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High Fidelity sound system new Model S - worth it?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by cybergates, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. cybergates

    cybergates Member

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    Hi,

    First time potential Tesla buyer - wondering if the High Fidelity sound system new Model S - worth it? I'm coming from previous cars such as a BMW 3 series with the harmon kardman sound system and the infiniti g35 with bose speakers. I don't care about XM necessarily. I'm not some nut audiophile but I don't want a sound system that sounds like a honda accord either.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    If you don't want a sound system that sounds like a Honda Accord, you must get UHFS or an aftermarket system.

    Note that I have the UHFS but also had a F30 3 series with HK audio, and frankly HK sounded better than UHFS. I had two loaners without UHFS and the sound system was quite disappointing. There's a serious lack of bass that can only somewhat be compensated by dialing up the mid-woofers at the cost of treble clarity, and basically no stereo imaging or depth.
     
  3. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    +1. I have the UHFS (for XM) and I had a loaner without it. The UHFS is not mind-blowing by any means, but the standard audio is pretty terrible.

    See if you can listen to a car without the UHFS at a Tesla location.
     
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  4. cybergates

    cybergates Member

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    cool thanks! UHFS it is. I'll try and see if I can listen to one nearby. What do you guys say about the multi pattern black seats (included) vs. Tesla Premium seats - are they both leather or is the premium leather? Comfort
    I did test drive one but I didn't get to ask about these things.
     
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  5. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    Haha, you are making me relive a lot of what I was going through 6 months ago. All great questions.

    I had originally wanted the multi-pattern black seats, but eventually a bunch of people (not on TMC, in real life) bullied me into getting the next-gen leather seats, because you know, "leather" is "premium", they're bolstered, yada yada.

    I wasn't able to find any examples of multi-pattern before my order finalized, so I gave up and just ordered the next-gen leather.

    Later on, I did find a car with multi-pattern seats, and thought they were great. If anything, the fabric felt more breathable and absorbed less ambient heat/cold. If I were to re-order today, I would seriously consider getting the multi-patterned seats. It will ultimately come down to two things: Which do you personally prefer sitting on — leather or microfiber cloth, and do you think you'll have resale value problems with non-leather seats in a "luxury" car? Personally I think you can't go wrong with either, unlike UHFS :)
     
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  6. avesraggiana

    avesraggiana Member

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    I um, stalked - I mean, sauntered, by a Tesla showroom and somehow wandered in, and casually asked “Allyson” what the differences were between the UHF and non-UHF. Before I could even say anything more, she dashed into the back office, came running out with two sets of key fobs, and then steered me towards where all the test drive vehicles were parked. Pairing my phone, as well as using Slacker radio, we sat for a few minutes in both versions, just listening to the same songs on both audio systems. A. WORLD. OF. DIFFERENCE.

    Even to my untrained, non-audiophile ears. Spring for the Ultra High Fi, and if you can’t bring yourself to do that, save up for a high end audio system that you really, really want. This car deserves it, and nothing less.

    I also got to check out the panorama, all-glass, non-sunroof, roof, which I LOVED, as well as the perforated seats, which I was indifferent to.
     
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  7. Zooomer

    Zooomer Member

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    I think if I had to do it over again, i would not get the UHFS and instead save $2500 and then use it to buy aftermarket which would be 10x better than the premium sound Tesla sells you. Now if you don't want to mess with the car or have door panels off, etc. Then get the upgrade because it's the minimum level of acceptable for a decent stereo. The base one sounds like a KIA from the 90s.
     
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  8. kavyboy

    kavyboy Member

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    So much this. Worst $2500 I even spent. I just listen to comedy routines, since the music is literally physically painfully bad. I would get the updated seats instead, for the money.
     
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  9. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    FWIW if you are thinking about going aftermarket over UHFS, spec it out and figure out how much it costs before glossing over the OEM option. The OP is in California where labor rates for stereo shops is aroind $150-200/hr so it could easily rack up a labor bill alone that is as expensive as UHFS.

    I still think the OEM option is a decent middle ground.
     
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  10. Skipdd

    Skipdd Member

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    There are a lot of threads on this topic. I recommend you search them to see all the choices. I chose the UHFS because without it, the car freaked me out on the highway, as it was too quiet on my first drive. So, I drove a UHFS model and it was night and day. After buying I saw a thread like this, and have decided to check out the Reus system if I upgrade to a 100D (thinking about it). I mostly listen to Slacker and the sound quality is very good. But I have noticed some lack of distinction at high volume. I am definitely going to listen to a car equipped with Reus before I make a final decision.
     
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  11. avesraggiana

    avesraggiana Member

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    *Tearing off to another far flung corner of the internet to check out this never-heard-of Res System; as if I wasn’t burning a big pile of cash on this Tesla-thing already*
     
  12. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    I don't follow this. Genuinely. The Tesla with UHFS has one of the most well balanced car systems I've ever heard. My main complaints with it would be a somewhat polar front soundstage and a lack of real bottom octave authority. I've never compared one of the cars with Mark Levinson or other 'name brand that's not Bose' sound but have had plenty of hours in a variety of Mercedes, Audi, and custom systems.

    Serious questions: what do you consider a good baseline for a high quality audio system, what source are you using, and what sort of music do you listen to? It's possible that we're coming from really different worlds. For comparison I have a mid-fi system at home with some acoustic treatment in the room and time alignment of the speakers that I feed with SACD or FLAC, and I'm listening to mostly stuff in the rock and jazz directions that I run off a USB drive full of FLAC files in the car. I've done full aftermarket setups in previous cars with custom enclosures, designed and built small recording spaces, and regularly record location sound.
     
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  13. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    I do realize there is one circumstance where I could see describing the UHFS as painful: XM radio. I used to subscribe to it in an older vehicle because although the sound was mud the selection was great and streaming was spotty. Now in the Tesla the sound system just brings out all the dreadful aspects of that compression.
     
  14. GasKilla

    GasKilla No Gas Know Peace

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    If you are in SoCal there are plenty of stores to choose from and most have UHFS on display. I took a USB stick with some music I was familiar with (FLAC audio format) and listened to cars with and without the UHFS. The employees didn't mind me cranking it up in the store. Just remember to roll up all the windows and close the sunroof when you are testing things out because that's mostly how you will listen to the stereo. Also be sure to start out with the EQ at "0"s because people tend to really tweak the EQ on showroom cars so it could sound really funny if you don't check the EQ first. I've landed on +3.5 on the bass (because even with the UHFS sub the bass is a bit lacking) and I have the treble at -2.0 because the high end is a bit rich. But I'm an audio nerd and was a professional sound mixer in Hollywood for 15 years, so I'm a bit picky.
     
  15. cybergates

    cybergates Member

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    While I'm at it, what are your thoughts on the premium upgrades package? Sounds like LED headlights are standard or optional only with this?
     
  16. Brandon332

    Brandon332 Member

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    @cybergates I private messaged you about the premium package, idk why but the site was glitching and wasn't letting me post to here earlier.
     
  17. Sully's8

    Sully's8 Member

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    +1

    While I'm waiting for my car patiently, I'm a recovering musician and borderline audiophile. . . Martin Logan, Focal, B and O etc. in my history of home systems. I insisted when I test drove a model S without the UHFS that I listen to the UHFS before I order. . . Turns out my OA had it in his and let me climb in. Maybe it was because I was listening / referencing to the crappy base system (because it is absolutely crappy), but the UHFS was 100% better and more than good enough . The car is not a listening room or a studio. There is ambient road noise etc. . . . I followed up on the story of the German engineering firm that designed the system with painstaking effort, and was sold. . . While not the same I'm sure as a $10K system, it's actually quite good. I will be piping lossless quality music through the thing as well. Keep in mind that your source is going to be one of the limiting factors. Enjoy!
     
  18. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    FWIW, my previous car had the $6000 B&O Advanced Sound system with pop-up tweeters, 15 channels, and 1300W amp with discrete channels.

    So I was comparing UHFS to that, and the B&O system is substantially better in being able to deliver treble without distortion primarily thanks to the tweeters that were directly aimed at the cabin. At home I just have a Sonos setup with a PlayBar, SUB, and Play:3's.

    In my spare time I've ranked pretty high on an expert audio panel at work based off double blind audio discrimination tests, and have been playing classical piano competitively since I was 8 years old.


    So…. I can generally discern good sound systems from bad ones. But I do not consider myself an audiophile as I don't have a stroke if I'm forced to listen to a song using my smartphone speakers. I think UHFS is average to slightly above average for luxury car audio systems. The high end benchmarks are the Burmeister sound package in the S class and the B&O Advanced Sound packages in the Audi A6/A7/A8. The B&O offered in BMW's in my experience was slightly less impressive but still quite good. But the HK setup in mid-grade BMWs is such fantastic bang for the buck that it is my favorite sound system in luxury cars, period.
     
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  19. kavyboy

    kavyboy Member

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    First, I'll say that I'm not sure my system is performing correctly. When I first got the car, the sound from the passenger side was about 1/2 static and 1/2 tinny sounds. Service reset the modules remotely and it vastly improved, but I'm still not wowed at all. I also haven't played around with it much since the equalizer went 5-band, and I'm pretty sure that will help. I also may need to listen to something besides slacker that has a higher bitrate.
    However, my impression is that it is just a flat sound. Increasing bass just causes more thumping from the lowest frequencies. Likewise, the upper settings just added tsss-tsss from the very uppermost range. Mid range is basically volume control for the rest of the spectrum. A few minutes with new mid-bands made a big difference, but it still seems indescribably flat. It's like everything has added "loudness".
    Also, the balance seems way off. If I want the sound like it is NOT coming from the steering wheel area, but more central to the car, I have to move the balance dot to the right rear of the passenger seat in the picture.
    Forget Dolby. That's the setting for "let's pretend we are a portable AM radio."
    I'm really not an audiophile, and my expectations were not very high. But to me it sounds pretty much like the sound from about any economy-priced rental car. So, to finally answer the question, my baseline for a good system is "not that".
     
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  20. Max*

    Max* Not Banned

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    I skipped UHFS. I listened to both, UHFS >> standard audio, I think everyone is in agreement here.

    I thought I could easily spend $2,500 and get a better aftermarket system.

    After the initial break-in period of the non-UHFS system, it sounds decent. It's not great by any stretch, but it's decent.

    I mostly listen to compressed audio (FM or Slacker), and half the time it's talk not music. The more time I spend with it, the more I think I'm not going to spend the $2,500 on an aftermarket anything. Maybe just an NVX subwoofer and call it a day.



    ETA: One more thing to consider with UHFS, if you have the RFS, there are no speakers in the trunk area without UHFS. That's one of my regrets in not getting UHFS. Not for the improved audio quality, but for the speakers in the trunk. When my kids are in the RFS, they complain about that they want to hear the music louder, heh...
     
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