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My Reus sound system install: Photos and comments

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,260
3,248
Timonium, Maryland
As there has been much curiosity about the Reus Sound System upgrade I thought it would be helpful to owners considering this option to post an account and photos of my experience.

To begin I was a serious skeptic when the first threads about the Reus upgrade were posted. Over the years I had had several expensive but unsatisfactory experiences with upgrades to audio systems in my other cars (all done by local car audio shops) so I was not very willing to accept at face value the claims about the Reus improvements. I followed all of the threads but it was an expense I was not prepared to make.

Until TESLIVE. There Reus had a Model S set up with their system. Over a 24 hour period I sat through three demonstrations each with different kinds of music including Reus’ demo selections as well as music I selected on Slacker. The difference was extraordinary and the improvement over Tesla’s Sound System, which is on my car, quite striking. The Reus system imparts a presence, clarity, and depth to the music. The better the recording the more striking the difference. In fact, the Reus system makes the quality of the original recording all the more apparent.

When I learned that Reus’s Cliff Johnson, one of their senior people and most experienced pro, was planning a trip east to do installations for Tesla owners on this side of the country, I made a reservation on the spot for an installation. The plan was for Cliff to fly East and work his way down the coast from Boston to the VA/MD area doing installs along the way. By the time he reached Maryland he had already completed seven or eight installations.

AaronS, generous man that he is, drove Cliff down to Baltimore, where I met them. Cliff and I then drove in my Model S to the lovely home in Purceville, VA of another Model S owner having the install done. As that owner was away on a business trip my installation was scheduled first. Cliff set up shop outside in front of the house and work began on the install at about 4:30pm. I was concerned that we’d have only four hours before we’d lose sunlight but Cliff didn’t seem concerned at all, and we had the home’s well lit garage available if we needed it.

All of the hardware necessary for the install was shipped ahead of time to the home, so it was waiting for us when we arrived. First step was to open the box and set out the hardware, as shown. That’s Cliff flexing his muscles after moving that very heavy box around. I opted for the Reus’s System 3 SOTA with the higher powered amp and dual woofer setup.

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Just a glance at the subwoofers, as shown, indicated the quality of the components in this system. The magnets are enormous and must weigh three time more than the those on the Tesla subs.

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Cliff begins work in the front of the car, first making two connections to the battery with 8 gauge cable (blue in all of the photos). He threaded these cables through the firewall grommet under the plastic tray for the passenger compartment air filter. He has a brilliant trick for getting a hole in the grommet and threading the heavy cable through it but as it’s his IP I’m not going to reveal it. Suffice to say that he learned it from listening to a surgeon describe techniques for invasive surgery.

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A few of the photos show Cliff working on the grommet penetration and threading. Because of his great experience, he makes this look very easy but I know it would be near impossible for me. His dexterity in spaces where there is almost no room to work is astounding. Of course, he has a lot of cuts and scrapes to show for it.

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Once the power cables are threaded through the grommet Cliff then works from inside the passenger side front compartment, loosening the trim under the dash to provide access and removing necessary plastic trim for threading the cable under the passenger side to the rear seats. He threads the cable in such a way that it takes advantage of existing hardware in the car floor to hold everything in place. As he threaded the cable his amazing dexterity, experience, and finger strength was apparent.

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Once the cable is threaded to the right side rear seat area, Cliff removes the rear seat, and threads the cable under the front of the rear seat frame all the way to the extreme left side.

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Next he turns his attention to the installing the bass control knob for the subwoofer. This is placed on the left of the driver’s side seat where it is hidden from view but easily accessible. A small hole is drilled into the plastic base of the seat, the knob mounted, and the cable run under the carpet to right rear seats.

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Then he threads the power and bass control cables through a very narrow open space into the space behind the left rear trunk trim. This is another time when Cliff’s experience shines through. I would struggle with this kind of thing for hours. He does it in ten minutes and makes it look easy.

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Once these cables have been run to the trunk Cliff then turns his attention again to the front of the car. The two stock tweeters in the A pillar trim have to be replaced with Reus tweeters and a third tweeter added to the rear view mirror area (this is a proprietary element in the system so I won’t say more or show photos). Suffice it to say that this tweeter is stealth but greatly improves the sound. The photos below show Cliff at work on these steps (the panels on both sides of the dash have to be removed in these steps). He doesn't remove the A-pillar trim but just loosens it. This is part of his philosophy -- remove as little as possible to get the job done. He also has a special tool to prevent damage to the dash surface.

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As I had run the cables for Inavi dashcam and my front camera and LDC front camera monitor in a way that would interfere with deployment of the side airbag curtains in the event of an accident, Cliff fixed that mistake. He also fixed my mis-wiring of the power lead to the Inavi dashcam. And he rethreaded all of the cable under the roof liner to make it much more professional.

Now he turned his attention again to the back of the car, this for replacement of the stock Tesla 8” subwoofer, installation of the new dual power amplifier, and installation of the second Reus 10” subwoofer. As I had a lot of customized carpet and other decorative mods in this part of the car Cliff was very careful to work around these elements to avoid unnecessary disassembly and damage. These steps largely involved work on Molex connectors and wiring. The stock subwoofer has to be removed, which is a PIA and all the more so because of my carpet trim mods. Before he replaces the stock sub he adds some sound material to the inside of the enclosure.

After the stock subwoofer enclosure bolted back into place Cliff installs the second 10" Reus sub into the 3rd row seat footwell space (it's designed to force fit and it's completely compatible with the design of the surrounding materials). Then he wires up the dual amp and places it an accessible location for the testing phase.

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Once the system is all wired, the special fuses added in the front cable connecitions Cliff power it up for testing. As he listened to various kinds of music, he spent about 30 minutes adjusting the settings on the Tesla touch screen controls and the dual power amplifier until he was satisfied. Then he asked me to sit in the driver’s seat to make further adjustments to suit my tastes. After about fifteen minutes of further adjustment I was satisfied with the results. When testing is complete Cliff places the amp in its space in the left rear pocket in the trunk. It has a cover and is thus completely hidden.

All in all the installation took about four hours and the fine-tuning of the sound another 45 minutes or so.

Cliff is a consummate professional, very committed to doing things right, and working to the highest standards of quality. No short cuts are taken, only top drawer hardware is used, and everything is done without any damage to the car. Except for the grommet puncture, everything is non-invasive.

Is it worth the $4,000 or so that I spent. IMHO, definitely. The quality of the music is now on another planet compared to the Tesla Sound System and I’m hearing things in the music I never heard before.

Take for example the sustained double low C on the double basses, contrabassoon, and pipe organ in the opening bars of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra (made famous as the fanfare for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). This sustained symphonic tone is not a mere thump-bump for some hip-hop jockey but an incredibly rich low-bass tone that is held for several measures. On other systems it sounds like bass drivel. No sound system I’ve ever had in a car, or in my home, could ever reproduce it very well. But my new Reus system handles it with aplomb. It rumbles through the car of course but that’s the kind of tone the composer had in mind, although he was thinking about it rumbling through the concert hall. On the other side of the spectrum, the piccolo highs in the same symphony have a bell-wringing clarity that is newly heard.

And so it goes for every other piece of music I’ve played far on the system, everything from Oscar Peterson to the Beatles, Miles Davis to Cream. New sounds and tones are revealed in good recordings and poor recordings are revealed for just what they are.

This is a great system.
 
Last edited:

nkohlimd

Member
Feb 10, 2013
255
12
Natick, MA, United States
Rick-
Could not agree with you more-I love my system-now almost a week old and EVERYONE who has sat in the car has commented that is it the best system they have ever heard-including many at the local Tesla store/service center. Definitely a worthwhile investment if you love music and have the $$$ to spend. CLiff did mine while I was at work so it was seamless but I lost out on the opportunity to watch the process. Thanks for sharing the pics. My only sadness is that I can only have a single 8" woofer due to the rear seats but Cliff is trying to work on a 10" option in the same space-would love to upgrade if possible-for now, I am one happy camper!
 

EMDoc

Member
Mar 28, 2013
152
8
CA
Excellent photos and write up! My friend and I had our system installed at their shop while we went out in town. I don't have any of those pics to show for it...but spoke with Rick (the owner) and he wanted to be sure we didn't post a bunch of proprietary pics on the forums. Just run it by Cliff. I posted a new thread back in May (when our system was installed) about my review of the system.

NKohli - Got in touch with Cliff last week and they are almost done with the 10" sub for the stock location...I don't have the jumper seats but still would like it to look as stock as possible...so for now I have their 8" sub in place of the Tesla one.
 

pete8314

Vendor
Jun 4, 2012
2,358
660
DFW, ex UK
Great post, and having seen the mods you've done, high praise indeed for Cliff! I'm very jealous, I want this system, but just cannot justify the cost right now. Nice looking components though, v shiny :-O
 

gtimbers

Member
Jan 9, 2013
133
7
Van Nuys, Ca.
Artsci: Does the rear seat bottom just pull straight up from the front? I see nylon receptacles in the photos but I could not get the bottom seat up without a ton of force. I am assuming that the stock amplifier is that big silver module on the passenger side. It appears that, other than speaker replacement, no entry into the dash is necessary. I hope to be able to add a JBL MS8 digital module and make the response changes I want to the otherwise stock system. However, to do this, I need to get between the head unit and the power amp(s).

I don't feel the need to go as far as you guys have gone, but I must say, the installation looks great (or doesn't look at all!) and I'm sure the sound is spectacular. I am almost satisfies with the Studio system and if I could make a few tweaks I think I would be totally happy. Thanks for your help.
 

kevin99

Member
Apr 22, 2013
863
1
SF Bay Area, CA
Awesome! I didn't get much difference from the TESLIVE, by playing something on Slacker. Guess my ears are not good enough? :( I am very much into music and just recently upgraded my piano to a Yamaha Disklavier grand piano DC3M4. Very amazed by their technology that is almost 10 years old.

I will give another try. Or is there anyone in the Bay area have the Reus system installed that I can have a comparison hearing?
 
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kevin99

Member
Apr 22, 2013
863
1
SF Bay Area, CA
How much is the system, roughly?

If you search "$" on the thread, you will find

"
Is it worth the $4,000 or so that I spent. IMHO, definitely. The quality of the music is now on another planet compared to the Tesla Sound System and I’m hearing things in the music I never heard before.
"
 

TommyBoy

Member
Jul 8, 2013
99
0
Orange County, CA
The added weight must affect range slightly. The drain on the 12v battery must be greater. And there's NO way in hell I'm letting anybody take apart my brand new car like that. I'll suffer through the standard system.

However, your pictures and story are invaluable and I truly appreciate your documenting all of this so well.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,260
3,248
Timonium, Maryland
Artsci: Does the rear seat bottom just pull straight up from the front? I see nylon receptacles in the photos but I could not get the bottom seat up without a ton of force. I am assuming that the stock amplifier is that big silver module on the passenger side. It appears that, other than speaker replacement, no entry into the dash is necessary. I hope to be able to add a JBL MS8 digital module and make the response changes I want to the otherwise stock system. However, to do this, I need to get between the head unit and the power amp(s).

I don't feel the need to go as far as you guys have gone, but I must say, the installation looks great (or doesn't look at all!) and I'm sure the sound is spectacular. I am almost satisfies with the Studio system and if I could make a few tweaks I think I would be totally happy. Thanks for your help.

Yes, those white nylon thingies are receptacles for the clips that hold the seat in place. You just pull up the seat sharply in those two places and it releases.

There is not entry into the dash of any kind, just the two side covers.

I didn't take any photos of the amplifiers, stock or replacement. I don't even know where the stock amp is. It was very late at that point and we were close to being finished so I just overlooked it.

- - - Updated - - -

The added weight must affect range slightly. The drain on the 12v battery must be greater. And there's NO way in hell I'm letting anybody take apart my brand new car like that. I'll suffer through the standard system.

However, your pictures and story are invaluable and I truly appreciate your documenting all of this so well.

Since I've already taken apart many components of my 3 month old car I was happy to to have a pro do all of this:)
 

pnlyee

Member
Jan 29, 2013
27
21
Southern Calif
Just had Reus system installed at their Orange, CA facility. Sound has improved significantly over Studio System. The imaging is much better. The bass and midrange also showed improvement but not as much as the imaging. Overall, the sound is quite good even though it does not rival my high end home system. I am very happy with the system since it retains all of the factory hardware and software. It is probably possible to get a better sounding system, but major alterations to the car would have been necessary which I was not willing to do.
 

bareyb

Active Member
Sep 2, 2013
1,137
46
Silicon Valley, CA
I'm intrigued... Can anyone post a link to the actual purchase options for Tesla's? What brand speakers do they use? What Amps? Does everything install in the stock locations?
 

nrcooled

P#8946 VIN 03225
May 22, 2012
575
33
NoVA
artsci - I would love to meet up with you to hear your system to verify that my non-audiophile ears can tell the difference.

You have a PM good sir!
 

pnlyee

Member
Jan 29, 2013
27
21
Southern Calif
I'm intrigued... Can anyone post a link to the actual purchase options for Tesla's? What brand speakers do they use? What Amps? Does everything install in the stock locations?

I am assuming you are referring to the Reus System components. When I inquired about the component manufacturers, Reus noted all of their components were custom made by various companies in the far east to their specs. My guess is they buy from the small firms who actually assemble the components since they noted they do their own quality control at their Orange, CA facility when they check things like polarity and frequency response.

The center channel is mounted with the rear view mirror, the tweeters in front retain their stock location, the subwoofer goes in the footwell for the third row, and the amp goes in the storage area for the charging cable.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,279
153
Nevada
Tesla should work with them on a factory approved upgrade (done at factory before leaving). Tesla would get a cut, Rues would get more business.
 

texex91

Banned
Aug 21, 2013
1,581
5
hell
Tesla should work with them on a factory approved upgrade (done at factory before leaving). Tesla would get a cut, Rues would get more business.

Or partner with a full on manufacturer (Bose, B&O, etc) that can really help in design and product, and then offer it as an option and keep even more profit.

System A - $1200
System B - $2500
System C - $4000

Good, better, best always works. They need to do something in the audio dept for sure.
 

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