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Model S audio (radio) - is it a bit rubbish or is it me?

macleodal

Member
Oct 7, 2020
5
3
Reading, UK
Folks, is it just me or is the audio system on the current Model S Long Range in UK just not very good? The DAB / FM radio on my outgoing car, a 2013 BMW 520, seems to be way better...

Specifically my issue is the radio, which just seems to be poor - not easy to use (but I'll get over that) but when you DO use it, not very high performing. I can give three examples:
- I tried to tune in BBC Radio 4 on FM or DAB. When I searched (using the magnifier) it did come up with a list of radio channels and some TuneIn stations that matched, BUT for reasons I cannot explain BBC R4 was not there; BBC R3 was, BBC R4 Extra was, but R4 was not. However a) parked in the same physical location and therefore dealing with the same radio signals, my BMW found it instantly and tuned in with a strong signal, b) I was able to tune in manually by dialling in the frequency but, surely, shouldn't have to?!
- My son likes to listen to Heart FM on the way to school. This time the search WAS able to find Heart on FM (several instances in fact) but the quality is really poor, again compared to the BMW in the same locations; the radio crackles and hisses from time to time, like radios did in the olden days and/or when you would tune manually but weren't quite tuned in correctly. Surely by now those days should be behind us?
- Related to the above Heart topic, there are multiple Heart instances (e.g. Heart London, Heart Berkshire), as I was having issues with signal on Heart London, I tried tapping Heart Berkshire and ended up tuned to BBC Radio 3! This was not a glitch or finger trouble, it happens every time.

Even more strange, I cannot figure out easily how to tell the radio I want DAB, not FM, but even if the search looks at both DAB and FM it also doesn't work... I have checked with DAB coverage and confirmed I should have high signal strength for both Heart and BBC R4 on DAB, and again my seven year old BMW picks both of them up beautifully on DAB. But the Tesla, when I finally get R4 and Heart to come on, plays them via FM not via DAB.

All of which doesn't feel how a 2020 car costing more than £90,000 should work.

If anyone has any insights on this (how to fix it, what I'm doing wrong) or had similar experiences, please do let me know. Thanks!

Alastair
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,554
2,449
SF Bay Area, CA
Can't really help but we don't have DAB radio in the US and given that Tesla is an American company, based in Silicon Valley, it wouldn't surprise me if the folks involved w/the stereo hardware and software probably don't have it at top of mind.

They likely can't easily dogfood any of that here in the US and thus spot + report probs w/it.

Heck, Tesla stopped including AM and XM radios in the US yet almost all other vehicles in the US have AM and many (most?) new US-market vehicles have SiriusXM.
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
642
542
Manchester
I had to re do the DAB scan a few times and tried when I was in a few different locations to find all of the stations I wanted (Radio 2, 4, 5Live, 5LiveExtra, TalkSport, LBC and Times Radio).

The 'trick' which has worked for me was to go to the station I wanted when I could see it, and save it as a favourite (select the *). This has then saved the station as a grey tile icon on the lower right side of the row of icons and seems able to tune in and move between them anytime I want now. I think you can do the same with the FM stations but can't say I have tried with FM.

One other thing (if you haven't already discovered it) is that tuning to radio stations via the 'TuneIn' app uses the internet via the LTE/3G connection and brings its own problems. One in particular is that live sport broadcasts (football commentary, etc) can fall foul of the fact that our cars have foreign SIM cards. Instead of the football I got a message on TalkSport 'we are not authorised to broadcast in your country'.
 

Maxpilot

Member
Jul 27, 2020
75
80
Kansas
I have found the quality of the audio depends on the quality of the source. FM and some streaming sources lack the fidelity to sound good. When I play an MP3 from my phone, the sound is much better, with deeper bass and crisp highs. Better source = better sound.
 

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