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Thinking about blending old school preamp with Tablet

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  • Thinking about blending old school preamp with Tablet

    I like the idea of using my Samsung Galaxy Tab Note 10.1 for navigation and music playback but I don't want to do a permanent installation. I have 3 different older BMWs I use on a rotating basis and don't want permanent installations in any of them. I am thinking that a good quality preamp with tone controls and an aux input would allow me to keep the OEM radio and integrate it with a tablet. I actually have a really nice old Precision Power preamp with very good sound quality but that has been out of production for >> 10 years for anyone else that may want to explore this route. The only currently available preamps I am familiar with are the Audio Control Three.1 or Four.1. There are other models available out there for much less money but I have no experience with any of them. I think the key thing to look for in a preamp is a DC-DC switching power supply. This will help tremendously with noise rejection and have more voltage output capability than a preamp with simple 12 VDC power directly from the car's electrical system. Both the PP unit and the Audio Control models have DC-DC internal power supplies and ~ 9 VDC output drive capability.

    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-xqSASoK...ol-FOUR-1.html

    With the Samsung Galaxy tabs, a good quality USB DAC can be used to convert the digital data for the analog aux input on the preamp. I will try using a stalk mount for the tablet that is bolted to the passenger seat front left bolt.

    http://www.amazon.com/Digitl-Samsung...ds=stalk+mount

    The idea is that I would have stalk mounts in each car and a preamp installed in each car. I would just move the tablet from car to car and never leave it in a parked car for prying eyes to see. I already have all the pieces I need to do this install. I just have to find time to do it and post pics and a review.

  • #2
    they make devices that receive audio via Bluetooth and output either 3.5mm cable or fm modulator powered by usb "Cobra AirWave CWA BT 150" usually $39.99 this one works up to 33 feet .

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    • #3
      check out the audison bit 1 too

      I had a three.1 in my original install and the sq was great. it was being fed by an inexpensive soundblaster soundcard and was a great improvement.

      as for bt, if interested (please note the limitations of bt audio) but check out the auris bt dongle. i have one at my house and the sq is fantastic for what it is. I think it would be a nice addition unless you have a fully deadened car and are competing in sq competitions


      edit: the bit one may be a bit overkill for what you want. i think i'd agree with you and lean toward the audiocontrol unit
      Last edited by scott_fx; 09-24-2013, 01:52 PM.
      New System in progress:
      M10k
      Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
      Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
      Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
      Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
      Transflective Xenarc

      My Car Pc Install
      My Boat Pc worklog

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by zeerific View Post
        they make devices that receive audio via Bluetooth and output either 3.5mm cable or fm modulator powered by usb "Cobra AirWave CWA BT 150" usually $39.99 this one works up to 33 feet .
        I don't see anything involving Bluetooth and FM modulator coming close to the sound quality of a good preamp and DAC connected to the tablet. If ease of installation is more important than sound quality, then I think the Bluetooth device is worth considering.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by scott_fx View Post
          check out the audison bit 1 too

          I had a three.1 in my original install and the sq was great. it was being fed by an inexpensive soundblaster soundcard and was a great improvement.

          as for bt, if interested (please note the limitations of bt audio) but check out the auris bt dongle. i have one at my house and the sq is fantastic for what it is. I think it would be a nice addition unless you have a fully deadened car and are competing in sq competitions


          edit: the bit one may be a bit overkill for what you want. i think i'd agree with you and lean toward the audiocontrol unit
          Installing a Bit One in each of my cars is definitely overkill but I may do something like that in my 03 E39 530i. That interior is quiet enough to appreciate better quality components. I have a Zapco DSP6 sitting on the shelf but it does not have aux input capability like Bit One.

          I checked out your build thread. Do you still have the Behringer unit and how do you like it?

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          • #6
            I didn't intend for you to replace the preamp only to use device as an easy connection to ur preamp

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            • #7
              to tell you the truth i never really got the up and running and tuned before i sold the car. It was personally more work/trouble then it was worth for me, so i honestly can't give you a review of it. There is also a jvc unit...forgot what it was called. i believe it had a lot of hype when it came but can't remember the reviews. Worth checking into as another option for you



              edit on my original post... i didn't have the thee.1 i had a 2xs (preamp and x-over)
              New System in progress:
              M10k
              Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
              Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
              Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
              Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
              Transflective Xenarc

              My Car Pc Install
              My Boat Pc worklog

              Comment


              • #8
                what if you just used a combo USB DAC & headphone amp unit from someone like FiiO (the e10 or e17 maybe)... wouldn't that get you to speaker-level output so you could go straight into the BMW factory amps? less components means less chances for noise.

                then as far as tone control, there are DSP/EQ apps for Android, but i don't know for sure if those work only with the built in DAC or not. i'm thinking they are adjusting the digital signal so they should affect a USB DAC output as well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by theksmith View Post
                  what if you just used a combo USB DAC & headphone amp unit from someone like FiiO (the e10 or e17 maybe)... wouldn't that get you to speaker-level output so you could go straight into the BMW factory amps? less components means less chances for noise.

                  then as far as tone control, there are DSP/EQ apps for Android, but i don't know for sure if those work only with the built in DAC or not. i'm thinking they are adjusting the digital signal so they should affect a USB DAC output as well.
                  That could work but I prefer to replace the BMW factory amp with something better. It is actually pretty limited in terms of power output and distortion. Most low cost aftermarket amps blow it away and I actually have a collection of older used mid-to-high end amps from Zapco, Soundstream, Precision Power, and Linear Power. I have been doing mobile audio as a hobby for over 25 years and have a hard time throwing perfectly good equipment away or selling it for peanuts. I also prefer the old fashioned analog knobs on the Audio Control and PPI preamps. It is much safer to operate them without taking my eyes off the road than to fiddle with a touch screen for DSP/EQ adjustments. For music playback, I will just setup playlists so that user interaction while driving is minimal.

                  Using a good preamp with ~ 9 Volts RMS output capability lets me run a 'hot' signal back to the amplifier(s) and set their input gain to minimum. The formula to minimize noise is highest practical voltage at the source unit and minimum possible gain setting at the amplifier or signal processor input. FiiO headphone amps are fine products but will not compare to a good analog preamp in clarity and headroom. As long as I pay attention to system and signal grounds, I will not introduce noise by using a preamp. The primary source of alternator noise I have seen with iPods, Tablets, etc. comes from using a cigarette lighter power supply for the portable devices. Those power supplies introduce a lot of noise because they have no isolation from the vehicle chassis ground. There is a huge difference in system noise when using battery power vs. plugging into the cigarette lighter outlet. Running a portable on its own battery is always quieter than using a cheap power supply.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by zeerific View Post
                    I didn't intend for you to replace the preamp only to use device as an easy connection to ur preamp
                    I misunderstood. I still think a DAC connection to preamp will sound better than Bluetooth although it will definitely be more expensive and means one more component to hide.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mda185 View Post
                      I misunderstood. I still think a DAC connection to preamp will sound better than Bluetooth although it will definitely be more expensive and means one more component to hide.
                      what kind of car do you have? how loud is the car? what components do you have?
                      New System in progress:
                      M10k
                      Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
                      Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
                      Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
                      Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
                      Transflective Xenarc

                      My Car Pc Install
                      My Boat Pc worklog

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scott_fx View Post
                        what kind of car do you have? how loud is the car? what components do you have?
                        I have three cars and part of this thread is finding a solution that lets me move the tablet from car to car. All three are BMWs - 95 525iT wagon, 97 328iC vert, and 03 530i Sport. The two 5 Series are much quieter than the vert with the E39 530i being the best in this regard. All are still stock in terms of audio head units and amps.

                        I will keep stock radio/head unit in the E39 530i because the car computer is too tightly integrated and I want to keep those functions. I am using a GROM Audio integration unit to give me USB and smart phone inputs to the stock radio right now. If I add an analog preamp, I will not keep the GROM unit installed. I will probably install a ZAPCO 4 channel DSP amp in the trunk for front and rear speakers and am undecided on subwoofer amp. I will put a compact sub in the trunk firing through the rear seat armrest cutout using a pair of Peerless SLS 6.5" drivers. They will be more than enough for my listening habits. I have a set of new in box Dynaudio components that I will install the front doors. I have a set of custom A Pillars for a 3" driver and a tweeter from a previous install but not planning on using them in this car unless I don't like the Dynaudios. As far as the analog preamp, I am going to look into removing the OEM CD player from the stock head unit housing and putting the preamp there. That would let me retain the on board computer and keep the dash looking as stock as possible. There is a fold down wood trim flap that would hide the preamp if I am successful.

                        I probably going to install a Pioneer DEH-80PRS in the 97 328iC and am undecided on which amp(s) and speakers to use in this car. It is a special edition model with stitched Napa Leather interior and I do not want to cut door panels or kick panels for a custom speaker install.

                        The 95 525iT is still stock and I am in the midst of swapping an M3 engine and tranny into this car. The audio install will have to wait until I get the mechanical work done.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Tablets are so cheap these days I just don't understand why you want to move 1 tablet around. Seem's like more of a hassle than anything. Just my opinion SNO

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SNOtwistR View Post
                            Tablets are so cheap these days I just don't understand why you want to move 1 tablet around. Seem's like more of a hassle than anything. Just my opinion SNO
                            My Galaxy Note 10.1 was not cheap and I take this wherever I go. Why buy more tablets if I am carrying this anyway? For my lifestyle, making a dock in each car works.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ah, well it seems like you have the components to justify the install

                              if you were going to go with stock stereo and you had a somewhat loud car... then i'd say it wouldn't be worth the hassle.



                              Originally posted by mda185 View Post
                              I have three cars and part of this thread is finding a solution that lets me move the tablet from car to car. All three are BMWs - 95 525iT wagon, 97 328iC vert, and 03 530i Sport. The two 5 Series are much quieter than the vert with the E39 530i being the best in this regard. All are still stock in terms of audio head units and amps.

                              I will keep stock radio/head unit in the E39 530i because the car computer is too tightly integrated and I want to keep those functions. I am using a GROM Audio integration unit to give me USB and smart phone inputs to the stock radio right now. If I add an analog preamp, I will not keep the GROM unit installed. I will probably install a ZAPCO 4 channel DSP amp in the trunk for front and rear speakers and am undecided on subwoofer amp. I will put a compact sub in the trunk firing through the rear seat armrest cutout using a pair of Peerless SLS 6.5" drivers. They will be more than enough for my listening habits. I have a set of new in box Dynaudio components that I will install the front doors. I have a set of custom A Pillars for a 3" driver and a tweeter from a previous install but not planning on using them in this car unless I don't like the Dynaudios. As far as the analog preamp, I am going to look into removing the OEM CD player from the stock head unit housing and putting the preamp there. That would let me retain the on board computer and keep the dash looking as stock as possible. There is a fold down wood trim flap that would hide the preamp if I am successful.

                              I probably going to install a Pioneer DEH-80PRS in the 97 328iC and am undecided on which amp(s) and speakers to use in this car. It is a special edition model with stitched Napa Leather interior and I do not want to cut door panels or kick panels for a custom speaker install.

                              The 95 525iT is still stock and I am in the midst of swapping an M3 engine and tranny into this car. The audio install will have to wait until I get the mechanical work done.
                              New System in progress:
                              M10k
                              Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
                              Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
                              Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
                              Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
                              Transflective Xenarc

                              My Car Pc Install
                              My Boat Pc worklog

                              Comment

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