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  • carpc to aux in not loud enough

    for the past 6 or so years i've been running my carpc to the aux-in of my stock stereo in 3 different cars and it's been fine as long as i leave the pc's volume maxed out. i do notice the sound from the stock cd player is just slightly louder and clearer than from the carpc but i'm no audiophile (nor are the other drivers of these cars) and it never bothered me much. with my latest project, i've encountered the need to increase the carpc's volume. i'm trying to add hands free bluetooth capability using the rr plugin, mobilephone.net. the problem is that the volume of the person i'm talking to is very low. i've scoured the net for a few days to try and find a way to boost the volume over bluetooth but it looks like it's come down to throwing money at it and buying a preamp line driver to boost the overall carpc volume and then adjusting winamp's volume down so that the bluetooth call volume is closer to everything else, while still keeping the carpc volume close to that of the stock cd player and radio. i'm looking at the pac turbo 1, the pie ld1, or the phoenix gold tld22.

    my questions are, are any of the 3 line drivers above better than the others? do i install the line driver close to the pc or close to the aux-in adapter? i've read that it's better to install closer to the source but in these cases the source was an aftermarket head unit. i'm assuming close to the pc is better but i thought i'd ask just to make sure. also would it reduce the chance of picking up noise to power the line driver off of the carpc's dc-dc power supply? also if anyone has any input on my situation i'd love to hear it.
    my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
    wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
    company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

  • #2
    it sounds like you are on the right path...

    any of those options are decent-- i used to use a 4 channel version of the pheonix gold one, until i blew it up(my fault, not the device)... and i haven't heard anything bad about the pac one either. the other one is a little nicer because it has the 10hz filter in it, but, IMO, it is a unneccessary filter for a preamp. while the cost is resonable for all of them, i would probably pick the phoenix piece based on my good past experience...

    audio purists wil usually argue where the best place for a pre amp is... in your case, as long as it is in between the 2, it will be fine-- there will be no audible difference(using special equipment, it might be measureable though) between placing it closer to one part than the other...

    all of those devices are built for a car environment, so they do not need 12v regulated, but if you feel better doing that, it shouldn't hurt them either..

    for the noise, issue, it is hard to tell--it depends on a lot of factors, from proper grounding, to noise tolerance of the device...
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided

    Comment


    • #3
      i took your advice and ordered the phoenix unit. thanks for your help!
      my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
      wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
      company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

      Comment


      • #4
        Good choice, I have been using them for years with no issues.
        Data911 M5 system
        RR and iGo8PC
        Pioneer head unit
        Pioneer DEQ-9200 digital processor
        Phoenix gold line drivers
        Ultimate and Visonik amplifiers
        SMT 3 way active front stage
        Digital Design sub woofers
        3 runs of 0 gauge wire

        Comment


        • #5
          hey soundman98, how exactly did you blow up your line driver? i installed the phoenix gold last night and was adjusting the gains on the phoenix. i had it where there was no noticeable distortion with the pc's master and wave volume set at 50. then just to see how much louder the line driver made my system, i increased my master and wave volume from 50 to 100. it was quite loud for a second but then cut out. at this point something in the line driver started smoking. i quickly unplugged it but i think the damage has been done. now the line driver sounds distorted even at the quietest setting. did i get the wrong thing? i have the line driver installed between my carpc and the nissan/infiniti aux-in adapter. a 3.5mm to rca cable connects the the onboard audio (realtek) line out to the line driver which then connects to the aux in using a regular audio rca cable. did i do something wrong?
          my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
          wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
          company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

          Comment


          • #6
            well, electronics smoking is never a good thing...

            from what your explaining, it sounds like it is connected correctly(you didn't mention power and grounds though, so maybe double check those?), how loud was the gains? i usually never had to turn it up more than halfway to get a decent output.

            i blew mine up attempting to fix a ground loop issue-

            when i first installed the carputer, i maxed the gains on both my amps to compensate for the low voltage of the computer--which picked up a ground loop somewhere, so i spent a couple weeks messing around, and changing every single connection, finally i got to the point that i tried applying 12 volts to the negative rca connections thinking that it would re-balance the inputs on the preamp-bad idea- it resulted in making the preamp, and a nice head unit that i had connected at the time, start producing a high pitched whine--it sounds like a 1khz test tone, but there is no way to get rid of it, so i had to scrap both pieces...
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided

            Comment


            • #7
              the power leads were good. i temporarily tapped into the cig lighter wires for testing bc they were easily accessible. i have the +12V and remote leads connected to the +12V wire of the cig lighter plug and the ground is connected to the cig lighter ground wire. the wires were soldered and covered. i had no issues until i started adjusting the volume. it seems odd that something would be designed in a way where it would could be damaged by turning volume up. maybe it's not designed to go in front of the pac aux-in adapter?

              carpc -> phoenix line driver -> nissan/infiniti pac aux-in adapter -> oem head unit

              i see on amazon.com that many people get the pac turbo 1 with the pac aux-in. should i get one of those instead?

              edit: i want to say that the gains on the phoenix line driver were turned up about halfway. maybe a little bit more.
              my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
              wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
              company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

              Comment


              • #8
                it should be a dumb device--ie: it should't care what it is pushing the signal into, or what signal goes into it.

                you could try the pac version, but if there is something wrong with your setup, it will probably do the same thing.
                My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                next project? subaru brz
                carpc undecided

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had low audio issues with my D945GCLF2 on windows7, was able to fix it with the room correction feature in the software for the audio driver.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    the output voltage for the phoenix unit says 8V where as the pac turbo 1 says 4V. is it possible that the max output voltage makes a difference? at this point i'm not sure what caused the problem but i'm pretty sure it is installed correctly. power wires are good. i double checked. the audio connections are right.

                    from what i can tell i smoked the line driver because of one of the following:
                    1. gains on the line driver were turned up too high
                    2. volume on pc was turned up too high
                    3. volume on head unit was turned up too high
                    4. a combination of 1 and 2

                    does changing the volume on the pc or head unit change the voltage of the audio signal going into the line driver? i wouldn't think the head unit's volume has anything to do with it. maybe maxing out the pc volume controls increased the voltage of the signal to the point where the phoenix line driver couldn't handle it? i tried measuring the voltage at the rca cable with a multimeter but got nothing.

                    hokshi, thanks for the suggestion. i will have to check and see if there are settings for my drivers that i can adjust.
                    my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
                    wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
                    company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kuo View Post
                      the output voltage for the phoenix unit says 8V where as the pac turbo 1 says 4V. is it possible that the max output voltage makes a difference? at this point i'm not sure what caused the problem but i'm pretty sure it is installed correctly. power wires are good. i double checked. the audio connections are right.

                      from what i can tell i smoked the line driver because of one of the following:
                      1. gains on the line driver were turned up too high
                      2. volume on pc was turned up too high
                      3. volume on head unit was turned up too high
                      4. a combination of 1 and 2

                      does changing the volume on the pc or head unit change the voltage of the audio signal going into the line driver? i wouldn't think the head unit's volume has anything to do with it. maybe maxing out the pc volume controls increased the voltage of the signal to the point where the phoenix line driver couldn't handle it? i tried measuring the voltage at the rca cable with a multimeter but got nothing.

                      the voltage should change when you turn it up, or down on the computer.

                      to measure the voltage of the outputs of the sound card, you need a steady single frequency. try using winisd-- it is a free sub box setup program, but also includes a tone generator mode. set it up for about 60hz, and measure the output in the a/c setting on the multimeter.

                      http://www.linearteam.dk/default.aspx?pageid=winisdpro

                      the car radio volume should not affect the pre amp at all.

                      i also thought at first that maybe the the computer had such a high output, that is what caused it, but pheonix piece that i had was pretty hardy-- i was running a headunit with 2 volt rcas into it, and it never had a problem-- i could make it so loud that the speakers protested .

                      the only other thing i can think of is that, at 100% volume, the computer sent a distorted audio signal to the preamp that it didn't like, or the the signal level went over the 4 volt max for the pac adapter, and the pac adapter rejected it, somehow releasing the magic smoke on the phoenix...

                      you could try to get another one, assuming that this one was defective, or you could try a pac unit that might be better matched to the adapter.
                      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                      next project? subaru brz
                      carpc undecided

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        thanks for the tip on measuring the output. i installed winisdpro and used the tone generator. when you said set it to 60hz i wasn't sure if i was supposed to put in 60 or 60,000, but i tried 60,000 and it seemed to work so i measured it and came up with 1.28V on the left rca and 1.32V on the right.

                        i messed around with the damaged line driver last night. it works somewhat but even at very a very low gain the sound is distorted. i found that if i turned up the volume to 100% on the computer and then started increasing the gain on the line driver, when i got to a certain level, the led on the line driver would flash and the audio would cut out. i'm assuming if it weren't already smoked, it would have started smoking at that point. to get it to work again i'd have to pull the power plug out and plug it back in.

                        i will be sending the phoenix gold units back for replacements since the place i purchased from charges a 15% restocking fee for returns for refunds. should i just install the line driver and turn the gain up very slightly? i'm concerned that it might still burn up under the dash if a song with a lot of base comes on. maybe i'd be better off either taking the 15% restocking fee or selling them on ebay.
                        my car: 2003 g35 coupe, 2.5ghz c2d cpu, gigabyte micro atx mb, dsatx
                        wife's car: 2004 honda accord coupe 2.4ghz p4 cpu, asus micro atx mb, opus 150
                        company car: 2006 chevy avalanche 2.0ghz p4 laptop, cnx p1900

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          being that there is the restocking fee, i think it might be better/cheaper to just get a replacement unit-- if the second unit does the same thing, then you can move on to other line drivers.
                          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                          next project? subaru brz
                          carpc undecided

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have mac mini -> splitter -> one mini to rca adapter to my sub amp, the other side of the splitter goes to mini to rca adapter to a phoenix gold TLD22. The output of the Phoenix Gold TLD22 then goes to the inputs (it expects 5v balanced inputs I think) on the factory harman kardon amp. Worked great during testing. Drove to work once and all was well. On the way home it stopped working and let out the magic smoke.

                            I'm not sure if my install is wrong or not but in general I don't think it should smoke itself any way around it. I bought it from an ebay seller so I'm not even sure how I woudl go about getting warranty service. We'll see.

                            Just to be clear, I drove this amp using the highs from head units for yeeeeaars with no problem.

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