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Thread: can a carputer replace a high end av dedicated system?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Question can a carputer replace a high end av dedicated system?

    most modern high end audio systems basically ARE computers, specifically designed & programed for it's pupose alone, & are superior in its function to a pc running xp that runs one program for audio, & then another for navigation & another for a dvd, multi tasking, booting, re-booting locking up etc. my most familiarity is with alpine, but kenwood, pioneer, clarion, eclipse & others all use some sort of propritary comunication, or link, to comunicate & include processors & computers operating on there own operating system kind of, alpine uses I-net & if audio video is a top priority, my experience is that no carputer can match a custom computerized dedicated system such as a high end alpine install in ease of use, reliability, & that "instant and always there" feel that you don't really have with a carputer alone install. A high end complete alpine system now a days allows me to have full control of all aspects of my system always instant & a touch away with one "do it all"remote control & a touchscreen. I can control everything with extreme ease & not ever have a "bug" or a "glitch". I never have to re-boot my alpine & as far as navigation is concerned there is no real comparison between co-pilots latest offering & alpines far superior navigation( I can run both simultaniously & I keep the co-pilot as a back up, like i'll ever need it).) I can change what is being displayed on the rear dropdown with three taps of the front screen, play a dvd in the rear while listening to xm up front, while navigating, switch to another dvd for up front in a 6 disc dvd changer, touch the screen a few times & bring up my 31 band 1/3rd octave eq's for tweeking, etc... now while it is true that you could do most if not all of this with a carputer it will never be as fluid & transparent in it's interface, & will never share the same rock solid always there feel or work like it was made for this alone, & the consitency of the sound quality to me is better with the alpine than a pc alone. I can play a mp3 from the pc, but in going through the alpine it is treated with "media expander" that alpine developed to increase the dynamic range of compressed digital files. (I'm not knocking carputers at all & I installed my first car pc almost 10 years ago, complete with a 486 dx4 75mhz, & a 10" tube monitor made for point of sale use.) alot of people here are actually installing carputers for a grand or two or even less that kinda emulate that high end system, not to mention do quite a few things an ordinary high end system couldn't do, but if your'e going to talk about what's better, to me my system is comprised of a complete high end alpine touch screen system, suplimented by my touch screen pc system. it gives me the best of both worlds & a versiatility & reliability that a pc alone couldn't provide. I use the alpine for all day to day radio, dvd, cd, xm,nav, etc...& the pc is there for my mp3 library, misc. programs & for the ocasional spur of the moment on-line research, or for bidding on stuff on ebay while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, etc... I do realize that money is a huge factor in this for most of us, & i do admit that my "combo" system probably costs more than a lot of peoples whole cars, but if money wasn't the issue, is there anyone on this forum that actually belives that a carputer alone is superior or even equal to a high end system?

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    Very good post, though it could have used some carraige returns...

    I think that the two systems are so different as to be beyond comparison. If you did have a crapload of money to spend on a hard drive / head unit / dvd player / monitor, and get it all looking good, it still wouldn't be able to play AVIs or go online.

    Then again, PCs certainly don't have that always-on, buttons-and-dials feel you were talking about.

    I know I'm putting a PC in my car because I enjoy working on stuff like that. I know I'll be the only person out there with a setup like mine, and I'll have done it all myself, without spending much. That's the thrill I get out of a project like this - after that's what it is, a project. It's one of those things where most of the fun is in the process of doing it, and not the result.

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate HybridMike's Avatar
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    most modern high end audio systems basically ARE computers, specifically designed & programed for it's pupose alone, & are superior in its function to a pc running xp that runs one program for audio, & then another for navigation & another for a dvd, multi tasking, booting, re-booting locking up etc. my most familiarity is with alpine, but kenwood, pioneer, clarion, eclipse & others all use some sort of propritary comunication, or link, to comunicate & include processors & computers operating on there own operating system kind of, alpine uses I-net & if audio video is a top priority, my experience is that no carputer can match a custom computerized dedicated system such as a high end alpine install in ease of use, reliability, & that "instant and always there" feel that you don't really have with a carputer alone install. A high end complete alpine system now a days allows me to have full control of all aspects of my system always instant & a touch away with one "do it all"remote control & a touchscreen. I can control everything with extreme ease & not ever have a "bug" or a "glitch". I never have to re-boot my alpine & as far as navigation is concerned there is no real comparison between co-pilots latest offering & alpines far superior navigation( I can run both simultaniously & I keep the co-pilot as a back up, like i'll ever need it).) I can change what is being displayed on the rear dropdown with three taps of the front screen, play a dvd in the rear while listening to xm up front, while navigating, switch to another dvd for up front in a 6 disc dvd changer, touch the screen a few times & bring up my 31 band 1/3rd octave eq's for tweeking, etc... now while it is true that you could do most if not all of this with a carputer it will never be as fluid & transparent in it's interface, & will never share the same rock solid always there feel or work like it was made for this alone, & the consitency of the sound quality to me is better with the alpine than a pc alone. I can play a mp3 from the pc, but in going through the alpine it is treated with "media expander" that alpine developed to increase the dynamic range of compressed digital files. (I'm not knocking carputers at all & I installed my first car pc almost 10 years ago, complete with a 486 dx4 75mhz, & a 10" tube monitor made for point of sale use.) alot of people here are actually installing carputers for a grand or two or even less that kinda emulate that high end system, not to mention do quite a few things an ordinary high end system couldn't do, but if your'e going to talk about what's better, to me my system is comprised of a complete high end alpine touch screen system, suplimented by my touch screen pc system. it gives me the best of both worlds & a versiatility & reliability that a pc alone couldn't provide. I use the alpine for all day to day radio, dvd, cd, xm,nav, etc...& the pc is there for my mp3 library, misc. programs & for the ocasional spur of the moment on-line research, or for bidding on stuff on ebay while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, etc... I do realize that money is a huge factor in this for most of us, & i do admit that my "combo" system probably costs more than a lot of peoples whole cars, but if money wasn't the issue, is there anyone on this forum that actually belives that a carputer alone is superior or even equal to a high end system?
    the alpine setup you speak about cost you how much?...everything they sell is piece item so i know a system like that was at least 5000$
    as far as carputers being supierior....i think they can be in some respects far superior...or we all wouldnt be doing it...however, getting to that point may take some effort...which is what we all are doing.
    can your alpine send an email?
    can your alpine play ogg, flac, asf, mov, or avi's
    can your alpine store upwards of 10,000 songs
    can your alpine rip cd's
    can your alpine make cd's
    can your alpine rip dvd's
    can your alpine make dvd's
    can your alpine play games
    does your alpine have a wireless connection to the net

    i could go on and on...but you get the point

    In my opinion the car computer is far supierior, however it is still in its infancy and will be awhile before it has an the embedded feel that your alpine has...but you wouldnt have posted or even found mp3car.com if you didnt somewhat doubt the superiority of your alpine.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HybridMike
    the alpine setup you speak about cost you how much?...everything they sell is piece item so i know a system like that was at least 5000$
    as far as carputers being supierior....i think they can be in some respects far superior...or we all wouldnt be doing it...however, getting to that point may take some effort...which is what we all are doing.
    can your alpine send an email?
    can your alpine play ogg, flac, asf, mov, or avi's
    can your alpine store upwards of 10,000 songs
    can your alpine rip cd's
    can your alpine make cd's
    can your alpine rip dvd's
    can your alpine make dvd's
    can your alpine play games
    does your alpine have a wireless connection to the net

    i could go on and on...but you get the point

    In my opinion the car computer is far supierior, however it is still in its infancy and will be awhile before it has an the embedded feel that your alpine has...but you wouldnt have posted or even found mp3car.com if you didnt somewhat doubt the superiority of your alpine.



    I am not down on carputers in the least, If I had to choose between an alpine OR a carputer, I know that I would pick the carputer with out a doubt!

    My end up system devoloped after many hours of attempting to get the pc to function as my only system...it all started when i tried to run dvd's on my pc... admitedly this was back when my pII 300 was state of the art...& I can't tell you how many hours I screwed with it, how many differnt periferals I bought & tried...how many diferent players I downloaded & installed,I was determined to get this thing to work the way I wanted to, I tried long & hard, & I did have some sucess in many areas of my system, but as far as dvd playing went, I cheated & got a dvd head unit & merged it.

    from that point on my next system was a merge between the two, & I like it so much, but it also bothers me that it is two different systems none the less. I guess my absolute dream system would be a carputer running on an operating system kinda like linux or some of those other operating systems that I personaly know nothing about, & would be built to run & feel as good as my alpine system,be instant, always there, rock solid reliable & efortless but still be able to do all of the things a pc does, such as unlimited storage potential, full web browsing, & of course the versitility of being able to add function as wild as your imagination can take you.

    My first carputer install was back when I was running windows 3.11& dos, back when EVERYTHING had to be configured manually, & conflicts were huge, talk about spending hours there...I remember "upgrading" to a p100 & win95, I remember my fascination when lcd technology finally became an option, I used a small crt tube in my first install. I collected laptop lcd's, bought controllers, I knew allen from earthlcd on a first name basis for a while,this was james bond like stuff to me, & I couldn't get enough of it, but in the end I guess I kinda sold out, partialy because I realized that in the end when I looked at the time & effort & money spent, I could have gotten better results with a hybrid system, & I can now install a complete system in like 20 hours or so, vs spending 80 hours or more for a lesser final result.

    Todays computer set ups are different in that they are now monster powerful & with xp,usb & stuff, they almost configure themselves. The support of fourums such as this, along with the easiness of just buying a 7" monitor, man I would have killed for something like that back then.I wanted to know if anybody here has built a modern carputer system to the extreme that it basically works flawlessly in all aspects, or rather good enough to leave nothing desired, I admit that I have been defeated in my persuit of that goal, & sold out to just building a hybrid & have been doing so ever since.

    I guess I also wanted to point out from experience that sometimes a hybrid system is easier & less expensive in the long run, especially for the average guy who may not have the time or knowledge to build a full blown pc install.

    there is nothing wrong with adding an older slow pc to a decent stereo system, & just depending on it for say mp3's, or web browsing, or mapping, but not having the pc be "mission critical" to the point that a problem there causes all casual entertainment to come to a halt.

    I do salute everyone here for there ambition & obsession that it takes to even pursue a pc install, belive me I'm not knocking it one bit....

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate LeoTheHamster's Avatar
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    I would never use a carputer as anything but a slave device to the main system. imo theres no way it could match say a Nakamichi CD-700, Pioneer P9, or the Denford for quality as the head of a system. And thats where you want quality to be the best you can get it
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    Rub One Out Motoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoTheHamster
    I would never use a carputer as anything but a slave device to the main system. imo theres no way it could match say a Nakamichi CD-700, Pioneer P9, or the Denford for quality as the head of a system. And thats where you want quality to be the best you can get it
    Course it wouldn't, just remind your self that it's a home pc we're putting in our cars. It's just adapted to work in the car enviroment and even though the quality will never be as good as a unit designed for cars i can't tell any difference between my carpc and my old MP3 CD player.
    CarPC status: iPod, 3,456,217 songs so **** you

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    Variable Bitrate HummDinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoTheHamster
    I would never use a carputer as anything but a slave device to the main system. imo theres no way it could match say a Nakamichi CD-700, Pioneer P9, or the Denford for quality as the head of a system. And thats where you want quality to be the best you can get it
    Right, the point to having a carputer is hobby, upgradeability, options and the obvious cool geek factor. Plus price, for the price of a decent nav system your looking at about $1500.00 and any PC software is actually superior to most single aftermarket nav system. Not to mention all other mentioned things of a carputer. YOu can have a pretty sweet carputer setup for under $1000.00, mine is about $700 as it is now not including a head unit amp or subs. But you add those in to the game you could be at about $1300.00 for a kick *** system, great cool factor and a show winning car. Plus once you wanna upgrade your nav system, all you need to upgrade is the software that only runs an average of $100.00. Try getting a BMW,Pioneer or any other proprietary system nav disk for that, that covers the entire US and Canada... YOU WONT
    You can still have something if you have nothing

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    Maximum Bitrate VanMan69's Avatar
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    Hm... aside from that $2000 price tag just for the TS DVD/NAV...

    Of course dedicated HUs are going to have a more 'seamless' interface. They perform minimal tasks, while at the same time having whole development teams just to make a smooth DVD interface. Most of the CarPC frontends are made by one person in their spare time. And even with one of the frontends, if you take the time to make sure everything is configured properly (which is what Alpine pays a team of R&D folks to do), then it can definitely be as seamless as a dedicated HU. Since I've had everything installed and running for a couple months, I've got everything set up and settled down and it's as smooth to use as anything. I haven't had any 'bugs' since the first couple weeks after install. Only thing that doesn't really work is my emulators, since I've used them maybe twice and never really configured the controls.

    And as far as audio and video quality goes, if you've got the money to spend you can go with high end graphics cards (although most video cards can do what any HU can do) and full-on eq-ed heavy-duty firewire sound processors and 5.1 surround, and would still probably come in cheaper than the Alpine. You can get PC audio components that will blow the crap out of any HU (remember, they do professional audio engineering on computers, not head units).

    Out of curiosity, after the intial install, do you ever have to put the navigation CD back in? I don't, unless I leave the continent.

    DVD changers are no big whoop. I've got some 50 divx movies on my hdd (others have more). The quality difference really doesn't concern me in the least, but if it did, I could just as easily rip full quality DVDs, and still have room for more than 50. And there's all the cartoons (99% of the ATHF episodes, 99% of the Sealab episodes, 99% of the Invader Zim episodes, plus about another 20GB misc vids) that I've got on hand without having to change a single DVD.

    Your main argument seems to be "it will never be as fluid & transparent in it's interface, & will never share the same rock solid always there feel or work like it was made for this alone". But like I said, if you've got a whole team of engineers making a glorified (and simplified) DVD/MP3 software it damn well better be solid (for $2000 to boot). Windows-based carputers are a relatively new phenomenon, and as more time goes into development, it will definitely be as solid as a HU. I'd say some of the frontends come pretty close already.

    Basically, if you take the time to set it up right and work out the kinks in the beginning (again, what Alpine, and therefore you the customer, pays a team of developers to do), a carputer is unquestionably superior.

    P.S. You mentioned that by playing MP3s from your computer through the HU you can apply Media Expander, "to increase the dynamic range of compressed digital files". How is your computer connected to the HU? Because if it's just by RCA, the HU is seeing analog, not digital. Does the HU play MP3s? Perhaps that's what Media Expander applies to. Or does it just increase the dynamic range of everything? (doesn't WMP have 'SRS Wow' or some crap that does the same thing?)
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    Maximum Bitrate VanMan69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HybridMike
    but you wouldnt have posted or even found mp3car.com if you didnt somewhat doubt the superiority of your alpine.
    95 Chevy G20 Vroom Boom Room
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  10. #10
    FLAC sdashiki's Avatar
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    basically, who cares if you were so ahead of the game 10 years ago. Blabbing on about a defunct arguement, HU vs Carputer, is pointless. Everyone knows a HU is awesome for audio cuz its made only for that.

    But $ for $ a carputer is better,
    upgradeable,
    versatile
    and FAR cheaper for its multiple capabilities.

    Sound off like you got a pair!

    I used to do alot of car audio stuff until I saw mp3car when it first started. Now I only look at carputer for my automotive entertainment. It used to be radio, then 8track, tapes, then CDs are now standard in cars. Goto a store all u can buy is CD players and the occasional DVD player. BUt when u can get a DVD player at walmart for $50 and one for your car for $500 and one for your computer for $50. Hmmm what would you do?

    $ for $ head units are ****. $1000 for anything decently close to the capabilities of a carpc. Spending money on head units is silly, spend it on speakers and amps and yer damn carputer, WAVE OF THE FUTURE MAN. WAVE OF THE FUTURE. Daves not here man. YOU ARE DAVE. shhhhh.
    (0.0%-) starting over
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