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Does anyone feel the Sound Studio Package is underwhelming?

The Sound Studio Package supposedly has a 580 watt, 12 speaker Dolby ProLogic 7.1 system in the Model S, but it sounds like no better (perhaps not even as good) as a standard am-fm radio with 50 watts of power... i never had to crank up the volume when i was driving my ICE BMW-X3, but in the Model S i always have to crank it up to 80% of the volume to hear an acceptable volume ... does anyone else have similar experience?

Agree. Not terribly impressive, but still it does sound very good. Plenty loud for me. The subwoofer is underwhelming, but that varies quite a bit with content. Part of the problem is that Tesla built their own speakers to avoid the large expense of installing Bose or other high end car speakers. I guess if you can wrap wires to wind an electric motor you can wind a voice coil on a speaker. (That was probably the reasoning - speculation). I paid for the upgraded sound system mostly to get XM radio, who' s programming I really enjoy.

This won't help but I didn't buy the sound studio package and am very happy with performance. I love my music but am not an audiophile.

You set it to volume 8? This will pop out my eardrums. I set it between 3 and 4 on freeway, lower on in-town traffic. If you have to set it to 8, then something else is going on. Not sure what, but it is not the lack of power of the SS.

If you use you BT device, then the volume level on the BT device can affect signal strength of BT signal. Certainly true on my iphone5.

I'm definitely underwhelmed but Sound Studio Package. The stereo in my '08 Infiniti is much better. It's not bad, just sounds very average.

Indeed. I love the car but the sound system could be better. Oh well. I still think Tesla put the money where it needed to go in the car.

If you're listing to AM radio, you could have a single 2" mono speaker sound about the same as the best stereo system money can buy. If you have a crappy source, don't expect the sound system to improve it.

FM is better, but is usually compressed and frequency limited from the source. Use lossless FLAC or WMA on a USB stick to get the most out of the car audio system.

I don't have Sound Studio, and usually have the volume at 7-8, and occasionally on 9 with a low volume source material. Never needed 10 or 11. If you never get to 11, then the level is fine for you. If you do get to 11, then a third-party solution (amps/speaker replacement) may be what you need.

In hind-sight, I should have bought the Sound Studio for the improved amps/speakers. Didn't need XM or 7.1 sound though. Anyway, I replaced the rear door speakers to improve the sound a bit. Not dramatic, but is better, especially for the rear seat passengers. Project is at:

I'm not an audiophile, but I appreciate a good sound system and went with the upgrade. I did a lot of research and most seemed to happy with it. I hope, for both you and me, there is just a problem with your specific system.

Please let us know if you have it looked at and what the outcome is.

I have the premium sound package, and I found that I like the sound better when I turn off Dolby.

I opted for the Sound Studio package, and I have been quite satisfied with it. For the first time today, I got a chance to experience the standard audio system. Now THAT is underwhelming. There might be better premium sound systems out there, and I am also no audiophile... but the Sound Studio package is DEFINITELY an upgrade from the alternative standard option!

Agree - not exactly what I expected - I also am not an audiophile, but when listening the sound seems thin, not rich - however, I did not buy the car for the stereo system, and I love the car - that said, in retrospect I probably would be happy with the standard sound system -

I've been impressed with the sound from the Sound Studio package, but only when using my own music from the USB thumb drive. The signal from FM is fairly bad for me, and even when it comes in the quality is poor. XM has always seemed a bit compressed to me, and again the Tesla reception is not as good. Slacker and Tune-in are pretty good when there's a good AT&T signal around, but with the USB drive, the music sounds great. I've never needed to go up over 6, so if you're needing 8 or 9, I suspect there is a problem with your system.


On the money. In general, the Bluetooth sources sound underwhelming, the USB stick depends on the filetype and Slacker and FM HD sound awesome. As to genre, the Sound Studio is great for pop and dance. Way below expectation for classical and not enough bottom for hiphop.

I love it. When I play Gangham style for my kids it sounds like the Korean dude is singing next to me and chicks in second row. Sounds awesome!!

My biggest issue with the Sound Studio is that the rear speakers are very underwhelming. Even with the fader centered on the rear set, it sounds as if the vast majority of the sound comes from the front. Do other people experience this or do I have a problem with my rear speakers?

Unless you are playing content encoded in Dolby 7.1 surround, you should NOT use Dolby. Using Dolby on non-encoded material will send the majority of the sound to the front speakers. This is not due to a fault in the system, but due to the fact that Dolby 7.1 is looking for rear channel sound info where none has been encoded.

@Julian - I think that's true of both basic and Sound Studio. I replaced the rear door speakers and it seemed to open up the sound a bit.

I forgot to remind those Bluetooth users, that Bluetooth forces a fairly high compression rate on any audio, no matter what the original quality of files or streams you have on your phone. It was designed for phone calls, and music really pushes the limits. This has nothing to do with Tesla's audio system.

Is there a subwoofer in the upgraded audio?

Yes, near the rear, passenger side. 10", IIRC.

Underwhelming! But most disappointing is we were supposed to get space to store 500 songs. When is that coming?

My biggest complaint is they haven't delivered on the initial configuration promised with the first orders. Still no internal storage, no ipad integration, no ability to create play lists and maintain them. No wifi access only USB. I think the sound is fine, the functionality of the system is lacking.

Does either the base system or the Studio sound system offer a traditional 3.5 mm mini-stereo plug input for AUX sources?

Hi all! I just read the posts and they are exactly my complaints when I initially got the car. However, all of that has changed. A third party does make the speakers for Tesla, and with the studio sound they are quite good (believe it or not). The biggest complaint I had was setting the fader to the rear as the sound didn't seem "full."
The biggest thing you can do is actually use 320kbps files. Re-rip cds if you have to. That will make the biggest difference.
I upgraded the sound and added an amp to power the sub, and now the sound is so much more full as the system is not "stressed" as much. Makes a huge difference. Refer to the threads on for more info. Here is a link to the current thread. Hope this helps..!

Reus Stereo has a wonderful ~$4900 package. Put one in after reading other happy S model owners.

@docdac - "... Bose ... high end ..." - ROTFLOL !!! Also, Tesla does NOT build their own speakers in the sense that you and others are thinking. They buy off the shelf speaker cones and coils, but the baskets and enclosures are made in-house to fit the car and keep weight down. So they "assemble" their own speakers, but that's it.

@AmpedRealtor - I wish we could get clarification from Tesla, but when they say Dolby Surround, I always assumed they mean Dolby ProLogic II. As you say, Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 makes no sense in a car withough special encoded sources. With ProLogic II, it will extrapolate surround channels from ordinary stereo material. HOWEVER, there are two modes "movie" and "music". If you use movie mode with music, it will sound center heavy. Music mode, however, usually works great and creates a broader sound stage. Initially this did not work so well in my car, but two or three software updates ago it improved tremendously - at least with Slacker.

@everyone - I wouldn't call myself an "audiophile" either, but I am a home theater aficionado with more than my fair share of knowledge about what makes for good sound. I've not had any high-end cars before, but the Sound Studio package in my Model S is hands down the best of any car I've had. Is there better out there? I'm sure there is, but it would cost you more than the $1,000 package cost to do much better. Even my brother, who does car audio for a living, was quite impressed with the system.

@cfOH - No, but there are a multitude of A2DP blutetooth adapters you can get for ~$25.

I have found that the quality varies greatly, depending on the audio source. So far Slacker and or high bit-rate mp4 files playing off of a USB flash drive, are the best quality (FM radio, and or mp3's via blutooth from a smartphone no so much).

Also, if you really want to system to crank, you have to really up the EQ to almost the highest levels.

If you are a 70's rock-music fan (like me), and like the band 'Rush', try upping the EQ, and playing the song 'Limelight' off of either Slacker or an mp4, and you will see what I mean.

Eitherway, it is a good system, however, it could be much better with better tweeters up front, and a larger sub with a larger amp in back.

Song storage is cancelled, as it is now dwarfed by the capacity of USB memory sticks.

@Brian H

Where did you get that information? How was it corroborated? Is this based on information posted by another user or did you acquire it first hand?


@defmonk See this thread:

It could happen, but it's sounding increasingly unlikely as flash drives get bigger and cheaper all the time.


Yes, I know the source. I just think the proper way to share this information is to attribute it to the original poster or refer to the source, rather than posting bare assertions as fact. The quality of information on this forum is generally poor because folks read stuff in one thread and post it as fact in another.

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