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Thread: Digital Audio Updates?

  1. #1
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    Digital Audio Updates?

    I read many of the older (6+ months) posts on running digital audio in a car. At that point, it was an expensive job. The setup would need the digital sound card (optical or coax), a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) that converts the digital signal to an analog signal that can be amplified and sent to the speakers.

    Last posts i saw had the DAC equipment sitting at about $500-$600 a piece, and most of them ONLY had the optical input.

    Has anyone else had any better luck finding DACs or other digital equipment?
    System in the works:
    Celeron 850 or PIII 933, SB Live! Value into a stock 4 channel amp, ATI vid, 10.4" sharp LCD w/ allen's controller, Elo SW touchscreen overlay and controller, GPS, TV tuner, FW DVD drive, 4 port serial card, and some other stuff....

    Loads of ideas.

  2. #2
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    I've searched long and hard on the Internet for a solution and came up with several leads:

    I found 3-4 DACs in the $300-400 price range that should do an excellent job of conversion. I even found a car MP3 project that was using the M-Audio Flying Cow:

    http://www.midiman.net/products/m-audio/cow.php

    http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/jan01/a.../mindprint.asp

    http://www.artproaudio.com/products_...p?PRODUCTID=75

    All of these products accept 9V AC or 120V AC (w/ power pack) but not DC. In theory all are probably rectifying and regulating the AC to 5VDC before doing anything. If that's the case, you should be able to run 5VDC from a PSU directly into them. Or if your using a power inverter, just plug in the included power pak. The Flying Cow needs a optical to coax converter, but web searches easily turn up those.

    Another solution is to use a digital preamp and cross-over from an established car audio manufacturer. Sony, Poineer, Kenwood, Alpine and others all make various flavors that will do everything from band-pass filtering, to time alignment, to full blown AC3 & DTS decoding. However all of them require a head unit from the same vendor. There are some help pages out there that give some good starter info on the bus control protocols for Sony, Pioneer, Blaupunkt, and Kenwood, but they are all geared towards how to make you computer look like a CD changer to the head unit.

    The only decoder I have yet to get specifics on is one made by Sherwood. I can't seem to find much information on the net, however there are a couple forum members using them. Guys if you have any info, please follow up.

    I'm bidding on a Sony XDP-4000X digital DSP at the moment. If I win it, I plan on borrowing a CDX-90 head unit from a local audio shop and building off of what Internet knowledge currently exists for Sony Unilink to reverse engineer the command set. I'll post my results once they are known.

    One thing to be aware of, some audio card drivers will not do volume control on the digital outputs because it means software scalling the output samples instead of using a hardware mixer. So you may need to soft-scale the volume in your application software or buy a amp/preamp with a remote gain control.
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  3. #3
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    Also I haven't found a straight DAC that will do >2 channel linear PCM or MDP output (excluding the ones that require a head unit). All of the ones I found suitable for auto application only do 2 channel output. It would be nice to do time alignment in the car PC instead of a crossover/EQ; and certainly cheaper.
    ----------------------------
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  4. #4
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    Ebay turned up a couple as well:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...item=801219799

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...item=801964486

    Then if you just need coax to analog, there's the light weight Flying Calf for $136 USD:

    http://www.t1music.com/Certificates/...&SubCategory=0
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  5. #5
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    Whoa, information overload. But i think i got it...

    I followed up on a lot of what you said, and it seems right on the money. I am saddened, though, that there are no 4 channel (or 5 channel) output units. I would LOVE to be able to run a 5.1 digital line out of my computer into a DAC, and have 4 channel lines run to my 4 ch. amp. Oh well.

    Thanks for all the info!!!

    If anyone has any thing else, it would love to hear about it.

    ALSO, I am looking for a DAC or similar product for my home stereo. I have a DVD player with the 5.1 digital coax/optical out, but my receiver has 6 seperate analog inputs. Any ideas on how to split the signal?
    System in the works:
    Celeron 850 or PIII 933, SB Live! Value into a stock 4 channel amp, ATI vid, 10.4" sharp LCD w/ allen's controller, Elo SW touchscreen overlay and controller, GPS, TV tuner, FW DVD drive, 4 port serial card, and some other stuff....

    Loads of ideas.

  6. #6
    It ain't easy being a green moderator meddler's Avatar
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    I am also looking to do the same thing. I am waiting on some info from a friend about a company in China that does D to A's. If anything is usable or worthwhile I let you guys know.

    EDIT: Claylong... just found this

    http://www.secure-server-centre.com/eurotech/datasheet.php?partno=E3452

    at UK$70 (don't know how to get the pound sign and can't be stuffed finding out how ) I think I might be investing in one of these. If this is a little expensive I suppose the other option to get 5.1 out is to use a sound blaster live 5.1 or Audoligy
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate Skippman's Avatar
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    I think this topic was all my fault originally. I stated about 7 months ago I was and still am planning on using an Alpine PXA-H510 DSP. This unit can be used either within Alpines propriatary A/I-NET or can be used as a stand alone DSP. Now don't confuse a DSP with a DAC and vice versa. A DSP is designed to process whatever audio is put into it into it's seperate channels. A DAC only converts a digital source to an analogue source.
    Stereo:Alpine IVA-D900 Head Unit | Alpine PXA-H510 DSP | Boston Pro Component Speakers Upfront | Boston Rally Rear Speakers | 2 Polk 10" Subs in the Trunk | Phoenix Gold Ti900.7 Amp

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by meddler
    I suppose the other option to get 5.1 out is to use a sound blaster live 5.1 or Audoligy
    I can honestly say that my Audigy was the best thing I could do for my mp3 system.... best $140AUS bux I have spent in a long time.... I know it gets bagged alot, but its really a very nice sounding sound card..... and the quality of my system now really blows me away...
    Project - GAME OVER :(

  9. #9
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    I have searched on the net the avaiable dsp processors with dolby digital and dts decoder and this is the result:

    -Kenwood KDS-P901: http://www.kenwoodusa.com/product/pr...productId=2414
    -Clarion DVH: http://www.clarion.com/processor/processorfm.htm
    -Pioneer DEQ-P7000: http://www.pioneer-eur.com/eur/produ...onomy_id=25-29
    -Pioneer AVM-P9000: http://www.pioneer.com.sg/products/c.../avm_p9000.asp
    -Pioneer DEQ-P7050: http://www.pioneer.com.sg/products/c.../deq_p7050.asp
    -Alpine PXA-H510: http://www.hookedontronics.com/sales...e_PXA-H510.htm
    -Panasonic CY-AC300: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-90kpuAr...p?I=133CYAC300

    I will get optical tos-link output from my epia using xitel pro hifi-link:
    http://www.xitel.com/product_phfl.htm

    But some DSPs, almost all, uses propietary protocol instead of standard tos-link.

    Somebody knows which of these use propietary protocol? or more directly which have standard tos-link adapaters?

    I think that the only one in this list is the panasonic but I'm not sure (and the Alpline as this thread and some others show)

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate Skippman's Avatar
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    The Alpine had standard TOS-LINK inputs. I had my PS2 hooked up with no problems. There is one down side. The optical input overrides all other inputs. Meaning if you're feeding it an optical signal and then try to use your stereo tuner the optical will continue to play. So I'm going to get a co-ax to optical adapter and put it on a switch so I can interrupt the signal to the DSP. The Alpine also has 2 inputs.

    For the record, I've delt with Hooked On Tronics. They're great. That's who I bought my Alpine HU from.
    Stereo:Alpine IVA-D900 Head Unit | Alpine PXA-H510 DSP | Boston Pro Component Speakers Upfront | Boston Rally Rear Speakers | 2 Polk 10" Subs in the Trunk | Phoenix Gold Ti900.7 Amp

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