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Is anybody else underwhelmed by the audio quality?

Is anybody else underwhelmed by the audio quality?

I'm a new owner, and one thing which really struck me about the car was the poor audio quality. I didn't get the audio upgrade because I thought that such an expensive car would have decent enough audio, but I was wrong. There's virtually no bass, and the sound doesn't really fill the cabin.

Can people who got the audio upgrade comment on how they like it? Does anybody know if the audio upgrade can be done after the fact?

On a related note, I also noticed that the AM and FM reception is worse than on my previous car, an Infiniti G35.

J.T. | 27. september 2013

only 97% of us.

Thomas N. | 27. september 2013

Oh it doesn't bother me. I'm soooo glad I didn't spend the $2500 on the upgrade. The standard 200 watt system is good enough.

SCCRENDO.Ca.US | 27. september 2013

Have a fully loaded S85. Loaner is P85+ but no upgrades. Road performance is incredible but big difference in sound quality. Glad I got the upgrade.

TikiMan | 27. september 2013

I agree! IMHO, the only thing the standard sound system is good for is audio books.

omarsultan.ca.us | 27. september 2013

Use volkerize.com to search some of the older threads on tweaking audio settings. One thing to try is use a high quality audio source to evaluate the system. Slacker, Bluetooth, etc are highly compressed and can sound pretty bad. Try files encoded in AIFF or FLAC of the USB drive for the best sound.

Omar

PS Congrats on the new ride

shop | 27. september 2013

Yes, I got the upgraded sound - sounds good to me. I had a loaner with the regular sound, and I did notice a drop in quality. Maybe time to check out third party options?

jat | 27. september 2013

I got the original sound studio upgrade, and I am very happy with it. I drove a loaner with standard sound, and I definitely missed the subwoofer, though still I would say it is better than most OEM radios.

Kleist | 27. september 2013

The trucks, motorcycles, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and the guy with the broken exhaust are so noisy around me that I don't think driving any car is the best place to really enjoy music...

maxinedixit | 28. september 2013

For some reason, audio system had gone off key. I had to reboot to get it back. I could not fix it by playing with the bass, mid range and treble settings.

James- | 28. september 2013

I got the upgraded audio - it is clear but not special, lacks bass. Have to turn the volume up quite high when driving at speed, for example up to 8 at 65mph.

NICE | 28. september 2013

12" Subwoofer install

I wanted the deep bass and true thump that only a large subwoofer can reproduce.
The 12" Rockford Fosgate Punch sounds awesome!

NICE | 28. september 2013

I wanted the deep bass and true thump that only a large woofer can reproduce.
The 12" Rockford Fosgate Punch sounds awesome!

amirm | 28. september 2013

Dfoxhw
I also got standard audio and was not happy with it. Did after market upgrade with Reus Audio from Orange County and am having a blast. It's better than my audio at home and I find myself sitting in car in the garage to enjoy music. They did more than 50 model Ss by now including in East coast, Texas, and Northern CA. Interesting enough, almost all their upgrades are on the premium system...
Check multiple threads on it and find someone in your area that can give you a demo....
Call Cliff from Reus Audio and he can give you details, price, and find a local demo for you.

dfoxhw | 28. september 2013

Thanks for all of the feedback!! It's sounding like even the premium audio package isn't all that great. I'll have to look into some of the 3rd party suggestions. I had an Infiniti G35 previously with a factory Bose sound system and was very pleased with that. I'm happy that there are companies out there like Reuss who have experience with the Model S!!

Bubba2000 | 28. september 2013

I got the sound upgrade with my 85P/tech along with 19" tires to reduce road noise. All I can say that the sound is very precise, except for the deep bass. I can listen classical, pop, rock and in many cases it is among the best. I got a good sound system is my Porsche, but the engine noise takes the fun out of it.

I read mixed reviews on the regular sound system... did not want to take a chance so got the factory upgrade. Great controls.

lspitzner | 28. september 2013

Instead of using Bluetooth to sync with your iPhone for playing music, can you connect using a USB cable and play music from your iPhone that way?

Thanks!

Thomas N. | 28. september 2013

@ispitzner: Nope.

Anthony | 28. september 2013

I upgraded my audio system with Ruess Systems in Orange, Ca. My P85 sounds amazing. No visible equipment either. I would recommend calling them.

Also are you doing the nod? Check out the two tesla in this vid. http://youtu.be/N_N52q2goeM

Velo1 | 28. september 2013

Hear. Count me in.

JPPTM | 28. september 2013

My ears are shot from years of rock & roll...I took the standard audio and with some EQ tweaks it is fine for me. The extra $$ not worth it for me.

AmpedRealtor | 28. september 2013

I have the upgraded sound and it's fantastic.

Avilo Stikstof | 28. september 2013

We have the upgrade system on our P85 sig. The FM is very poor, in fact, in our area (50km south Rotterdam), it is useles.
Going to the city it gets much better.
My former 300C did pretty good in our area.

Code4Ever | 28. september 2013

Audio on the upgraded system sucks too. In Chicago 93.1 comes in clearly on every other car including a new lexus and a 20yr old honda but is fuzzed out in the Tesla.

Probably the only thing I wasn't impressed with in the car is the audio system , the Lexus has horrendous UI for working with anything audio, the Tesla has a nice UI and terrible sound and
doesn't work with my iPhone in the same way the lexus does but that can all be software upgraded for free.

jat | 28. september 2013

@Code4Ever - I don't think conflating issues with radio reception with audio system quality is useful. Have you had the SC look at it? A number of people have had issues where the antennae wasn't properly bonded to the car body.

erici | 28. september 2013

I have the upgraded audio. It sounds much better after turning off the Dolby.

Peter85 | 28. september 2013

I have the upgraded sound but not sure it's worth it. Does not sound as good as my other cars with upgraded sound systems. Agree that it sounds better with Dolby off. Go figure.

TeslaTap.com | 29. september 2013

Most people associate Dolby with noise reduction (good), but for the MS, the Dolby system is not noise reduction, but is a system for creating a 7.1 channel effect from a stereo signal (i.e. distorts the sound). Seems like most users do not like the 'effect' and you get the best quality from turning it off.

pilotSteve | 29. september 2013

I have the studio upgrade and am very happy. However its taken several changes to my music in order to get the qualify of sound I enjoy.

(1) its all about the Source Quality, duh! Play the best possible (highest bit rate, minimum compression) you possibly can. This means: HDR when listening to FM, TuneIn when listening to AM, USB stick for your music library (forget bluetooth from your cell unless its an audio book or you don't care about the music quality).

(2) invest a little to hear what great audio sounds like. Buy a few albums or even download some of the free samples from hdtunes and put the FLAC uncompressed files on a USB stick, then listen to that.

(3) play with the Eq. Of all the things that Tesla could do to *dramatically* improve normal listening (IMO) it would be to add separate EQ settings for each source (AM/FM/USB/Slacker etc.). Unfortunately each has its own needs for bass±, Dolby on/off and even volume to match perceived listening level.

AmpedRealtor | 29. september 2013

The worst thing you can do is judge the audio quality by what you get from Slacker, TuneIn or even your iPhone. Anything streaming from your iPhone that was bought via iTunes is going through double compression - once to compress it to the format used by iTunes, then a 2nd time when it is streamed from the phone to the car via low bit rate Bluetooth. A lot of inaudible low frequencies get tossed during compression, which significantly and negatively impacts bass response. Remember, too, that TuneIn and Slacker are further limited by the relatively slow 3G data rate which may result in even further compression and lower quality.

Listening to Slacker/TuneIn and my iTunes can't hold a candle in terms of audio quality to simple HD Radio or uncompressed source material from a USB stick. The quality differences are so great that I cannot listen to Slacker or TuneIn - the quality is just sad.

thranx | 29. september 2013

Standard system. Much better audio quality/sound off mp3's on a USB drive.

Thomas N. | 29. september 2013

Thranx - what does the USB drive have to be formatted as? I put some MP3s on a USB drive and it wouldn't recognize them. This drive was formatted for Apple so I assume I need a windows formatted stick.

dkingsland | 29. september 2013

I've just ordered my S85 and I thought long and hard about getting the audio upgrade. The demo models all had the upgrade and although the sound was good, it wasn't as good as in my old Mercedes. The sales rep's father has a Model S with the basic sound system and he brought it to my house so I could compare. To my ears it didn't sound that much worse so I went with the basic system.

The sales rep told me that Tesla approached all the high end automotive sound system suppliers, but their systems all took too much power so they built their own.

I confess I was listening to Slacker so it may not have been the best sound source.

I particularly missed the solid base sounds.

Just my 10 cents worth.

slipdrive | 29. september 2013

I find there is a BIG drop in signal input with the internet channels. In my P85 (with Sound) I find myself sticking with the XM-Sirius (subscription) versus Slacker, etc. Enjoy the selection and options Tune-In and Slacker give, but for quality it's XM.
It's appreciably better, after spending more an more time on the iPhone and pathetic sound quality of most communications these days.... I may look into aftermarket enhancement of the mid-range drivers in the MS system.

slipdrive | 29. september 2013

I find there is a BIG drop in signal input with the internet channels. In my P85 (with Sound) I find myself sticking with the XM-Sirius (subscription) versus Slacker, etc. Enjoy the selection and options Tune-In and Slacker give, but for quality it's XM.
It's appreciably better, after spending more an more time on the iPhone and pathetic sound quality of most communications these days.... I may look into aftermarket enhancement of the mid-range drivers in the MS system.

slipdrive | 29. september 2013

I find there is a BIG drop in signal input with the internet channels. In my P85 (with Sound) I find myself sticking with the XM-Sirius (subscription) versus Slacker, etc. Enjoy the selection and options Tune-In and Slacker give, but for quality it's XM.
It's appreciably better, after spending more an more time on the iPhone and pathetic sound quality of most communications these days.... I may look into aftermarket enhancement of the mid-range drivers in the MS system.

Brian H | 29. september 2013

slip;
I heard heard heard you.

Thomas;
FAT2

Compare: play something on FLAC or other lossless, then mp3, then the same on Slacker.

pebell | 30. september 2013

@Thomas, FAT32 would be even better ;-D

Brian H | 30. september 2013

Yep; my bad, missed the '3'.

tkbsr | 01. oktober 2013

I have the upgraded sound system and its been the best sound system in any of my high end cars. The highs are crisp and detailed. The lows are good, but not overpowering. Clarity is real clear on higher volumes as well. If you are an audio guy, you will appreciate the tuned speakers to the glass roof, which does sound really good in a wide variety of music venues. Like anything, adjustments in the EQ and location of fade/balance are important. I can't speak for others, but as a musician for decades, I find this system pretty good overall. It's been enjoyable to me!

cj | 04. oktober 2013

Yes, the sounds is system is less than expected...and less than acceptable.

stussy5555 | 04. oktober 2013

I have the upgraded sound system and I think it's great.