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Please Critique my Car PC system

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  • Please Critique my Car PC system

    Here is a screenshot of my envisaged Car Pc system.


    - 1TB Hardrive connected to Laptop for Music Library

    - 8" lilliput touchscreen monitor to control laptop from inside glove compartment.

    - Audio control four.1 splits External DAC 2 Channel Signal to Front and Rear outputs of Audiocontrol, includes overall volume control (No headunit) and fader + rudementary equalisation.

    - 4" Midrange will be run off the Compact 4 Bridged

    - 6.5" Bass will be run off the Four Channel Bridged

    - 3-way Rear setup will be run of the Four Channel Bridged.

    Im mainly considering the feasability of the project & the overall SQ vs a contemporary Car Audio system aka Headunit > amps > speakers.



  • #2
    If you are planning to use the laptop for anything else, it may be worth looking into a docking station. Plugging and unplugging all those cables gets really old after a bit. You will also want at least one usb hub mounted where you can access it easily.
    What are you going to power the laptop with? How are you going to cool it?
    Your audio layout looks like a real winner, but the other items that make up your Carputer need some more looking into. Check out the guide, it is well worth it!
    Good Luck!


    • #3
      i echo what roger has said.
      great looking audio!

      2006 Mazda6 Carpc

      2008 Acura TSX Nexus 7


      • #4
        Thanks for the comments guys, as this is going to be my first system for my first car im still learning, I havent specifically looked into the powering of the laptop but I hope to use possible a power converter to lighter plug in the car or maybe directly to the battery some how. If neither is feasible I guess I could just run of the laptops battery (4hours max), maybe get 2 batteries, one for standby. In addition the laptop I have, Acer 5748 ( I think thats right) runs very cool so if needs be I may by a usb powered 45mm computer fan? Not sure if they exist but the main thing is I stand firm by my choice of going down the car pc route so I will make sure it will work no matter what alterations I must do. Just as long as the main premise is ok, like I said its my first car audio system so going 3-way as a first setup, not only 3-way front but 3-way rear may be a challenge but I hope its not too difficult.

        Thanks again,



        • #5
          Here is my thoughts Joe...
          Begin with installing the prgrams you want to run on the pc, and play with them in your spare time... preferably with the touchscreen. you will find that you install will go alot easier if you are sure of the input devices you will use. There have been plenty of times I reall wanted a keyboard available.... try different ideas. Look through the posts from others about the input devices they use.
          After a while I am sure that you will be looking to build a full blown stand alone pc for your car, everyone I know that has tried it has gone that route. I am now on my 3rd build in less that a year.... Mostly because I underestimated the things I wanted the pc to be able to do.
          Again, plan plan plan, then start your build. It will be easier on you in the long run.
          Good Luck,


          • #6
            could you provide some more details?
            i am primarily interested in your overall budget, and experience level-- both in car audio, and computers..

            i think i can help a little--i run a slightly sq-based(still a bass-head though) setup with carpc..

            computer-based car audio setups can be tricky..

            while they seem to end up costing more then comparable car-audio components, they are usually more configurable--which can save money, or allow more technical setups that most consumer-level car audio equipment won't allow for..
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided


            • #7
              Hi all,

              Roger: Thanks for the advice, I have already pre-installed all software and tested the playback with home hifi amps, dacs and speakers to check compatability and all is sound. I cant imagine ill want to use the laptop for anything other than audio playback, however if I do say want to watch a film that can also be done with no further alterations. Also i know I rarely use a keyboard on my Home PC audio but when I do I use a keyboard application for typing in song names in the search filter. Thankyou, I have planned my install for about 2 years, im 18 and have pretty much considered most possible scenarios.

              Soundman: Hi, my Overall budget is 2500, thats including all components listed above plus Sub amp and Subwoofer, dynamat, batteries & cables. I have literally no experince of car audio but I do have heaps of audio knowledge, primarily computer audio & Hi Fi. As a car pc system will pretty much be a replica of my Home computer audio system I have pre planned most things and know how they will plan out. The main aspects that concern me is the powering of the latop,(i.e AC to DC) the external DAC (i.e AC to DC) power & external hardrive (i.e AC to DC). My next concern is the Battery & big 3 upgrade, after which I believe the rest will be a little easier with my previous knowledge of audio.

              Thanks all for your suggestions and advice, really appreciate it.



              • #8

                for the audio
                -- i had a chance a while back to a/b the 2-way, and 3-way hertz mille series lineup(both had 6.5" mids) at a local car audio shop.

                after that, i was pretty much convinced that 3-way setups are not needed..
                in that particular speaker line, the midrange added a amount of depth to the vocals, but the mid's sound was overexerted-- leading to a slightly muffled tone..

                i think that 3-ways could sound good with a lot of planning, and careful speaker placement, but, most cars don't allow for it..

                i prefer to stick to 2-ways primarily because they are less finicky about placement, and easier to get better sound..

                have you demoed the focal speakers you are considering? i have heard a couple of focal sets, and never was too crazy about the tweeters(i prefer soft dome tweeters)

                if you haven't you should-- speaker cost isn't relative to sq--my current speakers cost about $200 all together(peerless 6.5" hds mids, dayton 1-1/8" tweeters), but blow those hertz mille's away-- i think those retailed for something around $600 at the time...

                also, have you considered running a active setup, or using the carpc to process the audio? it is another option to running everything passive..


                just one thing i can see that might be wrong:

                the 8" screen-- is that a usb-only screen? there are issues with usb only screens..the screens will not display anything till the pc boots up-so if you have any problems before the os loads, you won't know-- i would only recommend usb-only screens as secondary displays-- never as a primary display.
                My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

                next project? subaru brz
                carpc undecided


                • #9
                  Thanks for the info soundman, I know, tbh I think im going a bit ott on the front stage its just at home I run floorstander speakers with a tweeter, midrange and midbass x2 in each speaker. I want to replicate that sort of sound in my car and not strain one midbass to do all the frequency spectrum from tweeter downwards. I dont know if im on the right track but the reason I want a 3 way rear is so I can put the 6.5 bass drivers on the parcel shelf and run them in mono like a subwoofer only crossing over alittle higher 160-200hz. Then have the mid and tweeter of the rear set in a pod in the A pillars behind the passengers head.
                  Ive seen loads of pods in custom installs, the problem is ive never seen a place to buy them and im completely inexperinced in the diy area of things. In addition I have tested the focals at home, and imo they sound very very detailed however many a little harsh on the treble but I will level match it later and probably bring the tweeter level down a notch. By the way my dad has a peeless XLS subwoofer driver, absolutely awesome piece of kit those danish dudes make.

                  Also in the future I would like to run active however i dont have the money for a simple outboard active board (not Ms8 or Bit1) as they contain internal DACs which would negate the point of my external dac im going to buy (higher quality). The external dac my laptop gives out is a 2 channel signal meaning I do not think i can use an active software crossover from the laptop as you need a sound card with 5-8 ouputs, I do however have an ARC room correction software on my laptop with a mic which I hope to purchase (mic) and use if its worth it. Thanks for pointing out the external screen issue, the screen however uses a HDMI out to HDMI input port on the laptop so all is good I hope.

                  Thanks Soundman,



                  • #10
                    if you haven't already, head over to a site like i know i have seen a couple of people that have carefully detailed how they built their mid/tweeter pods..

                    for the rear mids-- i can't say i remember ever running into a setup that runs them mono, so i am kind of curious how they turn out..

                    for the screen-- just fyi, not sure if a 8 screen would have the same issues, but a issue i ran into recently with my own laptop (hp g60--intel integrated graphics) is that i found that the hdmi doesn't scale correctly on my big screen(i think it is a 32")--i have to set it funky resolutions to almost fill the screen, but there is no way to use hdmi to fully fill the screen.. but my laptop has no issues using the vga-output to the tv..

                    my brothers laptop has a nvidia graphics chipset, and scales fine with hdmi...
                    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

                    next project? subaru brz
                    carpc undecided


                    • #11
                      how are you planning to wake/sleep the laptop with ignition?
                      pressing the power button everytime, gets old really quickly.