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Experience with Ultra High Fidelity Sound

Discussion in 'Model X' started by omarsultan, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    So, I finally got a chance to do some critical listening to the UHFS upgrade in our MX, so I thought I would share some thoughts.

    Background: I am an audio-enthusiast (never liked the term audiophile). My main audio rig is an Spectral/Avalon Acoustics set-up, which is sadly crated in the garage these days (lack of time and space).

    Material: For the initial listening I used three albums: Waltz for Debbie (Bill Evans Trio), Eric Clapton Unplugged, and Come Away With Me (Norah Jones). Music files were 192/24 FLAC fed of a USB stick, which essentially means they were very high resolution and delivered to the UHFS uncompressed (more on that later). I then went back and listen to a couple more albums to see how the system did with different genres: Jekyll + Hyde (Zac Brown), Night Moves (Bob Segar), and We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things (Jason Mraz) also off USB, but these were at standard/Mastered for iTunes files (NOTE: I am not going to wade into the battle on if there is an audible difference between the two formats).

    Environment: MX P90D, six seat edition, doors closed, windows up, all seats up, climate control off, and vehicle stationary. Dolby Surround is off.

    Unfortunately, I have not heard the standard MX system, so cannot offer a comparison, but I can compare it to the Studio Sound system in our MS.

    To cut to the chase, I am pleased with the upgrade for the following reasons:
    • Tonal balance--highs were crisp without being overly bright, the mid-range was full and smooth (did a nice job with Norah Jones' voice) and the bass was powerful but tight. Personally, I am not a big fan of rattling the neighbors windows if it ends up making the sound muddy--hard to do without big cones and big amps.
    • Sound stage--can pick out individual locations of singers and instruments--everything is not concentrated in one amorphous blob, the soundstage was open and airy
    • Resolution/Texture--this is a hard one to describe. Think of the difference between a low resolution pic of a dog and a high resolution pic of the same dog. In both pics you can tell its a dog, but many more details and nuances emerge in the high-res pic. The same is true of a good audio system that will reveal the nuances of a voice or an instrument. I was pleasantly surprised by this as its quite hard to do.
    Doing back-to-back listening vs the Studio Sound system in my P85, I found the following differences:
    • The tonal quality is different--can really call it better or worse, just different
    • Soundstage was less distinct and more compressed
    • Definite loss of resolution/texture
    The Studio Sound is still quite good, but the UHFS is noticeably better.

    So, now the caveats:
    • Listening tests are always dependent on the material--I used music that I listen to. If you listen to hip-hop or chamber music, you might end up with different results (although I would venture the system will do well with classical music in general).
    • All my material was uncompressed. If you primarily listen to compressed sources like XM or stream music over Bluetooth, its going to impact music quality. Slacker seems to be highly variable for me--sometimes is sounds great, sometimes it sounds like AM radio (I have the LTE upgrade and have the Slacker app set for high quality).
     
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  2. Refie

    Refie Member

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    Thnx, Nice and detailed review!
     
  3. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Omar: My simple test revealed the same assessment as you too. I used regular CD rips and 24/192 files all in FLAC on my UHFS. Did not try it yet parked, but did at 70 mph and at lower speeds too.

    I have a pretty good sound system at home (>$20 k) and I heard some things spatially I do not even notice at home. I also liked the the fact that the sound was very rich and never booming like cars usually are. We found ourselves with the volume up at 7 or 8 just cruising down the road or while stuck in traffic on I680. It was a joy.

    So I cannot compare to the S sound system or the Model X regular system, but I am quite happy with the purchase of the UHFS in our Model X.

    I have one small problem with album art I sent you an email about.
     
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  4. satheesh.net

    satheesh.net Member

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    Great write-up, thanks!

    I'm not a audio-enthusiast, so sorry if this question seems silly. But why did you turn off the Dolby Surround? And how would it effect the sound if it was on?
     
  5. electricity

    electricity Member

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    I guess he turned off dolby sorround to be as close possible to the original source. Dolby Sorround is a effect that was not intended on the original music mix.
     
  6. Ferrett

    Ferrett Member

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    Thanks for the in-depth review. I'm quite an audio enthusiast myself and has a B&W 802 diamond for my main speaker. If the upgrade is as good as you stated, I'm going to be very happy!
     
  7. flar

    flar Member

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    Is there any support for multi-channel (5.1) music? I collected a few DVDAudio titles for my Acura and would love to be able to listen to them on this system, but I haven't even investigated how one would rip them into an audio file (briefly searching, it looks like OGG can support 5.1 audio so I'm guessing it's possible).
     
  8. trigoe

    trigoe Member

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    I'll be incredibly curious to see someone do an equally (excellent) exhaustive review on a plain X system and an upgraded system. I've been scouring and even on the S I can't seem to find an apple to apple (plain to upgraded) review of the same music on the relevant systems side by side to do a full comparison. It has to be identical music on plain and upgraded systems on the same model to see if the upgrade is worth the 2K. I heard Teslas (anecdotally) have good plain sound systems.
     
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  9. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    To answer the question about Dolby, the other posters essentially called it. I am a fan of keeping the signal path as simple as possible. Since everything I listen to is 2-channel audio, Dolby processing is a needless complication that introduces its own artifacts into the music, so I turn it off.
     
  10. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    The Dolby Surround Simulator is a modification for sure. It's there to try to increase the sound stage and make you feel like you are in a big room versus a car. To each his own.
     
  11. Skryll

    Skryll Member

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    Signed up to hdtrack.com just because I want to see if it makes a difference once I get mine :)
     
  12. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    Even with the extra $$$ for the upgraded sound system, the Model X still won't resume playing a track from my USB thumb drive when I turn the car back on. Sure I can see the most recent things played, but if I'm trying to listen to all of my Led Zeppelin albums in a row, it's a real pain every time I turn the car on to have to navigate back to the USB>Artist>Albums>All Songs, then remember the last song that was playing, find it, and then select it.

    Tesla's implementation of USB (and Bluetooth!) from thumb drives to iPhones is an embarrassment.
     
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  13. Marcos

    Marcos Member

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    Did you tweak the EQ at all? I'm I'm curious about any modifications you might've done to get the best sound.
     
  14. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    My biggest complaint is albums with multiple artists get split. I need to dig into the Model S threads on this but I tried about every combination of tagging and it only gets worse.

    So yes, their implementation of file based music is pretty lame. But at least the songs sound nice once you find them. :)
     
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  15. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    I left everything flat to see what the out of the box experience way -- at some point I'll play with an RTA and the EQ, but is sounds good enough as-is, its not a high priority.
     
  16. grommet

    grommet Member

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    Tesla still doesn't support Album Artist metadata (or even Apple's "compilation" flag)... unlike almost anything modern. Every track on an Album needs to have the track Artist be identical, or the album will become fragmented. AAC (.M4A), MP3, FLAC -- Doesn't matter. I gave up long ago, and just play content from my phone.
     
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  17. olanmills

    olanmills Member

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    The premium sound upgrade is the one option that my dad didn't order on his X that I wish he would have, but I can't really make that strong of an argument for it. I have it on my Model S (2012), but I don't think it's all that great. The question is, how big is the difference. $2500 would be a lot to pay for something that might not be that noticeable.
     
  18. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    I guess I can add my cards and letters into the pool to get this supported. Having a 20 track album with different artists turn into 20 albums is a pain.
     
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  19. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    Now that I've lived with the Model X sound system for a couple of weeks, I'm disappointed to say that the sound system in my Ford Fusion Energi Titanium is superior. There are many possible reasons why it's better, from the smaller interior to the fact that it's a name-brand (Sony) designed specifically for this car. No idea why, but the Ford just sounds better than the Model X's Ultra High-Fidelity Sound system.

    That having been said, the Ford isn't exceptionally better... it's just better enough that I notice the difference and miss the tighter, fuller bass and crisper mid-range when I'm in the X. Also, unlike the X, nothing rattles in the Ford when the sound is cranked up.
     
  20. djbakasan

    djbakasan Member

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    Previous vehicle was an Audi Q5 with their upgraded audio system built by Bang and Olufsen.

    On the whole, I'd say the Tesla UHF sound system is superior for my tastes. I don't fancy myself an audiophile, but I did work for a decade as a nightclub DJ and have fairly eclectic and wide ranging tastes in music. On the whole, the Tesla system to me sounds more pleasant, especially in the midrange to highs. Far, far better clarity. My Audi had more low end "oompf" at moderate sound volumes but on the whole, depth of sound and clarity in the Tesla win out for me and is an overall better listening experience.

    Audi MMI for me wins handily from a usability stand point. Folks above have already highlighted many of the frustrations I share with regard to MP3 palyback and metadata. I find the UI, while nice in that it features things like album art, to on the whole get in my way relative to MMI. This is one case where having a dedicated physical control (Audi MMI uses a dedicated jogwheel with multiple physical buttons) is ultimately faster than a pure touch interface.

    My wife is still driving my Audi while we wait out to see what her next car will be (she's holding out for an EV CUV), so I'm able to compare the systems back to back w/ the same source material. For me, the Tesla system is definitely better and I really liked my Audi system. Is it worth the $2500 over standard? No clue, as I've not listened to the standard audio system. For all I know that is great as well and I overpaid. But setting aside finances, I'm quite happy w/ the quality of the sound system thus far.

    --

    EDIT: No door rattles, with moderate to high volumes (7, 8) on midrange and bass heavy music. Lots of 90s hip hop, full orchestral pieces, some EDM.
     
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