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.

only 97% of us.

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.

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.

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

Use 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.


PS Congrats on the new ride

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?

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.

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...

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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!!

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.

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?

Vielen Dank!

@ispitzner: Nope.

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.

Hear. Count me in.

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.

I have the upgraded sound and it's fantastic.

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.

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.

@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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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