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Light Harmonic speaker HONEST review and install

tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
@Cheburashka, thanks for posting the info. I am contemplating doing both upgrades as well. Being doing a lot of research and have a few questions:
1) Quite a number of people said to bring out the best of the LH speakers, an after market amp is preferred, have you considered adding an app?
2) Not sure if you did the NVX install yourself, I was wondering how was the LC2i powered, a separate wire pulled from the battery, or a distribution box to connect both the amp and LC2i?
3) Was there much bass rolloff from the factory radio? Wondering if the accused-bass function is useful?

@Doclindy, please do share the info you collected, I think we are in roughly the same process.
 
If you were going to start with one upgrade, which one do you think improved sound the most?
I have 4xLH speakers, excellent amp with DSP, separate amp for subwoofer and custom built highish-end subwoofer done and all tuned by award winning professionals after break-in. I've done also a thorough deadening project.

If I'd have to pick one, I'd do the deadening. Main problem for audio is the boomy and resonating interior. Reducing road noise is also good for audio. It was also the cheapest upgrade since I've done all work myself.

Stage 2 would be to consult professionals for replacing front door speakers, front grille speaker(s) and (as importantly) tweeters.

If you have standard audio, I don't think a "sound quality" subwoofer is worth the money as bass roll off from source is so high (around 35Hz IIRC). I've done back to back testing with a friend's car who only did deadening. While there is more bass kick in my setup, it's not worth the thousands it costs.
 
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I have 4xLH speakers, excellent amp with DSP, separate amp for subwoofer and custom built highish-end subwoofer done and all tuned by award winning professionals after break-in. I've done also a thorough deadening project.

If I'd have to pick one, I'd do the deadening. Main problem for audio is the boomy and resonating interior. Reducing road noise is also good for audio. It was also the cheapest upgrade since I've done all work myself.

Stage 2 would be to consult professionals for replacing front door speakers, front grille speaker(s) and (as importantly) tweeters.

If you have standard audio, I don't think a "sound quality" subwoofer is worth the money as bass roll off from source is so high (around 35Hz IIRC). I've done back to back testing with a friend's car who only did deadening. While there is more bass kick in my setup, it's not worth the thousands it costs.
Thank you! I have premium audio in my model 3. So sound deadening did you put dynamo or etc in doors, trunk, behind pillars?
 

tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
I have 4xLH speakers, excellent amp with DSP, separate amp for subwoofer and custom built highish-end subwoofer done and all tuned by award winning professionals after break-in. I've done also a thorough deadening project.

If I'd have to pick one, I'd do the deadening. Main problem for audio is the boomy and resonating interior. Reducing road noise is also good for audio. It was also the cheapest upgrade since I've done all work myself.

Stage 2 would be to consult professionals for replacing front door speakers, front grille speaker(s) and (as importantly) tweeters.

If you have standard audio, I don't think a "sound quality" subwoofer is worth the money as bass roll off from source is so high (around 35Hz IIRC). I've done back to back testing with a friend's car who only did deadening. While there is more bass kick in my setup, it's not worth the thousands it costs.

Thank you for the insight! After a ton of research, I've come to the same conclusion that sound deadening should be the first step.

Since I listen mostly with volume set to below 5, I also ranked sub upgrade below a possible door speaker/tweeter upgrade, if necessary after sound deadening. For this upgrade, I am thinking of adding an amp with a built-in dsp, before swapping any speakers.

Did you have the standard audio? Where are the amp and DSP located? Did you build a harness for the getting the source and to the speakers?

@Doclindy, I think Dynamat Extreme is the way to go, or SoundSkins Pro (more expensive). Apply to doors and trunk on flat surfaces. Pillars are curved surface and will not resonate or vibrate, thus no need to do them. There are many YouTube videos on this. I recommend a channel CarAudioFabrication.
 
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I have done now all areas that are relevant for deadening, and some that I found are not so. I did the project bit by bit and got crazier along the way. Started with standard audio.

I first installed (day 3 of ownership) the LH speakers and deadened the doors with alubutyl similar to Dynamat. Later on, I revisited door cards to add softer acoustic material.

Then I had professionals install amps, DSP and sub. I don't know exactly how they did the high level input, but I concluded from remarks at service center (when eMMC replacement was done), that they did it right at the outputs of MCU. Apparently they were ok for SC. From there the output is wired to trunk and amps (Mosconi with integrated DSP) are in the below trunk compartment passenger side, under the rear crash rail. Custom sub enclosure is occupying rest of the passenger side rear quarter panel well. Tapping to power and extra fuses are at the 12V battery and are wired nicely all the way to back. Price of installation was fairly reasonable and at that point I had no intention to anything more.

Even after break-in and tuning, I realized the car requires a lot of deadening to sound good. Trunk and rear wheel wells deadening are very important for sub to sound high quality. Adding soft lightweight acoustic material to trunk lid was also a noticeable improvement. These are some of the best parts for reducing low pitch road noise rumble, and you could right away notice that sub volume can be increased without boominess.

While doing a wrap on dash woods, I also slightly deadened all dash panels, adding also soft material, and added felt on contact surfaces. This clearly dampened resonation from speakers in cabin. There are a lot of large cavities in the cabin, maybe because EV tech does not actually require such a massive dash and other panels we have just to make Model S look familiar enough for someone coming from ICE. Those empty spaces can effectively work like drums or other instruments with right resonating frequency.

Of the rest I've done: floors, below rear bench, pillars, selected parts of frunk, wheel wells... I'd probably do only wheel wells, unless you enjoy the project.
 
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tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
Thanks for the details! This is really helpful. I was hoping there is a clever way to tap into the high level signals so that I could do the amp work myself. But I guess the only way to cleanly insert an amp is to get behind the MCU. That would be too much of a diy project -- I've watched a video, they pretty much had to disassemble the entire dash.

If after the sound deadening, I still have the strong desire to upgrade the sound, I will seek a professional installer to install a 4/6 channel amp with the option of adding a sub later.
 
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I have done now all areas that are relevant for deadening, and some that I found are not so. I did the project bit by bit and got crazier along the way. Started with standard audio.

I first installed (day 3 of ownership) the LH speakers and deadened the doors with alubutyl similar to Dynamat. Later on, I revisited door cards to add softer acoustic material.

Then I had professionals install amps, DSP and sub. I don't know exactly how they did the high level input, but I concluded from remarks at service center (when eMMC replacement was done), that they did it right at the outputs of MCU. Apparently they were ok for SC. From there the output is wired to trunk and amps (Mosconi with integrated DSP) are in the below trunk compartment passenger side, under the rear crash rail. Custom sub enclosure is occupying rest of the passenger side rear quarter panel well. Tapping to power and extra fuses are at the 12V battery and are wired nicely all the way to back. Price of installation was fairly reasonable and at that point I had no intention to anything more.

Even after break-in and tuning, I realized the car requires a lot of deadening to sound good. Trunk and rear wheel wells deadening are very important for sub to sound high quality. Adding soft lightweight acoustic material to trunk lid was also a noticeable improvement. These are some of the best parts for reducing low pitch road noise rumble, and you could right away notice that sub volume can be increased without boominess.

While doing a wrap on dash woods, I also slightly deadened all dash panels, adding also soft material, and added felt on contact surfaces. This clearly dampened resonation from speakers in cabin. There are a lot of large cavities in the cabin, maybe because EV tech does not actually require such a massive dash and other panels we have just to make Model S look familiar enough for someone coming from ICE. Those empty spaces can effectively work like drums or other instruments with right resonating frequency.

Of the rest I've done: floors, below rear bench, pillars, selected parts of frunk, wheel wells... I'd probably do only wheel wells, unless you enjoy the project.
Thank you! I am going to put dynamat in doors (front for sure, maybe back) and in trunk area. I am installing the LH speaker set 8 speakers including subwoofer and then I may install additional sub later (leaning toward the nvx kit) but will start with deadening and LH speakers and go from there. Do you think I am on the right track with my targets for deadening? Thanks again!!
 
When you're taking the door card off for LH installation, it is not much more effort to add dynamat. Definitely see the effort to remove the black plastic cover with a door module on the inner sheet and dynamat between metal door sheets. Don't go crazy on adding material wherever the door card is tightly fit, I had to readjust many times and get new clips when I did. Be smart about adding soft material too, don't create places for moisture to gather, and of course ensure that all moving parts still fit. Buy good materials and tools, you'll curse yourself if you save on these as the more expensive ones are typically nicer to work with. Doors are a good and easy place to start, although don't expect much impact on road noise. It'll mainly make mid-bass less resonant.

Wheel wells are not hard to do. The biggest job is to clean the surfaces once you have the liner out. Use brake cleaner. If you can use a proper lift, it is easy work. I did mine in the dark, cold rain and using a jack lift... This was the biggest single impact on road noise, although I did not do any measurements at any point. Especially with wells, be smart to not make any trap for moisture.

Trunk with wheel arches and all is a bit of work depending how thorough you want to be, and it is easy to create difficult fit for reassembly. It was worth the effort though even if I thought the facelift car seems to have some effort done by Tesla.

LH speakers are a bit expensive so you can probably get a good custom build with tweeters and crossover for the same price done by professionals. It's mostly worth doing in the front as rear is so strangely faint DSP:t at the MCU. Not sure if it's same for UHFS,
 
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beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,277
757
Springfield, VA
Thanks for the details! This is really helpful. I was hoping there is a clever way to tap into the high level signals so that I could do the amp work myself. But I guess the only way to cleanly insert an amp is to get behind the MCU. That would be too much of a diy project -- I've watched a video, they pretty much had to disassemble the entire dash.

If after the sound deadening, I still have the strong desire to upgrade the sound, I will seek a professional installer to install a 4/6 channel amp with the option of adding a sub later.
I'd do the sub+amp before the front. If you pay a shop to do the work, either ask them to run a big enough wire from the front to support a second amp via a distribution block, or run two power wires while they have the car apart if you ever plan on upgrading to an amp+dsp down the road.

You can pull high level inputs from the kick panels; no need to get behind the MCU.
 

tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
I'd do the sub+amp before the front. If you pay a shop to do the work, either ask them to run a big enough wire from the front to support a second amp via a distribution block, or run two power wires while they have the car apart if you ever plan on upgrading to an amp+dsp down the road.

You can pull high level inputs from the kick panels; no need to get behind the MCU.
I've watched NVX installation videos where they spliced into the front speaker wires behind the kick panel. Are there wiring harness there to allow an amp+dsp without cutting the speaker wires?
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,277
757
Springfield, VA
If you just want to run the sub+amp and get signal to it you can use a t-tap if you don't want to cut the wires. T-taps work most of the time, but at least buy good ones. However, if you're going to run an amp/dsp for your front stage then you'll need to cut the wires anyway unless you want to run new wires to the doors (not really worthwhile IMO).
 

tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
If you just want to run the sub+amp and get signal to it you can use a t-tap if you don't want to cut the wires. T-taps work most of the time, but at least buy good ones. However, if you're going to run an amp/dsp for your front stage then you'll need to cut the wires anyway unless you want to run new wires to the doors (not really worthwhile IMO).
I figured if I go with amp/dsp, I could go with a 5 channel amp so that I don't have to have a separate amp for sub. I know some say the sub in a 5 channel is not ideal, but I like the idea of having a single unit (maybe one with built-in dsp).

From post 110 by Saimaannorppa, it seems that his installer went to behind the MCU. I also talked to a local car radio shop and they say they would build a harness and try not to cut any wires. I took that as they would go behind the MCU for signals, as well, because they quoted me 2 days of labor. Maybe I am misconstruing.
 
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I've watched NVX installation videos where they spliced into the front speaker wires behind the kick panel. Are there wiring harness there to allow an amp+dsp without cutting the speaker wires

You will need to cut the wires if are putting in an amp and upgrading the speakers. You cant have the MCU speakers wires feeding the speakers at the same time as your new amp.

I spliced into the front kick panel speaker wires. You do not need to get behind the MCU. There are a lot of wires that run from the kick panel to the door through a rubber wire loom, but only two of them are thick so you can easily tell which are for the speakers. If you have the door cards off for sound deadining, you can see the color of the wires to the speakers. I didn't use a dsp for the front speakers which is a full range signal without much eq funny business, but the back speakers are not full range so don't bother tapping them unless you have a dsp. I used the front hi level to power the aftermarket rear speakers and amp, so the fader doesn't work.
 
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tonglaji

Member
Feb 24, 2016
189
191
cary, nc
I'd like to report back on what I have done so far. I bought a big package of Dynamat, and also a pair of the Light Harmonic speakers since they were on sale.

My driver rear door had developed a rattle. So I worked on that first. To my surprise, the door was sound deadened pretty well. There was a plastic cover over the hole to access the window motors. It was glued on around the edge of the hole. The cover had slide down by about 2 inches, probably because the glue had melted in the hot summer days. I added some small pieces of Dynamat on the outside sheet metal, and covered the hole with a bigger piece of Dynamat. I didn't re-glue the original hole cover. The rattle was fixed.

Next I worked on my passenger front door. Again, there were at least a 70% coverage of existing sound deaden material. I added more dynamat and replace the speaker.

With two different speakers, I did a comparison with my most listened songs. Honestly, the difference is very subtle. The highs sounds about the same, the mids a little clearer, the base a little tighter. But the factory speaker sound slightly louder. Overall, I am quite disappointed with the improvement, given the not so cheap price of the Light Harmonic. But this does not surprise me too much, either. There had been many reports that these speakers need a better amp.

I remember people say the Tesla standard audio got a huge improvement around 2017. Mine is an early 2017 build. Maybe the improvement came from the sound deadening to the doors.

I now have a huge surplus of Dynamat. Anyone in the raleigh area interested in them? Also if anyone in the area wants to listen to the two different speakers before I get to the other door...
 

Saimaannorppa

Member
Sep 3, 2017
217
257
Finland
I'd like to report back on what I have done so far. I bought a big package of Dynamat, and also a pair of the Light Harmonic speakers since they were on sale.

My driver rear door had developed a rattle. So I worked on that first. To my surprise, the door was sound deadened pretty well. There was a plastic cover over the hole to access the window motors. It was glued on around the edge of the hole. The cover had slide down by about 2 inches, probably because the glue had melted in the hot summer days. I added some small pieces of Dynamat on the outside sheet metal, and covered the hole with a bigger piece of Dynamat. I didn't re-glue the original hole cover. The rattle was fixed.

Next I worked on my passenger front door. Again, there were at least a 70% coverage of existing sound deaden material. I added more dynamat and replace the speaker.

With two different speakers, I did a comparison with my most listened songs. Honestly, the difference is very subtle. The highs sounds about the same, the mids a little clearer, the base a little tighter. But the factory speaker sound slightly louder. Overall, I am quite disappointed with the improvement, given the not so cheap price of the Light Harmonic. But this does not surprise me too much, either. There had been many reports that these speakers need a better amp.

I remember people say the Tesla standard audio got a huge improvement around 2017. Mine is an early 2017 build. Maybe the improvement came from the sound deadening to the doors.

I now have a huge surplus of Dynamat. Anyone in the raleigh area interested in them? Also if anyone in the area wants to listen to the two different speakers before I get to the other door...
Congrats on stepping on the crazy deadening side.

Remember that loudspeakers have a break in period until the sound is as designed. For me the advised waiting time before coming back for DSP tuning was 1 month. However, running hours of the speakers count. I agree the difference is not massive. Tweeters and front grille speaker are still factory ones. In fact there is a kit with coax and tweeter included being sold in EU which I'd go for now instead of LH (AudioCircle).

By deadening material, do you mean actual dynamat-like alubutyl? There were some small bits but even so poorly adhered that they ripped right off. I expect dynamat is almost impossible to remove if installed correctly and good stuff. I replaced all and then some. Ideally you'd treat all hidden surfaces that potentially resonate, including door card. Use common sense and look up how pros do it.

There's plenty of that blue fluffy stuff, but it is for absorption, not deadening. More absorption inside the door where the speaker sits would be ideal but keeping common sense and moisture control in mind. I mean, even the cheapest loudspeaker has plenty of absorption inside the cabinet.

I challenge you to deaden trunk and wheel wells since you have surplus. That's what crazy deadening people do! Deadening is as good as its weakest link.
 

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