Aftermarket stereo speakers? amp? sub?

Aftermarket stereo speakers? amp? sub?

I just received my new MS and the car exceeded my expectations except for one complaint I have with the sound system. I upgraded to the 'premium' sound system which does sound much better than the standard (tested at menlo park store). However, even after I disable dolby, adjust the fader, etc. it still doesn't come close to my 7 year old Lexus with Mark Levinson sound (not to mention the new ones). Has anyone bought aftermarket speakers or amp? What did you you do? Which speakers did you put in? Where did you get it done?

Tâm | 31 mars 2013
dsterdee | 10 avril 2013

I wanted to follow up with others to see if anyone has upgraded their system yet. This is huge for me as well.

illioilli | 10 avril 2013

I am really interested in this as well!

@jim b

Do you know if the upgraded system comes with an amp? If so, can you see it? Where does it connect to pwr and gnd?

I only got the basic audio sys, since I planned to change it out once enough DIY info was available. I have a 10" JL W7 and Monoblock 500W amp collecting dust in my garage and it is just painful to see!

Maybe the folks at the service center can clue us in to this and whether or not you have to get behind the touchscreen to access the speaker wire hub/RCAs(if any)... that'll probably be difficult.

kilimats | 10 avril 2013

break in period? i know my sub sounded like crap the first month and got refined and refined to a point where it gives me the chill :)

fluxemag | 10 avril 2013

I have a 600W mono amp and a Polk shallow-firing 10" sub. I'd like to put the sub in a custom enclosure where the foot well for the child seats is. Then put the amp and cap up in the frunk since that's closest to the 12V. I just worry about stressing the 12V after hearing about it going dead. Maybe a separate Optima in the frunk would help...really hoping someone else does it first haha.

Captain_Zap | 10 avril 2013


What you may have experienced is a stealth adjustment to the firmware.

mikhaila | 10 avril 2013

I usually upgrade factory systems. I am planning to use Tesla factory system for a while and see if I am unhappy and what is that I am unhappy with. I ordered Sound Studio so we'll see how it goes. The simplest thing is to upgrade speakers and if you are more or less handy, it should be easy to do it yourself. has information on speaker sizes. In upgraded system MS has

Front: 1" tweeter, 3" left/right/center mids and 7.9" woofers
Rear doors: 6" mid/woofer
Rear: 3" left/right
Sub: 7.9"

I looked into available speaker sets and it looks like Dynaudio Esotec System 362 will fit in front:

Rear doors may fit Focal 6 1/4" coaxials or, if tone matching is important, Dynaudio Esotec 222 (but then door will have to be cut to accommodate separate tweeter.

Sub can be Dynaudio 180mm or 190mm unit. There are quite a few 8" units available so whatever fits depth-wise.

Amp/processor wise JBL MS-8 rocks. I used it and it is a very good real Logic 7 processor what automatically calculates EQ and time delays using external mic.

dsterdee | 10 avril 2013

I originally planned on going basic audio in the car, but then I worried about stressing the 12V system as well. I ended up upgrading the sound system for insurance. I was worried that the basic system may, but unlikely have a built in amp and not provide LV outs. Also, thought it may, but unlikely have a smaller 12V charging system. I'm very comfortable doing the install/fab work. I just worry about crashing the 12V system. Is anyone familiar with the 12V system? Service did not want to provide much information. They said it should be able to handle a radar detector but they weren't sure about the additional power for a amp. hahaha... I sure hope it's not maxed out so much that it can barely handle a radar detector.

eAdopter | 10 avril 2013

I agree with much that's written above. A speaker upgrade (Dynaudio and Focal are very good) will probably give you the most improvement. If possible, improve the speaker baffles, and build custom enclosures that provide a better environment for speaker operation. A hollow door, for example, is often not a good speaker housing and can make a great speaker sound tinny or cheap.

Regarding amps, that would be the last thing on my list. Cars are small listening environments, and hundreds of watts are not needed to fill a small space. Think quality, not quantity.

Also, look for opportunities to replace audio wires with wires that have better insulation and protection from RF. Or find a way to RF insulate the existing wires. I don't mean purchase expensive "audiophile" wire! Local hardware stores stock a variety of well insulated wire that can be used without spending a fortune. And when possible, use solder to make solid connections that stay put. Use plenty of zip ties to hold everything in place and keep things neat.

dsterdee | 10 avril 2013

Well said eAdopter! Everything you stated was my plan, except typically I like to upgrade the amp for cleaner sound, not necessarily louder. But simply creating a good enclosure the speakers will do wonders. | 10 avril 2013

I'm considering audio improvements and I'll document what I end up with at A couple of notes from my investigations so far:

1) There is a 15A fuse for the basic audio, and an additional 15A fuse for the sound studio amp. My guess is the second fuse is for the subwoofer amp, but I don't have a confirmation on that. It's unclear how much more power you can pull from the system, and I'd be very concerning about attempting any amp that has a huge power draw. The small 12V battery is charged from the main battery, but it's unknown how much power this system can safely handle. It's quite a lot of power as it runs all the accessories including wipers, fans, lights, etc, but unlike a ICE car, if you overload it, the 12V charger might die, and I expect it could be quite expensive to replace.

2) 6" door speakers are custom for Tesla and are not easily replaced with other 6" speakers. The speaker is part of a molding that acts as a stand-off all in one. I'm sure something could be retrofitted in, but it's not going to be as easy as bolting a new speaker in. Also they are 2 ohm.

3) I don't believe there are line-outputs available (but could be wrong). I think the main amp assembly is integrated into the 17" display assembly. The 17" display is different between basic and sound studio, which makes sense - 2 outputs, vs 7.1 outputs.

dsterdee | 10 avril 2013

TeslaTap... Thank you for your write up. That is helpful. I'm happy to see you are doing research on this and not simply ripping your car apart. Sound is important to me, but at the same time this car is a big ticket for me and I do not want to ruin the 12V system. Like you said, it's very different than a ICE 12V system.

I will watch for your write up on teslatap. Do you have any guess on when you may make the jump? | 10 avril 2013

Actually I've done quite a bit of ripping the car apart as the various projects I've posted show. The engineer in me wants to know how it is designed and I love ripping into things so long as I don't break it. So far nothing has broken on the MS, which is another testament to good design (and I'm really careful).

The Tesla techs have been helpful, but it's hard to get details on the electrical systems and wiring, so it becomes a lot more detective work than I'd like. Schematics are not available, which is disappointing.

Right now I'm working on a speaker upgrade. I hope to have something up in the next two weeks. I was planning on a amp/subwoofer, but I've put those plans on hold for now.

dsterdee | 10 avril 2013

Ripping apart is okay if you know what your doing. My last car was a Hummer. Which is one reason I went to this. I'm done with ICE's after that. I gutted that truck bare the day I got it. Took the dash, headliner, seats, doors carpet, everything out. Turned out wonderful. I look forward to your info.

Amped | 10 avril 2013
mikhaila | 11 avril 2013 - looks like Focal PC165 can be installed in read doors:

Lack of low level outs is not a big deal - in BMW Logic 7 system doesn't have LV outs either. However, sound is much improved when speaker outs go to JBL MS-8 and then to upgraded speakers since JBL does much better job with EQ and time delays (first had experience). I don't think JBL consumes much power, it's small unit and its 7 channel amps are class D. If more power is desired, JBL also has pretty good 4 channel amp with adjustable slopes that integrates really well with MS-8

which can be bridged as well as dedicated sub amp

illioilli | 11 avril 2013

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I know we'll all benefit from knowledge gained and look forward to seeing what we can do to improve the sound system. I've always loved hatchback acoustics and know the S will have a killer system someday! | 11 avril 2013

@mikhaila - Thanks for the note. I've been following Dr Tara's updates, but somehow missed the the Focal PC165. The size looks like it should fit (only 5mm larger) and the depth appears ok too. Some kind of custom housing or hack up of the existing speaker is still necessary, which I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid. The PC165 is also 3 ohm, where the stock speaker is 2 ohm, which is close enough that it will work. It may require some level balancing too.

In general while plenty of speakers can be stuck in, these are not simple unbolt the old, and bolt in the new. I suspect most audio shops deal with this all the time, but Tesla uses it's own unusual mounting that makes a retrofit a bit harder for a DIY job. Plus I hate making a hack if there is any better way to do it that allows restoration to the original. Still investigating....

mikhaila | 11 avril 2013

Well if you put new processor like MS-8 w=then speaker impedance won't matter since extra amps will deal with it. I've heard that stock BMW speakers are 2 ohms too but when I replaced stock with Morel amp worked just fine. Maybe max level dropped b/c Morel is 4 ohms but I don't crank it to 11 anyways so who cares :-)

mmbg | 6 mai 2013

I have the basic tesla audio package as well.
Anyone know if tesla service can do upgrade to the premium speakers after delivery?

2050project | 7 mai 2013

Check out this audio upgrade, sound system is serious, wow - this thread has some great stuff:!

kjo | 11 mai 2013

I'm glad I found this thread- sort of. I'm not an audiophile, but I do want my car to sound good. I didn't upgrade the sound package because I thought surely it would be acceptable, but everything on the car is perfect EXCEPT the speakers are pretty bad! I've played with the ranges for bass, mid and treble and I can't seem to get a decent sound of them.

Does anyone have a simple option to make them good ? I don't need all of the stuff that people are discussing on this thread- it's way too much for me- but I'm willing to pay tesla to upgrade me or pay for something after market that is better.

Brian H | 11 mai 2013

Turn off the Dolby.

rodneynelson | 12 mai 2013

I'm taking my MS into Reus Systems in Orange County this week. They are upgrading the speakers, amp and some other goodies will be added all the while keeping the stock look.

kjo | 12 mai 2013

@ Brian: I give up. Dolby is nowhere to be found. Is it possible that only those that upgraded actually have a Dolby option? Let me know if I just missed it.

Brian H | 12 mai 2013

Dolby is a sound track for theatres adaptation, and those who had it on in the MS found it was highly unsuited to almost all audio. Don't recall offhand which options it came with; possible only the Sound Studio.

kw1 | 13 mai 2013

Sorry in advance for the length of this post but many people have asked for details.

First, I agree that the MS sound system is OK. I ordered the standard sound system after our MS test drive – got to stop adding extras somewhere. Delivery day came and the car is superb, however every time I drove the car I wished that I had spent the extra thousand for the upgraded MS Studio Sound Package. But once delivered there is no factory upgrading.

I am not an audiophile, however I could easily discern a lack of low-end response, the sound stage seemed indistinct, and for me the Model S deserves so much more. Even my 7-year-old Prius with factory Bose sounded better to me.

So after forum lurking I made several improvements:
Step 1 – give the speakers time to break in – small improvement noticed.
Step 2 – ditch my MP3 files and re-rip all my CDs to lossless format (tried both FLAC and WAV) and listen to music via MS USB memory stick interface – more improvement.
Still not great so - Step 3, I visited both Al and Eds in Hollywood; and Reus Audio Systems in Orange County.

Long story short, after hearing the Reus system in a MS they were working on I was hooked. But the MS I heard had the Studio Sound Package and mine was the basic so what would the outcome be? I was thinking all new speakers, but Reuss insisted that factory speakers are developed and balanced for the car and that they would add a subwoofer and only replace the other speakers if necessary. They said why add cost if there is no benefit. So I trusted their expertise and told them if my car could sound close to the MS I was sitting in I would be happy.

I have had the Reus system for 3 weeks now and in a word it is spectacular. Phenomenal bass response, crystal clear distinct sound stage, every note balanced.

Rock - Crosby, Stills, and Nash: Helplessly Hoping – I can easily place the distinct position of each singer on the sound stage.
Jazz – Fourplay: Bali Run - every note distinct yet integrated and balanced.
Pop – Norah Jones: Don’t Know Why – I feel as if I she is sitting 10 feet in front of me and singing live.

I listen to the music in the MS now and often get chills down my spine it is so good. Driving the car now is truly a magic carpet experience.

Short story of validation – my wife visited her mother for a few weeks during which time I had the Reus system installed – unbeknownst to her. On her return I picked her up from the airport in the MS, and she was happy to see I drove the MS. As we were pulling out of the parking lot she commented: “Wow the music sounds really good, its great to be back.” – drove for a few more miles and she says “I can understand what they are saying in the songs, that's really nice.” Yeah I said, how’s your mother doing? A few more miles and she says: “I forgot how good the music sounds in this car, I am sure glad we got the Model S, Tesla built such a great car”, to which I say “Wellllll - this is not exactly the same sound system – I did spend some extra money while you were gone....”

Disclosure: I did not know of Reus Audio Systems before I heard of them 2 months ago on the MS forums. I do not own any of their stock (or even know if they have stock). I was just trying to find a way to improve my MS sound system that was worthy of the MS – and there is such a lack of information available from anyone. So I wrote this in the hopes that it may help provide some information. | 13 mai 2013

Thanks for the feedback. I also have the basic sound, and while not bad, I'd really like to improve it.

Can you explain a bit more on what was done and which speakers were replaced or added? If a sub was added, where did they place it? Also how much did it set you back?

I'm in the Bay area, so unless I make a trip down to LA (which is possibility), I'd have to find someone up here.

For those interested in Reus Sound, the website is:

In trying to find them on the web, I stumbled upon a show May 31-June 2 that has one of their systems in a MS. Might be worth a trip just to hear it:

kw1 | 13 mai 2013

Front pedestal tweeters replaced, subwoofer added, many new electronics once they drew the feed from the screen, new crossovers to balance everything, and a significant amount of time balancing all of the speakers (front center and doors). Beyond that I do not know everything that was done as the car came out looking the same as it went in, and my technical knowledge is limited - it just sounds good. Price was significantly less than Al and Eds, but Al and Ed do replace all of the speakers. I was the 2nd MS they did, I believe they have since done many more, so they may have further refined what they put in. I suggest a call to Rick Reus for a current price. I found him easy to reach and easy to talk to. I had a choice of putting the subwoofer in the same place as the MS Studio Sound Package (vertical in the right rear bay behind rear tire) or horizontal in the covered footwell (I do not have rear facing child seats). I choose horizontal in the footwell - it takes up the right 40% or so and there is room on top as well as to the left side in the footwell. I keep my charging cable and attachments in the footwell so it worked out very well for me. Bass percolates up nicely through the open sides of the footwell with the cover on and there is no hint of a mod. Even with the footwell cover off they matched the carpet and angles covering the woofer enclosure so well that looks like a factory install - most people do not notice it when I open the footwell cover (meaning comment on it because it looks like it was a factory install - there is after all a box large enough for the subwoofer in there).

amirm | 26 mai 2013

I am looking to create a Bay Area group to bring Reus up here to do our cars at a discount. Already talked to Rick about it. Call me if interested
650 269 4667. Amir

dsterdee | 18 juin 2013

Just checking to see if anyone has located the factory amplifier, or had any luck upgrading the factory amplifier yet. Any info is appreciated.

mikehoyt623 | 24 février 2015

I got my SP85D in December. I'm having my speakers upgraded, 6 channel 150w/channel Zapco class a/b amp installed, custom box (that is going in the foot well in the trunk with a 10 inch sub installed right now.) They called me and were concerned about the amp having too much power. They are going to install an extra battery to power the sound system. I'm concerned about this. They have done it before. Does anyone have any experience with an extra battery install? Does it create any charging issues or electrical problems with the car? Thanks for your input! First time on the forums.