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Thread: Fairly simple carputer/amp question

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate RyanB95's Avatar
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    Fairly simple carputer/amp question

    I've been reading on the forums a lot lately and a TON of questions that I've had about my laptop/carputer setup have been answered without creating a single thread. The amount of info already covered on this board is amazing!

    The problem I'm having is that I need to somehow get the sound from my laptop to come out the interior speakers of the car. I know - buy a soundcard, buy a deck, etc. It is an easy question to answer. The only problem: I literally have no money, as in my wallet is completely empty and I don't have a single dollar to my name . What I DO have is a setup that I think might work. What I have right now is the following:

    -A laptop with a 7" Lilli hooked up to it - works great.
    -A POS amp that I'm borrowing from a friend to test this setup
    -A Sony Head Unit which as we all know requires the XA-300 or something similiar in order to get the "Aux in" to work.
    -A 3.5mm to RCA "converter"

    What I'm looking to do is run the 3.5mm to RCA from the laptop's headphone jack to the RCA inputs of the amp, then out to the car speakers. This would compeltely eliminate the head unit with the exception of FM radio. Can this be done?

    I have attached the following crappy, low-budget, sorry excuse for a schematic of what I want to do:


    I don't see a problem but there very well might be. ANY suggestions and/or comments are welcome. I would just like to take advantage of my library of music and play it through some real speakers instead of the laptop's speakers .
    1995 AWD Tsi Talon

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  2. #2
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanB95 View Post
    I don't see a problem but there very well might be. ANY suggestions and/or comments are welcome. I would just like to take advantage of my library of music and play it through some real speakers instead of the laptop's speakers .
    That's how it's done according to the FAQ: HOW TO: Get sound from PC to Car Stereo / Amp

    Your project is going to be a ***** to complete with no money!
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate RyanB95's Avatar
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    Oh wow! I can't believe I missed that. I looked at the FAQ Emporium before and didn't find that. Thanks!
    1995 AWD Tsi Talon

    Intel D945GCLF
    M2-ATX
    2GB Corsair
    30GB OCZ SSD
    BU-353
    Lilliput EBY-701
    Logitech DiNovo Mini
    LSX VOID 3.3

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate
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    If you have a head unit with an AUX input and you are running a laptop that doesn't have 5.1 surround. (Meaning you only have one output, the green headphone jack) then there is no reason to plug the computer directly into your amp, unless you want to completely eliminate the head unit.

    I think it would be best and cheapest for you to simply buy an adapter that converts your headphone jack to an AUX input for your headunit. That way you retain all functionality of your head unit, and you can just switch to AUX mode to make your laptop sounds play over the speakers.

    something like this...



    You can actually buy one of these, instead of a Y-Splitter and an RCA cable (This replaces items 2 and 3 on the above image)


    So you would have to buy the $8 headphone to RCA cable, and then whatever adapters and cables are necessary to give your HU an AUX input.




    If you really don't want to use the AUX input on your head unit, you could buy an RCA input selector...

    This will let you plug both your head unit and your PC into your amp at the same time and switch between sources.

  5. #5
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    the #1 biggest problem with this issue is that the voltage outputs of the laptop will not be high enough to give you the quality of the sound you need.

    you will be dealing with noise mostly.
    Jan Bennett
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    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate
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    yep...in my case I just bought a line driver and it worked great, but a lot of people have bad results because it just amplifies the noise too. You might also have to buy a ground loop isolator to go with it.

    I think given his budget is almost nothing, he's not going to get great sound like you have anyway...so one of my solutions is probably going to do what he wants just fine.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate RyanB95's Avatar
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    Well I already have the 3.5mm headphone jack to RCA cable... so I guess the cheapest route would be to buy one of those AUX adapters. This one will work on my Sony cdx8050x correct?

    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-vjzkz7x...00&I=127AUXONS

    That enables the Aux input so I can plug my RCA's right into the BUS inputs on the back?
    1995 AWD Tsi Talon

    Intel D945GCLF
    M2-ATX
    2GB Corsair
    30GB OCZ SSD
    BU-353
    Lilliput EBY-701
    Logitech DiNovo Mini
    LSX VOID 3.3

  8. #8
    FLAC Nomader's Avatar
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    ok just recently reallized what Red has been saying for months.. just baught a Audigy PCI to replace my onboard (ac97)..the difference is obvious.. with the pc volume at say 20 it sounds like 40 when used my onboard.. so i guess when you raise the volume on any audio source (in our case the pc) you also raise the noise..so then when you amplify the source you also amplify the noise together with the music... that is why it is better to have higher voltage (louder sound) with lower volume am i saying it right???

  9. #9
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    yeup - you're pretty much right Nomader.

    It's no different than using the magnification function on a scanner or a copy machine or photo shop. When you magnify soemthing that's already not very good....it's just going to magnify crap. Same with car audio.
    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!

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate Dennis5587's Avatar
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    so how many volts would you say is best then anyway?.. as much as the amp will handle?

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