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Audiophiles - Sound Studio Package

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by GTHill, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. GTHill

    GTHill New Member

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    I'm looking at a list of cars that are built and available for delivery. I really like the studio sound package but haven't had the chance to listen to the "regular" version yet. Any comments from those that like audio and have listened to both would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    GT
     
  2. Argelius

    Argelius Member

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    I listened to both systems back-to-back and, frankly, I didn't discern that much difference between them (other than the ability to crank the bass up --past the point of desirability-- with the SS package).

    I ended up ordering my MS with the SS, largely because I was afraid I'd regret it if I didn't (and figured, after $90K, what's a couple more $1000... :smile: ).

    I don't regret the decision and am generally pleased with the sound system, although not blown away by it. (Interestingly, almost everyone here seems to agree that the system sounds better with the Dolby turned OFF). There's lots of discussion here about hoping/expecting a software update that will improve the sound system which, on paper anyway, seems like it should be second to none.

    Anyway, for me, the SS is, by all means, an optional upgrade. But if you are an audiophile of sorts, and don't want any buyer's remorse, I'd say go for it.
     
  3. Lycanthrope

    Lycanthrope Member

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    I just ordered with it. I didn't have the chance to listen to the standard so I erred on the side of caution.

    I tested it with FLAC files on a USB and with very little effort I got it to sound pretty decent, but to be fair I was concentrating more on the car overall.
     
  4. jamtek

    jamtek Member

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    My P85 has the Sound Studio package and I love it! I think it is especially good with digital music from an iPhone, etc. There are songs I have that sound amazing inside the cabin, better than anywhere else I have listened to them.

    I am a sound nut and I love it...don't be dissuaded by all the criticism of the SS you read on here. Judge for yourself, with your own ears :) I think it is worth it.

    One warning I have is satellite radio with the SS is disappointing--but I think this is mainly a subpar antenna setup. Lots of dropped out signal. I know Tesla is working on this--I'm confident they will make it right.
     
  5. napabill

    napabill Active Member

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    But remember, the satellite radio works much better than in the non-upgraded system. If fact, you can't even have it in the non-upgraded system. I miss not being able to listen to NFL games when doing cross-country driving in the Fall.
     
  6. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I compared both back-to-back at Santana Row with a FLAC source, and found the stock system more than a little hollow-sounding. I think the optimized-for-low-power speakers in use just can't produce enough bass. This is rectified in the UHFS package by replacing a storage area in the trunk with a small sub. It does an excellent job of evening out the sound (and can actually produce an unusually large amount of bass for its size, if that's your thing).

    That said, the default settings are garbage. First, turn off Dolby. Then fade a fair amount to the rear to mix in more of sub/larger rear speakers... maybe 10-11. Then equalize to taste. I liked +2.5 bass, 0 mid, +1.0 highs. I was excited a few weeks back when someone found a post where a notable professional audio engineer dialed in their settings, and they pretty closely matched what I had come up with.

    If you want satellite radio, you have to select it. I have Sirius in my other car and am routinely disappointed in the audio quality. I didn't even bother hooking it up in the Model S. If I wanted it, I'd probably sign up for the internet version, which actually streams at a much higher bitrate than their OTA broadcasts, and listen through my smartphone.

    Anyway, it's not going to rival a $10k home system, but when listening from a quality source I've found it's quite good, and I've been very happy with it.
     
  7. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    #7 Blurry_Eyed, Dec 16, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    My input to this thread is based on information that is stale, but hopefully it will help with your decision.

    I have a P85+ with the Sound Studio package and the car went into Tesla service for some work and I had the opportunity to drive a P85 with a standard sound system for about a week. I believe this was before the new Codec's were implemented by Tesla to account for the panoroof vs. the standard roof. Both cars I drove were basically the same in the interior (pano roofs, leather, Alcantara - basically loaded interiors).

    At the time I primarily was using Slacker as source material, so my thoughts reflect how the cars handled Slacker material. Compared to the Sound Studio (SS) the standard system lacked image clarity and separation. Also the bass response of the standard system is not as good as the sound studio. The low end is not really present in the standard system. Even if you go in and set the low EQ to +12 dB, it isn't really providing the low end support like the SS does.

    That being said, the SS also doesn't have great bass response (although it is much improved over the standard audio). While the bass is present with the SS, it is not as tight and the response curve is not as smooth as it could be. While the bass notes may be there, some are softer than others and the notes sound mushy. The SS is a fine upgrade from the standard audio package, but the potential is still there for improvement.

    From a subjective standpoint I would describe the difference between the standard and SS audio like this:

    The standard system is like listening to music with gauze or a bit of cotton in your ears. When you upgrade to the SS the gauze is removed and the music clarity and separation is much improved. With the standard system the bass really isn't there. It's kind of like listening to a orchestra with a very small bass section in comparison to the rest of the orchestra. Notes are missing, especially as you get into lower bass notes. With the SS system the bass is present, but it's still like listening to bass with cotton stuffed in your ears. There isn't as much tone to the bass as there should be, it's muddy and not that well defined and notes aren't necessarily clear and sharp.

    I ended up doing an aftermarket upgrade and am very happy with the results.
    GTHill, since you have listened to the SS and are happy with the results, I think that you would be disappointed over time with the standard system, primarily from a bass response and from a clarity and separation standpoint. But remember, I have not heard the standard system recently and I upgraded my own system before the 5.8 software release, so I don't know how much Tesla has been tweaking the Audio stuff in their software. I'm sure they have been doing it, but I can't say how much that impacts current cars.

    Best thing to do is to find some music you are very familiar with and rip it to AIFF format at 44.1 kHz and with 16 bit encoding. Load the music on a USB stick and find some cars to do side by side comparisons. Also I'd recommend testing with Dolby encoding off and with all EQ controls set to flat at first (also confirm that the front/rear left/right spatial controls are set to neutral).

    From there start playing with the controls and see if you can get to a point that you think is good. Then compare the other system from a base line level and then tweak to see if you can get any better outcome than you did from the first car. Hope that helps!
     
  8. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    One thing I forgot to note: many people seem to think there have been substantial improvements to the upgraded sound system since the early cars. You should be able to dig up some of the threads where this was discussed. So, make sure you're comparing current cars.
     
  9. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    #9 Blurry_Eyed, Dec 16, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013

    +1 I agree on this! One thing my aftermarket installer said was that the door speakers that were in my car were actually of good quality, but that Tesla had set the crossovers so they didn't use their full potential. In my tweaked system, we actually kept all the door speakers but adjusted the crossovers and they work great! We swapped out all the tweeters and swapped out the factory sub and put in a custom 10 inch sub at the factory location (right side of the hatch when looking at the car from the back) and created a custom enclosure for a 2nd 10 inch sub that sits in the footwell where the rear kid seats fold into. The subs split duty with most of the mid bass handled by the sub that is in the factory location and the low bass is handled by the sub in the footwell.

    While the car can definitely thump with bass, the more important quality is that the bass is nicely balanced now and very defined. I'm very happy with the result!
     
  10. Dylan

    Dylan Member

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    At first I was also a bit worried that the sound studio package was not high quality or worth the price tag. After listening I am really really glad I got it, even more so after I listened to it back to back with a car without sound studio. My car and the other car are both two weeks old so it might be they've improved SS.

    If you like to listen to music other than news radio alone, get it.
     
  11. Lycanthrope

    Lycanthrope Member

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    This is all very reassuring info guys and nice to know that a few extra tweaks can ramp it up another notch.

    Cheers, Dave
     
  12. ddruz

    ddruz Member

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    My car has the upgraded sound system and I have driven a loaner on multiple occasions with the standard system. I've spent a considerable amount of time listening to the same source material (USB FLAC) on the standard system in the loaner as I do in my car. I concur with the comments above about the standard system lacking bass and openness compared to the upgraded sound system and that the upgraded system is clearly better than the standard.

    IMHO the upgraded system is not worth $2500 more, however. I was fortunate to pay only $950 which I think is a good value. But at $2500 I would spend the difference on an aftermarket professional upgrade if you are going to part with that money.

    If you are not an audiophile, however, it is possible to make the standard system sound passable by boosting bass and, to a lesser degree, treble. Even doing so you are not going to restore the bass the speakers can't produce. FWIW, these are my preferred settings for the standard sound system after extensive trial and error on a variety of FLAC source material: Bass 7.5 / Mid 0.0 / Treble 3.5 / Fade 0 / Bal 0 (These are not the settings I use on the upgraded sound system.)
     
  13. RodF

    RodF Member

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    ddruz, ever since I changed my settings to that which you recommended for the upgraded sound system I have been completely satisfied with the sound. Thank you very much for that. Prior to that, I was making inquiries at car stereo shops for enhancements. I recently had problems with the audio, and was very glad that I did not have aftermarket work done. That way I only had to deal with Tesla and did not have to take it back to the stereo shop to try to determine who was responsible for the problem. Tesla picked up the car, left me a 85 loaner, swapped out the screen and returned my car. Painless!
     
  14. ausdma

    ausdma Member

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    I am not an audiophile, but I am (or at least used to be) a musician. I did get the upgraded sound system and I did spend $2500 for it, which I thought about long and hard. I listened to both in cars at the gallery and I could tell the difference. Now that I have it and have spent more time playing with the settings I am glad I did. It sounds great for my purposes and I have no regrets. Going after market on prior cars has invariably left me with something that seemed jury rigged and/or with some sort of feature/function issue that gave me buyer's remorse. I know that is my own fault. Anyway, I really like the integrated factory installation and only having one vendor to deal with, and like I said, it's working great for me.

    Having said all that, I can imagine a true audiophile striving for something better and I say more power to them!
     
  15. cwave1

    cwave1 Member

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    I have the regular sound system and have been very surprised by it. For not having a sub-woofer, it has lots of bass and plenty of volume.

    I use to have Sirius and XM but now prefer the internet radio options.

    Overall I am very happy with it.
     
  16. bareyb

    bareyb Active Member

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    As factory systems go, this is one of the better ones I've had. I used to work in Car Stereo business and while this isn't as good as $10k system, it's pretty darn good. It's better balanced than most systems I've used and I find the stock (centered) locations on the EQ work pretty well. Normally I'd have to boost the highs and lows a little but they've obviously used some type of EQ when they set these up. Could it use a little more THUMP? Sure, but mostly in the mid bass area. It handles deep bass pretty we'll and the highs are pristine and clear while not being too harsh.

    If I were going to make any change (which I'm not) it would probably be to do something to increase the mid bass like the poster did above. Otherwise, I think it's pretty darn good for a factory installed system and the Bass is certainly good enough on it's own. I just wish it blended a bit better with the Mids in the front.
     
  17. leonari

    leonari Member

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    Thanks bareyb for your last post... confirmed that i made the right choice. I was never one of those audiophiles who need a 10 k system but I appreciate a decent sound in my cars. This system will be perfect for me.
     
  18. retinadoc

    retinadoc Member

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    I have an older Model S and thus I can't speak to any improvements that have been made on the SS in recent production. I went after-market with no regrets. For me it was about sound stage and cross-over. Both of which were suboptimal on the original premium sound system. I think it is safe to say that those of us who put in a Reus system are very happy.

    My Reus sound system install: Photos and comments
     
  19. RainmakerJL

    RainmakerJL Member

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    I am just a guy who likes music and appreciates sound. I got the upgraded sound system and its awesome. Way better than my infiniti which had a very good system imho..... YMMV.
     
  20. N4HHE

    N4HHE Member

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    Having spent 250 miles now with my Model S and the SS package I have some wants.

    While the Model S is quiet ambient noise is still louder at speed than when stopped. The SS needs speed sensitive volume.

    Likewise while its possible to tune the EQ at a volume level it lacks a "loudness" function to boost bass at lower volumes.

    Suspect the problem with some who don't like the system is that its good enough for the average listener to hear the poorness of poor recordings. Then the SS is blamed for the recording's faults.
     

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