It's not a Bose (and neither a B&O or any other name)

It's not a Bose (and neither a B&O or any other name)

"The exceptional roominess afforded by the Flat-Pack comes in handy when rocking out to the Model S’s home brewed sound system. I swore it was a Bose at first, but Tesla built it in-house, and it’s got some serious thud."

This was news to me and I am not yet sure if I'm going to believe it. But it is the latest and most explicit information on the audio system we have so far.

Brad Holt | November 15, 2011

Crazy! They really are starting everything from scratch haha. I can't wait to rock out on those speakers!

Robert.Boston | November 15, 2011

I'm not surprised they stayed in-house; there are emough people who can make high quality audio equipment, without Tesla having to pay the brand-name premium that Bose, B&O, etc. would extract.

Brant | November 15, 2011

Sales guy at Santana Row told me the speakers are Alpine

Brian H | November 15, 2011

Interesting stat in that article: "Just 10,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold to date." Everyone's waiting for the S, X, and Bluestar, apparently!

brianman | November 15, 2011

Some recordings from store openings have stated "in-house". Others have stated "Alpine". If sound system was one of my primary criteria, I'd be concerned by the inconsistent information. As it stands, it's pretty low on my list.

Mycroft | November 15, 2011

In-house merely means they're creating a system using various components. Bose et al aren't selling them a complete system. Given that the touch screen is the head end, Tesla really doesn't have a choice.

Volker.Berlin | November 16, 2011

Interesting stat in that article: "Just 10,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold to date." Everyone's waiting for the S, X, and Bluestar, apparently! (Brian H)

If you read other news sites, then you'll find that the Leaf sales (as the Volt sales) are currently limited by production, not demand.

Brian H | November 16, 2011

Sales, or deliveries? I've seen some questioning of mfr claims about production bottlenecks. Don't know if Nissan is suffering from aftereffects of the tsunami on supply lines in Japan; that's still possible, I suppose.

Here's a site dated early Oct. debating the issue:

Timo | November 16, 2011

Leaf is a city car. As such it wont sell as much as ordinary car no matter how "green" vehicle it is. 10k is actually pretty good figure for such a car that requires another car for running business at any significant range. I bet Volt sales beat Leaf in a long run, even that Volt is too expensive for that kind of car I guess.

There is nothing that can beat Model S currently in market, so it will sell a lot. A lot more than just reservations tell us. Remember that those are pre-production numbers we see here and they are already close to 8000, once they get the cars on road so that people can just walk in the store and buy one, they will sell a lot more.

Peak Oil bruin | November 16, 2011

I've heard from the Oak Brook, IL Tesla rep that Tesla is indeed producing the S audio unit, and there may be a base and upgrade version available.

Tesla could send Gary Numan a stipend and borrow "Are Friends Electric?"

Mycroft | November 16, 2011

Yep, Elon has said that there will be a premium audio option that will be standard (thus increasing the price) on the Signature edition.

As quiet a ride as the Model S is likely to be, a premium option is even more desirable than it normally is. They'll probably lump it in with the NAV as a package upgrade.

BYT | November 16, 2011

So the Nav isn't standard? What will the 17" screen do without Navigation services??

EdG | November 16, 2011

I wonder how important it is for Tesla to make packages of things that aren't necessarily dependent on one another. When you're making hundreds of thousands of vehicles, it's best to simplify the purchasing options, and glom disparate options into popular combinations.

But Tesla is making the cars individually and, at least partially, robotically, so is it important to put things like a NAV upgrade with a stereo upgrade?

The stereo upgrade will be - what? - more power and more speaker elements? The NAV some other hard storage or a third-party device?

Why must they be lumped together? I think check boxes on an order form for each would be fine. If it's better for marketing and smoother for manufacture, some combo discounts may be there as well.

Robert.Boston | November 16, 2011

The upgraded NAV will have a DVD, instead of relying on downloading Google Maps.

Mycroft | November 16, 2011

"Why must they be lumped together?"

Haven't you noticed, all the *cool* car companies do it. :-D

brianman | November 16, 2011


I think the best answer here is to provide some "faster delivery" package combinations but offer "customize individually to your heart's content, but your delivery date slides". This isn't new; it's something that online PC sellers have done for a long time.

Volker.Berlin | November 16, 2011

brianman, I agree. Here is another thread that discusses this very issue:

EdG | November 16, 2011

@brianman: You must have a different idea of the details of Tesla's production line than I. In my imagining, most options are not combined and prebuilt in parallel to the work flow. Rather, they are installed as the cars are built individually. It's no different than the idea that a bunch of Model S cars are prebuilt in blue, waiting for someone to buy. Not happening in the near future.

Mycroft | November 16, 2011

A "premium" audio system could have better quality or larger speakers. Better quality amplifier & source components. More options like HD radio.

I think that even the base system will be nice.

If I had to really stretch to buy the car, I would probably buy the base 230 mile car for $60k. Between now and the time to order the car, I would scrimp and try to save at least $20k and borrow the rest. $40k would have payments of about $700 over 5 years but there wouldn't be any more gasoline to buy.

David M. | November 16, 2011

Wait a minute! So after spending $60K, $70K, or $80K, we would take delivery of a luxury car with an audio system that is not the best Tesla could do? Since when do you spend that much for a car and then have to UPGRADE the audio??

touched a nerve here.

21" wheels, upgrade - ok
Sunroof, upgrade - ok
Kiddie seats in the trunk, upgrade - ok
Performance motor, upgrade - ok
230 and 300 mi batteries, upgrade - ok

Premium audio as an upgrade - NOT COOL TESLA.

Brant | November 16, 2011

Agreed. They need to match what the compition is offering if not beat them.

Example of standard equipment on a 62K lux sedan

Audio system
Anti-theft AM/FM stereo/CD audio system with Auto-Store, FM diversity antenna system, MP3 capabilities, and 10-speaker, multichannel high-fidelity sound system incorporating an analog amplifier with 180-watt output power. The system includes 3 tweeters, 5 midrange speakers and one central bass speaker located under each front seat HD Radio™ with "multicast" FM station reception
iPod® and USB adapter Satellite radio preparation

Interior seating and trim
18-way power Multi-contour front seats; includes articulated upper backrest, 4-way lumbar support, passenger's-seat memory, Active Head Restraints, and adjustable thigh support (requires Nappa Leather) Dakota Leather upholstery and door trim
Dark Wood trim Open storage compartments in all doors and front seatback storage
Fold-up rear seat center armrest Floormats

Comfort and convenience
Engine Start/Stop button with Keyless-go feature
2-way power moonroof with remote, expanded "one-touch" operation, anti-trapping feature, and sliding interior sunshade
Power windows with key-off and "one touch" up and down operation both front and rear, anti-trapping feature, opening from remote, and closing from exterior lock Automatic climate control with separate left/right temperature and air distribution controls, with automatic air recirculation
Micro-filter ventilation system with replaceable active-charcoal filters Automatic tilt-down of passenger's side-view mirror (when car is shifted into reverse gear)
Power tilt and telescopic steering wheel with automatic tilt-up for easy entry and exit Park Distance Control (front and rear)
Automatic-dimming interior rear-view mirror and exterior side-view mirrors
Ambiance lighting
Interior courtesy lights with automatic dimming function Front map lights and rear reading lights with separate controls for the left and right
Dual front sun visors with illuminated mirrors Dual cupholders in front and rear
Automatic headlight on/off control Fully finished trunk with interior and remote trunk release
Power outlet in front passenger's footwell, front center console storage compartment, rear center console, and in trunk Additional 12-V power outlets
Glove compartment

etc, etc...

Robert.Boston | November 16, 2011

But...while you're quoting the BMW 5-series specs, BMW also offers a "Premium Sound Package" for $950. MB E-series asks $4,000 for a package that includes the harmon/kardon sound system, hard-drive NAV, etc. (many of which are included in the base Model S). For the A6, Audi makes you push up to the Prestige trim level ($7,780 premium) to get the Bose sound system (plus other goodies); add $5,900 to get the full-bore Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system.

So, come on: I'm sure that the sound system in the base Model S will be pretty great, but don't be surprised if Tesla offers a premium sound option and charges some serious cash for it.

jbunn | November 16, 2011

I can't wait to thump some NPR on it. We have 4 stations in Seattle/Tacoma.

stephen.kamichik | November 16, 2011

The model s is advertised as a premium sedan, not a luxury sedan. A luxury sedan has all the amenities at a price. A premium sedan does not have all the amenities for the same price (of a luxury sedan. It seems that TM is constantly removing content and soon they will raise the price.

stephen.kamichik | November 16, 2011

Actually, they have already raised the price by making the 160 battery pack unavailable at this time.

brianman | November 16, 2011

As Robert hints, I think there's some over-reaction here. Let's wait to see what they actually offer rather than getting in a huff over something that's not official.

That said...

Let's take the 535i "Premium Sound Package" example a bit further.
It includes 1yr of satellite radio and "Premium hi-fi system".

That description of the latter begins "16-speaker, multi-channel..."

Ok, I can stop you right there. If Tesla asked me if I wanted to pay $950 for 16 speakers, I'd say no. At *best*, I'll personally be able to appreciate 7 speakers from the driver seat -- and that's only if I'm parked at a classy drive-in.

Brian H | November 16, 2011

Re audio: just remember, 15 min. of 95db causes permanent occipital lobe damage in rats.

Just sayin' ...


Volker.Berlin | November 17, 2011

My expectation is that the standard sound system will be pretty good, b/c this particularly underlines one of the Model S' most unique selling propositions: The quiet ride. You would immediately notice a mediocre sound system, and anybody you will give a ride will also immediately appreciate an above-average sound. And it will be remembered, because you simply cannot have it in other cars (at least not at any reasonable price). Thus the sound quality of the stereo directly interacts with the features of the car that Tesla wants to promote -- which leads me to the conclusion that they won't dare skimping on this one.

Volker.Berlin | November 17, 2011

That said they should certainly offer a premium sound option with a serious price tag. They have to have ways to differentiate the market and to milk serve every single customer best they could.

rbmartin | November 19, 2011

I own a BMW 540i (late 90's) with the so-called "premium" sound package. It sounds like garbage. IMO the "name brand" factory systems are marketing hype.

OTOH, I have heard the beta model S sound system and it sounded pretty decent, although I didn't have time to listen to it critically.

Mycroft | November 19, 2011

Yes, I think the premium system in the S will be truly premium and not some Bose carp.

Volker.Berlin | December 4, 2011

This video mentions Alpine, too:

mcptwo | December 5, 2013

Does anyone know what DAC chip is part of the Tesla Model S sound system, and if there is any difference between the chip in the standard and premium sound systems?

RBats | December 5, 2013

Holy thread-resurrection! Sorry, don't know the answer but just saw the date of this thread.

Theresa | December 6, 2013

And the original poster too! I hadn't seen that name on the site in a long time and I thought "HE'S BACK!!"