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Another audio upgrade thread

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by PeterSchut, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    Dear Tesla Motor forum,

    My Tesla Model S is by far the most fun car I have ever owned. It drives superb, it is faster than most other cars and it has all these great bells and whistles.

    At ordering the car I knew the audio would be disappointing. Also the € 2800 audio upgrade was anything but impressive. Not enough power, resonances and the lack of punch an mid-bass performance is just not on par with the rest (and cost) of this great car. So After delivery my plan started to upgrade the audio. If the car would have been OK, I would have left it alone, but now I decided to upgrade I kind of got carried away. (I have this problem more often)

    I worked (as an equipment developer) for over two decades in high end audio, owned set that cost more than a P90D with all options. Today I am more into listing to music than listening to sound. I prefer vinyl or watch movies in a full blown Atmos surround set.

    My goal was to stay within the upgrade cost, as I wondered that this should be enough to get a decent quality sound system in this car.

    Well I think I succeeded, the car sounds awesome. I missed two exits yesterday enjoying the music. This thread describes the component choices and work done. I built the subwoofer myself and all the car work is performed by Carsounds in Etten-Leur, The Netherlands.

    The sub is a 43 liter closed enclosure that fits exactly in the trunk cavity. It house two JL audio 10” woofers. Two 10” sound tighter than one 12”. I decided to go for a closed enclosure as the bass is more controlled and punchier. You need a bit more power. A perfect tuned ported enclosure also needs to be bigger.

    I think a single 10” in half the enclosure volume would have been OK as well.

    The enclosure has no parallel surfaces except for the sides. This cavity in the car has a strange shape, but for a bass enclosure this is actually very positive.

    In the doors the speakers are excanged by an Audison Voce K6 compo kit (with the great Voce AV1.1 tweeter) and in the back doors a Voce X6.5 coax set.

    In the two gaps in the trunk left and right of the sub the two amps were placed. A 4 channel JL Audio XD400/4v2 and a mono XD600/1v2.

    Why new amplifiers and not just use the original amp. This has two reasons. The non-upgrade audio set delivers probably something like 25W in 2 Ohm and 15W in 4 Ohm (the original speakers are 2 Ohm, the Audison are 4 Ohm). This just isn’t enough, even with more efficient speakers.

    Another reason is that I don’t want the door speakers to produce sub-LF audio. Even though the space in the doors are big enough to do that, it makes the panels resonate even more. If you cross-over the sub at approximately 80Hz, and the doors as well, the speakers in the door have a much easier task.

    Caution: There was an unforeseen issues with the sound in the rear door speakers. After a few hours of tweaking It sounded Ok but something still wasn’t right. The Voce X6.5 sounded clean but very bright with no mid-bass. A very different character than the front door set. That puzzled me for a while. When I swapped the front inputs to the 4 channel amp with the back (very easy with RCA connectors) the bright sound moved to the front……

    Suddenly it became clear that the rear speakers are very equalized by the Tesla amplifier to compensate for the lack of a tweeter in these doors.

    So I am no driving the rear speakers from the front signal (a simple switch setting on the XD400/4v2). Disadvantage is that the control of the front/rear from the tesla controls don’t work anymore. So I need to add another control (possible with the XD400/4v2) or hope Tesla can disable this equalization.

    The two JL woofers are connected in parallel and then become a 2 Ohm load to the amplifier that delivers 600 Watt in that impedance. This is more than enough, so the amp has an easy task and doesn’t even run hand-warm. The door speakers are 4 Ohm, so the XD400/4v2 delivers a solid 75Watt per channel. After an hour of serious listening this amp runs just hand warm.

    I don’t think this set will have any influence on the range. With the amps cranked to more than comfortable sound level the Iphone Remote S app showed a 300W extra energy usage so on a 2 hour trip with this volume it would limit the range by less than 3 km or 2 mile (and you would be deaf for the rest of the week). A non-issue.

    An important part of the upgrade is dampening of the door panels. All three layers of the door got extra dampening treatment and a total of 30 sheets were used in the 4 doors. If you tap the door from the outside it sounds dead, the rest of the car doesn’t. An added advantage is that less noise comes in (or goes out).

    Well, see below pictures for the details. I am very happy with result. Perfectly executed by Herman from Carsounds and a thru concert room in my car with enough power to throw a house party as my son tried yesterday.

    The Sub:
    sub in aanbouw close up.jpg
    sub in aanbouw close up.jpg
    sub bekleed.jpg
    sub bekleed met speaker aansluitingen.jpg

    Building pictures

    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (01).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (02).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (03).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (04).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (05).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (07).jpeg
     
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  2. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    Some more pictures:

    Front door before treatment
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (01).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (02).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (03).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (04).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (05).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (07).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (08).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (13).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (17).jpeg
    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (18).jpeg
     
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  3. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    An a few more:

    Audio Inbouw Tesla  (19).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (20).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (21).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (22).jpeg Audio Inbouw Tesla  (24).jpeg File_000.jpeg
     
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  4. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Wow, just wow. And I thought I was hot stuff with a hand built fiber glass enclosure in the passenger rear fender well.....
     
  5. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    The amps more visible. 19.jpg 20.jpg 21.jpg 22.jpg
     
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  6. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    Excellent report. I went with the Reus upgrade here in California. He adds a single 10" woofer in the cavity to the existing 8" and upgrades the A pillar tweeters, then balances the system. Been very happy with that but I am sure you have raised the bar.
     
  7. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    Thanks, not sure in absolute terms but it sure sounds great, especially playing my favorite tracks from FLAC at normal to medium loud settings the set shines in authority control and musicality.
     
  8. Terra117

    Terra117 Member

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    I can't seem to get FLAC playback without skips/dropouts with my UHF system. Any tips on getting clean FLAC?
     
  9. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    Terra117.....Make sure you format memory with Fat 32. I had a couple instances where I got dropouts, buzzing. A reboot of the system always fixed it.
     
  10. Terra117

    Terra117 Member

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    Thanks. I've tried everything suggested on the forums.

    I'm using a very fast 128G USB 3.0 stick (about 1/2 full) which was pre-formatted FAT32.

    The reboot only worked once for me, and then only for a while.

    80% or so of the time my music plays correctly. I haven't noticed any real pattern, other than it seems to happen more frequently after driving a long time. Well, that and when one of my most loved songs plays, or I have a music loving friend in the car.

    It doesn't seem to matter if it is a song I ripped myself, or a digitally purchased FLAC. I think everything is 192/24.

    I haven't noticed it happening to the same song twice (yet).

    Every USB stick I've tried came formatted as FAT32. I'm wondering if I used some formatting utility to format the drive myself if it might playback better?

    The drives always work flawlessly in any computer, AV receiver, or Oppo BluRay I plug them in to. I only have issues when in my S.
     
  11. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    I sometimes have a bit of a stall, or hiccup but it goes away when I drive a while. To me it looks like the car is booting and doesn't have enough time to unpack the FLAC file.
    I use only self ripped CD's (16bit/44,1) so that is an easier task for the processor. Let me try some hi-res FLAC as well and I'll report back.
     
  12. Terra117

    Terra117 Member

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    Cool.

    I'd say give it one shot, but I wouldn't spend too much time on it.

    I just saw this in a thread about navigation skipping "In my experience, a very similar studder or skipping problem also happens upon occasion when I play USB music"

    It seems that either the processor is a bit undersized and/or other activities are getting priority over audio.

    Perhaps the best we can hope for is minimizing the frequency of occurrence.
     
  13. tsarlsy

    tsarlsy Member

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    Awesome build! You can look into AudioControl's LC7i (and the like) to sum signals and give you a full spectrum for the rear door speakers.

    I assume you kept the original A pillar tweeters and the center channel speaker on the dash. Aren't those being drowned out now?
     
  14. demundus

    demundus Member

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    Am I reading right that there are direct swap options for the door speakers available?

    Do you have any insight to a non premium sound rear setup? If it is wired but has no speakers, do you think I could buy speakers and add them to the rear?

    I like the box you built though, fantastic workmanship!
     
  15. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    I would definitely like a drop-in replacement for the door speakers that can give a little more low end.
     
  16. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    Hi tsarlsy,
    The rear speakers get a nice and clean full range (from 80Hz upwards) that is a copy from the front speakers.
    We wired front and rear door signals independently from the main Tesla unit to the 4 channel amp, but I ended up just using the front channel signal that gets copied inside the XD400/4v2. (a switch setting selects 4 output channels from 2 inputs or from 4 inputs)
    So from a sound quality point of view there is no issue, the Tesla front/rear slider doesn't work anymore.

    The A pillar speakers are also replaced by the Audioson Voce AV1.1 that are part of the Voce K6 set. I think the original Tesla A pillar tweeters are not the biggest problem, these AV1.1 are much much nicer. very smooth, clean and transparent.

    The center channel 80mm unit is still powered by the original Tesla Amp, but because the gain of the XD400/4v2 is adjusted a bit higher the center speaker isn't that audible anymore. This is no problem.
    With all respect this speaker didn't have a great impact to begin with.
    In the upgrade audio there are 3 pieces 80mm units, there it might be different but the Voce AV K6 set is tuned to be a 2 way system anyway and the center channel should not interfere here.

    Hope this makes sense?
     
  17. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    Hi demundus,

    There is no direct swap. the original 6,5" units in the front and rear doors are used as a basket for the Audison Voce K6 woofers and X6,5 coax speakers. (so the cone, magnet and ribs are removed and just the angled tube is reused to mount the new speakers.
    Not a simple swap, but also nothing special for an experienced car audio specialist like the one I went to.

    With respect to the rear speakers (I think you mean the 80mm speakers that are placed in the trunk door. I din't check that. I believe I saw a different thread where they showed that no cables are present.
    Like I mentioned before. an 80mm speakers produces no LF and no HF. It might be able to move the sound stage slightly backwards, but if you exchange the rear door speakers with coax versions like I did the sound stage can move more than enough to the back. And to be honest it need to sound at its best for the driver :)-)) and that means a slightly forward weighted soundstage.
     
  18. PeterSchut

    PeterSchut Member

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    A good powerful speaker (there are many available like the ones I used, or Focal, JL C3 and many many others) will be capable of performing a decent LF performance but:

    You need to dampen the doors with the treatment I used and you need a new amplifier.
    The Tesla amp will produce maximum 15W in 4 Ohm, and that just isn't enough to do the job.

    I tested the door speakers in full range without the sub, and that works amazingly well and would most likely work for quite a large number of tesla drivers, but the lower octave that the sub adds (35Hz to 70Hz) does finish it of to a complete system.
     
  19. Tes LA

    Tes LA

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    This is awesome! I remember sitting in an associate's Model S with sound system and I don't remember being overly impressed so it's great to see this pulled off so well. I anticipate I'll be doing something similar on the 3, depending.
     
  20. jasonspy

    jasonspy New Member

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    Peter, Your system looks amazing! I had the "Ultra Hifi Sound" in my previous model S and although clear with some good bass I felt was lacking overall. I've gone for the standard stereo this time with a view to upgrading. After reading your experiences, I'm going for the same Audison speakers, JL 4 channel amp but NVX sub/amp as I have the rear jump seats. I'm also looking at utilising (to be redundant) factory head unit's rear door amplifier power to drive some small speakers in the rear hatch such as the JBL GX302 which are rated as 2.3 ohms. Hopefully I'll come out of this with a superior system for less outlay too!
     

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