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Ear pain/Pressure help

Yonki

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Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2015
601
1,771
Pacific Grove, CA
As scientific as you made all seem. I am not to convinced about dB readings from an iphone.
I hear you - iphone mics are NOT designed to capture 30Hz, and any absolute reading (this signal is x dB SPL) would be meaningless.

But my readings are actually pretty solid because they are relative readings (what dBs are all about anyway). If X is how loud the compressor is when it’s on, and Y is how loud it is when it’s off, my iPhone couldn’t give you and accurate absolute measurement of how loud X or Y were. But because the microphone is essentially a linear device, it can pretty accurately tell you the difference between the two levels.

The other concern is that the mic could be overloaded...but if it was, you’d see harmonics at 60, 90, 120, 180Hz, etc., which we don’t (it’s also a pretty quiet signal, not likely to overload a mic in the first place).

Some I’m pretty confident about the 40-50dB relative measurements I reported.
 
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Yonki

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Mar 31, 2015
601
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Pacific Grove, CA
I’m trying to wrap my head around how a car can produce 30 Hz waves. Those waves are 344 feet long! The whole idea of infrasonic waves produced in a space the size of a vehicle is hard to imagine. They are hard enough to produce with advanced speaker components. Detecting them with any consistency would be futile. What seems more likely is pressure gradients. Increased pressure, not in wave form, due to overly sealed environments. If the recirc is on, if the pressure equalization valves are shut, etc. But some sort of infrasonic speaker that only bothers a few select people? In a small space? Hemholtz resonance is more likely, but the force created would have to only bother the hypersensitive.

30Hz sound waves are 37.6ft long. And if your car has a subwoofer, it’s easy to hear loud 40Hz test tones. And if you’ve ever had a car pull up next to you whose bass was making your whole car shake you’ve heard 20-30Hz signals from their subwoofer. So you can produce low frequency waves inside a car that is a fraction of the wavelength. And it’s pretty clear to me (with my own ears and now some measurements to back it up) that my Model Y’s compressor (or something that is on when “A/C” is selected and off when it’s not) is producing 30Hz waves even when the car is in Park.

And those 30Hz waves sound and feel like a “smoother”, quieter version of the sound that is really grating to my ears and those of some other Model Y owners.
 

akballow

Member
Nov 14, 2020
307
177
San Jose, CA
30Hz sound waves are 37.6ft long. And if your car has a subwoofer, it’s easy to hear loud 40Hz test tones. And if you’ve ever had a car pull up next to you whose bass was making your whole car shake you’ve heard 20-30Hz signals from their subwoofer. So you can produce low frequency waves inside a car that is a fraction of the wavelength. And it’s pretty clear to me (with my own ears and now some measurements to back it up) that my Model Y’s compressor (or something that is on when “A/C” is selected and off when it’s not) is producing 30Hz waves even when the car is in Park.

And those 30Hz waves sound and feel like a “smoother”, quieter version of the sound that is really grating to my ears and those of some other Model Y owners.
You just need to get a subwoofer that is 180* phased from the 30hz your car makes and cancel it out!
 
One thing I'd like to know is if anyone who is sensitive to this noise/pressure has been in more than one Model Y, and if the problem was the same or if different models resonate less. I hope some did not have the problem - there's more hope for a fix if it's variable between cars.

For my own Model Y, it was fine for the first 9 days. Then I hit a small bump puling into a parking lot and have felt it ever since. The first time I took my Model Y to the SC, they had me drive a new one and I didn't feel it in that.

I had a Model 3 as a loaner and felt it in that.

I drove my Model Y with the Climate control System off and still felt it.

BTW, thanks for your great post.
 
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Yonki

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Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2015
601
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Pacific Grove, CA
You just need to get a subwoofer that is 180* phased from the 30hz your car makes and cancel it out!

Yes! If we could just put Elon on the problem we'd have a solution in 20 seconds. Will have to start improving my Twitter reflexes so I can get my request in before his genius hyper-focusing ADD mind moves on to the next thing.
 

DaveORD

Member
Mar 12, 2020
833
752
Chicagoland
Yes! If we could just put Elon on the problem we'd have a solution in 20 seconds. Will have to start improving my Twitter reflexes so I can get my request in before his genius hyper-focusing ADD mind moves on to the next thing.

Don't distract him just yet. He needs to deliver our FSD and other stuff that he has been promising us first...
 
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Yonki

Member
Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2015
601
1,771
Pacific Grove, CA
For my own Model Y, it was fine for the first 9 days. Then I hit a small bump puling into a parking lot and have felt it ever since. The first time I took my Model Y to the SC, they had me drive a new one and I didn't feel it in that.

I had a Model 3 as a loaner and felt it in that.

I drove my Model Y with the Climate control System off and still felt it.

Well that's all good to hear - if hitting a bump can start it and all Ys don't have it, it seems like there's a very good chance of a permanent fix for all cars.
 

Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
4,020
4,347
Alameda, CA
my concern with these observations is that the compressor / heat pump may still be in use for battery thermal management. Would require more extreme measures like pulling a fuse to be sure.
You do realize there are no fuses in a Tesla Model 3/Y. If you are just trying to figure out if the compressor is on you can wire up an OBDII port for $25 and run a scanner like TesLAX to see what is happening on the car's CANbus. Not super easy, but nothing worth doing...

Or wire a microphone so you can hear when the compressor is running
 

Yonki

Member
Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2015
601
1,771
Pacific Grove, CA
Well it turns out I can't use my Digidesign 003 digitizer on OS X Big Sur (Avid hasn't updated the driver in years), so my hopes for a DAW in my car using studio-quality microphones have been dashed. But I don't think I need them anyway, because...

...I just did a different analysis and got very interesting results. I drove around at 15-20 MPH in my wife's Model Y and then my Model 3 and recorded the ambient noise on an iPhone 8 placed on the passenger seat, using some music recording software (Music Memos) that does not use any auto gain / compression (so comparisons are apples-to-apples). I then found a representative section of audio that was just the cabin sound (no other cars/horns/sirens) and looked at the spectrum for both cars.

Model 3:
Model 3.png

Model Y:
Model Y.png

(I recommended you download the full images and look at them in a viewer that lets you instantly swap between two images with a keystroke (IrfanView is fantastic image viewing software if you've got a Windows system or are using wine on linux or OS X).

When you do an A/B comparison, you can see that while the noise of both cars from 20Hz to 20kHz has a different shape, the overall energy is similar. I would be hard pressed, looking at these images, to say one car is louder than the other.

However in the low frequencies, you can see that the peak moves from around 50-60Hz for the Model 3 to around 30-40Hz for the Model Y. And the energy around 20Hz (where you definitely feel it instead of hear it) is about 15dB louder in the Y. There is a lot of energy in that <30Hz infrasound region.

So at this point, my thinking that while the overall noise in the Model Y's cabin is similar to the Model 3's, the Model Y cabin/frame's resonant frequency is about 30-40Hz, with significant energy around 20Hz compared to the Model 3. Loud sounds around these infrasonic frequencies make some people uncomfortable. Mythbusters explored it here (Jamie's conclusion: "It's sort of anxiety-producing...it's unnerving). This guy talks about it at length, and includes links to 20Hz and 19Hz tones that are, well, anxiety-producing and unnerving (you should listen to them on good headphones or a subwoofer, and start quietly and ramp up the sound so you don't damage your gear or your nerves). It's surprising what a difference 1Hz makes!

And since my and presumably many of your Model Ys are putting out a fairly constant mix of sounds at 19Hz, 20Hz, and thereabouts, it's not surprising that some people are un-nerved by, anxious from, and/or unhappy with the sound/feel in the cabin of their Model Y when driving.

My previous slide show was talking about the compressor making noise around 30Hz. Just to be clear, I'm not saying the compressor is actually generating 30Hz noise (possible, though) - it may have been generating periodic impulses that shake the car like a hammer striking a bell, causing it to vibrate at its resonant frequency of 30Hz. And if there was a mount loose or missing on that compressor, the hammer would effectively be striking harder. So I think this is how the compressor can contribute to this phenomenon.

I don't think it's always easy to change the resonant frequency of such a big/heavy structure, but it sounds like there might be ways to mitigate it (a lot of people say adjusting the stoppers on the trunk helps). Hopefully we (or better yet, Tesla) will get it all figured out soon.

I'm going to the service center tomorrow - will let you all know what they say about it.

Finally, here are big copies of the photos in case some people can't use the thumbnails:

Model 3:
Model 3.png

Model Y:
Model Y.png
 

polyphonic54

Member
Aug 29, 2019
354
286
USA
Great write up! From my experience, most cars have a rumble sound over ~80 Hz when going over bumps. Totally normal. The issue I have in my e-tron (nearly identical to the topic discussed here, with some slight variations), is when the sound moves down to 30-35 Hz and changes from a 'rumble' to a 'boom.' It also occurs more or less constantly at city speeds, not just over significant bumps.

In effect, it changes from something I hear, to something I hear a little less and feel (a lot) more. The feeling of having my eardrums rattled is uncomfortable and leads to fullness and popping.

To many experiencing in the vehicle, the lack of instantly noticeable rumble is impressive, but I would vastly prefer that noticeable sound to an uncomfortable feeling any day. In fact, I prefer other vehicles when driving around town because of it. My Model 3 was more pleasant under about 45 mph and it is not exactly known for excellent NVH.
 
Well it turns out I can't use my Digidesign 003 digitizer on OS X Big Sur (Avid hasn't updated the driver in years), so my hopes for a DAW in my car using studio-quality microphones have been dashed. But I don't think I need them anyway, because...

...I just did a different analysis and got very interesting results. I drove around at 15-20 MPH in my wife's Model Y and then my Model 3 and recorded the ambient noise on an iPhone 8 placed on the passenger seat, using some music recording software (Music Memos) that does not use any auto gain / compression (so comparisons are apples-to-apples). I then found a representative section of audio that was just the cabin sound (no other cars/horns/sirens) and looked at the spectrum for both cars.

Model 3:
View attachment 622255

Model Y:
View attachment 622256

(I recommended you download the full images and look at them in a viewer that lets you instantly swap between two images with a keystroke (IrfanView is fantastic image viewing software if you've got a Windows system or are using wine on linux or OS X).

When you do an A/B comparison, you can see that while the noise of both cars from 20Hz to 20kHz has a different shape, the overall energy is similar. I would be hard pressed, looking at these images, to say one car is louder than the other.

However in the low frequencies, you can see that the peak moves from around 50-60Hz for the Model 3 to around 30-40Hz for the Model Y. And the energy around 20Hz (where you definitely feel it instead of hear it) is about 15dB louder in the Y. There is a lot of energy in that <30Hz infrasound region.

So at this point, my thinking that while the overall noise in the Model Y's cabin is similar to the Model 3's, the Model Y cabin/frame's resonant frequency is about 30-40Hz, with significant energy around 20Hz compared to the Model 3. Loud sounds around these infrasonic frequencies make some people uncomfortable. Mythbusters explored it here (Jamie's conclusion: "It's sort of anxiety-producing...it's unnerving). This guy talks about it at length, and includes links to 20Hz and 19Hz tones that are, well, anxiety-producing and unnerving (you should listen to them on good headphones or a subwoofer, and start quietly and ramp up the sound so you don't damage your gear or your nerves). It's surprising what a difference 1Hz makes!

And since my and presumably many of your Model Ys are putting out a fairly constant mix of sounds at 19Hz, 20Hz, and thereabouts, it's not surprising that some people are un-nerved by, anxious from, and/or unhappy with the sound/feel in the cabin of their Model Y when driving.

My previous slide show was talking about the compressor making noise around 30Hz. Just to be clear, I'm not saying the compressor is actually generating 30Hz noise (possible, though) - it may have been generating periodic impulses that shake the car like a hammer striking a bell, causing it to vibrate at its resonant frequency of 30Hz. And if there was a mount loose or missing on that compressor, the hammer would effectively be striking harder. So I think this is how the compressor can contribute to this phenomenon.

I don't think it's always easy to change the resonant frequency of such a big/heavy structure, but it sounds like there might be ways to mitigate it (a lot of people say adjusting the stoppers on the trunk helps). Hopefully we (or better yet, Tesla) will get it all figured out soon.

I'm going to the service center tomorrow - will let you all know what they say about it.

Finally, here are big copies of the photos in case some people can't use the thumbnails:

Model 3:
View attachment 622255
Model Y:
View attachment 622256

Yes, great post Thanks. Unfortunately this doesn't describe what I am feeling. I feel ear pressure in both my Y and the model 3 I had as a loaner. It isn't anxiety. It is an ear pressure like I am on a plane.

Maybe we have different problems.
 

Yonki

Member
Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2015
601
1,771
Pacific Grove, CA
Yes, great post Thanks. Unfortunately this doesn't describe what I am feeling. I feel ear pressure in both my Y and the model 3 I had as a loaner. It isn't anxiety. It is an ear pressure like I am on a plane.

Maybe we have different problems.
I wasn't saying it caused anxiety in everyone - just pointing out that loud, low-frequency pressure causes anxiety in some who hear it. If your ears hurt and you don't hear any loud sounds, that basically leaves infrasonic sound, unless somehow the cabin pressure is changing, but no car is sealed well enough (or could generate enough pressure/vacuum) for that.
 
I wasn't saying it caused anxiety in everyone - just pointing out that loud, low-frequency pressure causes anxiety in some who hear it. If your ears hurt and you don't hear any loud sounds, that basically leaves infrasonic sound, unless somehow the cabin pressure is changing, but no car is sealed well enough (or could generate enough pressure/vacuum) for that.

Very interesting point! Well worded and concise too!

OK. I'll buy what you are saying. So how can I prove to Tesla that I have an infrasonic sound problem? I downloaded several infrasound apps on my phone and compared my Tesla to a Ford and a Buick and got the same results. What I have read on this forum is that cell phone microphones can't capture infrasound (I don't understand why). How can I prove it?

But here is my argument against what you are saying. The problem was definitely worse before I adjusted the hatch. In that case, the theory is that when I drove over a bump, the hatch bounced, creating a pressure wave. In that case it isn't infrasonic sound, rather it is just a single pressure wave, right?
 

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