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Thread: can a carputer compete with a head unit for sound quality?

  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dac
    hello people, back to the topic please

    question: can a carputer with a Creative Audigy or something replace a Sony M8800 headunit without noticeable quality loss?

    quite a lot out there will sound better than a sony HU honestly
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  2. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    quite a lot out there will sound better than a sony HU honestly
    Now now .. Well okay yeah you got me unless you go old school XES or C90/4K combo which could accept a toslink input from a CarPC. Here in the states SQ doesn't sell decks bling does so there has been drop as people aren't willing to throw down like they are elsewhere in the world.

    Either way as other people have said yes a CarPC can sound better than a headunit (easier if you stay in the digital realm rather than going analog). I never listen to the radio myself so that's not a concern and as far as music HDD's are cheap so a straight .wav copy or FLAC for compression and you wouldn't lose SQ.

  3. #173
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    quite a lot out there will sound better than a sony HU honestly
    How does using a PC with a DSP and Coax/Optical converter compare to using a HU (assuming all other components are equal)?
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  4. #174
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    are you asking me how it sounds or are you being sarcastic?

    (on this board it's hard to tell who is being serious and who is interested in just ******* around...lol)

    if you're asking how it sounds, see my sig - that should tell you that it sounds pretty darn good
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  5. #175
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    are you asking me how it sounds or are you being sarcastic?

    (on this board it's hard to tell who is being serious and who is interested in just ******* around...lol)

    if you're asking how it sounds, see my sig - that should tell you that it sounds pretty darn good
    Haha...no, I was being serious. I was just asking because I just ordered that Alpine H701 finally and was trying to convince myself that it was worth it. I know that you have a kick-*** system as I've been trying to follow down a similar path (whether or not ill actually ever get there is a different question).

    I guess what I was trying to ask was...if you had the same exact setup as you have right now, but with a headunit instead of a pc and dsp, would you be getting similar sound quality or worse? Does the DSP guarantee that I'll get optimal sound?

    Also, when I'm using the DSP...that's going to be the only equalizer I'll have to worry about, correct? (instead of using windows software)
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  6. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    if you had the same exact setup as you have right now, but with a headunit instead of a pc and dsp, would you be getting similar sound quality or worse?
    3onDubs, you have to remember that the Alpine DSP unit is an integral part of REDs sound system. The PC portion of Reds car can be replaced with a regular HU and it's analog outputs can feed the Alpine DSP and the sound quality should be the same. If you took away the DSP, what would act as the x-over, what would act as the EQ? You need those parts, they effect the sound quality.

    So, did you actually mean to ask that question like you did? I think the better question would be "if you had the same exact setup as you have right now, but with a headunit instead of a pc (only), would you be getting similar sound quality or worse?" leaving the DSP into the rest of the sound system. The answer is yes, it would still sound as good.

    I don't think you'll be dissatisfied with that Alpine unit. It's worth the money.
    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    Does the DSP guarantee that I'll get optimal sound?
    No, because you will need to make sure it is setup properly. Setting it up can make or break the system. Red and I use the same guy to help tune our systems as he really knows his stuff and has a great ear. Regardless if the source is a HU or PC, the rest of the sound system has to be set up properly and has to be tuned properly. The Alpine unit gives you all the physical tools you need. You just have to know how to use them.

  7. #177
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    If you took away the DSP, what would act as the x-over, what would act as the EQ?
    Even without a DSP, you could still have decent X-over control through most good amps. And a pc can have better EQ control than many head units, especially low end stuff like Sony.

    I've been experimenting with the shibatch EQ plugin for Winamp. It's very impressive. And AC3filter/WinampAC3 both have decent EQs, as well as timing adjustment for each channel, which I am still working on. I'm really starting to think a pc can surpass most HUs even for analog when there's nothing between the HU/PC and amp. The only catch would be the low voltage from most soundcards. I had noise when I ran straight to my amps, but then again there was a lot of RCA length between them. Perhaps if the PC is right beside the amp(s), otherwise the signal would need boosting IMO to avoid noise.

    And a pc with DSP could sound better than a HU with DSP as well, whether using analog or digital. You can load your hdd with high quality 24 bit music, back up your DVD-A discs, and let either your PC or DSP downmix to 4.1.
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  8. #178
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    If you took away the DSP, what would act as the x-over, what would act as the EQ? You need those parts, they effect the sound quality.
    Good point...That's my mistake, I keep on thinking that the DSP is just a digital sound card with 4V preouts forgetting that its an EQ as well.

    Setting it up can make or break the system. Red and I use the same guy to help tune our systems as he really knows his stuff and has a great ear. Regardless if the source is a HU or PC, the rest of the sound system has to be set up properly and has to be tuned properly. The Alpine unit gives you all the physical tools you need. You just have to know how to use them.
    Yea, I think a major reason that my current analog setup leaves me dissatisfied is because I just can't seem to tune everything right and it gets annoying at times...you have road runner's eq, winamp's eq, and windows eq to name a few. I could never figure out which ones I could leave and which ones I needed to tune, so it always sounded off because of my impatience. I'm assuming that the DSP will replace the need to tune the software...or will the software eq's still need to be tuned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fonseca
    I've been experimenting with the shibatch EQ plugin for Winamp. It's very impressive. And AC3filter/WinampAC3 both have decent EQs, as well as timing adjustment for each channel, which I am still working on.
    Your using a DSP, correct? Does this mean that I'd still have to tune my software eq's...?
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  9. #179
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    Red GTi V6,

    ive noticed alot of people dont seem to like the creative soundblaster cards, but I noticed you have one. would you take, for instance, an m-audio card over your current card or is there really not that much difference?

    I'm slowly picking out parts, but I cannot decide on a decent card. I read about the chaintech, but for a 4.1 setup wouldnt I need more than just stero for the sub and rear speakers (for surround sound effect in movies)?

    Also, prolly dumb question, but one thing i wasnt sure about is when you output from your sound card to the amp. The output from sound card is for both front L/R but the amp hookup is seperate, so how would those two be hooked up? or does it hook up similar to 4.1 pc speakers where L/R get split in the sub?

    be gentle.... ive installed head units and speakers in cars before and I can build pcs no problem, but im just tryin to put the two together for the carputer.

  10. #180
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfsrg
    Red GTi V6,

    ive noticed alot of people dont seem to like the creative soundblaster cards, but I noticed you have one. would you take, for instance, an m-audio card over your current card or is there really not that much difference?

    I'm slowly picking out parts, but I cannot decide on a decent card. I read about the chaintech, but for a 4.1 setup wouldnt I need more than just stero for the sub and rear speakers (for surround sound effect in movies)?

    Also, prolly dumb question, but one thing i wasnt sure about is when you output from your sound card to the amp. The output from sound card is for both front L/R but the amp hookup is seperate, so how would those two be hooked up? or does it hook up similar to 4.1 pc speakers where L/R get split in the sub?

    be gentle.... ive installed head units and speakers in cars before and I can build pcs no problem, but im just tryin to put the two together for the carputer.

    I dont mean to speak on behalf of Red, but I think that in her setup, she uses the digital output of her soundcard to input into the digital sound processor. This processor has the six outputs which go into the amp. So basically only one cable comes from the soundcard. Also, when using digital output, I think that the souncard doesn't really matter...its only when dealing with analog that it really counts.

    What you are speaking of is converting the single 3.5mm output of the soundcard into two RCA inputs for your amp. You need to get a converter or a cable that has one male 3.5mm plug on one end and two male RCA plugs on the other end. This cable will split the signal for the front channel into left and right channels, and you can do the same thing for the rear channels.

    This sounds complicated, but your question is a relatively newbie-ish question and there are many threads on this topic already...I hope I somewhat answered your question.
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