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

  1. #191
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
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    4.1 = four speakers and a subwoofer, it's a term that has been around for a long time to describe PC audio. There is some quadrophonic music available (another failed format), but I doubt anyone is referring to that. If you have a DSP or soundcard with multiple channel outputs, it's easy to play both stereo sources and 5.1 sources with the center channel mixed to the front. Most DSPs can do this, or you can do it in software.

    DTS sounds amazing downmixed to 4.1 in a car. You'll swear there's a center channel speaker once it's set up right.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    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?
    Don't forget EQ plugins, AC3filter, ffdshow, etc. That is a pain, and the FAQ Emporium could really use a comprehensive "Tune Your Audio" guide. I'm still unsure what sounds best myself. If you get the Alpine DSP, you should be able do everything solely with it, disabling software EQs or leaving them at default. My biggest irritation was multiple volume controls. I was never satisfied having master, wave and even individual channel volume controls with analog, and then there was the control on my DSP. Now with digital I'm down to just wav on the pc, which I leave at 50%, and set my gains with the DSP volume at 75%.

    I'm using the Audiobahn DSP, which doesn't have anywhere near the tuning ability of the Alpine unit. If I had the Alpine, I would probably do as others here and treat my PC as more of a source rather than a HU replacement. However, I don't mind at the moment since I'm really enjoying configuring EQ presets for different albums, and even for some individual songs.
    In progress: M10000; Travla c134; Xenarc 700TSV; Hitachi 80GB 2.5"; 256MB ULP; M2-ATX; ITPS; Powermate; iKEY SL-88 KB; Holux GM-210; Audiobahn ADD51T w/ COAX/optical converter; Road Runner; iGuidance 2.1

  2. #192
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    xfsrg, I'm not sure making a 4.1 setup for the car is such a good idea. It may be more trouble than it's worth. Red, as well as most of us use regular 2 channel stereo setups. You could probably make a 4.1 setup, but don't ask me how. I'm guessing you want it only for DVD's right? Most music is still 2 channel. You can take a basic 2 channel and split it into front, rear and sub.
    I think that xfsrg was talking about his setup in terms of car speakers (4.1 meaning 4 speaker channels and one sub channel...FL, FR, RL, RR, and SUB)...i think...only because i've heard people refer to a standard car setup as 4.1 before, but im not sure...


    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    3onDubs, there are a lot of knowledgable installers in Cali. Check out some of the car stereo competition websites and find some installers in your area that have done well in competition. Narrow that down to the ones that have experience using the Alpine 700/701. The tuning process doesn't start with the EQ, it ends with the EQ.
    Thanks Jason...I think I'll definitely do that. There are a few installers in the area, but I'll double check to make sure that they've worked with the 701....I just hate getting ripped off more than anything else on this planet. The majority of installers will lie to you and tell you that they know exactly what they're dealing with and then they'll charge unreasonable prices to see your facial expression (and they'll only lower the price when you look shocked). That is why I have tried taking things into my own hands recently with my carputer setup, but I find myself lacking most of the tools at times and turning here when I get stuck...


    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    From what I've read about the 700/701 you will have all the tools you need. An experienced installer can tune it all. Is the rest of your sound system up to snuff?
    I have two excellon amps and excellon components and coaxials and a pair of Orion 12's that are pretty decent...This system was alright back in the day, but its definitely time for an upgrade. I'm picking up a pair of 12" JL W7's and the JL 1000/1 and I'm debating on insides. I was set on MB Quart's, but heard that they were too bright, so I'm leaning towards either OZ Matrix Elite's or Diamond Hex's to go along with a JL 300/4. I'd go with the JL components, but the Elite's just sound so damn nice...I hope to build a custom box for my subs once I get all the parts in (still in the shipping phase)
    PostCount++


    - SrCsTc's Bezel
    - Alpine W200/H701
    - ED Nine.2X
    - OZ Matrix Elites
    - ED Nine.1
    - Idmax 12's

  3. #193
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca
    4.1 = four speakers and a subwoofer
    Just read your post after I wrote mine...


    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca
    Don't forget EQ plugins, AC3filter, ffdshow, etc. That is a pain, and the FAQ Emporium could really use a comprehensive "Tune Your Audio" guide. I'm still unsure what sounds best myself. If you get the Alpine DSP, you should be able do everything solely with it, disabling software EQs or leaving them at default. My biggest irritation was multiple volume controls. I was never satisfied having master, wave and even individual channel volume controls with analog, and then there was the control on my DSP. Now with digital I'm down to just wav on the pc, which I leave at 50%, and set my gains with the DSP volume at 75%.
    Yeah...hopefully I can just ignore the software eq's. Do you ever find that Road Runner doesn't remember your presets, or resets them to some random default? Either that, or there are little people that steal my keys at night and f with my presets...damn little people...

    The volume thing has got me strung up also...I was stoked about finally getting my ibus steering wheel controls to work. Red said that it wouldn't be a problem and that I could just set my Alpine at a certain level and use the volume controls on the steering wheel, but I dont know how well it would sound when i turn it up all the way. As long as I can still change the tracks and mute it when I have to, I guess its fine...
    PostCount++


    - SrCsTc's Bezel
    - Alpine W200/H701
    - ED Nine.2X
    - OZ Matrix Elites
    - ED Nine.1
    - Idmax 12's

  4. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    There are a few installers in the area, but I'll double check to make sure that they've worked with the 701....I just hate getting ripped off more than anything else on this planet. The majority of installers will lie to you and tell you that they know exactly what they're dealing with and then they'll charge unreasonable prices to see your facial expression (and they'll only lower the price when you look shocked). That is why I have tried taking things into my own hands recently with my carputer setup, but I find myself lacking most of the tools at times and turning here when I get stuck..
    I forgot to mention that you should listen to a system that the installer has tuned. Ideally you would go to a competion in your area and listen to several cars. I don't think the 06 competition scene has started up yet, so you may not find any. You can usually tell if an installer knows how to tune just by listening to their system or one they've tuned. Sometimes you can get lucky and a customer of theirs who is serious about sound will be there and be willing to demonstrate their setup. Pretty much anyone who is winning in Sound Quality competitions is doing something right.

    fonseca, it's odd you say you play with different EQ settings for each song or album. I've found that once my system is dialed in, pretty much everything sounds good. My EPX2 can store 16 presets of 28 band EQ settings, but I only use 2 presets. One for engine off accurate sound, which I rarely listen to and the other is the same except that it has a bass hump around 50-80Hz. Maybe and extra 5-7dB. Thats' about it for me. I listen to the second curve about 98% of the time. The extra bass helps overcome noise in the vehicle as well as makes it a bit more fun to listen to. Really, that's all I use. I use the tone control on the HU to add or subtract a little more bass depending on the song and I figure I can use the PC EQ for that little extra bass control, once I pull the HU out. So it just seems odd to me that you would need to use the EQ so much.
    Does anyone else here change their EQ a lot depending on the song? I'm just curious.

  5. #195
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca

    DTS sounds amazing downmixed to 4.1 in a car. You'll swear there's a center channel speaker once it's set up right.
    most of the times it will sound better than if you really stuck a center speaker in there.....

  6. #196
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW

    fonseca, it's odd you say you play with different EQ settings for each song or album. I've found that once my system is dialed in, pretty much everything sounds good. My EPX2 can store 16 presets of 28 band EQ settings, but I only use 2 presets. One for engine off accurate sound, which I rarely listen to and the other is the same except that it has a bass hump around 50-80Hz. Maybe and extra 5-7dB. Thats' about it for me. I listen to the second curve about 98% of the time. The extra bass helps overcome noise in the vehicle as well as makes it a bit more fun to listen to. Really, that's all I use. I use the tone control on the HU to add or subtract a little more bass depending on the song and I figure I can use the PC EQ for that little extra bass control, once I pull the HU out. So it just seems odd to me that you would need to use the EQ so much.
    Does anyone else here change their EQ a lot depending on the song? I'm just curious.


    yes, when the system is really tuned right everything will sound great.... or really everything should sound "as recorded".. which means there is little to no reason to need to constantly adjust.....

    most guys that are constantly adjusting are doing so because they never actually get it right in the first place.... if you think you need different curves for different songs then either you have a deficiency in your systems overall response or your just not getting it right (or you have crappy recordings) .... and forget the mentality of "I want to tune it it to how I like it to sound"....... that's bull **** & ignorance..... your tuning it to how it's SUPPOSED to sound....

    to do this you have to know what a recording is supposed to sound like...... excellent tuning material will be a mix of your favorite songs that you've listened to for years perhaps.... some womans vocals, which are great for tuning..... jazz with horns...... piano is a great source to add..... you should switch between several different pieces before you decide to change anything & listen

    I agree 100% with your two presets, I have exactly the same..... one is perfect tune with a low noise ground floor(mine is idling, not engine off) and one with that little extra bump in the low end for loud noise driving or to enhance music that needs that extra bump..... if I have a third it will be if I make a tweek to my base curve & listen to it for a while.... if I'm convinced I made an improvement across the board then it will eventually replace & become my base preset....

    in tuning your system it's nice to have presets though.... after a lot of listening to several different sources you make a minor adjustment to improve...... you then set this in another preset...... you then listen to several sources & switch beteen the old & the new..... if your satisfied that it is a definate improvement then THAT becomes the default....... you do a lot more listening,, a LITTLE more tuning & repeat the process.....

    after a good while of listening & tuning time you will get to the point that it is perfect...... the point where nothing need to be changed... & anything that is changed would only start to degrade the sound..... at that point it's done..... don't have to touch it anymore...

    add an epicenter for good measure & just enjoy it..... when it's done it's done, & you will just smile every time you hear it

  7. #197
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
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    ^ I believe it. I have a great spot for a center speaker, which could be hidden inside my main air vents with no problem. but then it would be a heck of a lot closer to my face then any other speaker, and probably not sound matched no matter how much I adjusted it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    Do you ever find that Road Runner doesn't remember your presets, or resets them to some random default?
    I had trouble getting my custom Winamp presets to work in RR. Turns out I was just missing a few lines in my ini. No problems since.

    I'm still unsure on the volume issue, and I'd love to hear advice from someone who knows. From what I understand, the wave slider with digital output simply includes data in the stream telling the processer how loud the music should be. But the DSP's volume control is actually increasing the voltage on the RCAs, right? If so, maybe Red is correct, and it would be better to have the voltage going to the RCAs close to max to avoid noise, and just use the pc for volume control. I honestly don't know.

    I'm running two Excelon amps as well. Good quality for the money.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    fonseca, it's odd you say you play with different EQ settings for each song or album. I've found that once my system is dialed in, pretty much everything sounds good.
    Well, I have always been one to constantly adjust the EQ, no matter what system I'm using. Especially the bass and treble ends. But I'm talking about very small adjustments. I have a good starting point that I like to tweak, and only four "real" presets. Some songs on an album are quiet instrumentals, while others on the same album are blasting drums and cymbals. And I certainly couldn't use the same sole preset I use for rock, techno, etc for classical, bluegrass or audio books. I might agree with you if all my source files were normalized to a shared standard. Actually, I still wouldn't. I don't think there is a single given preset that sounds ideal for everything. Acceptable? Maybe. But I'm extremely anal when it comes to small details.

    I've always made small adjustments, mainly to keep the bass at my preferred level between different CDs. Road Runner allowing me to have a preset that auto loads for each song or album means I won't be fiddling with the remote all the time while driving.
    In progress: M10000; Travla c134; Xenarc 700TSV; Hitachi 80GB 2.5"; 256MB ULP; M2-ATX; ITPS; Powermate; iKEY SL-88 KB; Holux GM-210; Audiobahn ADD51T w/ COAX/optical converter; Road Runner; iGuidance 2.1

  8. #198
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca



    Well, I have always been one to constantly adjust the EQ, no matter what system I'm using. Especially the bass and treble ends. But I'm talking about very small adjustments. I have a good starting point that I like to tweak, and only four "real" presets. Some songs on an album are quiet instrumentals, while others are blasting drums and symbols. And I certainly couldn't use the same sole preset I use for rock, techno, etc for classical, bluegrass or audio books. I might agree with you if all my source files were normalized to a shared standard. Actually, I still wouldn't. I don't think there is a single given preset that sounds ideal for everything. Acceptable? Maybe. but I'm extremely anal when it comes to small details.

    I'm pretty anal myself when it comes to my sound & I can get my tune to a point that sounds great no matter what I'm listening to, techno to classical to a pepsi commercial all sound correct & great.... mp3's however aren't always the best media & depending on the source/ripping methods/bit rate, etc.., can vary widely in quality.... in these circumstances I guess an eq tweek may make an improvement on a particular song or album, but to tweek each one would be .... I guess I wouldn't even consider doing this as I have way too many mp3's for this to even be feasable.....

    the fact that you say "..And I certainly couldn't use the same sole preset I use for rock, techno, etc for classical, bluegrass or audio books" probably means that you are boosting your rock/techno curve beyond what it should be, making it sound like what you want it to sound like.... a pro system will soung great no matter what you throw at it.... the only minor exception is usually in the bass reigon, as some recordings, especially techno & rap, will have the bass boosted at the recording level... one thing to keep in mind is that even though you'd expect all recordings to be true, they usually are tweeked by a producer/engineer & your also getting what he wants to give you.... a lot of recordings are boosted in the low end & others are deficient there, this combined with the fact that at highway speeds, most cars will defanately need a boost in the low end just to overcome road noise... may cause you to feel you need more differing curves...

  9. #199
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    yea by 4.1 i mean just the usual 4 speakers and a subwoofer (FL,FR,RF,RR,LFE channels)... sorry for the confusion - guess im just lil more use to it using computers

    turbocad6,

    thanks for the reccomendation on the alpine pxa-h510. i will deffinantly look into that since i was looking for something good but not going to break the wallet. GaTech doesnt leave me time for a job so no income leaves me with certain sacrifices... the h700/701 would be too much for me anyways probably

    thanks for the help and suggestions

  10. #200
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6
    you are boosting your rock/techno curve beyond what it should be, making it sound like what you want it to sound like.... a pro system will soung great no matter what you throw at it....
    That may be true, but there's definitely a big difference across albums. One album will have a ridiculous amount of bass guitar and drums, to the point where everything in my vehicle is vibrating, while another in the same music genre will be so subdued that my sub is hardly being utilized given the same volume level for mids. That may be what the band wanted (although I think it's simply poor mixing), but it's not what I want, and I think that's an example of needing to adjust the EQ curve.
    In progress: M10000; Travla c134; Xenarc 700TSV; Hitachi 80GB 2.5"; 256MB ULP; M2-ATX; ITPS; Powermate; iKEY SL-88 KB; Holux GM-210; Audiobahn ADD51T w/ COAX/optical converter; Road Runner; iGuidance 2.1

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