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Thread: Recommendations on head unit or amplifier? (for use with a PC in the car)

  1. #1
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    Recommendations on head unit or amplifier? (for use with a PC in the car)

    Even though I won't be setting anything up (or buying anything) until February or so, I'm trying to plan everything out for my Car (computer) MP3 setup...

    Here's what I've figured out so far:
    1) I'm buying a new car so let's assume it will have a factory (eg. junk) stereo and no extra amplifiers.
    2) I'm buying a in-dash LCD screen (7" touchscreen, one that can be pushed back into the dashboard).

    So, I'm wondering what I should to get the audio from the computer to the speakers in my car. I know I'll need to either replace the factory head unit with something that supports RCA input or buy a 4-channel amplifier, rewire the speakers to the new amplifier and then connect the PC to the amplifier. If I go the amplifier route, I'm not even sure how I'd control the volume...

    Right now I'm leaning heavily towards buying a head unit that supports RCA inputs (from the PC). Now I'd also really like to get Sirius satellite radio so it might be in my best interest to buy a head unit that has this built-in as opposed to waiting for a Sirius-to-PC type of connection (like XM already has).

    I'd really like to spend as least as possible on a head unit but I also don't want garbage. All I need is RCA-inputs and Sirius-radio support. I don't care about MP3 playback or visual quality (because these will be played using the computer)

    What are your opinions?

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate fasternfaster's Avatar
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    save the money and dont get a headunit.. instead buy a 4 or 5 channel amp and connect the pc to that using RCA cables and then connect the amp to all you speakers .. this way u can spend the 230 bux on a nice amp rather than on a headunit. this will also give you space to put a slim slot loading dvd rom in the dash along with the 7" touchscreen
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    Well, I'm assuming you connect the line-out on the sound card to the RCA jacks on the amplifier... How does that sound? (wouldn't be a lot of line-noise?)

    How do you adjust the volume?

  4. #4
    Newbie Milo's Avatar
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    If you go with the Way of the Amp, you tune your amp then change volume using the PC.

    I whent a Different way,

    I bought a Clarion DXZ546MP which has an Aux In and a Sub Control and a LPF built in so I thought i could get a decent Amp but if the computer was to die i would be musicless which would most likely send me insane, Clarion also makes a Transponder to run with my Cars Steering wheel controls (VY Holden Commodore or as some would know Pontaic GTO 04)

    I would have gone with the Amp if i trusted The PC to run without fail.

    And to all the Aussies i know my car is not a Monaro but wiring wise it is the same :P
    If its not leaking something its not a Holden

  5. #5
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    Before you go and buy a head unit, you really need to ask yourself this question first. How important is the Radio too you. And furthermoore - do you want AM Radio? Do you want good FM reception?

    If you answered yes to them, then yea, you will need to go with a Headunit. I'm personally running a Pioneer 4600MP receiver (because I want AM Radio when going thru NYC traffic to miss the jams) and must say it sounds really good. Noise, I have some noise right now, but I think I finally figured out why, and after this fix the noise level should be minimal.

  6. #6
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    Well, AM is fairly important to me... I enjoy listening to talk radio (and traffic alerts). However, I'm considering Sirius satellite radio but that also requires the purchase of a head unit... (correct me if I'm wrong here).

    It looks like I'm stuck buying a head unit if I want the radio. However if that means I have to purchase a head unit (~$250?) and an amplifier (~$230) then that's too much and I'll just buy an amplifier.

    Currently I have a very old Lanzar amp (800 watts I believe?) powering my very old Kicker 12" Competition Subs (x2). I have a small JBL 2-channel amp (40x2) but it's in my MAME arcade cabinet...

  7. #7
    Low Bitrate khemical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng
    Well, AM is fairly important to me... I enjoy listening to talk radio (and traffic alerts). However, I'm considering Sirius satellite radio but that also requires the purchase of a head unit... (correct me if I'm wrong here).

    It looks like I'm stuck buying a head unit if I want the radio. However if that means I have to purchase a head unit (~$250?) and an amplifier (~$230) then that's too much and I'll just buy an amplifier.

    Currently I have a very old Lanzar amp (800 watts I believe?) powering my very old Kicker 12" Competition Subs (x2). I have a small JBL 2-channel amp (40x2) but it's in my MAME arcade cabinet...
    Sirius does not require a headunit. If you buy a sirius tuner (highly recommended as HU satellite controls seem less than desired), most the car kits have a line out, that what do ya know, can connect to the line-in on a computer! then you can use the soundcard to split into 4.1 or whatever you plan.

    Also, check on the sirius threads to see if progress has been made on getting a pc interface for sirius. I was going to try and make one, but decided I would rather spend my time working on my car/home audio front end and....school....tends to get in the way

    oh and don't let me forget to mention the 4 minute repeating traffic channel for NY/Boston area (in the 160's i believe, i live in the boonies and don't have traffic problems)

    anyway, good luck

    steve

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by khemical
    Sirius does not require a headunit. If you buy a sirius tuner (highly recommended as HU satellite controls seem less than desired), most the car kits have a line out, that what do ya know, can connect to the line-in on a computer! then you can use the soundcard to split into 4.1 or whatever you plan.

    Also, check on the sirius threads to see if progress has been made on getting a pc interface for sirius. I was going to try and make one, but decided I would rather spend my time working on my car/home audio front end and....school....tends to get in the way

    oh and don't let me forget to mention the 4 minute repeating traffic channel for NY/Boston area (in the 160's i believe, i live in the boonies and don't have traffic problems)

    anyway, good luck

    steve
    Get your butt over to the Sirius thread, and make some Sirius software! I beg this of you!

    Dan

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng

    So, I'm wondering what I should to get the audio from the computer to the speakers in my car. I know I'll need to either replace the factory head unit with something that supports RCA input or buy a 4-channel amplifier, rewire the speakers to the new amplifier and then connect the PC to the amplifier. If I go the amplifier route, I'm not even sure how I'd control the volume...
    What are your opinions?
    You forgot another alternative, it is possible that your car cas a cd-changer controller and since you won't really need the cd-changer, you can get an adapter that transforms the input into RCA. I am planning to do that with my VW Golf, since the color scheme of the dash and audio match up and are too damn good to replace. Something to consider...

  10. #10
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    You forgot another alternative, it is possible that your car cas a cd-changer controller and since you won't really need the cd-changer, you can get an adapter that transforms the input into RCA. I am planning to do that with my VW Golf, since the color scheme of the dash and audio match up and are too damn good to replace. Something to consider...
    Please I am interested on to fine out more about that adaptor, since I do have a radio that control a CD changer, and need to connect my CarPC to it.
    I was considering a FM modulator but I really will like to stay away from it if possible.

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