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Model S Premium Audio System: How To Videos

Discussion in 'Accessories and Audio - Sponsored' started by LightHarmonic, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    #1 LightHarmonic, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Model S Premium Audio System: How to Access Front Door Speakers

    Our team has been working on our own upgrade to the Premium audio system that’s offered by Tesla. With so little info out there on how to improve the sound of your Model S’ premium audio system, we decided to document parts of our discoveries that we felt would be beneficial to the community as a whole.

    Here’s how you remove the front door panels and speaker drivers in the Model S. The process only takes about 10 minutes for an amateur such as Gavin. To put it back together, just reverse the process. Re-assembly only takes about 15 minutes or so for a first-timer.


     
  2. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    #2 LightHarmonic, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Model S Audio System: How to Access Rear Door Speakers

    Here’s how you remove the rear door panels and speaker drivers in the Model S. The tear-down process takes less than 10 minutes for DIY’er, as does the process of putting it all back together.

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


     
  3. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    #3 LightHarmonic, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Model S Premium Audio System: Subwoofer Bass Box Access and Removal

    If you have the Premium Audio System, here’s how to get to and remove the bass box in the trunk of your Model S. The process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes for an first-timer. Reassembly takes a little longer.

     
  4. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    #4 LightHarmonic, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Model S Premium Audio System: Premium Amplifier Access

    Getting access to the secondary amplifier in the Model S Premium Audio system can be a scary proposition. But it’s really not that hard. In this video, we show you exactly how to get to the amp. It’s about a 10 minute job if you've never done it before, and takes about 15 minutes or so to put it all back together.



    Thank you EVannex for your help in teaching us how to do this. Your video showing the NVX sound upgrade helped quite a lot.
     
  5. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    #5 yobigd20, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    thanks for putting these together. (I see the other ones you posted too). this helps me out a bunch as soon as I go to do a few audio upgrades myself.
     
  6. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    You're welcome. We've been having a fun time tearing this car apart and putting it back together. Can't wait to hear about the upgrades you do.
     
  7. Industry1755

    Industry1755 Member

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    The amplifier was shockingly (no pun intended) small for the system. Is there an amplifier upgrade you can recommend?
     
  8. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    just curious if you are replacing all your speakers do you reuse the existing wires in place or use higher quality wiring at all?
     
  9. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    Yeah, I think Tesla has to walk a fine, balancing power consumption, weight, and space constraints. On the whole, It's a pretty good implementation. However, we think there are some improvements that should be made.

    Tesla's using a class A/B design, which takes too much energy, in my opinion... 9 watts before it actually starts receiving a signal. Our replacement amplifier, which is in the EP3 stage, uses class D amplification. Our class D amp is 82% more efficient (even though it uses 8 power amps instead of Tesla's 4) and delivers a lot more power to the speaker drivers (600 watts to the sub, for example).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Great question!

    Our goal is to keep the existing wire harness. The reason for this is because we want Tesla owners to be able to upgrade their systems by themselves if they want. Larry, our chief engineer, has taken measurements of everything in the car, and his replacement amplifier and replacement speaker driver design takes into consideration all of the LCR characteristics of the current loom.

    If you think we're going down the wrong path, though, please let us know. We'd love your feedback.
     
  10. Yonki

    Yonki Member

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    Since you guys seem pretty knowledgable...I've been curious what the actual outputs of the MS's receiver are. I assume 4 speaker-level outputs; not sure if there are more. Is there a seperate sub output? Center channel? Any line outputs?

    At the receiver-out (before any external amps/crossovers/etc.) is there any difference between the base and the upgraded package?
     
  11. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    We've been digging into this thing pretty extensively. This is how the premium system breaks down:

    Front Door Speaker Drivers: (2) 7.9″ 1Ω mid-woofers
    Rear Door Speaker Drivers (not part of the premium system, but we've measured them): (2) 6" 2Ω mid-woofers
    Trunk Passenger Side Subwoofer: (1) 7.9" 1Ω woofer in undampened "bass box"
    Liftgate Speaker Drivers: (2) 3" 2Ω midrange drivers

    The premium amplifier uses four class A/B stereo power amps, but only the one that powers the subwoofer uses both channels. In my opinion, this is a waste of power, but that's the way it works.

    tesla_amp.jpg

    The Tesla Premium amp is set up to deliver 75 watts to each front driver, 35 watts to each liftgate driver, and 150 watts to the subwoofer.

    There aren't any line outputs from the Premium amp. There isn't a center channel out of it, either.

    We haven't spent too much time on the amp inside the head unit, but we've looked and haven't found any crossovers in the system. With the measurements we've taken, we're confident that frequency delivery is done using DSP in the digital domain. To our knowledge, the head units on the standard audio system and the premium audio system are the same. We haven't confirmed if the wiring harness is different, though. Does anybody know that?

    My opinion is that Tesla did a good job building the sound system within the constraints they were under. With fewer constraints, we can do a lot better. We don't want to add more components to the system, though. So our plan is to completely replace the premium amplifier with one of our own design.

    The only constraint we're putting on ourselves is that we want to be able to let people use the supplied speaker drivers if they wish. That means we have to push the same loads, even though we disagree with them. So our amp's design pushes 150 watts to each front speaker, 75 watts to the liftgate speakers, and 600 watts to the subwoofer. We're also designing custom speaker drivers to fit into the MS's existing mounting system so people can upgrade those, too, if they want.

    I'm not sure if anyone is interested in seeing measurements of the existing premium amp. That kind of gets into the weeds where the geek level is high, but if you want to see measurements that we did on our Audio Precision APx525, I can post some of those. Just let me know if it interests you.
     
  12. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    #12 Xenoilphobe, Aug 28, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
    This is awesome. This is much more interesting to me than ripping my car apart to add additional wiring, power, amps etc.. but I like the full DA idea with amp and speakers... definitely going to follow this thread!

    I would be interested in seeing the specs. I built a DA based system in my FJ Cruiser (overkill I know) - the Supercharger and 33" Off Road wheels don't really make it a conducive environment for this quality - but the Tesla definitely has the right environment for this system...

    I used an iPad MINI 128G LTE in dash, Pure i20, Audison Full DA Class D Amp, Bit TEN D feeding 8 Hertz speakers. It is absolutely insane! The iPad was custom integrated into the dash and all the work was done here: https://www.facebook.com/DrivenMobile or http://www.drivenmobile.comIt looks completely stock and we used all stock speaker locations (with the exception of twin 15" in a custom sub enclosure (built by a Boston Boat building company) to look stock. We used a Sony Head unit for "normal" audio hidden behind the removable iPad. All steering wheel controls work, and now the car has LTE hotspot and WAZE in the dash! Everything audio is software driven by the ipad - using a program called App Remote - which can be download from the iTunes store - just need to be selective on the head unit (only couple work with this app).

    Would be very interested in what you come up with. The system above was just little over $12K and will cause your teeth to vibrate on high and low frequencies (I lost a crown) - and I blame it on the Audison amp and being about 4 feet in the air - it was either the impact of the FJ Cruiser slamming back down to terra firma or the amplitude and clarity. (Most likely me clinching my teeth before the landing!!!)
    It definitely out drives the sound of the supercharger, wind noise and tire noise even when off roading. I used to build this stuff years ago while working my way through school and I just starting getting back into the new technologies. Full DA is the way to go!!! Believe it or not my old car a Hyundai Genesis Sedan(Lexicon) with the 7.1 Channel System and DAC sounds much nicer than the system in the Model S. (only when using DAC encoded discs) Now that I have seen the speakers and the amp - I know why it sound like it does... nice paper plates with a magnet attached - yuck...

    Keep up the good work! I'm trying to remember what song I was listening to when the crown came off - it was either Steve Ray Vaughn - Voodoo Child (Slight return) or Crystal Method - Keep Hope Alive! Either way - I want that clarity in my Model S and I'm not sold any anyones product yet..
     
  13. peteyswift

    peteyswift Member

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    Such an elegant, well-thought approach -- even though I don't really understand a word of it! Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see/hear what you come up with!
     
  14. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    Xenoilphobe - Sounds like a sweet system! It's easy to spend a lot of money in order to get things right.

    Peteyswift - Thanks for the complement. We're working hard to make a good solution here.

    Okay, I'm going to include some graphs from some recent measurements we took with out Audio Precision APx525. I'm going to start with digital crossover measurements:

    Left front door (part of the premium upgrade):
    Crossover_Point_Front_Left.jpg

    You can see that this channel favors the low and mid-low frequencies. It begins to steeply roll off just below 400 Hz. This makes sense because the A pillar tweeters pick up the high frequencies and the dash speaker drivers pick up the mid-highs.

    Right front door (part of the premium upgrade):
    Crossover_Point_Front_Right.jpg

    This channel is roughly the same as the opposite side, though the filter doesn't allow the ultra-high frequencies through on this channel. This would explain the slight shifting of the stereo image to the left when listening to music that has swift attacks in that frequency range (high hats, crash symbols, etc.).

    Left rear door:
    Crossover_Point_Rear_Left.jpg

    This channel favors the higher frequencies, probably because the listener isn't anywhere close to the A pillar tweeter and dash mid drivers.

    Right rear door:
    Crossover_Point_Rear_Right.jpg

    A very similar filter, but notice that there's about a 1 dB difference in level.

    Now let's take a look at system noise. We took this measurement with the car parked and the air conditioner off.
    Premium_Amp_DC_Supply_Noise.jpg

    As you can see, the average noise of the audio system is about 2.4mVrms. This means it is VERY noisy, something I wouldn't have expected for a car that runs on pure DC. The thing to remember about noise is that the more you have, the worse the system will perform at 3D imaging and soundstaging.

    Lastly, let's look at Total Harmonic distortion:
    Premium_Amp_THD_Measurements.jpg

    Distortion is WAY too high in the premium amp! The way to look at it is this: over 1% of the music the system plays back is distorted. We need to get that down to about 0.01% or so. We might even be able to get it lower. In the home audio equipment that we design and manufacture, we can get it as low as 0.003% distortion, but in this case there are too many variables not in our control. So we'll see what we can do.

    I want to re-emphasize that our intention isn't to tear Tesla down. They built a good system withing the constraints they had. But we have an opportunity for improvement in the harmonic distortion and signal to noise ratio characteristics of the system. Using our technology, we can decrease both distortion and noise by a factor of 10. While doing so, we can improve the efficiency of the amp from about 55% to over 90%, making the system use less total energy.

    On another note, we've measured the voltage that's delivered to the sound system at various levels of battery charge and found that no matter how high or how low the batteries are charged, the voltage delivered is exactly the same. So the stereo should perform well whether you're all charged up or about to die. :)
     
  15. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    Is the power provided from the HPDC converter clean. That is a lot noisier than I thought. Your point on distortion as has a detrimental impact on the speakers and will weaken them over time at the higher distortion levels. True?
     
  16. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    My opinion is that speaker driver fatigue isn't the thing we should worry about, though you're probably on to something. The speaker drivers are designed to bounce around thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of times every second, and do it over long periods of time in different conditions. Whether they're playing noise or music, it's probably the same. However, the listener experience is radically different. When noise is in the signal, it covers up the nuances of the music, making it difficult to detect a stereo image. It also smears the music during the transients, especially at low volume levels. At louder volume levels, it makes the music sound dynamically compressed. So we want to get rid of that noise in order to improve the overall experience.
     
  17. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    Replacement MS Premium Amplifier First Look

    We have the latest amplifier PCB's being built right now. They should arrive in our office in a few days, then on to assembly for a few days after that. I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at what we're doing, though. So here are some screen shots from our PCB layout software.

    TAS-1.png
    TAS-2.png

    It's easier to see from the top view that we've implemented an eight amplifier design, rather than four (which is what Tesla opts for). Like I've said before, our amps are class D in order to improve distortion and noise characteristics. They also use far less energy than the class A/B ones that come with the premium sound system.

    Questions? Please let me know.
     
  18. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    So this will be a plug-and-play replacement for the amp? Is this applicable to both the regular and upgraded hi-fi systems?
     
  19. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    Class D is very clean, I have a class D on my home system too. The Pioneer Elite SC-57. Would love to hear this in a Tesla!

    Marketing stuff from Pioneer claims its a third generation D amp (not sure what that means).

    The SC-57’s Class D[SUP]3[/SUP] 9-channel amplifier is the most powerful amplifier of any multi-channel A/V receiver Pioneer has ever produced. Keeping the new audio formats of the Blu-ray Disc format in mind, Class D[SUP]3[/SUP] takes high-resolution multi-channel audio to a whole new level of immersive performance http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Elite+Receivers/SC-57
     
  20. LightHarmonic

    LightHarmonic Vendor

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    Yes, it's designed to be a plug and play replacement, but so far it's for the premium audio amp only.
     

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