Pack Sound Studio

Can anybody comment on the difference between the "standard" sound package vs. the sound studio package upgrade for $950?

I can't tell you the difference since I haven't ever been in a car with the standard one, but I am happy with the sound studio package. Note that if you care about XM you need it.

I have the upgraded sound. To my ears it is quite mediocre. My Prius JBL system was better.

My standard sound package is better than the premium sound package in my, admittedly older, BMW 540i (2000).

I've heard both in the showroom. The sound studio has much better bass. I wish I ordered the sound studio after hearing it.

I completely disagree that the upgraded sound system is mediocre. It's extremely clean and crisp. As others have mentioned - it's far better than many luxury brand premium sound packages.

I was at Tesla Menlo Park last weekend to configure my car. I also asked the same question and the Tesla rep said standard system does not have a subwoofer meaning no bass. Once I heard that, I spent the $950.

My wife didn't want it.. hope that wasn't a mistake. Didn't realize that you couldn't get XM without the upgraded sound - but I guess with internal storage/bluetooth/etc it won't be such a big deal.

You can always add a subwoofer and XM aftermarket. I debated getting the standard stereo (without actually hearing either), but ultimately decided to go with the sound studio just for simplicity. I will be adding the aftermarket sub though, because I already have it.

How would you add XM aftermarket? I know you can plug a portable XM receiver into one of the inputs, but what would you use for an antenna? The antenna on portable/handheld XM receivers are pretty poor, especially when used in a car.

I disagree that the upgrade sound is mediocre -- I was listening to an acoustical guitar track the other day, and it really felt like the artist was sitting in the car with me. That plus the fact that the car is so much quieter than a typical ICE, so you can enjoy the dynamic range in the music much better.

For the upgraded package - does the subwoofer take up much space at all? Is it in the trunk or in the frunk? It'd be pretty interesting to hear the boom from the front and not the back. If it was an ICE car, you'd think the engine's busted, lol.

@gcylam - I haven't tried to find it, and since bass is omnidirectional I haven't noticed a particular location where it is coming from. But it certainly isn't something that sticks out.

If walking up to a car where it is not known if it has the upgraded sound, is there an easy way to tell visually (i.e. where the additional speakers can be seen in the car for the upgraded sound package)? Just curious. Want to ensure I have the correct package actually installed. I know one can check for XM in the music selections, but would like to confirm both in the software and hardware.

Right rear. Diagonal opposite corner to driver.

You guys also need to take into account that speakers do have a break-in period of a few hundred hours before they start to sound their best. So, depending on how long you've had your car, give it a bit before passing final judgement.

Geek EV;
Well spoke! Er, I mean speaked. -- Well speakered. ;)

I just got a chance to test drive in DC, and their car had the standard stereo. I had previously heard the upgraded stereo in the display cars in the Scottsdale store. I noticed a significant difference and am glad I went with the upgrade when I configured.

If you aren't really particular about music, I'm sure you would be fine with the basic stereo. It gets fairly loud, but the balance of tones is not there. Minimal bass, so no richness. Surprisingly, it didn't sound any better to me than my basic stereo in my 1999 Honda. I've been content with that for years, but was ready to upgrade. I really enjoy music and want it to sound full and as intended by the artist, so I'm glad I dropped some extra money on the upgrade.

Wish I would have gotten the upgraded sound package. The standard is clear, and it can be lound, but it's sound is a little thin. No booty bass.

Brain is correct, the sub is in the right rear, it’s integrated inside the well & you cannot see it.
My big gripe is that the sub is not on a dedicated amp, s/b for $950.

I don’t see how you’re going to add aftermarket with everything driven by the touch screen.

Sound package has an extra strip of speakers at the bottom of the hatch glass.

There are ways. You can splice into one of the speakers and use a line level converter to RCA input for an amp, which is the easiest way IMO. No way to know for sure, but I would imagine the touchscreen has inputs for the XM module even on the standard version. This is how it's been on all of my previous cars, being wired for options even when you don't order them.

If I can get through the frunk "fire wall", I'm going to put the amp and capacitor in the frunk, and wire the sub back to the rear hatch. My installs were always half a@#$%@% so I pay someone these days.


Check out this great speaker diagram showing explicitly the difference between standard sound and studio option:

Also on TMC is huge thread debating the differences and optimum settings:

@Amped - It's possible (probable?) that the head unit does have a dedicated amp for the woofer. Or do you think/know it's being driven off the speaker-level outputs from the other channels? That would be kinda lame...

In a meet-up of MS owners I was able listen to slaker playing acoustic jazz in my MS with the standard sound system, and another MS with the premium package. I thought the standard system sounded just as good, even the bass. I didn't listen to other styles of music and it was at a volume of about 6. I imagine if you like to turn it up or have different tastes in music, you might come to a different conclusion.

Everybody needs to be aware how important good the source material is.
As a perfect example I think xm sound quality is crap because its way too compressed.

I have the JBL package in my Prius and I listen to mediocre sound of XM almost all of the time and get used to it.
Once in a while I will throw in a CD and am floored by the difference. It sounds like a Mark Levinson audio system and blows me away. I know I'm fooling myself its only "Junkie But Loud"

So as long as you have high bit rate MP3's on a thumb drive I think either package will sound decent. I haven't heard slacker long enough to hear how good the bandwidth is.

Just my .02

Pardon my first attempt at posting images.


1st is standard sound system; 2nd is studio sound system.

Source for images: KenEE at TMC,

The sub should be a 12 inch, a 7.9 is not a sub in my book!

@nnt - it is good to know your "expertise" extends into amps as speakers as well as door pockets and cup holders.

Many people making speakers will be glad to know they can just put out whatever crap they like and it won't matter if you use a good amp.

@nnt - There may not be on high end speakers like one would typically use with a MacIntosh, but there sure is with others. I've heard the difference myself. And I've seen it mentioned many times in my Home Theater magazine as well. It may even be there with high end speakers too, but that they're pre-broken in at the factory. Tires need breaking in before you get the best mileage/range of of them. Engines need breaking in too, why wouldn't speakers? If the speakers you've heard didn't need breaking in, then my money's on them already being broken in. But hey, everyone's free to believe what they want...

@Chuck - I think ~8" is pretty typically for stock systems. A 12" is huge. You'd definitely notice that.

@Geek, Stone S. a TM HQ product specialist only confirmed that it's a single amp system.

I read somewhere that they make speakers in house.