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Music Connections – Why USB may be best

The current options for music is either using the car’s cellular connection with a service such as TuneIn or Slacker, a Bluetooth connection to a device such as a cell phone with music files or having a USB flash drive with music files. Here is our take on the advantages and disadvantage of each option:

Music Connection Method Advantages Disadvantages
Cellular through Car
  • Customized DJ type services such as TuneIn or Slacker
  • No need to load library
  • Lossy compression reduces quality
  • No music if cellular unavailable
  • Data costs may be expensive (after 4 year free period)
  • Single library of music
  • Supports Apple DRM music from iPhone
  • Must preload music
  • Bluetooth always requires lossy high compression that reduces quality (no matter what resides on device)
  • Fairly limited capacity – typically 8-32 GB
  • No music if device missing or dead
  • Interference can drop Bluetooth connection (rare)
USB Flash Drive
  • Supports lossless file formats for best quality
  • Supports low-compression for better quality
  • Huge capacity, 128 GB or more (2 TB max)
  • Always available
  • Must preload music
  • Might require two libraries (phone and USB drive)
  • Extra cost for drive (typically under $100)


2 thoughts on “Music Connections – Why USB may be best

  1. James Henry says:

    I would like to add a standard analog stereo audio jack into the Model S audio system

    • Moderator says:

      I don’t know of any points that are accessible (or if they even exist) to feed an analog signal directly into the Tesla audio system. There was a bit talk about some USB device that would accept an analog signal, but I suspect the Tesla would not recognize it. One concept is to find a Bluetooth device that accepts an analog input (I haven’t checked if such a device exists or not), and hope that it will pair with the Tesla. Be aware Bluetooth forces a high-compression rate, so the quality could be less than you desire. If you find a solution, we’d love to hear about it.

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