Playback Music Files in Model S Large Hard Drive, *.Flac Format

Playback Music Files in Model S Large Hard Drive, *.Flac Format

I am pleased to report that my Model S equipped with Sound Studio Package plays audio music tracks stored and played back using a large external Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) with just one USB connection for both audio and power. This is one of the rare cars that plays back fine using an external USB hard drive rather than just a USB memory stick.
I am using a 448 gigabyte solid state drive that has loaded onto it 335 gigabytes of music. All of the cataloguing and album art works fine.
My entire music library is in *.FLAC format, a lossless format. The Tesla Model S is one of the rare cars that plays back native *.FLAC files without reformatting to a different format. Many of my music tracks are in high resolution (studio master) 24-Bit and sampling rates as high as 192kHz. These very high resolution music tracks play back fine with no need to reformat before playing.
I recommend using an SSD drive because the car is in motion and the constant jostling would jeopardize a platter-based hard drive.
As far as I found in the marketplace, the 448 gig model I am using is the largest size drive made in SSD.

andrigtmiller | July 25, 2013

FLAC format is big in the Linux/OSS world, so no surprise that it plays back on the Model S, as the software is all Linux based under the covers. I too have some music on my USB stick that is in FLAC format, and it plays back great.

Great technology!

reach | July 25, 2013

I forgot to mention in my post that the user needs to reformat a blank external SSD drive to FAT 32 format before using. My drive was shipped in NTFS format and I had to reformat the blank drive before adding content. If you use a Mac, FAT 32 format is called "MS-DOS." The Tesla Model S only recognizes a drive formatted in FAT 32.

pgiralt | July 25, 2013

The Crucial M500 is actually 1 TB (actually 960 GB). Don't know if the MS can power it successfully or not. I really wish they would support ALAC in addition to FLAC, but that's the topic of a different discussion.

jkirkebo | July 25, 2013

"As far as I found in the marketplace, the 448 gig model I am using is the largest size drive made in SSD."

Nope, there are several 1TB versions out there. Here is one:

tes-s | July 25, 2013

I think you will hit 500,000 miles before having to repeat a song!

reach | July 25, 2013

No the model jkirkebo links to is an internal drive and will not connect to the Model S USB port. The largest EXTERNAL SSD USB drive I have found is the Oyen U32 480 gig SSD USB model, the one I own (not 448 as originally posted, but 480 gig).
Here is a link:

TheCheetahExpress | July 25, 2013

Really good price on a solid 1TB SSD drive that runs on usb power;

Anybody have experience with this one?

pgiralt | July 25, 2013

@TheCheetahExpress, that is not an SSD, it's a mechanical HD.

@reach, you can put any internal drive into an enclosure like this for $20:

Brian H | July 25, 2013

Any ... Serial ATA 2.5".

stigcell | July 25, 2013

This is interesting news but I wish the onboard memory I paid for with the sound studio package would work someday...

tobi_ger | July 25, 2013

That's changed recently. It'll be used for caching navigation maps/tiles instead in the near future.

solarpowered | July 26, 2013

As a slightly related topic, would any of you be able to suggest the best way to convert Apple ALAC files to a lossless format recognized by Tesla?
Dragging the files out of itunes results in MP4a files. Album art is visible, but the music does not play.
Would you recommend converting the MP4a to MP4 rather than converting the ALAC to FLAC?

pilotSteve | July 26, 2013

I bought some lossless music (suggested by another poster on the forum) and could download it in either FLAC or AIF (apple lossless). Decided on AIF as they suggested that as "best" for iTines use.

Unfortunately when copied to my (large) flash drive all you hear is a burst of nasty digital noise!

Fortunately its quite easy to transcode to FLAC which does indeed play fine.

So, for what its worth, if you have AIF files you will need to transcode. Both formats are lossless so nothing should be "lost" in transcoding.

The "Eagles" collection really does sound fantastic in the Tech Package audio system. Instruments are much more "3d" than my other version in 192K MP3.

Beavertail S | August 17, 2013

I have a little tip re USB playback. I like bossa nova but my Model S wasn't seeing my Joao Gilberto files. I went back to my PC and made sure the files were MP4, so that wasn't it. It turns out that the car couldn't understand the accent mark over the "a" in Joao's actual name. Once I renamed the file with a simple "a" instead of an accented one, voila, there were my songs.

Lesson learned: There may be some characters in USB directory names that the Model S can't understand. Rename those with normal characters and you should be all set.

I hope some people find this helpful. The forums are a great resource to me, so I try to give back whenever I can.

imalsoamember | March 9, 2015

Old thread, but for anyone else reading this, AIFF is not a compressed file format. It is PCM uncompressed data. Music files will be very large. FLAC files will be approximately 50% the size of AIFF, WAV or PCM.

maratworld | March 9, 2015

I'm using a 2 TB Westin Digital Slim Studio Drive and I have it pretty much filled 80%....

The only time it takes a while is either when I take it out to add or subtract files......or after a reboot of my car.....

I have a mixed bag of MP3' WAV' FLAC' and they all seem to work just fine.....

Sometimes the player skippes a beat but then it catches up.....I thought that this was because of my HD but it wasn''s a software thing as it did the same thing on both of my 128G and 256G usb3 mem sticks.....

I think mayb this will get addressed in the new update.....

And yes....FAT32 is the way to go for this bird!!!!

Bob.Calvo | March 15, 2015

My Tesla is on order and apparently I need to convert 6000 or more Apple Lossless Encoded Files to FLAC in order to listen to my ITunes Library with the highest fidelity. Bluetooth would be counter productive. Several have stated that it's easy to transfer to FLAC but I don't want to download an unknown random free conversion program that is not well recommended (and could have a virus) plus I don't want to have to convert 6000 files individually if I can avoid it. Can someone please guide me to the best and safest download that can handle entire directories in an efficient bulk conversion process? I've already spent too long trying to find worthwhile recommendations for the conversion process online outside of this forum. The folks in this forum are typically considerably brighter than what exists elsewhere on the internet. Your help would be greatly appreciated. I ordered the High Fidelity Sound System and I would hate to see it underutilized. Thanks in advance. | March 15, 2015

I use Media Monkey. I'm sure there are other products too. There is a free version and a paid version (I use the paid version). Not sure if the batch convert is in the free version or not.

Select the files then Use Tools > Convert Audio Format, and set which new format you want (i.e. FLAC). I don't use Apple files so check that it does the conversion for that format.

Bob.Calvo | March 15, 2015

Tesla Tap, thanks for your feedback. I checked it out, but unfortunately for me, it only supports Windows. I switched to a Mac years ago. Does anyone have a good MAC based solution? Thanks again though. This info should help others.

pedantique | March 27, 2015

Has anybody tried using a Samsung T1 SSD in their Telsa? | March 27, 2015

I have used Max to batch convert ALAC to FLAC with good success on my Mac.

Captain_Zap | March 27, 2015

Break out of that Apple jail! ;-)

CRASCH | March 27, 2015

@reach Yea... if you could let me borrow your drive to check out, I'd appreciate it... I'll make a backup and store it offsite for free...

This is what I use...

It isn't cheap, but it is really fast and about half the size of a 2.5" SSD. It looks nice too...

pedantique | March 27, 2015

@crasch How well does the Samsung T1 work?

JLC | March 28, 2015


JRiver's Media Center for Mac is well known and will convert to FLAC.

It's not free but is reliable. There is a 30 day free trial with the full feature set so you could use that time to convert all your files without having to buy. You can get it here:

CSFTN | July 27, 2015

I just tried to download XLD, but all web links sent me to source forge, which doesn't have any security, and I found web links via google that malware isn't uncommon for them. So, instead, I went tot he Apple app store and downloaded "Phile Audio." Using it now for the first time.

skialpine | July 27, 2015

You could download XLD from the home page

It works well for me but I have not tried bulk conversions.

shs | July 27, 2015

Phile and FLAC worked fine for me, at least for the first 150 CDs.

david.baird | July 28, 2015

I'm using a 512GB SSD since I got my car last March.

I'm an Apple user with my library in ALAC, but a batch convert using XLD sorts that out - highly recommended little app and please pay the small licence fee to the developer, he's always releasing updates, he should be supported.

Aside from the directory of artists and albums, I created a few mix folders.

Biggest issue for me is the lack of gap-less playback - the pause between contiguous tracks is deeply annoying.

tim.alsop | September 6, 2015
SbMD | September 6, 2015

Looks like it should! | September 6, 2015

@tim.alsop - It should work fine. Any device that acts like a flash drive will work. The drive will need to be formatted for FAT-32 format or a linux format (rare). NTFS will not work (and is rarely used in any flash drives).

1 TB seems like overkill, but perhaps you have a huge collection. I have all my music on a 128 GB stick, 99% in FLAC - about 4500 songs.

tim.alsop | September 6, 2015

i didn't realise how much space the files would take up but on reflection I think a 128GB might be a good investment for me.

Pluto is a Planet | September 6, 2015

VLC, which is a common media player (runs on windows, os x, and linux), can convert files from many formats (including *.aiff files) to flac. See here for the full list of supported formats:

I'll post info on how to do it from the command line and GUI soon.

dpena23 | September 6, 2015

just make sure your flac or aiff files aren't 32bit. I've had problems playing 32bit files on the P85. It just plays loud fuzzy computer data garble. (Unless the player has been updated?) Anyway, my 16bit files played fine.