If you’re a music lover who’s searching for a used Tesla, you might be aware of the fact that there’s an upgraded audio option called Ultra High Fidelity Sound available on past year Model S and Model X vehicles.
Ok, but what exactly is Ultra High Fidelity Sound? Is it a feature worth having? How does the sound compare to other vehicles? Do the Model 3 and Model Y have Ultra High Fidelity Sound?
These are all relevant questions to ask when you’re shopping for a used Tesla. And to help prospective buyers better-understand the features available on Tesla vehicles throughout the years, we’re continuing with our Tesla Features Explained blog series, where we take an in-depth and oh-so-nerdy look at one particular Tesla feature.
So, if you want to learn all about Tesla’s Ultra High Fidelity Sound, you’ve come to the right place!
Tesla Ultra High Fidelity Sound Package 101
Confused on the specifics of this upgrade? No problem, we’ll break it down…
History of the Tesla Ultra Hi-Fi Package
Starting in 2012 with the first Model S, Tesla offered an upgraded audio package called “Sound Studio” which was available a la carte, and as part of other packages.
Originally, the cost of the Sound Studio package was $990, but the price rose later on to $2500 after the package was renamed to Ultra High Fidelity Sound—and in the current iteration of Model S/Model X vehicles, the sound system is called “Premium Sound” and is not available as an add-on (the same sound system is bundled with every Model S/X now).
The original Sound Studio package was created by an S1NN, an audio engineering company in Germany that was later acquired by Harman Kardon (famous for their sound systems in other luxury vehicles).
Ultra High Fidelity Sound Specs
There are some big differences between the standard audio and the Ultra High Fidelity Sound package. The Tesla UFHS package adds the following:
- 3 discrete channels (for a total of 5)
- 5 more speakers (for a total of 11, not counting the subwoofer)
- An 8” subwoofer (no subwoofer on the standard audio)
- 560 total watts (up from 200 watts on the standard audio)
- Dolby Pro-Logic
- XM Radio
The audio system in every Model S/X is integrated into the Media Control Unit (most commonly referred to as the MCU). The MCU provides 200 watts of amplification to the standard audio system. When Upgraded to Ultra High Fidelity, the additional 360 watt amplifier is added behind the instrument cluster.
The 8” Ultra Hi-Fi subwoofer is mounted inside a panel under the upholstery in the right-rear section of the hatch compartment on Model S and in the same location on Model X.
In terms of speaker sizes, they are as follows:
- Subwoofer – 8”
- Midrange woofer – 6”
- Midrange speakers – 3”
- Tweeters – 1”
Counting the subwoofer, this brings the Ultra High Fidelity speaker count to 12 (up from 7 in the standard system).
Throughout the years, Tesla has made various software improvements to the system as well, including an “Immersive Sound” option in 2018, which has always been offered on the Model 3 (which we think has a superior audio system, but more on that coming up).
Does the Model 3 (and Model Y) Have Ultra High Fidelity Sound? How Does the Model 3/Y Sound System Compare to Model S/X?
The Model 3 (and Model Y) don’t have the same Ultra High Fidelity Sound system as the Model S and Model X—but, to be honest—we think that the Model 3 sound system is actually better than the system in Model S/X. Yes, that’s right—we think it’s better.
How can that be, when the Model 3 is such a less expensive vehicle? Well, we’re not exactly sure, but we’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing with the audio systems in an Ultra High Fidelity Sound-equipped Model S, and then in a Model 3 with the Premium Interior, and we were far more impressed with the Model 3 audio.
One suggestion on why the Model 3’s sound system is so good, is that supposedly Tesla hired some of the best engineers from the very famous audio company Bang & Olufsen to create the absolute best sound system possible. Some users have stated that because of this, the Model 3 sound system is better than or equal to the $10-20k Bang & Olufsen sound systems in very high end luxury vehicles.
You can see an excellent technical review of why the Model 3 sound system is so good here, by YouTube user TAVA:
Matt Ferrell, a notable Model 3 YouTuber, also does a great review of the sound system here:
While we think the Model S and Model X are truly amazing cars in so, so many ways—it’s worth noting that our vote for best Tesla sound system definitely goes to the Model 3 (and Model Y).
So, while the Model 3/Y technically doesn’t have the Ultra High Fidelity Sound option in it’s proper form, we think the sound system in 3/Y is actually way better. Like, seriously better.
Are There Any Aftermarket Audio Upgrade Options for The Model S and Model X Sound Systems?
Absolutely! Audio is one of most popular things to upgrade on vehicles, and there’s no reason why this can’t be done on Model S/X. It is though, a little more difficult to do than on other vehicles because of the tie-in to the MCU. For example, you can’t just pull out the head unit like you can on so many gas-powered vehicles and swap in your new deck etc.
That said there are a variety of aftermarket options. For example, Light Harmonic offers a nice plug-and-play option, and there are other companies as well. And of course, there are a number of custom installers who have created their own solutions too. Either way—the sound system in Model S/X is definitely upgradeable, and many owners do choose to customize it.
Is Tesla’s Ultra Hi-Fi Sound Package Worth It?
We believe that having a good stereo is an important part of making the driving experience fun—so yes—we think that the Ultra High Fidelity Sound system is a worthwhile option to look for when you’re searching for a used Model S or Model X.
However, audio is something that can always be upgraded later on, so if you’ve found an awesome used Tesla and it’s missing that feature, we wouldn’t recommending passing on it just because of the audio system.
And because we’ve built the ultimate Tesla marketplace at Find My Electric, it’s easier than ever to search for Teslas with the UFHS option. So, take a moment and browse our used Tesla listings to find that perfect Model S or Model X you’ve been wanting with an amazing audio system!