The Tesla Model 3 Audio System is incredible, but it all depends on the sources you choose. Apart from the HD FM tuner, which is better: the built-in Slacker Radio streaming service, Bluetoothing your phone, or plugging in a USB flash drive full of MP3s? The answer is… well, it depends… it’s a tricky situation.
I said it in my Model 3 review video, but the Model 3’s audio system has completely blown me away. I’ve had that car maker’s “premium” sound system in other cars, and while they all sounded good at best, none of them could compare to a car with an aftermarket stereo, amplifier, and speakers.
And it wouldn’t even come close to a good home audio system. The Model 3 isn’t a slouch, to be sure. Is it true that an aftermarket system will sound better? Of course, if money were no object, you could easily outperform this system, but Tesla’s premium sound system is… to put it another way… incredible.
15 speakers are installed throughout the cabin and trunk as part of the premium audio package:
- 7 full range speakers on along the front dash, rear doors, and above the trunk area.
- 1 passive tweeter in the front
- 2 woofers in the front doors
- 2 tweeters in the front doors
- 2 high definition speakers above the A pillars
- 1 subwoofer in the right side of the trunk
You may easily tune Tesla’s “Immersive Audio” setting, which is their in-house version of Dolby Audio, as well as the balance and tone settings. It gives a surround sound effect and extends the sound stage, which I appreciate, but it’s easy to turn off or lower if you prefer the original audio mix.
I’m shocked, though, by the limited alternatives we have for getting audio into the car, given such a superb sound system. The built-in streaming services, Bluetooth from your phone, or a USB drive plugged into the car are the three options. We’ll simply have to accept it and move on now that both Tesla and Apple have started an all-out attack on analogue audio jacks.
Services for Streaming
Slacker radio and TuneIn are two streaming audio options available in the United States. In some countries, Spotify may be used instead of Slacker, which I’ll discuss further later. Here’s how I’d rate the car’s streaming options in terms of quality and feature set.
Although there are other streaming alternatives outside Apple Music and Spotify, such as XM Radio, Pandora, Tidal, and others, the user experience in the car will be quite similar to that of Apple Music and Spotify. We’ll all have to rely on our phones to drive those services in our cars until Tesla opens up their computer system to other parties, and I’m hoping they do open up some kind of App Store.