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Recommendations on head unit or amplifier? (for use with a PC in the car)

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  • Recommendations on head unit or amplifier? (for use with a PC in the car)

    Even though I won't be setting anything up (or buying anything) until February or so, I'm trying to plan everything out for my Car (computer) MP3 setup...

    Here's what I've figured out so far:
    1) I'm buying a new car so let's assume it will have a factory (eg. junk) stereo and no extra amplifiers.
    2) I'm buying a in-dash LCD screen (7" touchscreen, one that can be pushed back into the dashboard).

    So, I'm wondering what I should to get the audio from the computer to the speakers in my car. I know I'll need to either replace the factory head unit with something that supports RCA input or buy a 4-channel amplifier, rewire the speakers to the new amplifier and then connect the PC to the amplifier. If I go the amplifier route, I'm not even sure how I'd control the volume...

    Right now I'm leaning heavily towards buying a head unit that supports RCA inputs (from the PC). Now I'd also really like to get Sirius satellite radio so it might be in my best interest to buy a head unit that has this built-in as opposed to waiting for a Sirius-to-PC type of connection (like XM already has).

    I'd really like to spend as least as possible on a head unit but I also don't want garbage. All I need is RCA-inputs and Sirius-radio support. I don't care about MP3 playback or visual quality (because these will be played using the computer)

    What are your opinions?

  • #2
    save the money and dont get a headunit.. instead buy a 4 or 5 channel amp and connect the pc to that using RCA cables and then connect the amp to all you speakers .. this way u can spend the 230 bux on a nice amp rather than on a headunit. this will also give you space to put a slim slot loading dvd rom in the dash along with the 7" touchscreen
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    • #3
      Well, I'm assuming you connect the line-out on the sound card to the RCA jacks on the amplifier... How does that sound? (wouldn't be a lot of line-noise?)

      How do you adjust the volume?

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      • #4
        If you go with the Way of the Amp, you tune your amp then change volume using the PC.

        I whent a Different way,

        I bought a Clarion DXZ546MP which has an Aux In and a Sub Control and a LPF built in so I thought i could get a decent Amp but if the computer was to die i would be musicless which would most likely send me insane, Clarion also makes a Transponder to run with my Cars Steering wheel controls (VY Holden Commodore or as some would know Pontaic GTO 04)

        I would have gone with the Amp if i trusted The PC to run without fail.

        And to all the Aussies i know my car is not a Monaro but wiring wise it is the same :P
        If its not leaking something its not a Holden

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        • #5
          Before you go and buy a head unit, you really need to ask yourself this question first. How important is the Radio too you. And furthermoore - do you want AM Radio? Do you want good FM reception?

          If you answered yes to them, then yea, you will need to go with a Headunit. I'm personally running a Pioneer 4600MP receiver (because I want AM Radio when going thru NYC traffic to miss the jams) and must say it sounds really good. Noise, I have some noise right now, but I think I finally figured out why, and after this fix the noise level should be minimal.
          Mark

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          • #6
            Well, AM is fairly important to me... I enjoy listening to talk radio (and traffic alerts). However, I'm considering Sirius satellite radio but that also requires the purchase of a head unit... (correct me if I'm wrong here).

            It looks like I'm stuck buying a head unit if I want the radio. However if that means I have to purchase a head unit (~$250?) and an amplifier (~$230) then that's too much and I'll just buy an amplifier.

            Currently I have a very old Lanzar amp (800 watts I believe?) powering my very old Kicker 12" Competition Subs (x2). I have a small JBL 2-channel amp (40x2) but it's in my MAME arcade cabinet...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sofakng
              Well, AM is fairly important to me... I enjoy listening to talk radio (and traffic alerts). However, I'm considering Sirius satellite radio but that also requires the purchase of a head unit... (correct me if I'm wrong here).

              It looks like I'm stuck buying a head unit if I want the radio. However if that means I have to purchase a head unit (~$250?) and an amplifier (~$230) then that's too much and I'll just buy an amplifier.

              Currently I have a very old Lanzar amp (800 watts I believe?) powering my very old Kicker 12" Competition Subs (x2). I have a small JBL 2-channel amp (40x2) but it's in my MAME arcade cabinet...
              Sirius does not require a headunit. If you buy a sirius tuner (highly recommended as HU satellite controls seem less than desired), most the car kits have a line out, that what do ya know, can connect to the line-in on a computer! then you can use the soundcard to split into 4.1 or whatever you plan.

              Also, check on the sirius threads to see if progress has been made on getting a pc interface for sirius. I was going to try and make one, but decided I would rather spend my time working on my car/home audio front end and....school....tends to get in the way

              oh and don't let me forget to mention the 4 minute repeating traffic channel for NY/Boston area (in the 160's i believe, i live in the boonies and don't have traffic problems)

              anyway, good luck

              steve
              steven n

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              • #8
                Originally posted by khemical
                Sirius does not require a headunit. If you buy a sirius tuner (highly recommended as HU satellite controls seem less than desired), most the car kits have a line out, that what do ya know, can connect to the line-in on a computer! then you can use the soundcard to split into 4.1 or whatever you plan.

                Also, check on the sirius threads to see if progress has been made on getting a pc interface for sirius. I was going to try and make one, but decided I would rather spend my time working on my car/home audio front end and....school....tends to get in the way

                oh and don't let me forget to mention the 4 minute repeating traffic channel for NY/Boston area (in the 160's i believe, i live in the boonies and don't have traffic problems)

                anyway, good luck

                steve
                Get your butt over to the Sirius thread, and make some Sirius software! I beg this of you!

                Dan

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sofakng

                  So, I'm wondering what I should to get the audio from the computer to the speakers in my car. I know I'll need to either replace the factory head unit with something that supports RCA input or buy a 4-channel amplifier, rewire the speakers to the new amplifier and then connect the PC to the amplifier. If I go the amplifier route, I'm not even sure how I'd control the volume...
                  What are your opinions?
                  You forgot another alternative, it is possible that your car cas a cd-changer controller and since you won't really need the cd-changer, you can get an adapter that transforms the input into RCA. I am planning to do that with my VW Golf, since the color scheme of the dash and audio match up and are too damn good to replace. Something to consider...
                  I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.

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                  • #10
                    You forgot another alternative, it is possible that your car cas a cd-changer controller and since you won't really need the cd-changer, you can get an adapter that transforms the input into RCA. I am planning to do that with my VW Golf, since the color scheme of the dash and audio match up and are too damn good to replace. Something to consider...
                    Please I am interested on to fine out more about that adaptor, since I do have a radio that control a CD changer, and need to connect my CarPC to it.
                    I was considering a FM modulator but I really will like to stay away from it if possible.

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                    • #11
                      Sorry didn't read all the posts above so it may be captured already. I'm planning to use my PC connected to HU through USB adapter via CDC out. This way I'm going to assign some HU buttons to control the audio/video/XM and OBDII. For now I will have adapter for MBus/AiNet and P-Bus( VW ). AiNet is the best way right now as you can display even graphics on HU...
                      For better sound I bought the external amplifier, but it will be later...
                      Car pc integration with ease
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sofakng
                        It looks like I'm stuck buying a head unit if I want the radio. However if that means I have to purchase a head unit (~$250?) and an amplifier (~$230) then that's too much and I'll just buy an amplifier.
                        (
                        buy a reman. amp. $80.
                        http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...744489387&rd=1

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                        • #13
                          If you are not into lound and thunder, a decent HU will not require and amplifier to run those original factory speakers. When you change to aftermarket speakers, you may consider (but not really needed) buying an amp.
                          I may suggest one step at a time.
                          Figure out what kind of car you are going to buy and will the LCD be easily place in that car's dash.
                          Where is the radio going to be installed if the LCD is in-dash? Seriously but the radio is a must have item in car too along with carPC. A 5 min trip down the liquor store doesn't need to have the PC on.
                          Once the radio is installed, does the factory speakers sound the way you like? If not replace them.
                          Replace the speakers, how does it sound with the HU? Now, that is time to findout you need an amplifier or not.

                          If you are going with Sirus Sat radio, there are not that many HU brands on the market that support it. Kenwood, Alpine are the 2 that I know for sure, maybe Blaupunkt and/or Clairon.
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                          • #14
                            Get the phoenix gold 5.1 amp with digital input. i forgot the model no. but i know its only $350! As far as volume, you can do what i am doing and get a rotary encoder phiget and you map it to your pc's volume control.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scott_fx
                              Get the phoenix gold 5.1 amp with digital input. i forgot the model no. but i know its only $350! As far as volume, you can do what i am doing and get a rotary encoder phiget and you map it to your pc's volume control.
                              Phoenix Gold Octane-R 5.1MT
                              Direct connect#173*300734*8

                              SEXTEL Done.l

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