Page 21 of 50 FirstFirst ... 111213141516171819202122232425262728293031 ... LastLast
Results 201 to 210 of 493

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

  1. #201
    FLAC
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hou. TX
    Posts
    1,481
    fonseca, it sounds like turbocad6 is blasting you a bit. I was thinking maybe your system wasn't tuned just right either, but I don't want to presume. It may be tuned quite well, but you just want to tweak that little extra bit or something. I guess that is feasible.

    I remember several years ago I used to constantly adjust my system to tweak the sound mainly because it never sounded just right depending on what I'm listening to. As my system and tuning got better I stopped feeling the need to do that. I'm wondering if that is the situation you are in.

    Anyway, my philosophy on a sound system is basically an in-out device. What goes in, comes out. For everything to be as transparent as possible. I will play several albums that were recorded live to 2 track with no processing or mixing or anything extra added as well as other high end recordings that I read about in various audiophile magazines. Once I finally got those albums to sound as real as possible (and it took years) like I was actually there I finally felt I had done all I can. At this point the car will take whatever you throw at it (on CD) and reproduce what is on the disc. If you have a very nicely recorded album, you will be rewarded. On the other hand it can be a double edged sword. A poorely recorded album will show it's faults and defects. So it can suck sometimes as an album that sounds good on a regular system may not sound so good on a high end one that is fairly transparent. Take Joan Osbornes Relish album. It was nominated for album of the year and it was a great album, almost every song was wonderfull, but it had an annoying high pitched whine at the top end of the frequency range. Most people never heard it, because whatever they listened to it on didn't reproduce 20kHz very well. One of these days I'm going to rerecord that album on my PC and roll off the extreme highs. And the list goes on and on. I'm sure the guys and girls here can tell you about little defects in certian recordings that they've heard. You just have to live with it and focus on quality recordings.

    Once your system is transparent you will be listening to what was actually recorded. You can easily tell if a song was over processed by the engineer as it will lose detail and ambience. Whereas a song with minimal engineering will allow you to visualize the room it was recorded in. I've even been able to recognize works from certain recording engineers just because of the way they put an album together. (don't test me on that, it's happened a few times and that's good enough for me). One of my favorite engineers is George Massenburg.
    http://www.massenburg.com/cgi-bin/ml...ml?id=hIZNAmTJ
    If you ever want to treat yourself, pick up one of the albums he's worked on:
    http://www.massenburg.com/cgi-bin/ml...ml?id=hIZNAmTJ
    Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat is a classic.
    Lyle Lovett, Joshua Judges Ruth blew me away as well.

    I'm getting a little sidetracked, but my point is that once the system is tuned and transparent, you will be listening to the actual recording. You will then know if the bass is lacking or if the tonal balance is off or if it was over processed etc... I do tweak the bass a little on certain recordings as the bass tends to vary the most from recording to recording, but I don't mess with anything else.

    Back to my philosophy. Starting at the source, HU or PC or Ipod, whatever all the way to the sound coming out. I try to make all those things sound transparent. The speakers and the EQ tuning, all that, is done to match the car (or whatever listening environment you are in) so that whatever is played on the system, will come out as it is recorded. That's been my goal these last 14 or so years. Really, it took me about 8 or 9 years to get it right. To where I was finally satisfied. I don't want to discourage anyone, but I had to go through several cars, all kinds of amps, speakers, etc... to finally get the right combination of parts and to get it all tweaked. Lack of disposible income hampered me quite a bit, but it's a big learning experience. No one should expect to just jump in and build a world class system that is transparent. It takes time, but it's fun getting there as well. If I were more anal about the sound, I may continue to refine it. If I weren't as anal as I am, I would have settled a lot sooner. So it all depends on the person.

    Aiming for transparency is a lofty goal, but it's not for everyone. I think most folks just want a system that sounds good. I can appreciate that as well.

    Hey turbo, thanks for mentioning the Epicenter. I forgot all about that unit. Do you have one? Once the computer system is mostly in and done I'm going to try and remember to get one. I've always wanted to hear the Beatles with a real bass beat.

  2. #202
    FLAC
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hou. TX
    Posts
    1,481
    Quote Originally Posted by fonseca
    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.
    I know what you mean. A more simplistic way of dealing with varying bass would be to have a gain control up front to control the bass amp. I used to have one up front. The center knob position was a flat bass curve for natural sound and I could increase or decrease it on the fly for any particular song. I mounted it in the center console right next to my right hand so it was very natural to adjust it. Have you considered doing that?

    I kind of miss having that knob myself. I may work one into my system later on, maybe.

  3. #203
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    6,234
    it's usually the bass that is the main difference across different recordings..... if I do have more than one curve it's usually a duplicate of my other curves with changes in the BASS CURVE.... everything from around 100 & up usually stays the same regardless of the source.... this is not to say that one particular medocre recording may not sound better with a modified curve,.. in tunning this should be ignored... you should tune with only good recordings....& stuff that you think you know well enough to identify correctness & even then, you have to keep going back & forth with differing material to get a happy medium...

    the epicenter is an awsome piece .... an epicenter & a level adjust for the sub should make needing multiple curves much less necissary..... this is a great way to control bass overall..


    "fonseca, it sounds like turbocad6 is blasting you a bit."

    nah, no blasting intentions there, just an observation & opinion really... ment to be constructive.... in system tuning most will start out in the dark.... as you listen & tune, listen & tune... repeat constantly..... eventually you will start to step out off the dark & start to recognize smaller nuances of sound & frequencies... as you become enlightened you will be able to tune your system better & better, it's not something you will aquire overnight & can take years to be really good at it....

    as jason says, eventually you will see the light, by being able to tune a system to true transparency...( or as close as you could get to this in a car & with the equiptment available to you really)

    you can actualy get to the point that there is nothing you can adjust to get your system to sound better OVERALL, & this is a key point.... you should NEVER try to tune your system to just one song or one type of music... even if you plan on listening to nothing but rock or techno in your car you can't restrict your tuning to just these types of music.... you should use stuff that you may not even normally listen too.... but you can know what it is supposed to sound like.....

    you may not like jazz, horns or pianos, but these are usually easy for someone to recognize as to sounding right or not, & help in tuning alot....

    another excellent source to tune to is a womans vocals.... they will show discrepancys in the adjustments well.... & go through many.... maria may sound fine, but ella may have a strange rasp in her voice that you can through trial & error nail down to a slight reduction of a db or two at 3.2k...

    tuning takes a long time, & approaching it with the attitude that your supposed to have different curves for different music is not conductive to good tuning practices....

    realize that every sound can originate at any point in the frequency spectrum, & also realize that every point on the spectrum affects points well above & below them too, through reverbs.... every adjustment affects the other adjustments to a certain degree.... you could have a noticable problem at 2k for example, but identify it incorectly & make an adjustment at 4k.... the adjustment at 4k may help the discrepancy you here at 2k, & you may think it's better, but then listen to something else that will show a nasty response because of the incorrect boost at 4k...... it can be extremely frustraiting & takes loads of paitience

    .... always start by cutting frequencys to balance the sound... boosting frequencys should be avoided unless really necissary... & if you find that you have to boost any frequency a real lot, then consider there may be a deficiency in your setup...if you find that you have to boost a frequency significantly & then have to really cut an adjacent frequency alot then there is something wrong...... cross over points & slopes come into play, as well as aiming & off axis response of drivers..... **** I could go on for ever.... I think I'll stop now...

  4. #204
    Low Bitrate SurgResDocMD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    The Damn Hospital
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    on the onboard sound on the M10000, it's something like .5v

    most headunits are in the 2-5v range
    That is a great point! The output on sound cards is really horrible. Only way I can see a PC working in this area is Digital Out to a Processor

  5. #205
    FLAC
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hou. TX
    Posts
    1,481
    Quote Originally Posted by SurgResDocMD
    Thatt is a great point! The (voltage?) output on sound cards is really horrible. Only way I can see a PC working in this area is Digital Out to a Processor
    Surg, I don't think you have been paying attention to this thread.
    Keep in mind why high voltage outputs are used in car HU in the first place which is to reduce inducted noise from the front of the car to the rear. Those long RCA runs can pick up stray noise from surrounding wires. If you have a electrically "noisy" car this can be very handy. If your car is electrically "quiet" then the high voltage outputs are not really needed. It all depends. Back in the day sound off competitiors only had low voltage HU's to work with and that was just fine. Everything worked well and sounded awesome.

    Now that I have the digital preamps of both inputs (HU and PC) in my EPX2 adjusted the same, I can get plenty of volume from my Chaintech sound card. My HU is a Clarion DRX7375 which has 2v outputs. The Chaintech seems to have similar output levels so I'm thinking it may be around 2v as well. So although the M10000 may have something like .5v, I'm betting it varies from sound card to sound card.

    Turbocad6, I agree again. Seems we are thinking alike.

  6. #206
    Dac
    Dac is offline
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    13
    I read somewhere that soundcards usually have around 2V output. But anyway, that has nothing to do with loudness

    edit: http://www.3dvelocity.com/reviews/audigy4/audigy4.htm

  7. #207
    Low Bitrate SurgResDocMD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    The Damn Hospital
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWW
    Surg, I don't think you have been paying attention to this thread.
    Keep in mind why high voltage outputs are used in car HU in the first place which is to reduce inducted noise from the front of the car to the rear. Those long RCA runs can pick up stray noise from surrounding wires. If you have a electrically "noisy" car this can be very handy. If your car is electrically "quiet" then the high voltage outputs are not really needed. It all depends. Back in the day sound off competitiors only had low voltage HU's to work with and that was just fine. Everything worked well and sounded awesome.

    Now that I have the digital preamps of both inputs (HU and PC) in my EPX2 adjusted the same, I can get plenty of volume from my Chaintech sound card. My HU is a Clarion DRX7375 which has 2v outputs. The Chaintech seems to have similar output levels so I'm thinking it may be around 2v as well. So although the M10000 may have something like .5v, I'm betting it varies from sound card to sound card.

    Turbocad6, I agree again. Seems we are thinking alike.
    Not sure I agree with the low voltage/HU theory. I did a search on Richard Clarks Forum, found the same thing. More output voltage=better sound with less noise. Infact many Car Audio companies make Voltage boosters such as Audio Control for this reason.

  8. #208
    FLAC
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hou. TX
    Posts
    1,481
    Surg, I'm not quoting any theory about low voltage HU's. When you say "More output voltage=better sound with less noise", how can a higher signal level sound better? Are you talking about an amp that can not fully use the low voltage signal and therefore clips the input? That used to be a small problem a long time ago, but it's not really seen much these days. And the part about less noise, I think you mean less noise "potential". It's all about the ratio. The more voltage you have coming out of the HU, the less you need to amplify it at the amp. A low voltage headunit, say 0.5 volt, will need to have the amp gains higher than say a HU with a 2 volt output. When you increase the gains you are amplifying the signal as well as any noise that my have found it's way into the signal cable. That's why a higher voltage signal is better (not in sound quality) for installers these days, because it helps to eliminate alternator whine. This makes installation easier as the installer doesn't have to use a convoluted path for the signal cable or move other wires away from it on it's way to the rear of the car. The only true way I can see a higher voltage signal improving sound quality would be if you had a HU that didn't have a very good DAC and it put out a bit more low level noise than other, better, DACs. Then the higher signal level would allow you have a slightly lower noise floor which is always a good thing in competition, but for the average guy not competing, it probably wouldn't be noticable. I could be wrong, so don't be afraid to correct me, but I think that's how it goes.

    I'm not trying to argue and say that high voltage signals are not a good thing, but to say they are necessary may be going too far. They are a great thing to have and can improve the sound, but you have to know why. Not just that they are better. (Same goes for output impedance, the lower the better.)

    My EPX2 can output up to 10 volts to the amps, but I don't actually have that much going out to them. My HU max is 2 volts and the sound quality and signal levels are fine. The Chaintech sound card has plenty of signal level and sounds as good as my HU. Anyone wanting good sound quality from thier PC and thinks they have to go digital may be wasting their money. At least try one of these Chaintech cards and see what you think. For only 30 bucks, it deserves a try. On the other hand, if you need to buy a good x-over and EQ (I didn't) OR if you need high quality 5.1 (I didn't), then the digital units like the 700/701 makes good sense. I may still go over to one later if I feel the need. If my EPX2 craps out (it's old) or gives me trouble in any way, I'll definetly get the 701 or it's equivalent.

    Maybe my EPX2 gives me an advantage or something, I don't know, but I said it before and I'll say it again, an analog signal from a sound card CAN compete or better a HU in sound quality. That's the point of this thread. Keep in mind I'm not a casual listener. My standards for sound quality are pretty high and I've trained my ears to pick up on lots of small little nuances over the years. I've listened to a lot of the top IASCA and USAC cars from the mid to 90's to the early 00's and dealt with some of the top installers and system tuners over the years. So please don't take what I'm saying lightly. I trully believe that an analog sound card CAN sound as good as a HU as long as both are of good quality. A poor sound card will not compete, but a good one can. The potential is out there.

    Surge, how you can say "Only way I can see a PC working in this area is Digital Out to a Processor" when you haven't even tried using a simple $30 sound card and heard first hand? What are you basing your opinion on?

  9. #209
    FLAC
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hou. TX
    Posts
    1,481
    Quote Originally Posted by SurgResDocMD
    Infact many Car Audio companies make Voltage boosters such as Audio Control for this reason.
    Don't get me started on Audio Control. The PSU's in their EQ and x-overs are not very good at all. They always seem to add noise to the system. I would avoid that brand if possible.

    I'm reserving comment on the Epicenter as it may not effect the noise floor, but I'm still not sure I will add it. I may try it out first and see whether or not it effects the system on non-bass ways.

  10. #210
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Anaheim Hills, Ca
    Posts
    847

    Update:

    Just wanted to say thanks to all those who have helped me in my quest for better audio (Fonseca, Turbo, Red, Jason to name a few)...you all have really given me great advice and it definitely payed off...

    ...so last night I got my H701 and C701 in the mail along with a Soundstream XStream 700.4 amp. I was stoked that they all came at the same time and I couldn't wait til the weekend, so I threw them all in my car. Swapped my excellon amp out (Soundstream blew it away...huge difference even before tuning) and then ran the spidf to an optical converter to the DSP. I then ran the C701 controller to the front (have yet to mount it) and was ready to go.

    Problems I ran into:

    1. That coax to optical converter does not run off the power it advertises. I ended up feeding it into my amp's power lead to get it to work.

    2. After I wired everything up and turned everything on...no sound (kinda expected this as nothing could possibly be that easy). Made sure that AC3 was installed and enabled and that SPIDF out was checked in advanced volume controls and was stuck. I remembered reading somewhere that the J11 jumper to enable SPIDF out on the epia was mislabelled, so I figured this was the problem. I figured that since my usb soundblaster external had an optical out, I could just test it with that....still nothing. I ended up reaching for the H701 owner's manual (which is hard for a guy to do) and realizing that I have to tell the DSP which input I'm using in the setup menu. I felt like an idiot, but the sound came right on.

    3. Using the external sounblaster's optical out, I was getting really loud crackles and pops through my speakers that was much louder than the lyrics. It only came on when audio was playing on the PC, so I figured that soundblaster was crap and I went back to my onboard coax out and disabled soundblaster in control panel....the crackle went away.

    Not only did the crackle go away, I no longer have that annoying turn on pop that I could never get rid of (tried everything), I no longer have engine/electrical whine noise (or any noticeable noise for that matter). My gains are set back to normal (not cranked up to get sound) and the SQ is amazing. I think that this was the single best investment that I have made in terms of buying components for my carPC. This is how music should sound. I can definitely conclude that my sound is currently much better than it was when I was using a Sony XPLOD flip screen as my headunit (before my carputer was born). The highs are clean (using the same speakers) at any volume and my subs slump much harder than they used to...all in all, to relate this babble back to the thread topic...yes, a carputer can definitely compete with a head unit for sound quality.
    PostCount++


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

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 15
    Last Post: 02-15-2006, 12:50 AM
  2. Alternate locations for head unit?
    By Raekwon in forum General MP3Car Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-09-2003, 04:02 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-06-2003, 02:35 AM
  4. Slot load dvd in a head unit
    By mp3truckstereo in forum General Hardware Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-01-2002, 11:17 PM
  5. Anyone using an FM tuner on their carputer instead of a head unit?
    By Szech in forum General Hardware Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-14-2001, 03:07 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •