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

  1. #11
    FLAC IntellaWorks's Avatar
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    An afterthought to those who compete:


    Let's say your competing for best car audio, do they have "test" media that they play in your audio system that must hit certian criteria from a measurring device ??

    If they do does it from from a CD ?? If not it would almost be an unfair advantage to PC users, because you could easily get media that is like 512K bit rate (some real high quality sound) that a CD just couldnt hold or the HU doesn't support...
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  2. #12
    Maximum Bitrate fantomas's Avatar
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    SACD? DVD-a? DTS?
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntellaWorks
    I'd have to agree here a PC can produce better than CD quality sound, that is of course if your able to get that type of music.

    If your competeing in sound competetions and you have a car pc, this might be a no brainer but make sure the sound your playing is at least CD quality. (128 K) With a pc in the car it's real easy to take your existing audio downloaded from the internet which can be ripped at less than CD-Quality and played over your car speakers...

    It all starts with the Song file, if thats crap then it doesnt matter how good your audio system is...
    the CDs that are used in USACi are recorded in 24 bit, most cds are recorded in 16 bit. Also, there is a HUGE difference in 128 k and the actual CD. I know you may not believe me, I didn't even believe it till I sat in the car and listened to the real CD and then listened to the 320K ripped copy....you lose a lot of the background music and small nuiances that make or break a good sounding system.

    In true competition you have to use the CD that they provide for you. You can change the stage and everything else to account for that cd ahead of time, especially since those cds are readily avaliable....thus the reason that a computer would be VERY handy, have a setting for competing, and a setting for every day use....easy as a touch on the screen
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  4. #14
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    I haven't competed in SQ yet, but based on what gathered over the net, the organizers "supply" an official CD for you to play, you can't just take any music/source to the competition. So, now we know that all competing cars will play same source, CD. Again, I could be wrong, as usual.

    So, the question now boils down to: Would the PC, through the CD drive reader reproduce SQ at the same level or better than a stand alone, HU based CD player ?

    I strongly recommend that you hang around a Home Theater forum like thisThere are a lot of info regarding the subject. but keep in mind that they compare PC Vs. rack equipments.

    One more thing, and I get lost here, based on my reading, cards like SB tend to up/down sample the source, that is why there are drivers that by pass the SB SW and go straight through the OS kernel, also, M-Audio is mentioned a lot in high-end audio since it "claims" that no re-sample involved, I know they have a USB card. So, hang around that forum and read & ask first.

    Good luck.

    edit: Red GTi VR6 beat me to it, I was right then

  5. #15
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    when I first competed with my CarPC, the first response from all of the judges was "DAMN!" when they got out of the car. They said that with a few little tweeks and tunes as far as mid range goes I would have a winning car.....that was last year, and I didn't have the time to continue, this year and this set-up are completely different....

    going off of what the judges said and how they responded....I'm sticking with a carPC

    EDIT: and kingtut - you are absolutely right about the media being provided by the sanctioning body
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  6. #16
    FLAC IntellaWorks's Avatar
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    I'm also now curious about software enhancement, using a PC you could EASILY grab the data from the CD drive and enhance the audio "on the fly" and play the enhanced media off the hardrive while the pc's ripping and enhancing the media from the CD...



    You'd have to look at special codec's that are able to improve media from it's original bitrate... but I'm sure there are noise reduction and clearity increasing alogrithims in these codecs already built in. Which you can then apply to say the competetion CD and further enhance that media through software...
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    Constant Bitrate emdzey01's Avatar
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    thanks for your input

    thanks guys, im surprised on your opinions and i'm surprised how everyone got into the act...

    so yes, i'm joining a car show here in the philippines, and it's basically an all around event (best in paint, best of show, best sound quality, etc.) i would think that we have a shot at best of show, best in paint and best european car, i'm just considering if we have a shot at best sq (i'm in charge of the car's carputer project)..

    so here's the thing.. the sound card i'll be using would be a sound blaster digital music, and i've checked and it processes audio at 16-bit, so i guess i'm pretty much done if they're gonna be using a 24-bit encoded cd..

    ok so we've already concluded that a carputer can compete with a head unit, provided that a good sound processor is used... so what sound card would be best for competing in an sq event?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    the CDs that are used in USACi are recorded in 24 bit, most cds are recorded in 16 bit.
    i'm not aware of any recording studio that samples at only 16 bits these days; many people are moving to recording directly to computer, so record at whatever rate they chose. previously, DAT at 24 bit was the medium of choice for pros. no matter what the source, it always gets downsampled to 16 bit for an audio cd (it's in the cd spec).

  9. #19
    FLAC IntellaWorks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emdzey01
    ok so we've already concluded that a carputer can compete with a head unit, provided that a good sound processor is used... so what sound card would be best for competing in an sq event?

    Assuming your pc has an Open PCI slow Sound Blaster Audiology is a really great card.. but you can do the searching on your own. I suggest at least a 24Bit Sound card with RCA outs. Expect to spend anywhere from 40-100 dollers... I search brielfy but didn't find a card with your needs... You dont need a game port or any of the phone anwsering cabailities.. Just something simple with Dolby digital 5.1 RCA's and 24 bit sound..

    Good luck !
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  10. #20
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    IntellaWorks: I am not sure I understand you correctly when you say "on the fly" and "play off the HD", all I know is, in competition, you have to play in real time, meaning, the judge would insert the CD and hit "play", you can't pre-can the CD. Now, your "play" button could do all sort of things, but it must play in real time.

    emdzey01: I don't know much about your setup, but, if you have a PCI slot, then you have a lot more options as far as sound cards, if OTOH you are limited to USB input, then try to look at M-Audio USB device, similar to that of SB Audigy, if you can afford it, get both of them and compare the quality, I know for sure that M-Audio has less sampling issues than SB but I am not sure if that is across their entire product line. Again, read as much as you can about M-Audio & SB over that site I mentioned above.

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