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Thread: How to improve sound from a laptop car PC

  1. #1
    FLAC chut's Avatar
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    How to improve sound from a laptop car PC

    Hi!

    anybody out there ever use a laptop car pc and find that the sound it puts out is just miserable? I've got an old Dell Latitude plugged into my DEH-P8400 via a rca connector and the IP bus and it sounds really muffled, not clear at all. Not loud either. I was wondering if anyone ever tried one of those USB sound cards made for laptops? Are they worth the bucks?

    Peter

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    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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  3. #3
    FLAC
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    is it the IP-BUS or is it the soundcard?
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    Maximum Bitrate gork's Avatar
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    Laptop sound is often not very good. USB audio devices can get you superior sound. But, I also see that you have a BMW, and I have learned enough about the stock audio setups in the car after owning a few to probably help you out. First thing's first though, make sure you are plugged into a LINE OUT and not a HEADPHONE jack. If you are on a headphone jack, adjust the volume very very low. You could just be clipping bigtime by feeding a signal out of the laptop that is way above line level voltages.

    If you don't have a stock head unit, amp, wiring, or both, then I probably won't be able to help with a solution. If you are all stock, then read on!

    First, how do you have your audio patched into the system?

    If you have BMW's aux input adaptor going into the head unit, then your soundcard is to blame.

    If you are wiring unbalanced audio into the stock Alpine or H/K amp with no head unit and you are not using a line output converter or other active or passive audio transformer then it could be a number of things.

    1) The audio cables running from the back of the head unit to the amp are unsuitable for carrying unbalanced audio. If your computer is in the front of the car, you'll need a LOC like Peripheral's VEN4 to go from the unbalanced output of your laptop into the stock wiring.

    2) If your computer is in the trunk, and you have clipped the audio cables from the amp harness and wired the unbalanced audio directly to the amp, then you have to at least bridge the - speaker terminal to chassis ground in addition to wiring the + and - lines. This may still result in a buzz though if the amp doesn't like it, and the only way to fix that would be to go with the VEN4.

    Hope this helps. If you give me a better idea of exactly how your setup is wired, I can help you better.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate gork's Avatar
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    Oh, nevermind about all that junk I just posted. I read your post again and saw that you have an aftermarket head unit that you are feeding via its aux input's.. The thing about HEADPHONE vs LINE OUT still applies, though, and aside from that.. get a good USB sound device... Anwyay maybe that last post will help other bimmer owners...
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  6. #6
    jol
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    To make sure it's nothing than the laptop soundcard thats bad, connect a portable cd-player instead of the laptop.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate MikeHunt79's Avatar
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    I'm using a m-audio sonica, and it does sound noticabley better than my laptop soundcard... I've also upgraded my stock speakers tho, I'm not sure if you'd notice as much of a difference with a stock system.

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    I also use an M-Audio Sonica. I use it instead of the onboard on my EPIA-M. A huge improvement in Highs, mids and lows...Highly recomended. You might want to look at the new Creative one also. Same price but not sure on quality. It has ins for Digital and analog where the Sonica does not...
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  9. #9
    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    Also you might like to know, since that is a pioneer unit with aux, you likely have a level setting for aux input in the functions or audio mode
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  10. #10
    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    also, there are two different versions of the IP bus hack, some report lower volumes with different head units
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