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Wanted: Clean sound from carpc

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  • Wanted: Clean sound from carpc

    I am looking to get clean sound from my carPC (for playing MP3's, and XMPCR output). I know about ground loop problems, but PC's tend to make noise when doing things like playing CD's, processing, etc. At least this is what I get on my home PC using an internal sound card hooked up to a stereo using line out.

    Initially I had hoped to eliminate all of this by using a USB sound card with optical out (optics providing the electrical isolation). But after a couple weeks of checking, I am not able to find a car head unit that accepts optical input. Only DSP's. Which I could use, but is a bit of expense since I am not interested in 5.1 or other surround (only want 2 channel).

    I also know that I could use a DAC (Digital to Analog converter) just before the head unit combined with an optical out USB sound card. But I would want to use a decent one for good audio conversion, and I dont think the cost would justify it.

    So I am pretty sure I am going to use a USB soundcard with analog out and hope for the best unless someone else can suggest:
    • a head unit with a digital input
    • a better way to isolate the audio
    • confirmation that my head is up my a** about the PC background noise, and to take a listen before jumping into anything
    If you think the analog audio is the way to go, what sound card should I use? I will most likely have a VIA Epia M10000 w/ onboard audio, but as mentioned b4 I am thinking it would be best to use an external USB sound card.

    BTW I want to thank everyone here for everything they have suggested to me and others on this board. The wealth of knowledge here has caused me to go back to the drawing board on how I am building this project probably 5 - 10 times or more, but always for the better.

  • #2
    I got a M10k and it sucks get somthing faster like the P4 mini itx or if you are set on the M10K I will sell you mine w/pwr supply for $200 I have audio problems and via has not emailed me in over a week basicly the usb is interfearing with the sound chip witch is ac97 all main boards with ac97 have audio problems so look for somthing with a Cmedia chip on board


    • #3
      Pull up a chair. Do a little research on the subject while you wait for people to reply to your questions.

      Now you are going to have to make a decision on wether you want clean sound. That is going to cost, it has been my experience that the equipment you need to get good clean sound quality costs money. Whats more important. Saving the money or getting clean sound. If its getting clean sound then be prepared to spend a pretty penny on it.


      • #4
        If you're hardcore set on digital... remember, USB is digital. Instead of mounting the USB soundcard by the PC and running the audio cables up to the front of the car to the HU... run the USB cable up to the front, and mount the soundcard somewhere close to the HU. That way, you can use very short audio cables, so there's less chance of signal interference.

        However, I think this is kinda overkill. As long as you use shielded RCA cables, and run them on the opposite side of the car from the power cables, you shouldn't have any problem at all, really.


        • #5
          Banderon is right run the usb if your going to use computer dsp's like the extigy there will be less chance of engine noise

          but a better solution is to use a spdif out of the pc to a car audio dsp like the panasonic cya ac300 or the audiobahn add51t computer sound cards are not designed to be in a automotive enviroment and tend to develop noise problems


          • #6
            thanks for the advice guys. I have spent actually quite a while looking into this. It seems that your sentiments agree with my own: it isnt that bad with external sound card, but if i want to step to anything cleaner, you have to go the DSP route with the expense.

            I appreciate the advice on the m10k... I have heard similar posts several times now. I will definately be looking into other options for a m/b, specially since I dont even need onboard sound.

            I wil probably get a sound card with digital output, but not use the digital until I have tried the analog way first. I can always add a dsp later.

            Thanks guys!


            • #7
              For some of the best sound you will get you should look at the MAudio cards. Yes they are wicked expensive and Require a lot of prossing power from your computer but they will give you very clean sound. Another company that makes very good sound cards is Turtle Beach, and Philips. Both of those are often rated higher then the Creative cards in sound quality.


              • #8
                Just a note on the Via M10000.

                Although it is not as good as a PIIII it makes up on that with it's size and low power cunsumption. Coupled with an opus psu you have a perfect carpc solution.

                To get around the problems i have heard with the onboard sound I use the S/PDIF out. I know thats not what you want to do becasue you cant justify spending money on a DSP or DAC but the truth be told... If you want a really slick system then you are going to have to spend some money.

                Good Luck
                -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords


                • #9
                  what DSP do you use antimatter?
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