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Android device with 3.5mm and optical audio connections to car audio system

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  • Android device with 3.5mm and optical audio connections to car audio system

    Hi all,

    I'm planning to get back into the car pc game. I haven't had one since 2004 and that car is somewhere in car heaven.

    I don't want an actual pc, I am looking at running this:

    Here's my problem. I am going to be running with out a head unit.

    As you can tell, this unit has both a headphone 3.5mm connection and a SPDIF optical audio connection.

    I'm going to have a 4ch amp for my Front and Rear Speakers and a 2ch amp for my subwoofer.

    What would be the best way to run the audio from the unit to my 2 amps?


    Post # 3000

  • #2
    Others may have other ideas but your BEST bet is to hook a digital processor to your SPDIF connection. This will allow the cleanest sound, no chance for electrical inteferences due to ground loop issues etc.

    There are some (Expensive) stand alone units available that are all inclusive and won't require anything outside of what is included. These will have an external keypad or other means of adjusting settings etc. These may be hard to find that will work in the car however. I know Alpine used to have a unit that I believe you controlled through a simple touch screen on the unit for simple stuff or had advanced controls through a supported deck. You may find something similar.

    Some on here have used DAC units that will take the SPDIF output and do all sorts of things with it. You would want one you could adjust through a USB port but will run fine without the USB connected. Then you could use a laptop (Or a LONG cable with your desktop) and adjust the DAC settings but still run it fine with your unit.

    If you haven't picked up any amps yet you could find a 5 channel amp that takes a pair of high level inputs and takes care of the "Mess" for you... In the long run might be your best bet. And I wouldn't be surprised in this day and age if you could find one with an SPDIF input as well.

    But I think you will find most will suggest going the DAC route even if you can't adjust settings with your device and have to use a laptop to do it. You will generally find that you will likely not change the settings once they are initially set. Just have to make sure it will run without the PC attached.

    I would be shocked if you can find a DAC than can be controlled by an Android device directly otherwise.


    • #3
      If you want audiophile sound but lack the audiophile experience, then I would suggest a JBL MS-8 sound processor. Once you figure out the setup screens, it will automatically time align and tune your audio. It will also give you up to 8 line outputs, and it can build a Logic7 soundstage that sounds amazing.

      I use a USB DAC to feed line level input to my MS-8, and the line outputs of the MS-8 goes to my amps line in's. You could use an SPDIF to stereo RCA to feed the MS-8. I don't use the MS-8's internal amps, but it has 30W RMS x 8 channel amp built in if you want great sound but not super loud listening levels.

      As far as the Android device you are choosing, I would recommend searching if there are any custom ROM's that support USB DAC for your device, as it just sounds too clean. I could never go back to a traditional analog line out head unit / amp based system, now that I have experienced DAC sound quality and a Signal Processor.

      That said, if you have never experienced audio bliss, then you can actually still be happy without a sound processor. I would recommend a SPDIF to Stereo RCA adapter, feeding a Clarion EQS746 EQ to seperate stereo into front, rear, and sub out channels to feed the amps you choose. The Clarion's specs are amazing as far as noise levels and seperation, and it's small at 1/2 DIN size.