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Ultra High Fidelity - probably only worth it when listening to USB FLAC or good mp3s?

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by bhzmark, Feb 22, 2015.

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  1. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    In researching whether the Ultra High Fidelity upgrade is worth getting, it seems that there are a lot of people that say that they couldn't tell the difference. They didn't give any details of how they compared though and, importantly what their source material is.

    I couldn't find any person that said that they compared with good source material -- i.e., a USB drive serving FLAC files or high rate mp3 files.

    I suspect that if your source material is simply Slacker, Tunein, or bluetooth (or god forbid, the terrible satellite radio music which I find unlistenable) then the Ultra Hi-Fi can't do much with such limited source material.

    But better audio files served through USB is where the differences should be most apparent.

    Has anyone compared the Ultra Hi Fi with really good source material from the USB input?

    If you only ever listen to bluetooth or slacker, I suspect the Ultra HiFi wouldn't be able to offer any benefit with those sources.
     
  2. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    UHF makes a huge difference even for Slacker audio.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    What you hear is highly dependent upon the source material. The Tesla system will let you hear all the flaws in the music. Even USB lossless doesn't make up for a poor original recording (and there are many). I can tell the difference, and my hearing ability isn't so great anymore.
     
  4. commasign

    commasign Active Member

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    Agree, the XM is unlistenable. Slacker is 128kbps which is pretty good. There are tons of threads where people argue the merits of the UHFS but I happen to be one of the ones that thinks it's a good sound system and I have no regrets paying the premium.
     
  5. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    Which Tesla system?

    I'm looking for info on standard Tesla audio vs. UHF. It's a premise of my OP that the source material (either the recording itself, or more likely the media of the recording) is important.

    The question is, has anyone tested the UHF vs standard audio with good source material and either found the UHF a big improvement, or not much of a difference?

    There are a lot of people in various threads saying something like "I listened to the UHF on my loaner/test drive/whatever and I couldn't tell much of a difference -- it isn't worth it."

    But I suspect that they are only listening to a crappy streaming service or satellite which will sound bad on any system so it isn't a comparison that will reveal the full benefits of the UHF.
     
  6. redox

    redox Member

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    I have. I did find a difference, but not worth the extra cost (to me), especially because for my use case, music is going to be streamed most of the time and/or I will have a baby in the back and will have to listen to it at fairly low volume.

    At the end of the day it's whether it matters to you (nobody else has your ears and tolerance), so go to a store with a USB stick and some of your favorite FLACs and do a side by side test (that's what I did), and decide if the premium ($$) is worth it to you.

    -- Greg
     
  7. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    Just my opinion but if you want good sound, you absolutely need the UHF system. It adds a subwoofer and additional speakers (can't remember which ones). All music will sound better than the standard system.

    That said, it's not ultra high fidelity. I used Reus Systems who upgraded the front pillar speakers and added two subs to the back. Major improvement...
     
  8. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    I did the same too. I took a USB and tried each system back-to-back. The UHFS was definitely better. FYI--I used a FLAC version of the MFSL version of Dark Side of the Moon.
     
  9. Damiano

    Damiano Member

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    Before buying I test listened both and the UHFS was better, even with slacker at 128kbps. I will note that the Dolby implementation is bad, so I usually turn that off. For talk radio, it doesn't matter a lot. But for music, I usually use Rdio app on the phone, set to 320kbps and the sound is excellent with the UHFS.
     
  10. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    Agreed 100%. There are a number of threads about optimizing the sound of the stock UHF system.. Basically, turn Dolby off, Bass up a little, mid down a little and treble up a little. But the key was moving the fader back to -7 or so to get more balanced sound. Until I upgraded my system, those tweaks made a big difference in the overall presence and sound of the system across all music sources.
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    When I purchased mine it was called the Sound Studio. At the time it added extra speakers and a subwoofer (It was also $990). I've listened to others on loaner cars, but I didn't have the thumb drive with the lossless music, so it sounded pretty bad just as you say. No doubt the Reus system would sound even better than mine, but there's a big difference between $990 and $4500.

    I should say that at car shows I get lots of complements on the music and how it sounds. The Sound Studio appears to be especially good on Classical music such as Haydn, or maybe Classical recordings are just better quality. Also, if the only thing you like to hear is the bass, you won't like any Tesla sound system as they don't overemphasis bass the way many audio systems do.
     
  12. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    Thanks to those who understood the OP and reported on a comparison between the two sound systems using quality source material. It is good to know the difference is even apparent with 128kbps streaming Slacker.

    What streaming app works best at the higher kbps rate? I think I read that Rhapsody was really good and better than the others?
     
  13. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Going from a two year old car with the "Sound Studio" upgrade to a new car with the "UHF" upgrade, I will say they've made considerable changes in the system. Now, bass is significantly more powerful, to the point of being over emphasized to my ear. I now need to dial it down slightly in the EQ. On the flip side, I feel the sound stage is not as good anymore - it's not as open as before, sounds artificial and constrained. Like they went from a class A/B amp to a class D amp.

    I've had loaners with the stock audio and thought it sounded rather "blah" even with 128k Slacker content compared to the upgraded sound systems on both of my cars.
     
  14. WeazL

    WeazL Moderator - Hawaii

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    I have UHF in my MS and have driven loaners without it. Definitely worth it to me if you enjoy a "quality" audio experience. I've driven a Maybach, Mercedes S600, S550, BMW 5 series and more; IMHO, the MS audio with UHF is far superior to all--hands down. As a former music teacher, in my professional opinion, the MS audio experience is very enjoyable and worth it.

    A good starting point for an awesome acoustical experience is to set your audio EQ like a pyramid. The bass is the foundation (higher). The highs are the peak (least). Something like: Bass +4, Mid +2, High +0 Too much bass is muddy. The MS 8" subwoofer creates a lot of bass when needed. I enjoy most music with the Dolby filter ON...but not for all songs. Some people don't like the Dolby filter--it's a personal preference.

    Lastly, I love the FLAC quality. The audio clarity and depth is awesome! Slacker sounds terrific. HD radio is good too--regular radio seems dismal in comparison though.

    Aloha--good luck!

    WeazL
     
  15. rtz

    rtz Member

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  16. AndreyATC

    AndreyATC Member

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    Interesting...
    I traded in my 2013 Audi S6 with B&O system
    I was pleasantly surprised that the Tesla's system didn't feel like downgrade
    Very happy with it
    It's definitely a bargain
     
  17. gzerninplatz

    gzerninplatz Member

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    Early Adopter - I've read (and experienced) that the sound stage issue you describe is, in fact, intentional! They configured the system to sound like a live show, with almost all of the sound from the front. You can make a huge improvement in sound distribution by cranking the fader about -9 to the rear, which "activates" all of the rear speakers.....
     
  18. KurtR

    KurtR Member

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    I have yet to take delivery (late April) but prior to placing my deposit I compared standard to UHF sound using uncompressed .wav files of both Classical and Classic Rock tracks, and heard a clear difference. There was one song in particular that on standard car audio tends to get muddy on a slide guitar out of the left channel, but the UHF system handled that admirably. Classical tracks sounded wonderful on the UHF system. Bass is a little tricky. UHF has stronger bass (a little too strong sometimes). While the UHF almost always had better staging overall when not using the canned Dolby, I think the Dolby did distribute bass better to make it less of a pounding (which is good). Too often you hear directionality from the bass when it should seem to come from all around you.
     
  19. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    It's actually the sound stage from the the front I'm commenting on. I feel that the older Sound Studio front sound stage was considerably more open, clear, and holographic than the UHF front sound stage. It really sounds like they changed the amp (or perhaps the opamps on the line level output on the center console motherboard).
     
  20. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    I wouldn't have ordered mine without the upgraded sound system. I don't care what your source is, it sounds better. It's a cheap upgrade for such an integral aspect of your ownership experience.
     

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