One other note, I won't ever build a system without time alignment again after having it. It makes an incredible difference. I seriously underestimated how much I'd appreciate it until I went that route. The MiniDSP applies tuning changes in real time while connected to the unit, so you can dial it in and listen as each change effects the sound.
I'll second the time alignment... once you have heard how well it cleans up the sound, it's hard to imagine going back.
I use the JBL MS-8 DSP fed by a USB DAC. Stereo only in, and the DSP takes care of the rest, including fader. balance, etc.
Before looking into time alignment I was set on the Clarion EQS746 EQ because it can take stereo in and seperate into FL FR RL RR and subs, and still give the clean sound output that the USB DAC feeds it, to your amps. Only $60 too, but no time alignment. Did I mention CLEAN output?
as much as id love the JBL MS-8 the price stops me lol...
But i will defiantly consider the Clarion EQS746 as its well within my price range.
I'm using a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 hooks up to optical and is configured with a Windows PC. Also has a remote with 2 configurable knobs. For some reason the remote is disabled when plugged in to a PC though.
I found it on Amazon for around $430 USD which isn't much cheaper than the JBL, I don't know which is superior though.
Are you wanting surround sound in your car or are you focused on stereo only?
You could feed the analog outs from the mobo to one of these processors for surround sound. Another option is an Alpine I remember seeing that has Dolby Digital decoding built in.
well I'm happy with stereo, but id still like to be able to use fade & balance on that signal still.
Considering that you're happy with stero there may be a way to get a middle ground.
From what I've gathered of your system you are not using active crossovers to separate woofers and tweeters before the amps for the front channel. With that said, that means you could use a simpler solution.
I went with MiniDSP because they are a company that creates highly customizable solutions for hobbyists, not the plug and play installers. For me that meant one thing, but there is room for you here too I think depending on price range.
The basic MiniDSP unit is a 2 in 4 out setup. You could take the basic stereo sound output and split that into four channels for the front and rear. That would give you full EQ and TA for the main four channels that cover everything but the bass. You don't get a fade knob, but you can completely control that in the tune and then because you have the PC in the car you can plug in and change settings at any time. You would just need to then get a solution for the subs to the amp. Bass matters, but as far as making your system work on more of a budget I'd put that at the lower priority end of EQ and TA. You would still need a solution for it, but a basic 2 channel EQ/LOC could run that separately. The only thing missing would be time allignment for the subs, but for the frequency range that you're talking about you can't localize the drivers with your ears anyways (won't screw up staging) and it doesn't have any effect on the inteligibility of the music.
If you're happy with the DAC in on your MB chipset then you could just use a standard 2x4, either the kit for 99 (circuit board with no case) or in a case for 125. The offer a combo option that adds the digital IO card for it that is 160 but it doens't come in a box, just the kit version. That would allow you to use the MiniDSP DAC instead, which is very good.
If you ever decided down the road to take a step up you can jumper multiple kits together, so you could say go active with the front stage and pair a second 2x4 to run the rears and subs.
I don't mean to be a schill for MiniDSP, but the whole point of their products is to offer more options so I wanted to fill you in. There are other great products out there, but as you've seen the price point for an all in one solution is quite high.
EDIT: Also the 2x4 MiniDSP kit can be powered by USB or any 5-24V power supply. It's very flexible and easy to install for us carputer guys.
Originally Posted by FockMasterDan
Wow great information thanks for that. I've ordered the Clarion EQS746 so ill see how i go with that then porbs move on the a miniDSP
Not adding anything, not trying to Hijack, but I have a couple questions about the MiniDSP stuff.
I've had the clarion Unit EQS746. It might be a clean unit, but the deal breaker for me was that the EQ affected the Sub outs. What does that mean? If you want to keep the deeper bass from getting to your other speakers, you can't, without affecting the subs too. The lower frequencies adjustments of the EQ also affect the subs. Cut the bass, and it cuts ALL the bass, subs included.
I then got a Clarion MCD 360. It's more of a true crossover. You can put 1/2/3 pairs of channels in, and get 3 pairs of independent channels out, with frequency cutoffs and level adjusts for each. No multiband equalizer or aux input, compared to the EQS746. It does come with a remote bass knob though. I'm currently using it as a sub crossover in the car. I have not installed the PC yet. It's doing a good job on the subs. I ran the front and rear from the head unit to my 4 channel amp. I have just used RCA y-adapters to get the input for the sub signal from the rear out of my stereo. After the MCD360, I go to my sub amp.
Once I go the PC route, I was considering just using the MCD360 from the 2 channel out of the PC. Now I'm thinking of doing a little more. My PC has 1 optical SPDIF out. So I could go for the MiniDSP/MiniDigi combo. The problem is with only 4 outs, how do I do front, rear and sub? I see they have a 2x8, but that leaves two wasted outputs and costs $300 by itself. That's also using analog input. Would it work if I used one MiniDigi, and two MiniDSP 2x4's. Is is possible to stack that all together? If that would work, I'd have SPDIF in, and 8 channels of DSP, (2 Front, 2 Rear, 2 Sub, 2 wasted), for less that just the 8 channel DSP. I just can't seem to make sense of the jumper configurations on the website though.
Ugg, one thing I hate about this forum is the way the replies work. I had a huge response to you that was lost when I hit "reply to thread" after quoting instead of "post quick reaply."
Originally Posted by jhornbr225
Anyways, I'll redo it all. First off with the first setup it sounds like the issue is that you don't have the "full range" channels, the front and rear, crossed over with the subs. Using the EQ to cut the sub frequencies off those channels is an inadequete replacement for a crossover. There just isn't any way around getting good results without a crossover, but most amps come with simple crossover circuits. They just don't give you numerical values. What you can do though is use test tones to get them set to the same point. You could get it pretty close by ear if you took your time.
Past that, with MiniDSP the reason the number of channels doesn't seem to fit what you want with any of their products is that most people are using them to go active. A 2x4 typically splits the tweeters from the woofers in one stero stage and the 2x8 is to essentially go 4 way with a 3 way front stage and subwoofer setup. I'm using a 2x8 to go 2 way with a subwoofer with two extra outputs like you would have, but that's just for now. Initially I planned on powering my rears with that channel, but I just don't need them at all with how good the front stage is now. I'll use it to go up to a 3 way setup with midbass someday instead because even my plan for the rears won't use it. I want to try differenced/delayed rear fill, which will require a separate DSP unit to run that processing and I'l go digital to it too.
For your chained 2x4 setup yes it should work. I asked about chaining the extra 2x4 for my rears to it with the jumpers and the only reason it won't work is the 2x4 and 2x8 were built with different clock speeds. With two of the same product that'll be the same. You would also still be able to use the "wasted" pair of outputs to go active someday, which I would definitely reccommend. I was doing a sub install for a friend the last couple of days and I had him listen to my setup. I played a song from one of his favorite bands and his first comment was that there were notes he never even knew were there before. I give half that credit to the DSP/crossovers and half to the drivers themselves.
Email them through their website for sure to ask about your setup though. They're great to deal with as their customer base is pretty much all DIYers like us.
Yeah, I saw there was an app note for using one MiniDigi, and two MiniDSP's. Looks like some pins need to be removed so signal does not get transferred. Also the Digi is set up as the master for the clock.
I don't see myself going active anytime soon. I have a 4 channel amp and a 2 channel amp that can be bridged to one channel. I have front and rear speakers in stock locations, just 2 pairs of 6.5" speakers. They are two way with a built in passive crossover. (Normal aftermarket car speakers). I also have a box with two subs behind the seat. it's a 96 Honda Del Sol, 2 seater, not much space. The trunk is relatively large, but the targa roof comes out and gets stored in the trunk. I've built a custom aluminum panel for the front of the trunk to mount the PC, amps, and other gear. It's designed so that the roof fits with no problems.
I was just hoping to use the TA features and the crossovers. I'm almost satisfied using the Clarion MCD unit. Although TA would be nice, as well as the ability to come out of the PC as optical digital. I'm not sure how even to begin setting up the TA, I see there is a mic available. Is it required to set up TA?
The app note was a little hard to follow, it had a little Chinglish syndrome in it. It was not clear about which pins to remove, and which to keep. It did not even state how to remove the pins. Do I need to cut them and pull them out of the plug, or de-solder the specific pins then remove them.