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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.

Captain_Zap | October 16, 2012

What file formats are you playing? There are several audio formats that the system is not capable of playing properly yet.
Most notably anything with discrete channels.

There is a nice bunch of folks at TMC that are testing different formats. There is a thread dedicated to the issue.

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/9149-Testing-audio-formats

Brad Holt | October 17, 2012

My friend who has already taken delivery had some issues with his rear speakers as well. When he panned the audio to the back seats, the volume was all but lost. He notified Tesla of the issue, and they agreed that something is wrong and they'll work to fix it. I think those repairs are happening this week, if I'm not mistaken.

Get 'em checked out!

Captain_Zap | October 17, 2012

It has also been discovered that discrete multichannel music formats will only play parts of the music or nothing at all. It appears that it treats some 5.1 files as if it is 2.0. Some 5.1 formats don't play at all.

If your friend is trying to play 5.1 music, that could be why he is not getting music through the rear speakers.

MandL | October 17, 2012

+1 Brad Holt. I also have next to no volume in the rear speakers

dbbtex | October 17, 2012

is this problem with the standard sound system, the upgraded Sound Studio, or both?

drripps | October 17, 2012

This is my experience also; next to no volume from the rear speakers. I will double check that this is the case with all formats. It is in the Signature model which I assume all have the upgraded Sound system.

Velo1 | October 17, 2012

I don't have my S yet, but on a test drive we synced to my iPhone to subjectively listen to the upgraded sound system. I was sitting in the back seat, and my first reaction when we played a song was "ruh roh, this ain't very good." So this discussion reassures me that TMC knows of the problem and is working on it. thanks.

mrspaghetti | October 17, 2012

Thanks to all for identifying this problem so my car is perfect when it arrives :)

Captain_Zap | October 17, 2012

All Signatures have the "Sound Studio Package". I thought it was called the "Premium Sound Studio Package" Did they change the name of it?

mrspaghetti | October 17, 2012

There's only one sound package, so they must be the same thing.

Captain_Zap | October 17, 2012

It is a $950 option on the Production cars but included in on the Signature.

Oaktowner | October 18, 2012

You guys didn't hear? The hardware for the Sound Package is included, but there is a $1,000 activation fee to use it.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Don't throw rocks.

Vawlkus | October 19, 2012

*catapults boulders instead*

nickjhowe | October 19, 2012

+1 @Oaktowner LOL

ddruz | October 20, 2012

For those not getting any sound from the rear speakers: Does this only happen when Dolby is turned on or is it always this way? A post on TMC suggests the situation only occurs with Dolby on.

BestBrokerinDallas | October 20, 2012

Hi All, I'm Brad Holt's friend with the speaker issue... The speaker in the back sounds very muted and if the rest of the car is at volume 7 for example, it sounds like it is at volume 1 when I move the sound around on the screen. It does it with all types of files, all music options and in Dolby and normal Stereo. Tesla Ranger thinks that one of the two subwoofer amps is not connected or working. The engineers are trying to figure it out... The sounds is AWESOME from the front of the car... I LOVE the Slacker Radio and InTune Radio options. I've been playing music on a portable thumb drive and noticed it plays music I can move over directly from iTunes, CDs, etc... (was originally told on MP3s, but its plays AAC files (? - I think that's the right name, which are files moved from a CD to the thumb drive). Sorry my technical names may not be right... :-)

DouglasR | October 20, 2012

It probably wouldn't be a subwoofer amp. Low frequencies are pretty non-directional, so if the subwoofer were out, you would lack deep bass, but it wouldn't sound like the rear speakers were muted.

jkirkebo | October 21, 2012

Rear speakers out of phase with each other maybe ? Then you can get weird cancellation effects.

nickjhowe | October 21, 2012

@jkirkebo - that could definitely do it. Also depends on how much of a 'woofer' it really is and where the crossover is. If they've got mid frequencies routed to the woofers and they are out of phase that could put a serious dent in the sound.

HaroldS | November 2, 2012

I just checked my rear speakers and they have the same problem as described by others. No appreciable sound at all with Dolby ON. With Dolby off there is some sound, but it's very much like a little 1950's AM "transistor radio" (for those of us old enough to remember that era).

Steve_P445 | November 2, 2012

These sound system problems I'm reading about (I assume folks are reporting about the premium Sound Studio package since all deliveries so far have been Signature and it's included) are very disturbing. I expect a car (especially one like Model S which is setting a NEW standard in the luxo/performance market) should have a great, not good sound system

I will be leaving a 14 speaker Bang and Olufsen system I currently enjoy in my Audi. A crappy "AM radio" as some people are describing will be a big let down. With all that power in the floor the thing should be able to perform like Metallica's P.A.

If there is an audiophile out there who loves the system and can "cheer me up" with some positive comments, please do :)

stephen.kamichik | November 2, 2012

The rear channels reproduce the sound reflected from the rear wall of the auditorium. The rear channels are merely reproducing the sound waves reflected from the rear wall of the auditorium. It seems to me that there is nothing wrong with the model S sound studio package. Remember, the original radio transmission is usually in stereo. The sound studio package is trying to produce a multichannel output from a two-channel input.

Getting Amped Again | November 2, 2012

I don't agree with stephen.kamichi. I've never experienced this with nearly a dozen cars, many with upgraded sound systems. Cars are not generally designed to be 5.1 sound systems, they are designed to provide a stereo or 2.1 environment for both the front and rear passengers, not a 5.1 environment for the front.

"The sound studio package is trying to produce a multichannel output from a two-channel input."

If it's really doing this, then it has a problem, or at least a setting that is not set correctly. Movie soundtracks are created in 5.1 (or 7.1) formats. Music is generally plain old stereo and the front and rear speakers should sound about the same, as they are providing a discreet listening environment for the front and rear passengers.

jat | November 3, 2012

I frequently listen to stereo music at home on a 7.1 sound system, emulating concert halls. The DSP does as @stephen.kamichi suggests in that case. However, you can also listen to it as straight stereo.

I won't have my car for a few more months, but I could imagine the Tesla sound system having a mode for synthesizing multichannel sound from a stereo source that might sound as reported, but I would also expect a setting that would simply mirror the front speakers to the rear (with a fade control).

stephen.kamichik | November 3, 2012

Tesla may have to reprogram the DSP.

Michael23 | November 3, 2012

Has anyone asked tesla about this? What is the response? Just email ownership

Getting Amped Again | November 3, 2012

jat@jaet.org and stephen.kamichi - I think you guys have it figured out. The amplifier needs to have user-selectable modes like home systems: 5.1 surround, stereo, all-channel, etc. Right now it seems to be defaulting to something like 5.1 surround and a stereo source has nothing in the rear channels (which are usually used for movie sound effects).

Steve_P445 | November 4, 2012

From what I am hearing, it does appear that the system is operating in some type of 5.1 "enhanced stereo" mode by default. Most folks will be playing 2 channel audio sources (radio, mp3's, iPhones, etc.). When playing stereo through a typical AV receiver in 5.1 modes, the majority of the sound comes from the front L-R speakers with some in the center channel (which reduces stereo imaging). The rear speakers are for ambient & reflected sound to simulate a larger space.

However, I (and I expect most others) typically hear MORE sound from the rear speakers in a vehicle. Also, most bass is produced by the rear speakers because the trunk acts as a speaker cabinet.

As Getting Amped Soon says, the system NEEDS selectable modes like any multi-channel audio system would have - 5.1 or 7.1 native (for true multi-channel sources), 5.1 via Dolby or DTS compression, multi-channel stereo (where the stereo signal is mirrored in front & back like a typical car), etc. For a $900 stereo in a $100k car, this better be available :)

Michael23 | November 4, 2012

So if it did what mode would you recommend for regular iTunes files?

Steve_P445 | November 4, 2012

@Michael23 - 99.9% of music we listen to is in stereo. Meaning the standard left-right, front-back format in an automobile would sound the best in my opinion. A subwoofer would accentuate the bass.

There are new digital file formats that support multi-channel audio (like you would hear on a movie soundtrack). However, these would be need to be recorded and mixed specifically to support the format for audio. In the Model S, these would need to be in FLAC or some other multi-channel audio format which are not currently commonplace.

Until the engineers can give Model S owners selective control of the multi-channel formats, they should configure the system for standard stereo audio (with front to back and balance control). this would sound normal to most people.

RZitrin1 | November 4, 2012

GAmped - we should get this to R&B.

Are there Balance and Fade controls on the sound system? I know I haven't seen fade and i'm not sure about balance.

Advice?

RZitrin1 | November 4, 2012

My bad: There is a fade, and I also have virtually no sound in the rear. I'll call tomorrow.

Michael23 | November 5, 2012

I coulda sworn I played flac
What's the point of the Dolby mode then if all we need is stereo?

Steve_P445 | November 5, 2012

Good question Michael23. I would think most people would want to hear music in the standard stereo format as it was recorded (with left to right balance and front to back fader adjustments).

The only sources suitable for listening to in Dolby 5.1 would be those encoded in that format which typically are movie soundtracks, not music.

If the system truely has multi-channel amplifiers (6 for 5.1 or 8 for 7.1), then a discrete mode should be provided to play multi-channel digital files properly.

I would like to see a graphic or parametric equalizer control and separate subwoofer/bass level. Most high-end vehicle audio systems have controls beyond balance and fader.

Mayhemm | November 7, 2012

@Michael23

The need for modes other than stereo would depend on the source of the music.

CDs and MP3s are almost all stereo-encoded (although there are a few surround-encoded CDs in existence)

What you would really use a surround mode for is high definition audio formats such as concert DVDs, Super Audio CDs, and DVD-Audio. Although I doubt the system in the S even supports these formats.

What sources does the Tesla's audio system accept anyway?

RZitrin1 | November 7, 2012

I asked service and they talked to the tech guys and said turn the Dolby Surround off. That in fact fixed the back speaker problem.

Of course, it means you can't use Dolby Surround, but i'll assume they are working on a software fix for that.

Richard

Michael23 | November 7, 2012

K well my music is just itunes regular format so not sure why the better audio system would encourage me to use Dolby then. I could have sworn it sounded better with it off but the reps were telling me to turn it on. Thx

Getting Amped Again | November 7, 2012

I think this is a case where the surround mode isn't working correctly, or just isn't that great. I like using the surround mode on my current car, but the volume output of the rear speakers is about the same as the front speakers, but probably delayed just a bit to simulate the echo of a concert hall. There's a subtle, but discernible difference with and without surround on, and all the music being played is plain-jane stereo from either a stored audio file or HD radio.

It's nice to know that turning the surround off fixes the rear speaker output problem, especially if rear passengers are present. It will be interesting to see if TM really changes anything for the surround mode however, as to me the sound is a bit "richer" on my current car when using it.

cosmomusic | November 7, 2012

I noticed the same problem on Saturday. My brother, a commercial pilot flew in from NYC to see the car. He indicated that the sound was very low in the back as he was only able to hear sound from the front speakers. I checked the balance/fade and they both were 0/0. I adjusted the fade to the back, and it now sounds excellent in the back with both surround and with dolby off (0/4). The volume is down slightly but equally with dolby on/off. The sound in the back is now clear and dynamic. You can move the fader backwards until nothing is heard from the front speaker.

I would suggest you pull the fader towards the back, and listen to what level is acceptable for you. My fader is 4 towards the back and balance is perfect for me.

Getting Amped Again | November 8, 2012

@cosmomusic - do you have a recently-delivered car? Others have tried adjusting the fader to 100% rear with no luck, so it looks like something has been fixed by TM. It sounds like it behaves as most would expect it to now.

dahtye | November 8, 2012

I received my car a week and a half ago (on 10/27) and it had the latest firmware already loaded.

I noticed today that when playing music from the Slacker app with Dolby on, the far rear speakers (located in the trunk lid) played loudly, but there was little or no sound from the rear seat side speakers. I then turned Dolby off and the speakers beside the rear seats became loud as expected. I had the fader set to only back speakers during this test.

I didn't test any other source though.

cosmomusic | November 8, 2012

@ Getting Amped Soon - I received my car 10/22, 2 1/2 weeks ago. My system sounds great as I described above. I am not certain what could be the cause of the problems others have described above. I just went to recheck my fader just now, and it works beautifully. I have no problem achieving the balance I want.

Captain_Zap | November 25, 2012

I just got my car a few days ago and I am experiencing the low volume for rear channels issue. I have tried radio, internet, xm and digital music. All the music sounds odd and it since it sounds as if there is only music coming from the front speakers this results in the music sounding incomplete.

I fiddled with the settings and found that there is very low power and barely audible sound to the rear speakers compared to the front with normal balance/fade settings. It sounds as if half the music is missing. If I move the settings to isolate the rear speakers then I can get some volume out of them but you'll get blasted by the front speakers if you change back to normal balance/fade adjustments.

Is this an issue specific to my car? I assume that most delivered cars do not have this problem, otherwise we would have heard more about it. I see others had this problem. How did Tesla resolve it? Is it a WIP? I thought that is problem was going to be isolated to 5.1 music but I was wrong.

I found that the music I did play through the system did sound much better with dolby off.

TikiMan | November 25, 2012

CZ,

I noticed the same thing after playing with the faders. The front speakers are far louder than the rear. I do think the system sounds great up front, as long as everything is set at 0 balance and 0 fade, however, the rear passengers will lose volume.

Which makes me curious if this has anything to do with being failsafe for young ears? I know Elon wanted the Model S to be a 'family friendly' vehicle, and being it is the first car of it's style and design to have a third row child-seat option, and an open center-console (which is most practical for mothers), I tend to get the feeling this might be more of a deliberate thing, than a bug (again, this is just speculation).

Captain_Zap | November 25, 2012

I played with it today. It seems that the volume control is not synching up with the fade. Every time I turn the volume up or down I have to adjust the fade to make it sound right. I'll let Tesla know and maybe it is just a software fix that can come along with an update. I'll advise if I learn something different.

Brian H | November 26, 2012

What? Speak up. I can't hear you back here! (The radio's too loud.)

;)

mkh1437 | January 2, 2013

Just bumping this up to see if people are still experiencing this issue, and there have been no changes in any of the recent software updates? (I'm still on 1.15.14). My rear speakers are very faint and tinny when fader is adjusted to 100% rear. Yes, turning off Dolby makes a difference, but they still sound MUCH fainter than the other speakers.

HaroldS | January 2, 2013

mkh1437 -

Our Sig is running V4.1 (.29) and our rear speakers still sound like a 1950's AM "transistor radio" (if anyone remembers those!). Very faint, tinny with abysmal frequency range.

TeslaLABlue | January 2, 2013

1950's am, I would get Tesla service to take a listen.

Thomas25 | January 3, 2013

Great car in almost every respect... reinvents the driving experience... BUT, you are correct with this criticism. The stereo is TERRIBLE. I've managed to get acceptable sound by playing with front-rear balance, but even between different songs and sources the audio changes dramatically. If Tesla did something goofy (like make 5:1 the native approach without a simulator to translate stereo to 5:1), then they need to fix it or explain to us all how to adjust properly. Every other top end car I've owned over the last 30 years has driven off the floor with superb sounding stereo and minimal need for tweaking.

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