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2016 base sound system better than 2014 high fidelity - to my ears

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Maybe Tesla isn't lying about the continual development of the Model S. Last week I rented a 2014 rear wheel drive 60 on Turo recently (great car, great owner) - and it was a great opportunity to compare it to my 2016 70D.

    Handling comparison

    First off, my 2016 70D is a dramatically better handling vehicle than the 2014 60 - I was quite shocked actually and convinced at first that the 2014 had the air suspension (I have coils). But when I asked him, the owner told me his is riding on coils as well. His car is way more floaty over bumps and feels less settled through transitions than my 70D.

    Taken alone the 2014 60 would be great - but comparing to two more years of suspension and drive train engineering it is evident that Tesla has continued to work on chassis tuning.

    Audio

    As for the audio system - I think they may have been working on this too. His 2014 high fidelity sound system seemed somehow - inferior - to my ears than my 2016 base system audio (I did not order the high fidelity). FWIW I'm a home theater nut and I have a dedicated projection room in my home with a pretty well calibrated and substantial sound system and acoustically treated room I built up over a number of years. I've gotten my theater to the point where the speakers entirely disappear to one's ears.

    That "disappearing" sense of the speakers is what I experience in my 2016 70D with the base audio system. It isn't fantastic audio by any means, but I can't pinpoint where the sound is coming from. But in contrast, the 2014 Tesla high fidelity sound did have more low end but the sound stage seemed more constricted to me and somehow less natural. I played around with Dolby vs non-dolby, adjusted the graphic equalizer, moved the center of the sound stage back and forth etc. - but never got it to sound as natural as my 2016.

    I have NOT heard a 2016 with the $2,500 audio option - that one may be the best of all.

    Maybe I'm crazy on this one and my ears have simply adapted to my own car's sound and now prefer it.

    Seats

    The 2014 base seats in my rental car seemed to ride at least an inch higher than my 2016 Next Gen seats - I am 6'0" and I could not get the 2014 seats low enough to give decent head room unless I leaned the seat back - it seemed like I was perched higher in the car than my 2016 Next Gens. Now that I've been able to spend a couple days driving base model seats after owning next gens, I wouldn't go back to base seats. I do however look forward to a new Model S with the Model X seats.
     
    • Informative x 3
  2. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    I tend to agree regarding the sound, with the exception that the 2016 base system is a bit thin; lacking base (obviously), but that said, the base from my premium sound in my 2013 S wasn't great. Right now 80% of my listening is to Podcasts and books, so it's not exactly stretching the system. If I play my usual test tracks, the sound overall is a bit weak and thin, quite middy, but not bad by any means. As soon as Reus come to town I'll be upgrading to their system.
     
  3. privater

    privater 2016 Model S60 owner

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    That's a refreshing acknowledgement to Tesla's continual improvements.
    I love the base Audio on my 2016 Model S, and If I have $2500 to spare, I might go with Air suspension because the coil suspension is kinda uncomfortable to my taste especially on bumps and california highways.
    But, anyway it's a great observation!
     
  4. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Personally, I think the UHFS sounds below average. When I did the overnight test drive I was like, "I need to turn the bass up on this baby" and when I went into the EQ, it was already on 8. I'm going to add this in order to solve that problem.

    B.O.O.S.T Series Powered Bass Kit for Tesla Model S
     
  5. Tazman

    Tazman Member

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    I think the high Fidelity sounds great, but I always turn the bass up to an eleven.
     
    • Funny x 1
  6. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    Slightly off topic, but do you use the car's interface to listen to podcasts? Or do you run it from your phone?
     
  7. Cnasty

    Cnasty Member

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    I got mine yesterday and think the base system sounds fantastic for what it is.

    I will say, i wish the seats went lower as I am 6'3 and need to sit lower.
     
  8. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    I totally agree with the poor sound stage. It takes SO MUCH WORK!!! to try to find a setting that allows the sound to be not essentially smacking me in the face in my 2014. And it's pretty much impossible to manipulate the controls while driving. The balance and fade jump all over the place with the slightest touch. A big disappointment. I am waiting for the Light Harmonic product to be fully sorted out before upgrading. I don't know of any other option.:(
     
  9. xav-

    xav- Member

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    I had that same feeling. Which seat did you get?
     
  10. xav-

    xav- Member

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    Is AWD really needed in SoCal? I would not think it makes a difference on dry pavement...?
     
  11. Muzzman1

    Muzzman1 Member

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    Regarding the OP - I've installed the Light Harmonic upgrade to the UHFS and after MANY trials and tribulations I'm beyond blown away. If you like the Base system, you need to hear mine!
    ( I am no way affilated with them, nor do I recommend their stuff because they are non-communicative and annoying in that respect, but they built a bad ass little replacement amp for the UHFS)
    My 1st MS was 2WD, and then I bought my 1st D. It is incredibly better handling and harder accelerating that my 2WD car here in SoCal. (in non P trim)
    Even though it's dry socal, you DEFINITELY notice the AWD on a regular basis here. (but I do quite often like to give my self a good Tesla grin)
     
  12. Cnasty

    Cnasty Member

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    I got the black next gen leather.
     
  13. zambono

    zambono Member

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    I'm in a loaner now, mine is a refresh and the improvement in quality is vast overall. Both have UHFS and yes mine sounds much better. If the hardware hasn't changed then it can only be the improved sound deadening and interior materials, but I suspect the hardware has changed some as well.
     
  14. zambono

    zambono Member

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    Definitely poor UI there, each slider could use a + - at either end for smaller increments
     
  15. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    From your mouth to Elon's ears! I hope. I've asked. Same for the EQ.
     
  16. pedriscoll

    pedriscoll True Blue Tesla Fan

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    I have a 2015 with the base audio system. Except for relatively poor bass response (understandable with no subwoofer) I think the system is excellent. Given the overall quietness of the car the sound is extraordinary, certainly better than any other car audio system I have owned. My choice of music may play a role here as I mainly listen to jazz, classical and classic rock where you don't need a ton of bass. I am a serious amateur musician (guitar player for 40 years in multiple bands over the years) so I think my assessment of audio quality is reasonable. Or who knows, maybe my hearing is so shot that I can't tell anymore :)
     
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  17. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    Always from the phone...mostly because I'm too lazy to switch it all over to the car, but there's also a lot of occasions where I listen away from the car, so doing it all from the phone keeps it in sync.
     
    • Informative x 1
  18. xav-

    xav- Member

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    Yeah that's the one I tried. I was surprised cuz it's a pretty big car I was expecting to have a lot of headroom
     
  19. RamgeRover

    RamgeRover Member

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    Nice analysis.
     
  20. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    I got AWD for two reasons:

    1 - I'm a skier so I'm in the snow a lot in winter.
    2 - 10 more miles of range - that does make a difference in So Cal for long driving.

    The better handling may or may not have to do with AWD - I suspect there have also been suspension tweaks over the last two years. a 2016 RWD may handle very well.
     

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