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Thread: PCI to amplifiers?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    I thought that people generally like to enjoy music in their cars...I know I do...am I alone on this one?

    that was my thought exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Haystack
    a car isnt good for currect music. Meaning, you will not get good surround sound, you will not haver every speaker act the same way, ect.

    Basically, if you like to build indoor audio systems, the carputer will never come close
    I beg to differ....you must not know a whole lot about the current state of car audio!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Barker
    Being new to carputers, and still doing my homework, I am still not convinced that a soundcard can compete with a head unit. Although the output may be very high quality the transition to the amps (digital to analog; mini jack to RCA) worries me.
    Yes, a CarPC can, has, and did so successfully...see my sig for proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3onDubs
    It maybe the case that a home audio theater will out preform a car in terms of reproducing movie theater quality surround sound, but that is not the goal of most quality car audio set ups. The primary concern is reproducing music accurately on all frequencies. This consists of playing back audio (cd's, mp3's, flac, etc.) and setting up a good front stage. Getting good surround sound and playing music are two very different things. Listening to music has nothing to do with 5.1 simply because music is stereo. You don't need surround sound to play music.

    If the problem with 5.1 in a car is that the rear speakers are not of the same quality as the front speaker, than you can always change that...say, by getting the exact same speakers in the rear and focusing on a proper installation...but for simple music playback this shouldn't be necessary. Most people listen to music 95% of the time and watch movies 5% of the time, which is why the primary focus is usually on setting up a good front stage that eliminates the need for rear speakers.
    amen

    I've never understood the desire to have 5.1 in a car....you shouldn't be watching movies while driving, and if I wanted to watch a movie and cared enough about having 5.1 I wouldn't want to ruin the experience by watching it on a tiny 7-8" screen! However, for MUSIC, I absolutely believe that it's worth it!
    Jan Bennett
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  2. #12
    lez
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    you buy a 5.1 soundcard to get 4 channels, not 5.1, where would you put the centre speaker?

    You could try to set it for 4 channel+sub, but I have found most of these cards dont like it, and the ones that work, switch off the sub channel when not making sound, and they cause a thump when they do this, so set for 4 channels and run the sub off the 2 fronts


    I have not seen a 4 channel card since soundblaster 1024 or whatever it was, and that sucked on amd/via boards (probably more via's fault than creative)
    Lez, more widely known as flez1966

  3. #13
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    center speaker would either go custom molded into the dash or you get a single din speaker, there are a few of them out there..
    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. #14
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6
    I've never understood the desire to have 5.1 in a car....you shouldn't be watching movies while driving, and if I wanted to watch a movie and cared enough about having 5.1 I wouldn't want to ruin the experience by watching it on a tiny 7-8" screen! However, for MUSIC, I absolutely believe that it's worth it!
    So true...I had a DVD player in my last car and in my current car before my carputer. In those four years I think that I've watched two movies total. 99% of the time I watched music videos or just listened to mp3s. Its kind of pointless to focus the energy on getting all five speakers configured and tested so that you can, one day, watch a movie in your car and enjoy a couple sound effects behind you. The energy should be focused on getting the music experience down and not compromising. Movies will still sound great in that rare occasion that you take a road trip or are waiting in one of those never ending in n out drive thru lines...
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  5. #15
    lez
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    think I'l stick with 4 channels +sub, and let the software worry about sorting the 5.1 problem.

    A car is too small a box to get 5.1 setup IMHO, but I would still /buy/ a 5.1 card and then use it as 4+sub as its the easiest and cheapest way.
    Lez, more widely known as flez1966

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lez
    one of those cheap 5.1 (aka 6 channel) sound cards off ebay for a few bucks.
    made in china, cmedia chipset etc
    all the same, all very stable, all average sound quality,...
    I agree that all the $5 sound cards sound the same... Like ****. Lez, I think you may wanna turn down your DJ equipment, it sounds like its effecting your hearing

    There is a HUGE difference between on board sound, the $5 sound card and the $100 SB Xfi, etc. I have tried all 3 in a less than perfect environment (my car). I have tried a wide selection of SB cards as well. I hold first hand experience and note the following issues with low end cards:

    -induced noise issues. Many have experienced the persistant whine of the engine with their car audio installs. Usually proper grounding will fix this. I too had this problem and no matter what I grounded, i still experienced the noise. I did my common trouble shooting and based it on the PC and the PC alone. I was running an inverter and figured that was the root of my problem. I noticed the problem increased after switching to the DSATX. Come to find out that the induced noise was being picked up on the INPUT channels of the cheap sound cards. Muting those channels cut out the noise by about 90%. No problem at all with the xfi.

    -Strange high frequency shriek. I noticed a strange high frequency rattle with low end cards. It gave the impression that my tweeters were crackling, yet it was intermittent. I tried and failed to reproduce the sound on command and only noticed it every once in a while while using the PC in the car. I had originally thought it to be a power supply/induced noise issue. Upgrading from the on board to a basic SB PCI card did not solve the problem. I tried different drivers and still mainatined the same issue. Once i installed my USB audigy, I noticed the noise was eliminated (but USB audigies have issues of their own). I have not had a single occurance of the "shriek" with my final install of the Xfi.

    -Frequency response is horrid. In tracking down an issue with poor sub performance i spent a lazy afternoon testing the sound cards i had. I am not sure why low end cards/drivers are doing this, but they substantially cut low and high end response. This may help lower power consumption or CPU load. Not sure. I have noticed this on the low end SB cards as well as the on board audio. I tested this using an IASCA test CD and a real time analyzer. ( I admit this is crude, but its all they had at the shop. I couldnt find a scope). I ran the output of the sound cards front 2 channels directly into the RTA and set up the drivers for standard 2 speaker full range sound. When testing the on board of my epia MB, I found an -36db issue at 50 hz with the slope starting at around 150hz. High end response was very difficult to watch. it was all over the place. I tried lowering the sampling rate but there still seemed like too much variation. I then tested the same track on a SB MP3+ PCI sound card. I found better overall response, but "roll off" was still substantial at 120hz. There was an awkward bump at 80hz of about 9db or so and then a moderate decline. Seems SB put some sort of bass boost into the card. My guess is to compensate for MP3 media. The high end response was much better and seemed stable. As I wasnt very concerned about high end response, i did not note cut off ranges. I spent most of my time with low frequency sweeps.

    I then tested the XFi sound card. First tests scared the **** out of me. It seemed that there were huge peaks at the low and high ends, almost like a loud function was enabled. I then found that the SB utilities had a sound enhancement feature that was turned on. Turning them off cleaned the curve. Replacing my undies, i started to explore the low end. I found the low end sweep was "flat" all the way to ~25-30hz which impressed me! There was some drop off and weirdness below. High end response was stable on the noise tracks. Again, i didnt spend a lot of time comparing high end response.

    For ****s and giggles, I connected an old technics CD player from the 80s. This deck has always performed incredibly. The laser assembly was one of the old adjustable type and output was always higher than any other cd player i ever played with. This is the deck on use on my bench for testing. As i expected, i needed to play with the sensitivity of the RTA (turn it down) but I found the X-fi ran very close to the readings from my technics deck (reference). All and all, i am very impressed with the Xfi.

  7. #17
    lez
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    next I'l be getting told that the picture quality of digital is better than analog.

    I like the cmedia chipset, it seemed best of all the budget cards, but also the 'front end' bolted on afterwards makes a difference, its only a few resistors and caps but can make or break the curve.

    I cant hear that much difference, but can hear upto 21k, and yes tv's do drive me nuts if the windings are loose.

    I /know/ vinly sounds better than audio, I can hear it, I know analog TV transmissions (in good signal strength areas) are better to look at than digital, but problem now is all the editing/mastering and feeds to the TX towers are digital.

    But as for the soundcard issue, I tried the cheapys and the mid range and found nothing to shout about between them.

    maybe if I tried a £100+ card I would hear it, or think I could, because it cost £100+
    Lez, more widely known as flez1966

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lez
    next I'l be getting told that the picture quality of digital is better than analog.
    Happy to oblige.
    the picture quality of digital is better than analog.
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

  9. #19
    lez
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    yeah it is, if your totally blind to all the mpeg artifacts around anything that moves
    Lez, more widely known as flez1966

  10. #20
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    Ah, you're talking about mpeg compression. I'm talking about digital. Ie, LVDS/TTL/DVI/HDMI vs VGA/Scart/Composite/Component. You can have digital without compression you know...!
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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