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Subwoofer Installation in Model S

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by supratachophobia, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I know there are a lot of varying opinions on here regarding the level of sound quality in the Model S (perceived or otherwise). The two popular upgrade routes I've seen are as follows. There is the premium sound option from Tesla that adds additional speakers, one of which an 8" sub ($3K now maybe?). Then I know that others on here have turned to Reus for a complete audio package (I've seen that price in the $2500-$5000 range). Absolutely no offense to those who went either of those two routes, but they weren't for me. I just needed a professional subwoofer addition to compliment the existing basic audio system.

    While I was slightly impressed with the 10" pre-loaded box from NVX, I was not impressed with the $700 price tag for the sub/enclosure alone. I do have moderate experience in car audio, both wiring and custom enclosures. So on that vein, I set out to design something that could meet my needs at a reasonable cost.

    Teslatap.com has a superb and what I would consider a definitive installation guide on adding a subwoofer to the Model S. Using that as a starting point, I set out to create a custom enclosure made of fiberglass and MDF that fit in the passenger side fender alcove. Then loaded that with a 2ohm JL Audio 10W1v3-2 10" sub and powered it with the 300watt NVX MVPA1. I took the Teslatap.com guide to AAP here in Columbus and worked with them to help me bring it all together by having them do did the actual wiring and amp install, while I installed the enclosure afterwards. The result is something I would consider well worth the time and effort. Materials and installation came in under $600 total, although I did not put a dollar amount on my time to fabricate the enclosure (4-6hrs max).

    My source material is primarily 320kbps MP3 files with a smattered mix of slightly lower bitrate material along side lossless FLAC files. No radio, internet or otherwise, ever. Bottom line, everything sounds better at every volume. Slight tweaking can still be had from the limited bass-band equalizer when necessary. And even at 10", with the trunk area opening into the passenger space, the sub can hit very hard when needed. It's not going to win any competitions but it is going to make all my music sound very good.

    If you are in the area, I'd be happy to demo it for you. Otherwise, check out the end results in terrible camera-phone quality. I also was toying with adding a cloth cover to the front for discretion and protection. Comments are welcome, although I like the cover even though I can still see the seam.

    IMG_20141027_220043.jpg IMG_20141027_220151.jpg IMG_20141031_015847.jpg IMG_20141031_015858.jpg
     
  2. Sacrament055

    Sacrament055 Member

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    That's really cool, I have the standard audio and I'm happy with the sound other than the lack of bass. I've tried turning up the bass in the EQ and it helps but still lacks that deep bass. Your implementation looks great by the way, I'd love to add something like that and the price you quoted is great too.
     
  3. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    I love JL. Built several basic boxes in the past on previous vehicles and wired everything up myself. Biggest one being 3 12w6's wired up to a 1500watt amp. Never did anything with fiberglass enclosures though, which is probably the sole reason I have yet to do exactly what you've done bc I haven't taken the time to read how to make an fiberglass enclosure. I have been looking at some of JL's newest subs and D class amps for adding a 10" or 12" JL to the existing system....one of these days I think I'll bite the bullet and do it.
     
  4. Tacket

    Tacket Member

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    I just installed a 10" Fosgate sub in the space under the trunk and it sounds great! Got a remote volume knob installed under the shelf under the touch screen (not visible).

    0997d9fb364aecf1a5d4e250987a20f0.jpg

    Total probably ran me $460 and hits plenty hard. Had wiring installed by Sound Advice in Everett WA.
     
  5. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    That is a great spot for an enclosure. And I would have definitely considered going that route had i not had the rear child seats to contend with. As far as the fiber glass build goes, I lined that area, filled it with expanding foam, and then fiberglassed over that form outside of the car. Throw an MDF front that is cut to the shape and had a recessed cutout for the sub and you are done.
     
  6. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I think the largest speakers in that car are 6x9, so even with the bass cranked, you'd be missing a lot of good low end. If the nvx option is in your price range, I think that's a great route. I would imagine since it's twice the wattage, it would sound even louder, but at that point, it could be too much. I know, I know, how can you have too much bass....

    - - - Updated - - -

    That nvx amp was just so ridiculously hard to beat for the size, draw, and power. They installed it or that guide, right where the factory amp would be for the premium audio system.
     
  7. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Like you, I was looking at the pre-fab NVX enclosure but did the mental cost calculation for the enclosure alone and balked. I'm comfortable building a fiberglass enclosure that is contoured to the back panel and installing the sub. My question is whether there's any type of baffling or internal construction that would best bring out the bass. Is it simply building the right sized box and screwing in the woofer or is there more art involved?
     
  8. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I wish I could say it was really complicated so I could look good, but honestly, the information is all at your fingertips. JL, just like every other sub manufacturer, has reference specs for enclosure volume and even dimensions if you want to build just a square box. They list the proper volume for that sub at a certain resonance and if you build it with that size in mind (shape within reason), it will pretty much sound the way they intended it. That cavity was basically perfect as far as volume goes for that specific sub I used. And I was able to shave off what little extra there was when I was making the front flush for the MDF cutout. There are tricks that I'm familiar with where you can put in batting or insulation within the box to change the sound characteristics if you were unable to control the physical volume, but that was unnecessary in this case.

    With regards to sealed, ported, and bandpass; at this point in my life, I feel like sealed is the way to go. It gives tighter bass as opposed to ported. Bandpass requires something like 25% more volume but kinda gives you the best of both worlds. I wasn't really looking for that hard hitting booming sound (although it will hit hard when turned up).

    If you are already familiar with fiber, I'd say give it a shot because the costs/benefits were well worth it in my opinion, especially when compared to the other options out there. If I still had the foam form, I'd send it to you. That particular shape didn't really need any reinforcement on the inside. You can probably thank the MDF for that I would have been more concerned if the front had needed to be contoured and therefore required fiberglassed. I did make sure to do four layers of fiberglass though and then used a lot of resin on the inside seam to attach the MDF to the form.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, and one more thing. If anyone attempts this, I had a little crisis of ownership. I had trouble finding the perfect carpet so I hit up Walmart on a whim. They had a role of automotive carpet for $6 that ended up matching the interior perfectly (way better than even the NVX box I mentioned above).

    I had this moment where I was like, "Sweet, I found the perfect carpet at Walmart." And then I had this moment, "Crap, I found the perfect carpet at Walmart.... for my luxury automobile.".
     
  9. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    To anyone here installed a subwoofer themselves, how did you get your input for the subamp? Did you (1) take it off of one or both of the rears at a speaker level, (2) take it speaker level off at the dash unit, (3) take it off at preamp level at the dash or other? This is the only thing holding me up on doing this kind of upgrade.
     
  10. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    i haven't done it yet, but you'd need something like this: LC2i 2ch Line Out Converter with AccuBASS(tm) and Subwoofer Control
    which accepts speaker-level signals and converts them to high-quality pre-amp signals. note: for the non-sound studio (non-ultra high fidelity systems) you get these from the speaker lines in the doors I think, but if you already have the OEM upgraded stereo, you get them from the output of the amp. NVX has a diagram of it:

    MC_871_Tesla_S_audio_system_Map_091214.jpg
     
  11. Tacket

    Tacket Member

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    Are you guys doing anything to dampen the vibrations in the rear deck trim? Mine seems to rattle some (VIN 13k). I was thinking maybe dynamat or some sort of fill back there.
     
  12. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Thanks, this was all really helpful. Especially the Walmart piece because I was going to ask about the nice match :)
     
  13. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Full disclosure, there was a slight rattle in the hatchback plastic trim by the rear window. It went away when I put the rear sunshade in, presumably because it slid into that small gap between the plastic and the glass. I will keep an eye on it and install dynamat or something similar if it ends up being really bad. Although at that volume, I had it cranked up to 11 (you know, one higher than 10) and even my eyeballs were rattling at that point.
     
  14. JayBoy

    JayBoy Member

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    I also designed an mdf enclosure for that very JL sub. Powered by the JL 300 watt amp. I used their metal grill. Looks pretty good. TeslaSub.jpg
     
  15. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    For those that already installed aftermarket amps, did you get your power directly from the battery terminal or did you fuse it in one of the fuse boxes ?
     
  16. Bun707

    Bun707 Member

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    JayBoy... do you have a sketch of that enclosure you made? It looks really nice. I've never built a sub enclosure and don't feel like paying the price for that NVX one. Is your essentially a board to make the face then a square box on the back? What thickness MDF do you recommend?
     
  17. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    I would assume the face is MDF and the rest is custom layers of fiberglass.
     
  18. JayBoy

    JayBoy Member

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    Bun707, my design is a complete box of 3/8" mdf.
    The front facia is a separate piece. The box has no right angles in order to fit.
    I'll try to post a video of the box later
     
  19. JayBoy

    JayBoy Member

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    I just uploaded a video to youtube called "jayboys Tesla sub box"
     
  20. Bun707

    Bun707 Member

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    Hey thanks for that... appreciate you uploading the video. No right angles must have took a bunch of measuring. Any tips?

    Where did you find the matching carpet? I saw another post that said they found stuff that matched really well at Walmart of all places.
     

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