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Thread: OnBoard / HighEnd / Commercial HU - How bad?

  1. #1
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    OnBoard / HighEnd / Commercial HU - How bad?

    So, please be gentle with me, as I hardly have a solid idea of Audio.

    I happened to stumble over the "External Audio cards" thread and noticed how many people were aiming for external instead of onboard audio.

    As I said, I am not exactly an audiophile, currently planning my first carpc build and this raises a question for me...

    Just how "bad" is onboard sound? I understand that seemingly a lot of "noise" or "jitter" is coming from motherboard interferences and the harddrive in close proximity of the audio equipment.

    As I am planning to go with a ViA nano Board mounted in a DDin cage in dash this now started to worry me. I am pretty much locked into that mounting location due to space concerns (under the seats - dirt, in the trunk - rewire the entire damn car, etc.).

    The board does not exactly have a lot of processing power (which I read is required to run a USB sound card) to spare and there is no room for a PCI sound card. So, in a setup like this, with all the computer equipment crammed into a small space would I have to expect a lot of interference and bad quality that would even be noticed be the "untrained" low-fidelity ear?

    This also raises the question - how do the "commercial" HU manufacturers adress the problem? I mean the Alpine SatNav DDin headunits usually sport a harddrive as well. Do they have a "detached" sound processing? Do they shield the case internally from the harddrive to limit quality loss? Or is Alpine plainly bad sound by the definitions of the Gurus as well?

  2. #2
    Car Audio Moderator durwood's Avatar
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    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...soundcard.html

    Many people are happy with onboard sound. The newer HD codecs are really improved. Alot has to do with the codecs used in the DSP and some with the electronic parts used.

    How is the sound on your home PC? Is it basic or is it a newer High Definition motherboard?

  3. #3
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    it also depends on how you're going to make that connection...and your audio equipment quality.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by durwood View Post
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...soundcard.html

    Many people are happy with onboard sound. The newer HD codecs are really improved. Alot has to do with the codecs used in the DSP and some with the electronic parts used.

    How is the sound on your home PC? Is it basic or is it a newer High Definition motherboard?
    At home I use a HTPC. The sound output to the TV just is line out to RCA. For DVDs and music I output the sound via optical SPDIF (TOSLINK) to a 5.1 A/V Receiver. mp3 etc. I just listen to in stereo, on old stereo speakers, DVD and AC3 through the 5.1 setup. It's a HD souncdhip (SigmaTel).

    Regarding on how I will make the connection to the car... Well, that is a bit complicated.

    I have a stock Bose 10 speaker system in the car now, and it sounds good enough for me. However, the stock HU is crap, and I was told ANY other HU gives you a significantly improved sound. Well, the way it would work is probably like this:

    Using a regular minijack to RCA cable to connect to the soundcard. From there I would have to split this signal up another time (with an Y RCA cable or something) so I can supply a signal to all the 4 inputs that the stock HU also supplies with now. From there the signals go to the stock Bose Amp and all the amplification, signal splitting to the 10 speakers, etc. is done there. I prefer not to screw around with that, as a) I would have to disassemble the entire car almost and b) I am not experienced enough.

    I am not really sure if this is a way to go, as it would weaken the minijack significantly I guess, and might make the setup prone to picking upinterferences. I have no other idea on how to supply all the 4 signals to the Bose Amp however.

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    Newbie thejohndi's Avatar
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