An Inside Look Into the Tesla Model 3 Sound System

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 06/21/22 •  10 min read

Whether you’re listening to a podcast or heavy metal, it’s important to have crystal-clear audio for an optimal driving experience. Fortunately, the Tesla Model 3 boasts a sound system that will impress almost any audiophile.

Along with state-of-the-art technology and industry-leading range, Tesla models have become known for their top-notch sound systems. While the upscale Model S and Model X boast impressively clear speakers, even the more budget-friendly Model 3 and Model Y hold their own against other vehicles in the segment.

Let’s find out more about the specifications of such a system – and how it performs in real life.

Inside the Tesla Model 3 Sound System

Anyone who keeps up with premium speakers is surely familiar with the brand Bang & Olufsen. 

Sound systems produced by this company offer some of the clearest sounds and most robust tones on the market. Of course, this high standard of performance usually doesn’t come cheap.

Nevertheless, the Tesla Model 3 was developed and produced in part by sound engineers who previously worked at Bang & Olufsen. While many luxury vehicles charge thousands of dollars for an upgrade to such high-end speakers, they are available in the Model 3 without the name brand or the significant markup.

As reviewer Paul Maric noted, the Tesla Model 3 system “sounds better than the $12,000 Bang and Olufsen option on an Audi A8.”

Tesla Model 3 Sound System Specs: Standard vs. Premium

Although a number of options are available when selecting a new Tesla Model 3, owners of any trim level can expect a premium sound. The Standard, Long Range, and Performance trims of this vehicle boast an impressive collection of eight speakers.

With the optional premium package, there are a whopping 15 speakers in total. These accessories include three tweeters, three mids, two woofers, and two immersive speakers up front. In the rear, the Model 3 includes four full-range speakers and a subwoofer.

Even though the Model 3 undercuts the cost of Tesla’s more expensive Model S and Model X, many drivers and reviewers insist that its sound system actually provides better sound through its comprehensive system of speakers.

There’s no denying that the premium sound system offers audio tricks and features above and beyond the standard fare. 

Nevertheless, one YouTube commenter who owned both versions noted that the difference in sound quality isn’t as obvious as you might imagine.

The reviewer wrote that the sound seems “bigger” in the Long Range version, “but the overall quality of sound reproduction is not all that much different, if at all.” 

It seems that most Tesla Model 3 owners agree that the standard sound system is pretty great.

Is the Tesla Model 3 Sound System Better Than Competitors?

When it comes to developing a new vehicle, it’s clear that not every manufacturer places the same level of importance on a sound system. Because Tesla is a leader in this regard, it’s no surprise that the Model 3 outperforms many of its rivals.

All the options provided by Tesla in this model have received high marks from reviewers, but there’s plenty of evidence that the Long Range version of the Model 3 has at least a slightly better sound. 

TotallyEV, a YouTube channel focused on performing in-car audio reviews, provides some insight into the range of sound available on the Model 3 Standard Range Plus and the quality of its speakers: 

Sound demo starts at 3:41. You can listen to his final verdict at 7:21.

The Polestar 2 is another electric vehicle known for its high-end speakers, which presents an excellent opportunity to compare the two vehicles. 

In the following review by TotallyEV, the Model 3 sound system squares off against the speakers offered by one of its top competitors: 

Skip ahead to 2:31 to listen to the sound demo. His final verdict is at 7:11.

For his part, Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed the fact that customers are overwhelmingly impressed by the quality of the speakers in his company’s vehicles. In a tweet, he declared that “Tesla audio engineering is great.”

When compared directly with another vehicle from the same company, the Model 3 continues to shine. 

Reviewers note that the Model 3 and Model Y share similar audio components, but some owners insist that everything just sounds a bit better in the former: 

“The two sound very similar, but the max sound level on Model 3 is higher (smaller car volume with same amplifiers and speakers, I presume),” wrote Sam123 from Tesla Motors Club

“Also, low bass is noticeably stronger on Model 3 compared to Model Y, but overall they are very similar and pretty great for OEM stereo.”

Tesla’s Immersive Sound System

Although many drivers might initially only question the importance of high-end speakers when listening to the radio, the Tesla Model 3 provides many additional applications for its sound system. An immersive experience makes various aspects of owning this vehicle sound more impressive than one might expect.

Tesla models have long been known for offering a wide range of high-tech applications. Many of these options are even more enjoyable when heard through the robust sounds of the Model 3’s sound system.

Musk has been eager to tease the capabilities of new updates to the system, including the ability to stream content from YouTube and Netflix directly through the car’s infotainment system when the automobile is not in motion.

“Watching a movie on Tesla V10.0 is great, in large part due to the sound system,” Musk tweeted, adding that the experience “feels just like an old school drive-in movie . . . but with much better sound.”

Insiders say that the key to Tesla’s impressive sound quality lies in the company’s unique codec. This simply refers to a computer program’s ability to decode a particular type of audio file, and Tesla is clearly at the cutting edge when it comes to creating such devices.

Twitter user JeffTutorials noted that “hardware is only one part of the puzzle” in the process of creating an impressive modern audio experience. 

“You can have the best speaker hardware in the world, but without a good audio codec, those speakers will be useless,” JeffTutorials explained, adding that Tesla has “managed to create the best car audio system in the world while simultaneously saving money for everyone.”

To keep the price of Tesla models as low as possible, the company has a reputation for not always including the highest quality of materials. 

Although this means that the Model 3 isn’t considered a luxury vehicle by some, you’d never know that by listening to the excellent sound system that comes in even the base trim level.

Are Aftermarket Model 3 Sound System Upgrades Worth it?

Most drivers will be more than satisfied by the standard or premium speakers offered from the factory. Some customers, however, might want more and be tempted to purchase an upgraded aftermarket system.

Companies such as Light Harmonic have built a reputation for impeccable design and attention to detail when producing aftermarket equipment for Tesla vehicles. While this company started out with a range of speakers and other audio accessories for high-end Tesla models, it has recently begun producing a range of upgrades for the Model 3.

While the premium sound system is likely to meet the needs of an overwhelming majority of owners, there are some arguments to be made for purchasing an aftermarket setup. 

Erik from Because Tesla YouTube channel includes a few benefits and pointers regarding how to integrate an upgraded system into the tech features built into the Model 3: 

Unboxing starts at 1:21. Skip ahead to 14:55 to listen to Erik’s final thoughts.

You can learn more about Light Harmonic’s Model 3 speaker upgrade on their Amazon Store.

The fact that this electric vehicle doesn’t have the added engine noise of traditional cars means that there’s less ambient sound competing with the audio being blasted through the speakers. 

The end result was enough to convince one Model 3 owner to purchase the vehicle after taking it on a test drive.

In a YouTube comment, the reviewer determined that Tesla’s Long Range sound system was “one of the best” after giving it “a good workout” during a 24-hour test drive. “The acoustic glass and lack of engine noise makes a huge difference in audio quality,” the satisfied owner explained.

Putting the Tesla Model 3 Sound System to Use

Gone are the days of simply cranking up the radio or inserting a selection of CDs into the changer. 

These days, Tesla is leading the trend of including various forms of media into a vehicle’s audio system. The Model 3 includes a few different source options, thus allowing owners to choose their favorite form of input.

Of course, occupants who want to tune into a high-definition FM station can easily make that happen with a few taps on the center screen. Among the other sources available are Bluetooth, USB input, and a Slacker Radio application that can be upgraded to a premium version.

Aftermarket and third-party services such as Sirius XM, TuneIn, and Spotify can also be seamlessly integrated into the Model 3 sound system. 

To maintain full control over the audio input and receive the best sound quality in return, consider using a USB device that allows for various types of files to be played without losing any of the rich audio found in the original recording.

As the Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual explains, the user interface allows owners to select audio from a USB device with just a couple of taps on the screen. 

“After you display the contents of a folder on the USB-connected flash drive, you can touch any song in the list to play it,” the manual says.

As for which input option is better, that generally depends on your preference and the type of sound you want to play. Wherever your audio files might be stored, the chances are good that you’ll be able to hear them in the rich, clear tones available through the Model 3’s speakers.

The hardware and software in this high-tech system work together seamlessly to provide some of the highest-quality audio performance currently available in the automotive industry. Further adding to the experience is the fact that both the Model 3 and the Model Y provide an exceptionally quiet cabin in which to enjoy any type of audio.

This video review by YouTuber Ryan Wallace provides some specific measurements that show just how little road noise makes it into the passenger compartment of these electric vehicles:

Ryan discusses the measured results of three tests (on both Model 3 & Model Y) at 8:03. Listen to his final thoughts at 13:53.

Some reviewers have determined that the Model Y is slightly quieter than the Model 3, whereas others say that the Model 3 has fewer audible rattles than the Model Y.

Final Thoughts About the Tesla Sound System

Tesla set the bar high with its sound systems in the Model S and Model X. When it came time to find the right range of speakers for its less expensive models, however, the company refused to cut any corners. 

For that reason, even the standard sound system available in the Tesla Model 3 is arguably much better than the offerings of most direct competitors.

While even the entry-level is likely to meet or exceed the expectations of most drivers, there are excellent aftermarket upgrades from Light Hamornic for those who feel the need for an upgrade. 

If Tesla’s premium version of its speaker system is still not enough for you, you will want to check ut Light Harmonic to create whatever listening experience you could possibly want.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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