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New sound system

The old sound system had 11 speakers, this new one costs $1550 more and has 12; I was getting the system either way, but any thoughts from the audiophiles out there on the new design?

The last speaker added costs $1550. It is gold plated.

My point was not that one more speaker is a lot more, but rather this likely means they've re-designed the entire sound system, and if that's the case, I can't wait to hear people's opinions on the new design.

There were mixed reviews on the old design, though I thought it sounded quite good the one time I heard it. Wonder if the new design is much improved...

What I find interesting is all the talk about the highly customized digital signal processing developed with help from record producers, etc., etc. I wonder if they can apply some of what they've learned and developed to the older Sound Studio package with a software update. OK, let me rephrase that, I'm sure they CAN, but WILL they?

Go to the showroom and check it out. The "old" premium sound system will sound like you have no subwoofer and only front speakers with the fader and balance set to even. For the extra $1500, they better have done more than just add a 12th speaker. My guess would be they did since there were a lot of complaints about the sound system. I saw a Tesla sales rep at a farmers' market last week and she told me I should come to the store this week because they might have something new to see. I never made it but will go next week and see if they have one with premium sound and if I can notice a dramatic difference.

I have the "old" studio sound pkg and while it's not quite as good as the $3,500 Logic 7 system I had in my BMW, it is pretty good. No complaints here.

Was XM satellite radio part of the old studio sound package?

I didn't realize they added a speaker. That's certainly worth $1550!

The new "Ultra fidelity sound system" for an extra $2500 is the same "sound studio" system as before... just a major price hike. This according to my local rep at the gallery in Scottsdale.

The Sr. DS who spoke with me today said that the new sound package is the same as the old sound package. Maybe she is mistaken, this is all pretty early, but just sharing.

I believe XM was part of the upgraded sound. I only listen to music and I prefer Slacker's music offerings to XM (especially the ability to skip tracks) so I never got an XM subscription.

The "old" Studio Sound package also had 12 speakers if you include the subwoofer. It would appear that Tesla is just including the subwoofer in the total speaker count now versus not doing that previously?

According to a post circa 2011, here is the description of the original upgraded sound system, also know as the "Sound Studio" . Seems to have the same number of speakers, wattage...

If you seriously care about the quality of the sound in your car, then you’ll be happy to know that while the Model S already comes with a 200-watt 7-speaker stereo system that include AM/FM and even HD radio, as well as dual USB ports and storage for up to 500 songs, you can upgrade beyond that. For an additional $950, you can add on the “Sound Studio Package.” This package improves the quality of the sound with a 580-watt 12-speaker Dolby ProLogic 7.1 system. It even offers 16GB of storage for up to 3000 songs. If you are buying a Signature Model S, this is included as standard feature. Is the price worth it? We’ll have to hear for ourselves and determine that later, but I’m guessing that it will sound great.

Sorry minion...was a tongue-in-cheek response....

I would be kind of surprised if they didn't do an overhaul, especially given all the complaints about the old sound system...

No offense taken Tommy, if they haven't made any changes at all then I'm gonna want the new one to have a gold sub dammit:D

$950 was a fair price for the Studio Sound package. It's pretty good, not great - all well documented. I'm happy with what I got for the price.

I would have been really pissed off if I paid $2500 for it though. Think $1500 would have been more in order if a price increase was necessary.

I hope they made a complete redesign and upgrade for that price. I agree that the old price is closer to fair, but I would be really mad if I paid $2500 for what I got in the Sound Studio package--especially because they have still not activated the advertise hard drive feature etc. Also Dolby messes up most music because it only works with specifically encoded audio---more appropriate for a home theater and movie tracks than the audio on your phone or a USB stick. Slacker and FM are not Dolby encoded either, so the Dolby feature remains off most of the time to preserve rear channel sound and bass. I'm sure Tesla paid huge licensing fees for the Dolby usage; it would be smart if they dropped it.

I hope the newer owners who take delivery with the new system get their money's worth if they opt for the upgrade. If it is actually the same system as my Sound Studio, $2500 is highway robbery. Get the standard stereo and then pay a professional to do a custom upgrade.

my 2 cents


I leave my Dolby feature turned on all the time and use Slacker 99% of the time and when I compare Dolby on/off, on sounds better to me. Not a huge difference, but it does sound like the cabin is "bigger", like listening in a theatre.

Gold is so soft a speaker made of it would twist itself into a pretzel. Bad idea.

I was told it's the same of the previous Sound Studio Package. They re-evaluated and realized it was priced too low.

@Dripps Ditto.

I believe it is the same studio sound package. Although I'm glad I order mine and picked it up my vehicle a few months back, I shake my head on how every option that was included is now added costs for new buyers.

I can't imagine paying an extra $650 for interior décor, $500 for interior lights, +$1550 for studio sound, +$1000 for glass roof, and $1500 for wrap around leather on the front dash and doors when it was all included with various options at a lower price in the past.

Finally, I'm still disappointed that they have no ETA to enable on-board music storage as part of studio package. Talk about marketing bait and switch.

IIRC, they were calling it 11.1 speakers before. So, yeah, I agree it's the same number of speakers, they're just including the subwoofer now in the count because 11.1 probably confuses people not into home theater terminology. Also, the previous comments about Dolby Surround only working on specially encoded material is flat out wrong. Volkerize some of my previous comments about Dolby Pro Logic.

@ GeekEV I Volkerized and re-read some of your postings on the topic and both you and AmpedRealtor agreed with what I said about Dolby, so what made you change your mind?

"GeekEV | JULY 8, 2013

@AmpedRealtor - I wish we could get clarification from Tesla, but when they say Dolby Surround, I always assumed they mean Dolby ProLogic II. As you say, Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 makes no sense in a car withough special encoded sources. With ProLogic II, it will extrapolate surround channels from ordinary stereo material. HOWEVER, there are two modes "movie" and "music". If you use movie mode with music, it will sound center heavy. Music mode, however, usually works great and creates a broader sound stage. Initially this did not work so well in my car, but two or three software updates ago it improved tremendously - at least with Slacker.

@everyone - I wouldn't call myself an "audiophile" either, but I am a home theater aficionado with more than my fair share of knowledge about what makes for good sound. I've not had any high-end cars before, but the Sound Studio package in my Model S is hands down the best of any car I've had. Is there better out there? I'm sure there is, but it would cost you more than the $1,000 package cost to do much better. Even my brother, who does car audio for a living, was quite impressed with the system."

It is also the explanation that I got from Tesla directly. Subjectively, having Dolby on greatly reduces the level of sound coming from the rear speakers and subwoofer for most tracks (sometimes down to nothing). Service evaluated it and said it is performing as designed. Unless you have Dolby 7.1 encoded music tracks, they said you should not have Dolby turned on. That was their final answer.

I make no claims to know the ins & outs of Dolby or other encoding, but I know when Dolby's on, my music including Slacker sounds hallow with no rich lows, and almost all volume is coming from the front & doors. If you or anyone has a different answer than service based on objective facts, I'm definitely open to it. Service has been wrong before and I found real solutions here on the forums.

let me know

@EclecticCitizen - Changed my mind? From my original posts where I said it wasn't working well and sounded front heavy? At the time I posted those, it was true. But the answer to what changed my mind is there in the later post you quoted: "initially this did not work so well in my car, but two or three software updates ago it improved tremendously - at least with Slacker."

> Subjectively, having Dolby on greatly reduces the level of sound coming from the rear speakers and subwoofer for most tracks (sometimes down to nothing). Service evaluated it and said it is performing as designed.

For the rear speakers, that's true. That's the way Dolby ProLogic music mode works, it is designed to simulate a concert experience, in which most of the sound stage is in front of you. The rear speakers are for ambiance effects only. But it should not reduce the subwoofer and most certainly does not on my car. It's pretty bumpin'...

> Unless you have Dolby 7.1 encoded music tracks, they said you should not have Dolby turned on.

I think they're just plain mistaken about that. How many of the service people are audio specialists? I think they're making the same assumptions that many people on the forums are making which is that when they hear "Dolby" it's usually in reference to Dolby 5.1 or Dolby 7.1 soundtracks on their DVDs...

I'll email ownership and try to get a definitive answer about that.

I'm sure it's the same system as what was released with the original Signature MS's.

I have found that if you boost the three-band EQ up to almost the highest levels, and play mostly only USB sourced mp4 and or Slacker music, the system really ROCKS! It also really helps if you own the parcel shelf, and some Luxe Lloyds car mats, as they help tighten the EQ a bit more, and absorbe some of the reflection.

The 8" sub has problems handling some super-low bass sounds, thus it's not the best system for Hip-Hop / Rap music. However, most pop, rock, country, techno, jazz, classical, etc really has a full sound quality with the Dolby turned on.

Yes, it could be better, however, I am happy with it, and if I am ever concerned someone can't hear my MS, I just turn up to 9 or 10, and trust me, only a deaf person won't notice you.

Alright everyone, I've asked some very clear specific questions about the Dolby Surround features to ownership and here's the definitive answers from Tesla. Specifically, see the last question and answer. Perhaps that accounts for much of the confusion here.

Q: Both the car and website simply reference "Dolby Surround". Specifically, what Dolby mode(s) are implemented? Dolby Digital? Dolby TruHD? Dolby ProLogic? Dolby ProLogic II? Dolby ProLogic IIx?

A: Model S with the Ultra High Fidelity Sound package features Dolby ProLogic IIx.

Q: If one of the Dolby ProLogic II types, do you implement the Movie or Music mode?

A: Model S uses Music mode as a bases, but [our] ProLogic IIx is specifically tuned to Model S. In fact, we have different tuning with or without the panoramic roof.

Q: Some people are asserting that they've been told by service that they need specifically encoded multi-channel audio sources in Dolby Digital 7.1 and that the Dolby Surround ON setting is only useful in those scenarios. Is that true?

A: This is not true. The purpose of ProLogic IIx is to convert 2 channel sources into multichannel sources. There is no need for the customer to provide multichannel media. That said, Dolby is not available with AM, FM, or XM sources, which is displayed in the vehicle.

One more Q&A:

Q: Aside from a name (and price!) change, is there any difference between the old Sound Studio package and the new Ultra High Fidelity Sound package?

A: There is no functional difference. We’ve modified the price to reflect current costs of manufacturing and cost of goods. Also we’ve re-designed the package description to better reflect value. Prior to the new options, the sound system was underpriced.

Wow, if it's Pro IIx then something is seriously wrong.
It sounds better when Off
I'm on the current update and it hasn't gotten any better since Apr delivery.

I passed on it. I absolutely hate Sirius/XM. They screwed me so badly a few years ago on a renewal that I vowed never again to use them. I did like Howard Stern but all of the music was repetitive and not close to what you can get today with Pandora, TunIn, iHeartRadio, etc. And now Stern is only on like every other Monday for 4 hours with commericals (remember those days? Sirius - you'll never listen to a commercial again!) every ten minutes. In other words, I don't care about XM.

That leaves 380 watts and 5 speakers for a $2500 premium. I did not like the Sound Studio package in my two test drives and I just couldn't justify it for my purchase. When I heard that Tesla was making their own in-house speakers that was the last straw.

I've actually never heard the base stereo but then again, I'm not paying for it. If I don't like it I have a shop here in LA that can upgrade the hell out of it for under $3K with some real subs and name-brand speakers and amps. We'll see, maybe I'll just listen to TuneIn and my old San Jose talk radio stations!

@Amped - Maybe there is something wrong with your car. I believe it's entirely possible that there are some cars out that there just don't sound right. Mine didn't either at first but a software update took care of it. I'd imagine there's a separate DSP chip that gets flashed with decoding logic and perhaps during your update that flashing didn't take properly. I'd take it to service and have them check it out with you. Maybe they can fix it.

> When I heard that Tesla was making their own in-house speakers that was the last straw.

@TommyBoy - That's also a myth that's been swimming around here. Tesla does NOT make the speakers themselves. Those are purchased as OEMs from another manufacturer. What they DO, however, is assemble their own enclosures and speaker baskets to fit the car's design and weight requirements, etc., which is not an uncommon thing to do. I think the myth about them making their own speakers started from someone on a factory tour who saw them assembling the speakers and posted that he saw them "making their own speakers". I asked about this specifically when I took delivery of my car and that's what I was told. But email Tesla yourself and ask...