAC versions of the files. Note the Test Sound came originally from an mp3 so it already has compression in it. I also tried to clean up the zero crossing pops in the first minute.

I detect no difference at all between the problem with the FLAC versus the MP3 versions.

I also notice the clicking sounds when changing volume on these sounds, but not on other music, so I think that problem may be related.

Thank you for testing and reporting results. To me, this seems like a pretty egregious error, as I hear it from time to time on a fair amount of music I play

cgiGuy | August 4, 2013

I hear the static on mine as well (Sound Studio Package).

Hopefully a software issue. But honestly, I haven't really noticed much distortion while playing music, day-to-day.

rbgliny | September 22, 2013

We just took ownership of an 85 on Thursday 9/19. My wife came home from work on Saturday and told me the stereo system is not listenable due to the excessive distortion and crackling. This is not the sound pkg upgrade. At the moment it is pretty useless. It is like a connection to the speakers or inside the unit is loose. Will call the service center tomorrow. Has anyone gotten more info from Tesla about this?