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An Audio guys impression of the Model 3 Highland LR

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I test-drove the refreshed Long Range Model 3 today, and the refresh is pretty significant (I own a '23 Model 3 RWD). The suspension and front seat "noise" are impressive. Materials seem very similar, but the door thud is much better. I could live with the lack of a DNR stalk, but it would take a while on the turn signals. I only found myself feeling for the stalk on the first turn, but I did have to look down to find the correct button every turn after.

Now on to the audio!

For context, I have an upgraded stereo in the RWD, Speaker activation harness to activate the tweeters, and pillar speakers with the level reduced, and breaking out the door woofer signals to run an aftermarket subwoofer, ScanSpeak 10F's in the dash/rear doors, Focal ISU200 set in the front doors, Kicker L7T8 with Kicker 500W amp with a factory premium subwoofer enclosure.

IMG_1036.JPG


First, the new version is a night and day improvement over the stock stereo in a RWD (the old premium system was already a pretty significant improvement). It's also an improvement to the old premium system, especially in the bass. With the subs mounted to the rear deck, they are noticeably punchy compared to the side compartment trunk sub. I think it might even beat my upgraded system with respect to punchiness as most of my punch comes from the focals in the doors. I don't have enough hours with the old premium system to give a thorough comparison, so I will reference the stock RWD, and my upgraded RWD systems.

Bass - I already started here, but now I'll elaborate. Although the build quality seems better, it's still easy to excite horrible resonance in the car if you bump up the sub-level in the EQ and these aren't extreme levels by any measure. Why Tesla couldn't you target these resonances and get rid of them???? It seems some of it is the rear parcel shelf (where the subs are mounted) and/or the C pillar or rear roof area. Depending on the bass frequency you can excite resonance in the front doors as well, both are very annoying. Enough complaining, the overall bass output is good, and this will satisfy the majority of people, it doesn't extend very low as the lowest octave is MIA. There's a bit of exaggeration in the upper bass which may explain why it seems very punchy, but this just hides some of the low bass when the two happen simultaneously.

Midbass, I'd be willing to bet these are similar to the old 7" drivers in the doors, bass output and tone are similar to my ears.

Midrange, this sounds different to me, perhaps it's just tuning but I wouldn't be surprised if these were different drivers this time around. There's also a small midrange in the door just above the woofer. What I didn't get was the same sense of a centre channel speaker, so imaging wasn't that great and I could clearly pinpoint the left tweeter in the pillar and the left mid on the dash. This could be tuning again with less information and level going to the centre, or maybe it's not there at all. The stage height was also lower, the upper pillar speakers aren't there anymore, and the grill size is similar to the mids in the doors now, maybe they just moved?

Tweeters, are refreshingly there compared to a RWD that doesn't use them, but very easy to pinpoint compared to my upgraded system where you can't pinpoint any of the speakers shy of the door woofer when you can directly feel the bass hit your leg. I'm not sure if it's the lower range of the tweeter or the upper range of the mid but the system seems "shouty" This isn't the best description but it borders on harsh with some female vocals or upper midrange sounds. I didn't play with the EQ much, but perhaps you can tame this a bit.

The biggest overall difference between my upgraded system and this new Highland is the Highland seems to have a veil, like you are listening from another room or the speakers have a blanket over them. This difference was the same from both the factory mids in the RWD and Infinity Ref 4032's as well as the old premium system and going to the ScanSpeaks, they are incredibly clear, many people's reaction to my system now is it's "clean". Second the low bass and overall bass quality is lacking compared to the kicker amp/sub combo. The kicker is smooth from low to high bass ranges, it's accurate, detailed and the low end is fuller, it's not perfect, it's still just an 8" woofer. A time aligned and EQ'd 12-15" woofer would easily beat what I have but use valuable space.

So to those of you with an existing RWD or Premium model 3, the new system is better in almost every way. I'd need a bit more seat time and a variety of music to understand the staging and imaging, but I'd almost say that with immersive sound enabled the old premium system might be better (only for staging and imaging). Having said that, not ready for a highland? You can do better even in a RWD with some upgrades.

That suspension though, it's fantastic (the highland and my car both on 18" winter tires), that lack of a turn signal stalk, why Tesla why???
 
Don't the new subwoofer get installed inside the central console?

If so, I wonder why there would be a need of cutting some metal.
The factory subs are bolted to the rear deck so if you want bigger subs to replace them you will need to enlarge the holes.

I’m thinking of removing mine and using the holes to pass through the air. However the rear shelf trim needs to be removed to access the sub mounting bolts so not a quick task 😞
 
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Am I the only one that thinks overall the 2024 Premium Audio System in the Model 3 is inferior to the old Premium systems??

I have a 2018 Dual Motor Model 3 and I've been really happy with it over the 6 years I've owned it. So when I heard the 2024 LR model had an even better system I went and tried it out at the store closest to me. Right away I noticed the sub bass was insanely too loud. I listen to a fairly flat eq in my car and I had to put the sub down at least -4 to make it bearable. I think the quality of the speakers is probably better in the new model. I certainly can hear more details throughout the mid range and even high end. But the number one killer for me is the sound stage. Like OP said it sounds like you're listening to it from another room or with a blanket over the speakers. The sound is EXTREMELY directional and everything feels very panned up the middle. Like all of the sound is coming from the center of the windshield. In my opinion I think removing the pillar speakers has a negative effect in this regard. I sampled all types of music from my phone for about 20-30 minutes then went back to my car to do the same. Right away I notice my 2018 stereo sounds SO ALIVE in comparison. I feel surrounded by the music. And I only have the spatial audio set 1 notch below standard. Even with it OFF in my car the sound seems to envelope you more than any setting in the new Model 3. I went back another time a few months later and tried a different LR model and found the exact same results.

Am I taking crazy pills here? I guess it's good for me. It saves me from buying a new Model 3 and my car is paid off.
 
I test-drove the refreshed Long Range Model 3 today, and the refresh is pretty significant (I own a '23 Model 3 RWD). The suspension and front seat "noise" are impressive. Materials seem very similar, but the door thud is much better. I could live with the lack of a DNR stalk, but it would take a while on the turn signals. I only found myself feeling for the stalk on the first turn, but I did have to look down to find the correct button every turn after.

Now on to the audio!

For context, I have an upgraded stereo in the RWD, Speaker activation harness to activate the tweeters, and pillar speakers with the level reduced, and breaking out the door woofer signals to run an aftermarket subwoofer, ScanSpeak 10F's in the dash/rear doors, Focal ISU200 set in the front doors, Kicker L7T8 with Kicker 500W amp with a factory premium subwoofer enclosure.

View attachment 1016661

First, the new version is a night and day improvement over the stock stereo in a RWD (the old premium system was already a pretty significant improvement). It's also an improvement to the old premium system, especially in the bass. With the subs mounted to the rear deck, they are noticeably punchy compared to the side compartment trunk sub. I think it might even beat my upgraded system with respect to punchiness as most of my punch comes from the focals in the doors. I don't have enough hours with the old premium system to give a thorough comparison, so I will reference the stock RWD, and my upgraded RWD systems.

Bass - I already started here, but now I'll elaborate. Although the build quality seems better, it's still easy to excite horrible resonance in the car if you bump up the sub-level in the EQ and these aren't extreme levels by any measure. Why Tesla couldn't you target these resonances and get rid of them???? It seems some of it is the rear parcel shelf (where the subs are mounted) and/or the C pillar or rear roof area. Depending on the bass frequency you can excite resonance in the front doors as well, both are very annoying. Enough complaining, the overall bass output is good, and this will satisfy the majority of people, it doesn't extend very low as the lowest octave is MIA. There's a bit of exaggeration in the upper bass which may explain why it seems very punchy, but this just hides some of the low bass when the two happen simultaneously.

Midbass, I'd be willing to bet these are similar to the old 7" drivers in the doors, bass output and tone are similar to my ears.

Midrange, this sounds different to me, perhaps it's just tuning but I wouldn't be surprised if these were different drivers this time around. There's also a small midrange in the door just above the woofer. What I didn't get was the same sense of a centre channel speaker, so imaging wasn't that great and I could clearly pinpoint the left tweeter in the pillar and the left mid on the dash. This could be tuning again with less information and level going to the centre, or maybe it's not there at all. The stage height was also lower, the upper pillar speakers aren't there anymore, and the grill size is similar to the mids in the doors now, maybe they just moved?

Tweeters, are refreshingly there compared to a RWD that doesn't use them, but very easy to pinpoint compared to my upgraded system where you can't pinpoint any of the speakers shy of the door woofer when you can directly feel the bass hit your leg. I'm not sure if it's the lower range of the tweeter or the upper range of the mid but the system seems "shouty" This isn't the best description but it borders on harsh with some female vocals or upper midrange sounds. I didn't play with the EQ much, but perhaps you can tame this a bit.

The biggest overall difference between my upgraded system and this new Highland is the Highland seems to have a veil, like you are listening from another room or the speakers have a blanket over them. This difference was the same from both the factory mids in the RWD and Infinity Ref 4032's as well as the old premium system and going to the ScanSpeaks, they are incredibly clear, many people's reaction to my system now is it's "clean". Second the low bass and overall bass quality is lacking compared to the kicker amp/sub combo. The kicker is smooth from low to high bass ranges, it's accurate, detailed and the low end is fuller, it's not perfect, it's still just an 8" woofer. A time aligned and EQ'd 12-15" woofer would easily beat what I have but use valuable space.

So to those of you with an existing RWD or Premium model 3, the new system is better in almost every way. I'd need a bit more seat time and a variety of music to understand the staging and imaging, but I'd almost say that with immersive sound enabled the old premium system might be better (only for staging and imaging). Having said that, not ready for a highland? You can do better even in a RWD with some upgrades.

That suspension though, it's fantastic (the highland and my car both on 18" winter tires), that lack of a turn signal stalk, why Tesla why???
Willing to share your settings?