Tesla Model 3 Audio System Review

In this Tesla Model 3 audio system review I cover Slacker, TuneIn, Spotify, Apple Music, and other different methods of getting audio into the car. The sound system is … in a word … amazing, but it all comes down to sources you’re using. Aside from HD FM, which is better, the built in Slacker Radio streaming service, your phone over bluetooth, or plugging in a USB thumb drive full of MP3s?

Important Update: According to the Tesla user manual, you can activate higher bitrate Slacker in the Model 3, but the instructions on how to do so are incorrect/outdated. There is a lot of debate on Tesla forums on the actual bitrates available. I’ve contacted Tesla for more information and will update as soon as I have it. In the meantime, I’d recommend holding off on paying for Slacker Premium for higher bitrates.

If you’d like to read more on the different audio technologies discussed in the video: https://www.androidauthority.com/audio-file-formats-explained-and-where-to-get-them-710521/

Full script and references can be found here: https://undecidedmf.com/episodes/2018/11/19/tesla-model-3-audio-system-review

USB Hub for Tesla Model 3:
https://amzn.to/2KqskIV

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Audio playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHttlFRL8Hk&list=PLnTSM-ORSgi4y7YMxsy8JjCEv2ZTu_zox

EVs & Tesla playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKbio1j1tOw&list=PLnTSM-ORSgi6aucz34W9NlAzGrnz681lI

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Gear I use:
Sony A6500
https://amzn.to/2NhjU6I

ANDYCINE A6 5.7Inch 1920×1080 IPS DSLR HDMI Field Video Monitor
https://amzn.to/2NhkYre

Sony SEL1670Z Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS
https://amzn.to/2NUMR9s

Rode RodeLink FM Wireless Filmmaker System
https://amzn.to/2upSuV9

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone
https://amzn.to/2NhPLEb

YONGNUO YN600 Air LED Camera Video Light
https://amzn.to/2uBYb1w

ESDDI LED Video Light
https://amzn.to/2uBXntr

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Audio file(s) provided by Epidemic Sound
http://www.epidemicsound.com/

Comments

Thomas Huynh says:

I can hear the difference when i stream spotify through bluetooth and slacker by playing the same song :(

DFKnightmare says:

No way its 64kbs, I can hear the difference between 128 and 192 on lesser systems…and anything under 128 is TOTAL GARBAGE, 128 is barely passable…..slacker on the model 3 does NOT sound like total garage, def not 64kbs….thinking 192 or close to it….on my Spotify however, I go highest because I can.

Roger Ford says:

Out of interest, do you know how the Model 3 sound system compares to the Model S? Thanks and great video!!

metokarl says:

Thank you for an informative video. Do you know if I can use my trusted old iPod Classic in my upcoming M3?

Undecided with Matt Ferrell says:

Important Update: According to the Tesla user manual, you can activate higher bitrate Slacker in the Model 3, but the instructions on how to do so are incorrect/outdated. There is a lot of debate on Tesla forums on the actual bitrates available. I’ve contacted Tesla for more information and will update as soon as I have it. In the meantime, I’d recommend holding off on paying for Slacker Premium for higher bitrates.

me too says:

The Model 3 sound system is pretty wack even compared to other factory system. The mids and highs are on par…maybe a hair better than in my Traverse. The bass alis WAY subpar. The optional Bose system in a 2015 Porsche Macan destroys the Model 3. Even Telsa vs Telsa usingbthe same music source, the Model X is way better.

daniel_960_ says:

What if connecting iPhone with Usb?
I connect my iPhone always with usb in my Ford for Spotify 320bit music. Can definitely tell a difference between usb and Bluetooth. Usb much better.

Jason Parry says:

Remember if you want to be green don’t eat meat. Bacon doesn’t make the environment better

Ronald Dolman says:

Excellent review!!

TomDue62 says:

Finally, someone with the same expectations to audio like me! I will definitely go for FLAC. Do you know whether Tesla supports 24bit / 192kHz FLAC?

ycnexu says:

Good review, thanks.

ma6netho says:

were is the video system review ? does this awesome screen play audio only, I wan’t video file playback and web browser so i have something to do while super charging. My old Subaru Plays DVD fine while parked.

Coffeeshock [CG] says:

I hope, that Spotify is available on the Export Model 3 because Slacker isn’t, except for USA and Canada, so i didn’t think that the whole rest of the world have an App on the System they can’t use.

D.E. Sarcarean says:

Is it bad that I have a red Model 3 (AWD) in my garage thats never driven and only collects dust?

Tyler Clime says:

Did you use velcro on the usb hub to keep it in place?

Benoît Gillain says:

Thanks a lot for this video.
I’m about to get my model 3 next month and Asked myself how I’ll listen to my huge collection of music. You gave me the perfect answer.
I also wandered if it would be possible to use the USB thumb for both recording video and listening to music and… you answerd.
You’re awesome!!!

David Bach says:

If you prefer to use a USB-stick with music. How high memory does the Tesla Model 3 support?

Hometheaterguy USA says:

Matt, can high performance, after-market amplifiers even be installed, in electric, or hybrid cars? Would it not burn the DC-to-DC converter and HV traction battery? Can juice, before amps. Be stabilized?

steve says:

Great video! Before the Model 3 I invested a lot of time and cash into installing reference Boston Acoustic speakers/sealed subs etc into my car and while not nearly as good as that for factory stock Model 3 is great, as you say. Good enough I would not upgrade it. I am curious – how did you mount the USB hub? It looks like velcro maybe?

John Macpherson says:

More a comment on the channel in general that this specific video.  I’ve got about a half dozen YouTubers to reach out to.  Thanks for posting the videos and keeping the channel going.  When I took delivery of my Model 3 (on 11/17) I was educated and ready to get in and drive.  No surprises, no drama.  Your channel was a big part of that.  Thanks!

Sue says:

We are having issues with Streaming on our new Tesla 3 – Seems as if it only connects from the house if at all then no internet at all – is there a trick or do we need to pay?? any help would be appreciated!!

Wenzel Massag says:

I’d love if Apple added a FLAC option to their AppleMusic subscription. The iTunes Store has those files, I’d pay a premium for that – given my iPhone could transmit FLAC via Bluetooth. Is FLAC via Bluetooth possible?

Gary Anderson says:

I use Google Music

William W says:

I wish the tesla had spotify. That’s a MAJOR turn off for me. Slacker is a garbage app

Dmitry Smolyanitsky says:

Unless I am missed it, as far as I know M3 audio currently does not support aac format on USB and there is no shuffle capability.

Michael Fried says:

Thank you for this enlightening YouTube Video on the Tesla Audio system. I agree that the Audio system is quite amazing and love that it supports FLAC. I have used the USB drive option with a 32 Gig Thumb drive but have some issues with the USB option. I experimented using s 512 gig SSD drive and found that the system took 29 minutes to load up the songs and didn’t retain the memory so it would reload every time I got into the car which is unusable. I finally settled on the 32 Gig drive which takes less than a minute to load. The other annoyance I noticed is that the audio system remembers where it left off the last song when exiting the car randomly. Sometimes it remembers and continues where it left off and other times it looses it. I haven’t figured out what the differences are but it is a bit annoying.(would like to use it for Audio books but can’t trust it) Wonder if you have any thoughts on that.

Keep up the good work on the videos, looking forward to your next installment.

Rational Lion says:

Wait, you named your 3 ‘Jarvis’?? I may have found the source for any issues you have with your car. :)

cs85b says:

I’m going to do some testing tomorrow. I really don’t think Slacker is limited to just 64kbps anymore. It sounds substantially better than my old vehicle over bluetooth with spotify premium 320kbps.

Ross MK says:

Glad that my ears aren’t good enough to tell a difference between Bluetooth and none Bluetooth audio, anyways the convenience of Bluetooth is just too good haha.

Eli says:

It’s funny to see my forum post turn up in a video haha.

Michael Doyle says:

What is “Play on Demand” feature? Does that allow you to listen to a specific song as much as you want?

iamramekin says:

Just an FYI you do not need to partition the usb. Not sure why you think that. You can have one folder named music and one named TeslaCam on the root of the drive and you’re good to go.

Paresh Panchal says:

I agree, bacon really does make everything better

Lance Pickup says:

Great video…although I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t cover the actual UI and it’s features/shortcomings. Although I suppose, being Tesla, that can and hopefully will change over time.
I’m what you would classify a Casual Listener according to your terminology, so my audio quality expectations are minimal. I listen mostly to podcasts. I must say that the UI in the Model 3 is pretty much garbage.
My chief complaints are:
1) The car is pretty bad about switching sources. It usually remember that I last did streaming from my phone, but if I change to a radio station or Slacker it seems to get confused and either switch to a different station, or go back to the phone, or who knows what. It even locked up my screen completely one time, requiring a reboot.
2) There is no time display or even a progress bar that shows the position withing the “song”. This may not be critical when listening to music, but it sure is when listening to podcasts. And it lacks the ability to skip forward or back by 10 or 30 seconds like other systems I have seen.
3) I wish there was a more prominent display of the album art on at least the maximal display. Instead it chooses to keep the album art tiny and have a whole lot of wasted space on the right.
4) The car simply cannot seem to remember favorites. Maybe it will for a few days or weeks, but eventually it will forget them!
5) The Bluetooth implementation is just plain horrible. Well, I suppose it could be my phone, but my experience is that the same phone works great in some cars, but in other ones (specifically my Nissan LEAF and the Tesla) it’s just plain lousy. Problems include:
– Disconnects as the car/phone move in and out of WiFi range. My car/phone will disconnect and re-connect about 5 times as I drive up my street. Once I get onto a main road and am further away from houses & moving faster it seems fine. But extremely annoying.
– Frequently after a disconnect/reconnect, the song/podcast I was listening to doesn’t re-start. I have to manually start it from the phone.
– Occasionally after a disconnect/reconnect, or when getting into the car for a new trip, the podcast I was listening to goes all the way back to the point it was at when I started the last trip. This is particularly annoying and one of the main reasons I need a time display/progress bar.

TheSlideshowtube says:

The audio system sounds great when its working, but it has a ton of bugs. Many owners have experienced bursts of high frequency buzzing or static. Sometimes the bass drops out. The system in a rental model 3 sounded amazing, while the system in an identical model 3 I bought just sounds decent. And software updates mess with it too. Many owners are complaining that an update made their system sound worse. Never had this many problems with the audio in any other car I’ve owned.

Scott Luther says:

Anyone know what maximum size USB flash drive you can use in the Tesla? I know they have 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB drives out there! Also, anyone tested an external SSD hard drive with USB connection?

Robert Reiss says:

Matt, Great video but definitely way over my head. I think I am one of your default category guys but I would still like to know how to do some of the things you describe in the video. Where can I find simple (I am old) instructions on how to use my iPhone for streaming? Also, can I listen to my Amazon music in the car? We pay for that service with our Amazon Echo. Thanks.

Felipe Munive says:

Thank you for doing the research for us. You have a new subscriber.

kkallioj says:

Thanks for the video. However, like all videos about the sound system I’ve come accross, this also fails to give actual information about the quality of the speakers. “Amazing” and “incredible” say nothing.
I’d like to see a graph or some kind of data about the freaquency response. To me, using 15 speakers looks like they have spent the budget for quantity instead of quality of the speakers, because that’s twice as many as is needed for a quality system.

cameraone1 says:

I couldn’t figure out how to enable memorized volume levels by input sources in my M3. It’s annoying to adjust volume level every time I switch the audio input source. My 2014 Toyota Highlander memorizes volume level of every input. It’s a shame if M3 does not have this feature bc it’s an easy thing to do in software.

jamc666 says:

very informative. thanks

Charles Burns says:

What speakers and headphones sit in the background of your videos?

Lisa says:

Running USB with AIFF and WAV files. Period.

Bart Coopman says:

Total noob on everything Tesla (but working on it), but you can you use the playlists etc from your iPhone/iTunes, right?

Ross MK says:

I use Apple Music!

Joe3545u says:

Tune-In lost all of the CBS/Entercom stations in the August 2018 time frame. Need to use the Radio.com App which Tesla does not provide. Same is true for i-Heart Radio. Need to use the i-Heart App as their stations are not carried on Tune-In either. If you’re a Sirius XM fan, you have to use the Sirius XM stream App with a streaming service that is almost as expensive as the actual Sirius XM radio account offered in Ford and GM Cars. The Sirius XM App is not offered by Tesla either.

All of the above can be negated if Tesla allowed both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. But, they don’t. What is even more frustrating is that the Radio.com, i-Heart and Tune-In Apps (yes, all three) are need to substitute the AM radio which was never provided. Granted the AM radio audio is not superb but their streaming counterparts are much better sounding on the Tune-In, Radio.com and i-Heart Apps. Yes, many AM news stations are on FM HD-2 channels. This is a work-around but HD-2 channels don’t have the same coverage area as the primary Analog FM signals.

It’s now 2019 as I write this. Tesla needs to open up there system to include the additional Apps as was as Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Abraham Gilles de Jager says:

USB only in FAT format. But than the volume is very limited in size. And also the naming of the files is limited. Now i am using a 64 GB memory card in NTFS format with hundreds of separate directories and thousands of long named files. How can i handle that in the M3 media system?

Big Adventure says:

As an owner of a Model 3, and an Audiophile I will say the following about the sound quality.
Pros: Better than most stock systems. Fairly detailed, decent mid-bass, and provides dynamic sound at reasonable levels.
Cons: Lackluster low-end bass extension, little transparency, lacks warmth, and instruments and vocals lack realism and timbre.
The system will “grab you” when you first hear it, but the more you listen the more you will find yourself picking it apart.

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