Thoughts on Immersive Sound on the Model 3

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Immersive Sound, Prefer it On or Off?


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Maxx77

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#1
Looking for feedback from others for opinions on the Immersive Sound feature in the Model 3. I haven't tested it too thoroughly, but I can tell that with the feature disabled, not all of the speakers output audio. The A-pillar speakers, for example, seem to do nothing unless it's on.

What I don't know, because I'm not an audiophile, is if turning on Immersive Sound simply enables all of the speakers, or if it enables them and also adds some post-processing to the sound. Personally, I would prefer to not have any additional processing. I'm a flat EQ kind of guy. To my ear, it seems like having it on (set to "High"), is adding some effects to the output. For that reason, I've been driving around with it disabled. Seems like a shame to not be utilizing every speaker though.

For those of you who have your car, what setting do you prefer? Any insights on what that mode is doing besides enabling every speaker?
 

ummgood

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#3
Looking for feedback from others for opinions on the Immersive Sound feature in the Model 3. I haven't tested it too thoroughly, but I can tell that with the feature disabled, not all of the speakers output audio. The A-pillar speakers, for example, seem to do nothing unless it's on.

What I don't know, because I'm not an audiophile, is if turning on Immersive Sound simply enables all of the speakers, or if it enables them and also adds some post-processing to the sound. Personally, I would prefer to not have any additional processing. I'm a flat EQ kind of guy. To my ear, it seems like having it on (set to "High"), is adding some effects to the output. For that reason, I've been driving around with it disabled. Seems like a shame to not be utilizing every speaker though.

For those of you who have your car, what setting do you prefer? Any insights on what that mode is doing besides enabling every speaker?
I work on radios for a living (well semiconductors used in radios) and there is post processing on all car radios like cabin equalization etc... The question is what tricks are they playing with delaying certain speakers or not to make the sound stage feel bigger. This can be done well or very poorly. I find the Model 3 sound to be phenomenal.
 

Maevra

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#4
As a total sound noob... what exactly does immersive sound entail? What's it supposed to make me feel/hear?

I will say, immersive sound or not, the Tesla's is the BEST sound system I've had in any car I've driven (granted I don't drive too many $100k cars). Sometimes, when I get home, I just sit in my car and let the song finish because I like the sound so much, and husband is looking at me through the window like "oi, what are you just sitting in the car for?"
 

JeopardE

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#5
I work on radios for a living (well semiconductors used in radios) and there is post processing on all car radios like cabin equalization etc... The question is what tricks are they playing with delaying certain speakers or not to make the sound stage feel bigger. This can be done well or very poorly. I find the Model 3 sound to be phenomenal.
Nice to see a fellow semiconductor engineer on here. What do you do - design, apps, test?

I agree - you really don't want "flat EQ" unless you're using premium headphones and you want to rely purely on your hardware. Car cabin isn't the same as headphones and there has to be some sort of post processing to get it right - that doesn't necessarily mean changing the base EQ.
 

ummgood

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#6
Nice to see a fellow semiconductor engineer on here. What do you do - design, apps, test?

I agree - you really don't want "flat EQ" unless you're using premium headphones and you want to rely purely on your hardware. Car cabin isn't the same as headphones and there has to be some sort of post processing to get it right - that doesn't necessarily mean changing the base EQ.
I am a software engineering manager but I still code quite a bit. My teams work with the applications team to support customer software and develop example headunits, software tools for customer evaluation etc... there is a separate team that develops the validation software so I am not that :)
 

John

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#7
I like the immersive sound. It adds calculated delay to the speakers to give the sense of sound coming from calculated distances. It's important to realize that since the speakers are different distances from your ear, they naturally have sound delays that vary by how far away they are. Immersive sound just monkeys with this. I like it.

My only gripes with the system are at the very high end (I think at least the front stage tweeters could stand an upgrade, they need to be more brilliant) and I would prefer what Joel's father in Risky Business would call "a preponderance of bass," which is hard to achieve with a single 8" driver and limited power. (Lower frequencies require much more energy to transfer than high frequency ones.) I will probably design a portable self-powered box I can drop into the rear trunk well that I can easily unplug and lift out when I need the storage.

But yeah, I like the Immersive.
 

Maxx77

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#8
Thanks for the replies and insights. When I say flat EQ, what I mainly mean is I want the audio to sound as close to the original recording as possible. I don't want fake surround sound virtualization, extra bass boost, or any other marketing term or features that companies tend to come up with. Ideally, I don't want music to have overwhelming bass or treble, it should all be balanced and not seem to come from any particular speaker.

That said, the audio in this car seems to be very well balanced. Even though the sub is in the back, I never really have a sense that the bass is coming from that direction. With Immersive Sound enabled, it becomes even more difficult to tell where the sound is coming from since all the speakers are firing, which I think is kind of the point.

Based on the feedback from you all so far, I've been driving with Immersive Sound on, mostly set to High. I think I am coming around on it. When the car is at rest in my garage, where I've done most of my testing previously, I think it sounds more "normal" with it off. While driving though, especially at highway speeds, I think having it on High or even Standard counteracts the road noise a bit better.

On a side note, I got to sit in a Model S (not sure what year it was made) yesterday and play around with the audio. It just had the Dolby option instead of Immersive Sound. I'm guessing they're basically the same thing but without the Dolby license. In any case, I think I prefer the Model 3 audio over what I experienced in that car.
 

John

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#10
Important to note that your own ears have a frequency response as well. So you'll want to boost frequencies you don't hear as well, and retard ones you're more sensitive to.

And as already noted, there is ambient noise—especially at speed (or if you have a mother-in-law in the car)—so you may want to boost certain frequencies to compete with them.
 
Last edited:

Maxx77

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#11

John

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#13
Those are great videos. I'd already seen the second one, but that one with the frequency sweep test was new to me. Here's a follow-up video by the same guy where he talks more about the results:

Thanks. I'd echo his sentiment about the high end. At some point I'll replace two of my front tweeters and see if there's a noticeable difference. Right now I boost that end on the EQ.

What's interesting is that with Immersive on High and those extra two midranges firing on the A-pillar, I fade the sound back behind the front seats a bit. It still (to my ears) maintains a front sound stage (you want the music to sound like it's coming from in front of you) but enhances the wrap-around presence.
 

Asnpcwiz

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#14
Interesing...my car doesnt have the option for 'speed sensitive sound' that I saw in the videos here. Anyone have that issue?
 

John

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#16
One factor which complicates tuning your car for great sound is that every music producer "second guesses" how people will be listening to the music, and optimizes the the dynamic range to suit that. It's getting better than it used to be when equipment was generally lousy, because back then if you included really low frequency or really high frequency sounds in the best case they just weren't heard, and in the worst case they made hums and clicks. So back then you were wasting dynamic range on those frequencies. Back then an ambitious producer might spread the range across more frequencies, prompting users with crappy equipment to press the "loudness" button—remember those—to boost the frequencies that are more apparent to peoples' ears and back towards the frequencies their systems could reproduce the best.

Thankfully now that lots of people at least have good earphones we're getting to a point where music is produced for much more full spectrum playback. Still, if you invest in great high- or low-end reproduction, you're still often going to need to back off of the sound pressure in those frequencies due to producers jacking it up trying to compensate for the lack of it in most systems still.
 

Bokonon

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#19
mine showed back up today - so check yours again.
Did you have to do any type of reboot to get it to show up again? Or did it just reappear on its own in between drives?
 

MelindaV

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#20
Did you have to do any type of reboot to get it to show up again? Or did it just reappear on its own in between drives?
I just happened to open the audio settings screen on the way home and saw it was back - but my car did unexpectedly totally power down last night when I parked, so maybe it came back when everything came back on last night.