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audio quality - bluetooth vs cord

3588 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  VoltenRock
I'm still considering getting a used gen1 volt and saving a ton of money instead of getting a tesla model 3.

I was shocked to learn that teslas don't let you play audio through USB from your phone, only via bluetooth, since bluetooth audio quality isn't as good as USB quality.

Can gen 1 volts play audio from your phone via a plugged in USB cord, or is it only via bluetooth? And has anyone tested to see if you can hear the difference in sound quality?
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First off, do we know yet what the Model 3 offers in terms of audio quality and interface? I mean, we're only looking at pre-production models now, and I couldn't find these specifics yet on the Tesla website.

Not that I'm trying to dissuade you from a Gen 1 Volt -- it's the best value going. But we are talking about years-old technology in terms of phone integration--with the Gen 2 Volt (and likely most newer cars) offering a more seamless experience.

With that said, know the limitations. In addition to the generational differences noted, Bluetooth streaming on Gen 1 has some issues--when running NAV (at least in a '13), you'll get an occasional "skip" or "dip" in audio at certain times (generally whenever calculating/recalculating/showing turns, etc.). It's due solely to the processor's slow performance while calculating NAV and simultaneously streaming Bluetooth. This does NOT occur when running through USB. However, it drives me crazy so I use USB almost exclusively.

Besides the skipping, I notice a marked improvement on USB audio quality--but only on actual high-quality (uncompressed) audio. Many music services compress their audio already to low-quality bitrate MP3s. Most would be hard-pressed to notice, but on dynamic music it is obvious. Honestly, it's not worth the trouble to "plug in" if the source material is already compressed/low-quality.

Also, plugging in the USB forces the unit to switch to the USB source whenever plugged in and immediately starts playing the first (usually same) song that is loaded into Apple Music (or whatever default music source). I am very tired of always hearing that same song... For whatever reason, the USB occasionally causes my iPhone to crash.

On the plus side, you can (mostly) navigate your stored music on the built-in screen so you don't have to mess with your phone when you use USB. My only issue is that it is a low resolution screen and only displays a part of music, which doesn't help much when scrolling through podcasts as they are usually episodes with the actual show number at the end (and therefore invisible on the menu).

I would STRONGLY recommend bringing your phone to a dealer and plugging it in to get a sense. Use the bluetooth, too.

Since this is a "dealbreaker" issue, definitely spend some time with it and decide if you can accept some of the limits. I think the '15 probably has the most "updated" of the "outdated" MyLink system, so start there if you can find one reasonably-priced.
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Looks like an anonymous rental car to me.
I hear ya. I'm a big fan of "unique" vehicles and the Gen 2 Volt needs a bit more "work" to be truly special. Unfortunately, the "sport wheels" on the new one are outrageously overpriced and don't seem to add as much exterior distinction as the sport wheels on Gen 1 (just my opinion).

However, I really, really like the Gen 2 in Siren Red -- I didn't think I would until I saw one in person. I've never been a fan of red cars but it really works--kind of like the orange Bolt. If I get a ever get a Gen 2, that's the color.
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