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Model 3 premium audio in RHD/UK

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,698
UK
I gave up going down the ever-deeper hifi rabbit hole years ago, when my then wife kept complaining that my Bailey transmission line speakers were far too large for the room, and my much-modified Class A Linsley-Hood amplifier made the room too hot in warm weather . . .



(for those not old enough to remember, AR Bailey published the design for the speakers in Wireless World some time in the late 1960s, as did John Linsley-Hood with his amplifier designs)
 
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LongRanger

Active Member
Jan 11, 2020
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my hope is that in part this thread serves as a vehicle to helping people avoiding going buying stuff they either don't need, isn't suitable or could give unintended consequences.

the bits I ordered have turned up now so over the next week or so will add some pictures and explanations for why I'm doing what I'm doing. So far I've spent about £60 on materials which t be honest is more than I wanted to, but that would be a reasonable spend if it gives results that you can hear and are objective not subjective.
 
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Adopado

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Aug 19, 2019
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Scotland
Always found it amazing how much you have to adjust midbass time alignment to get in phase with sub - it's often a couple of metres "distance" (i.e. time vs speed of sound at a crossover frequency) of adjustment to pull the closest midbass to the listener into time with the sub, then of course the distance difference between L and R midbass is quite a big adjustment too.

I recall playing with a rack mounted Yamaha studio effects unit some years ago. It was possible to set a delay in milliseconds between left and right channels ... I was surprised to discover that listening on headphones even 1 millisecond delay between left and right was enough to be easily detectable and had the effect of shifting the perceived sound position towards one side or the other! I can't begin to imagine the complexity of managing sound that bounces around the inside of a car.
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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Minor adjustments to EQ. So far I’m happiest with a reduction on Sub -1.5, reduction on midbass -0.5 and a reduction on upper mid by -0.5.

Having had a listen on some of the Spotify channels, I picked Italian Stallion (Europeans) by Todd Terje and then a whole bunch of other electronic tracks and have adjusted as follows - same as before but changed the highs

If you like a bit more top end then you could try

Sub reduction -1.5, reduction on midbass -0.5 and a reduction on upper mid by -0.5. Increase highest band by +1.0.

Also seemed a bit more natural on talkSPORT which I listen to a lot.
 
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Columbo

Member
May 23, 2020
64
29
Uk
I agree with the OP regarding midrange, acoustic guitar still sounds lacking to me.
It picks up bad recording 'essing', which can be annoying to listen too.
Haven't had a chance to play any FLAC so that might help.
Any DC power based system will have its limitations, power supplies are the key to good sound. That's where I start when building class A amps.
Over all, it has a bright and detailed class D sound to it with plenty of DSP going on, its certainly not using a R2R DAC
Quite similar to Bose I guess, though I've never had one to listen to long term.
 

NastyNick83

Member
Nov 28, 2019
159
106
Sutton Coldfield, UK
Following this post with interest.

To my untrained ears I’ve always felt there’s a ‘warmth’ missing in the midrange. Depth from the sub surprised me and tweeters are ok (not a fan of the immersive sound stage however). Could the jump between 8” woofers in the doors and the “3 in the dash be too much?
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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It will be missing strength 160-250 or even up to 400hz most likely, it’s why I used a 5” midrange in the custom build, to allow mids to start from 160hz and get that coherence all the way through from 160hz to 5-6Khz

one of the ways you can check this is to try and picture the voice of someone singing or talking, if you are familiar with the person. If you know how they are to look at and listen to when they sing or speak, how do they sound on the system - life size and lifelike or like a smaller representation of them, like they are far away or shrunk down ?
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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I just pulled out the rear plastic scuff protector panel, upper boot trim interior panel and pulled back the right-side boot carpet to reveal 3 very telling things that confirmed early suspicions.

1) the mounting of the sub box into the chassis is flimsy. strength of mounting is limited and isolation of box from chassis also limited. this can be improved significantly.

2) when you tap the side of the sub box it has a specific resonance i.e. you can hear the sound the plastic enclosure naturally makes. It's not pleasant and not good for any sort of enclosure so this backs up the need to sound deaden the box.

3) the amp grounding is a really bloody lazy design. they have basically spot-welded a small piece of bodywork-grade steel to the rear of the "light cluster" bodywork and called it a ground point. Signal / amplification grounding 101 : get the perfect ground point. Ideally it needs grounding to the chassis rails as a minimum, preferably direct to 12v main ground but that ain't gonna be a job I can be bothered with. The only thing in its favour is it's a very short ground wiring run.

Would also say some of the wiring sizes are a bit dubious (small) but will let that go for the time being.
 

LongRanger

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some positives on the sub :

The speaker itself is quite a nice paper-cone unit with a decent dust cap and all looks perfectly finished, there are no blemishes, so the business end all looks fine.

Additionally the removal of the unit and space to work on creating a more suitable environment around the speaker box also looks pretty good. So I'm confident that the process I have in mind could be done by most folks that know how to handle panel clips, a ratchet socket set and take care as they work.
 

AlexMasters

Member
Mar 14, 2020
67
45
Kingston Upon Thames
Following this thread!

I thunk the basics are good, and am interested in how much more performance can be wrung out with a few subtle tweaks. It is head and shoulders better than the Harmon-Kardon premium audio in my old W212 E63
 

VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,333
4,835
Surrey, UK
Unconfirmed rumour has it that Tidal will be coming in V11. Hopefully it will support Tidal Masters and full MQA decode and render.

Sounds like it may have come from EM himself

TIDAL music streaming service coming soon to your Tesla - Drive Tesla Canada

For anyone who does not know about Tidal, its a bit like Spotify, except it had much closer ties with artists in the music industry to give a fairer share or royalties to musicians. It is based wholly on a subscription service, the upper tier, Tidal Masters, offering better than CD quality streaming and high resolution streaming where original authenticated masters exist and the receiving equipment/software is able to decode and render the MQA stream.

And whilst on subject of high resolution audio, apparently 2020.36.11 now plays up to 192k FLAC.
 
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Amiable

Member
Nov 24, 2019
28
22
Sussex UK
Thanks for the write up. The premium system is extremely good and way better than any of the 'branded' systems I had in previous German cars.

However I played Three 6 Mafia "Late Nite Tip" and noticed the sub had a bit of difficulty with the various bass frequencies - has anyone else noticed this?
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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I would guess the sub doesn't have much excursion or ability to move enough air as it's an 8" speaker in a ported small box. Very rough guess would be 40-50hz and down it's not gonna be doing much.

also reference what I wrote about RHD and the position of the sub in this car - sitting the same side as the sub when it's pushed completely into a far corner gives different responses peak/troughs in the frequency bands. Have a look at the topic of "subwoofer placement room modes" for info on the home hi-fi topic that also relates to sound quality in cars. But then add in steel/glass boxes and lots of complex maths that I don't understand and can't begin to explain.

You can test the theory by alternately sitting in the driver and passenger seat with identical audio settings. play the same tracks/sections of tracks and report back what you hear. best to push fader fully forward so there is less distraction from the rear door/rear shelf midranges, when you are critical listening to bass response.

more to follow as it's about to come out of the car for inspection/treatment
 
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Drew57

Member
Apr 4, 2020
918
1,040
Chester UK
I' was not planning on changing anything but this thread has piqued my interest in seeing what we are getting... as I said previously the Premium sound system is already pretty good but I'm sure could be improved by those who put the effort in.

We're just about to go away on a 2 week Narrowboat trip & when I return I'm thinking about using my Earthworks M23 mic & other gear to take a few frequency measurements from the drivers seat, setting equalisers/balance etc to flat just to see what it looks like.

There won't be an accurate way to isolate various speaker drivers to see precise impulse timing or phasing but I could play around with balance to get a rough idea (without some serious work or DSP in the chain, there isn't much that could be done here anyway)

....before & during the development of a speaker setup it's always useful to measure so that you can see what frequencies to address & the impact of various changes along the way. If LongRanger manages to tighten up sub bass response in a reasonably accessible way, it's just possible I may do something likewise (damn you LR :confused:.... I had intended to spend my remaining days listening to music not fiddling around with 'systems' anymore).

....To quote the late Peter Green - "Oh Well"
 

LongRanger

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Ok, so here’s what I’ve tried with the sub.

The objectives as follows

1 - make the sub “disappear” more into the overall sound, it was locatable and pulling the sound down/towards the listener in drivers position. This problem is also due in part to the midbass.

2 - reduce the amount of energy being lost via the plastic box and generally just calm the whole thing down so as much of the speaker/port energy as possible is projecting into the vehicle

3 - get a cleaner overall lower bass sound out of what is a constrained unit.

4 - deal with any obvious/potential rattles whilst I’m there

Starting point

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Box treatment

It’s hard to show exact pics of several layers of black/dark grey, but the approach I took was to tap the box in various areas, find the sections that had a “ringing” or boomier sound and then apply sound deadening plus closed cell foam on the worst sections. Note - don’t overdo the thicker foam as it’s a tight squeeze to refit with too many layers. You can see from the pic above and below that factory gives you 3 small very pieces of foam where the box rests on the wheel arch metal, this has ensured much more absorption of road noise vibration and much less box vibration back into the car.

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Box inside

I thought I may as well take the speaker, and discovered the box has quite a complex internal design with ribbed strengthening and a proper port design internally.

The speaker itself is a metal chassis with good quality cone/surround/spider but not much in the way of magnet. It’s a dual voice coil midbass in a ported box trying to be a subwoofer. Connections are a bit flimsy but the design of everything as a whole has clearly had thought put into it, it is a genuinely engineered component for vehicle use.

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Given I had the opportunity, I dug out some Monacor fleece box stuffing that I had in a box somewhere and lightly lined the enclosure, ensuring not too much. This deals with some of the internal air movement and as long as you don’t add too much it won’t affect the sound negatively, if anything it should allow slightly more air to be pushed around without turbulence into the port.

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LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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Speaker treatment

The speaker does have a very thing layer of foam gasket already applied but decided I wanted to isolate the speaker from the plastic some more, so created an additional foam gasket from closed-cell sheet and it fits in nice and snug

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Vehicle treatment

Various pieces of closed-cell foam applied directly to the vehicle metal And some simple closed-cell foam “gaskets” added to the box tabs for refitting. The proper way to do the vehicle metal treatment would be decent sound deadening and then the foam on top but I don’t have the budget or inclination to bother for a company car.

The aim is just to calm down vehicle skin vibration and stop wasting speaker energy into the car structure. If you have the time, you can do more than I did with no concern over whether it will make the sound worse, I just did what I thought was enough for a basic attempt.

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Verdict - first stage

This is an interim view on limited listening and without having treated the front doors, which is not really a valid test but in the interests of transparency.

1) make the sub disappear - I’d say this has been partially successful. It’s not as easy to locate and not as easy to distinguish the sub and midbass playing at different timings

2 - calm the whole box and surroundings down - would say this has been successful, I don’t have any measurements but the whole enclosure has significantly less “ringing” and it’s been isolated sufficiently to have achieved something.

3) cleaner overall bass sound - again some success based on limited listening. Realistically I don’t think it can achieve lower frequencies than before I started, but there seems to be a bit less muddy behaviour and just a bit more speed to the whole low end. The biggest result it’s it not worse ! I suspect the stuffing material and isolating the vehicle skin to the far side of the box has had the biggest impact with the box treatment making less of a difference.

4) spotting rattles or potential for rattles - found 2 areas - the wiring from the amp could rub on the amp casing so put a small piece of closed cell foam in between to protect/soften, and the upper boot trim was very rattly on the underside of the rear metal shelf so that had some thinner foam.

Although I spent £60 on materials I’d say today has used about £12 worth plus the fleece box stuffing I already had.
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
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Meant to add - other than the foam lining on the inner skin of the bodywork all the areas that I treated on the box are invisible so when you pull back the carpet it all just looks stock.

Front door cards de-rattle and whatever isolation treatment I can invent to follow.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
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UK
Out of interest, what's the best (reasonably priced) sound deadening stuff?

I have loads of left over 10mm self-adhesive closed cell foam sheets, stuff I used to absorb noise when I installed our MVHR system, but I'd like to try and make the panels of the car seem a bit less tinny, so have been wondering if putting a layer of something under the foam might make things sound a bit better. I'm not after super hifi, at 67, and after decades of flying, my ears almost certainly can't tell the difference between excellent and just good enough.
 

LongRanger

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Jan 11, 2020
1,314
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Wales
take a look on ebay, you want butyl/bitumen stuff.

There are loads of branded options but the Chinese stuff is probably fine as long as the sticky side has been protected well.

Skinz was a brand I always used but it’s not cheap, I would avoid Dynamat as it’s too expensive and not better than unbranded really. There’s also SilentCoat and various others. I can’t really recommend one over the other as they are all just butyl/bitumen with an aluminium foil covering.

Noico seems to be a cheap-ish brand on amazon but I have never worked with it.

Bear in mind when you use these materials the car will retain heat more than normal, especially once you start covering larger areas.

Also I deliberately didn’t cover the lower section in the sub box cavity area behind the rear wheel arch as if there’s any moisture ingress I didn’t want to create extra pooling of water due to adding thicker materials.
 
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