Subwoofer addition

Subwoofer addition

I'm fairly happy with the acoustic clarity of the stock sound system; however, I think it's somewhat lacking in the low-end response.

Has anyone successfully augmented their sound system with a subwoofer? Any recommended installers in the SF Bay Area?

Thanks for any pointers...

tessellate | May 9, 2014

Just to follow-up and share my experience...

I ended up having an enclosed subwoofer installed in the side of trunk along with 5-channel amp tucked away in the frunk.

The overall improvement in sound quality is unmistakable. Range is improved across the spectrum, with (obviously) much fuller bass. To my ears, it sounds more 'satisfying' than even the upgraded sound system...and at a lower cost.

Installation was performed by Sound Innovations in Union City. They have experience with Teslas, and the proprietor, Ernie, is a very knowledgeable and detail-oriented. I highly recommend them. (See their Yelp reviews.)

Thomas N. | May 9, 2014

So I take it you went from the standard system to an augmented system? May I ask the cost? I've heard so much about this Reuss upgraded system that ranges from $3K to $6K but that seems a bit of overkill.

A sub and an amp augmenting the standard system is appealing to me. Especially if it's around $1K.

tessellate | May 9, 2014

That's correct. And I too felt that Reus would be overkill (for my needs).

The upgrade was quoted at ~$1500, but I opt'ed for a custom-matching fiberglass enclosure for the Focal sub, so it was a little higher. The end result is a clean setup that looks like it came from the factory, yet sounds *much* better.

Don't hesitate to talk to Ernie; he's great about presenting various options without the upsell.

jau24 | May 10, 2014

Hmmmm....sounds cool. Any pics of the final product? Would love to see it!

JonathanL | May 10, 2014


I debated going with Reus, but it seemed like overkill for me too. I have one car with premium and one with standard and the biggest difference is definitely the subwoofer, and if adding a subwoofer improves the range of the entire spectrum, even better. Is that Union City, NJ or CA?

theroyal10 | May 23, 2014

In my Googling for better sound I stumbled
on this NVX Boost subwoofer box that they made specifically for the
Model S. I know NVX is a fairly new brand, but I heard one of their
systems at a car show I went to recently and it sounded great and
they've got pretty positive buzz around the web. The pictures on the
NVX site show it installed and it doesn't take up much room and
actually looks like it belongs there. I actually gave the company a
call about this box and they told me that it's brand new and they
recently finished testing it out. The thing I was most concerned about
for it was battery life, and the guy I talked to told me that its
power draw is pretty minimal and really only reduces the mileage by
about a mile per hour of running it (at full blast). Anyways, I
thought this was pretty cool and wanted to share it.

Mark2131@CA-US | May 23, 2014

The NVX looks pretty cool. Anybody know how hard it is to get the line level audio to that part of the car? Is that a DIY option, or am I asking for trouble?

Thomas N. | May 23, 2014

$600 for a passive 10" sub that you have to install yourself? Hmmm..... | May 23, 2014

While the price is high, it's not a passive sub. You have to buy a amp for it as well and wire it up. With installation, I doubt you can do it for under $1K. Not sure yet if it's a DIY project as some info is still a bit hard to come by (the wiring). I hope to have some DIY subwoofer plans posted in the next month or two.

Still, it's nice to see companies spending the time and effort to make products specifically for the Model S.

Thomas N. | May 23, 2014

Huh? I consider a passive subwoofer one that requires an amplifier for power. An active subwoofer would have the amplifier either built-in or at least self-contained.

Perhaps you meant "While the price is high, it's not an ACTIVE sub."

LMB | May 24, 2014

(LMB spouse)

What protects the cone from cargo flung around while cornering?

Thomas N. | May 24, 2014

There most certainly will be a grill on that speaker as a final finished installation step. It's uncovered mostly to show scale and placement. | May 24, 2014

@Thomas N - I was considering a passive sub one that has no amplification at all and connects across the left/right amp output (which is far from ideal). I actually have a passive sub at home from about 20 years ago that still works, but is rather pathetic. Never used for prime listening. I'd never recommend a sub without a sub-amp, either integrated in the speaker cabinet or outside the cabinet. I have no idea if your or my definition is the correct one!

I was also wondering about a grill too. Hopefully one will be included or it would quickly become a holy speaker! (bad pun intended)

nvictor | June 5, 2014

Hey guys. I love to see the comments. I am the proud owner of the first one ;). The sub is not an entry level sub and provides plenty of headroom for even serious audio/bass enthusiasts. Additionally, the box is not a prefab wooden type enclosure. It was custom-tooled, engineered and designed specifically for maximum output without sacrificing any space. There is also an Active system that includes a monoblock amplifier. I don't know how anyone with a $60K+ vehicle would want a skimpy entry level set up :). I know I didn't hehe.

jggibbs3 | July 12, 2014

@nvictor - interested in the nvx... Can you tell us where you had it installed and the install cost? Or did you do it yourself? | July 12, 2014

For the DIY crowd, I documented all the details on installing a sub-woofer and amp in the Model S, along with the connection points which vary by the sound system type and date of build. It would also save a professional installer quite a bit of time to learn some of the tricks, so it might cut the cost a bit if you point them to these pages.

I used a Rockford Fosgate sub with a NVX amp, although if I had to do it over, I would have used the NVX sub too (it became available after putting my system in). I explain different install options, along with various links to get parts.

I think it's well worth it and I'm quite happy how it all came out.

avanti5010 | July 12, 2014

WOW! What a detailed set of instructions. Fantastic!

davidahn | August 3, 2015

The NVX is really attractive to me because it's a drop-in solution. It comes in a custom fiberglass box that would cost a ton for a one-off install at a shop, plus from what I understand it's a 10" woofer while the sub that comes with the Ultra High Fidelity option is 8". I'd say the box itself is worth the $699, and I'd have the option to replace it with a JL Audio sub if I really hated it, but I doubt it. A lot of people are fairly happy.

I'll probably just get my own amp and install kit (wires), though with decent quality amp and wiring, only end up saving about $100 toward the installation (over the $999 kit).

With all the windows closed, a car really becomes an ideal place to maximize bass, as the outward motion of the subwoofer pressurizes the whole cabin and you get negative pressure as the cone retracts into the subwoofer box, so a 10" sub should do a great job with the windows up.

2050project | August 4, 2015

Reus is a great system albeit expensive, but, the NVX system is really a plug-and-play option, lots of info, videos, and nice price-point here:

dpena23 | September 10, 2015

Question, How much battery does a subwoofer take away from the Model S' range? I wanted to get one installed to go with the Model S premium sound system.

I don't have the car yet though...but deciding on a 70D or 85D. If the battery takes a hit because of the better subwoofer, I may go for the 85D. | September 10, 2015

The audio system with or without a subwoofer takes very little power relative to the battery power.

My calculations show you would loose less than .3 % of range, assuming you could somehow keep the music level at maximum, with a sine wave for 250 miles or so (250 * .003 = .75 miles of range loss). This will likely cause hearing loss.

More likely with normal music levels, it would be less than a tenth of this (i.e. about 400 feet of range loss).

Rocky_H | September 10, 2015

@dpena23, It sounds like you may not realize that the premium sound system does already include an 8" subwoofer.

Anyway, power usage items in order are:

1) Moving the car [the biggest factor by far]

[much farther down]

2) Heating [can be kind of significant]

3) Air conditioning [small but a bit noticeable]

[Everything below these is insignificant and completely unnoticeable.]