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Thread: car audio optical amplifiers

  1. #21
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    miniAMP

    Why be insulting about it, OldSpark?

    I don't need to repeat the benefits of optical transmission, we should all know them by now. Also, a PROPERLY wired audio system doesn't gain anything from optical aside from reduced bulk of wiring. In these forums, no one should be insulting for wanting something that would be overkill...

    That being said:
    Has anyone checked out the miniAMP? $60 and works as a preamp. I'm gonna give this thing a go, myself, unless someone has already tried it and had bad experiences.
    Last edited by Ryven; 04-22-2011 at 04:21 PM. Reason: forgot a comma

  2. #22
    Raw Wave
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    IT'S A JOKE!!!

    If it's not apparent by the content, it is supposed to be all okay from the that I included. (The latter is not my view but seems to b that of this site.)
    The DI is a giveaway for those that understand - ie, Direct Injection; bypasses auditry senses - ie, the ear; not available with USB connectors because they look too ugly on the skull, and a few here don't like the mini-USB.


    I have long wanted digital from the source to the amp with no intermediate analog. EQ via DSP with auto EQ, volume & compression options etc.


    I know the benefits of continual digital encoded transmission - optical or otherwise. This should be apparent elsewhere, most lately being FindingAnAmpWithADigitalInput vs. BuyingASoundProcessor vs. GoodOl'Analog
    [ Noting that I am now unsubscribed from that thread, but I was addressing the OP's desire for "pristine signal to the amp, and no fiddling with analog interference". Not that that has to do with this thread and my failed joke above, but what I caution about is the need to INTRODUCE a DAC whether for "pristine sound" or to avoid noise. That should only worsen its pristiness and should not be the solution to induced noise. But that too is a money vs ease vs situation & extent vs "ability to detect" worse-quality issue. If noise is solved with shielding and a ground break and other "cheap" typical measures, why not? Digital will not remove noise already in the signal (DSP etc excluded). ]


    Hence HUs with digital outputs to digital input amps or digital input amped speakers - absolutely!
    But inserting DACs & ADCs for noise reasons - other than DSP etc conditioning - that I usually question.


    PS (Zulu + 3mins; 10:36AM) - I was considering OF and single/minimal feed power buss system ages before CAN etc. The weight saving was substantial - not that those seeking "heavy magnets" would benefit much.... ":wink:"



    PPS (Rather than a new reply..) -
    Ryven - Thanks for below. My "humor" (if I may be so arrogant) is often an acquired interpretation and difficult to pick up. Besides, not only do I sometimes mis-communicate or mis-express (something I often don't realise until a much later re-read), what I think should be obvious (humor) often isn't - especially when talking national and cultural differences. We Aussies also tend to have a different sense of humor - in fact that recently gave me away as a "local" to another mp3er. (But even he thought I sounded arrogant or know-it-all (or that I could?.)
    In this case, I though mocking digitals would have been evident - whether humorously else my own ignorance! After all, what method is used for recording, (re-)mastering etc?
    Sure - some prefer the sound of analog (ie, harmonics), and digital may be poor quality (poor sampling or processing), but hey - this is just a short PPS. (Read: I don't want to go there. Besides, little point (other than informative) as quality is in the eye of the beholder.)
    Last edited by OldSpark; 04-23-2011 at 08:37 PM. Reason: PPS...

  3. #23
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryven View Post
    That being said:
    Has anyone checked out the miniAMP? $60 and works as a preamp. I'm gonna give this thing a go, myself, unless someone has already tried it and had bad experiences.
    i remember running across that company in the past-- last time, i was particularly interested in their external DSP, though i ended up not researching it much farther due to the minor limitation that they only had 4 ch output, so i would have required 2 $100 dsp's for my 5ch active setup...(audiomulch is $180, but takes away cpu power..)

    as far as i can remember, i do not recall anything negative about the company..

  4. #24
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    Sorry OldSpark, I wasn't sure if that was sarcasm.

    Soundman, if the PC optical audio out is in I2S format, then theoretically anyone, such as myself, not looking for more than 4 channels could use the miniAMP as a standalone device. I plan to figure out a crossover solution to add a sub later. The miniAMP does 10W/ch output in 4ch mode. Although, the miniDSP does 0.7W output per channel and can do up to 8 channels and signal processing. I'll definitely do more research before I buy but I really think I'm gonna head down that road.


    -Ryven

    via iPhone

  5. #25
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    Help for Raven

    Quote Originally Posted by raverx3m View Post
    man this is killing me .

    the fact that i am good at both car audio and pcs.

    im a car audio installer and i have built many pcs.

    yet i cant figure this thing out for some reason.


    is there still no options for people that want digital signal all the way to the amplifier?
    Raven

    I am a car audio guy of about 20 years judging, and competing and have owned 2 stores and currently work in another.
    Now that's out of the way, to achieve the best sound quality in the car, the advice you have received here is almost correct. The absolute best option is to come fiber optic out of motherboard or soundcard, then plug that into a Audison Bit One processor. This processor gives you 5 volts to each amp you want to send signal to, and then run RCA's to your amps. Running optical to the amp is a nice thought, but we do not listen to sound in digital we listen to sound in analog. So when you send an optical signal to your amp, the amp has to use a Digital to analog converter to convert the signal back to analog. Unless you are spending serious money on something like a Audison Thesis amp to the tune of $3000 to $4000 each, then the amplifier doing the DAC converstion is cheap and not worthy of being called a sound quality amp. Sorry. Everyone has their own opinion of what does and does not sound good. If its made in China, then the quality is not there. Think of it like this. You could go to K-Mart and get you a system that is all-in-one, or you can go to speciality store and get individual components. The individual components use more attention to detail in their components than the one that is the all-in-one. So you do not want your DAC converstion taking place in your amp. You want your amp to have two things to make the absolute best sound.
    The first is signal voltage. If the amp will take 4 volts of signal input, then the amp needs to receive 4 volts of signal. If the amp power output is rated at its highest at 14.4 volts....guess what? You need to make sure the amp is getting 14.4 volts of power. The reason for the processor is every car has its own unique acoutical signature. You need the EQ and crossovers to set the system up for your specific car.
    The just of the reply is Optical to processor, RCA to amp.

    Help this helps
    Bryan
    [email protected]

  6. #26
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    And yet amps have SMPS PSUs in the same enclosure as the audio amplification...
    [Not to mention ytf would an amp require 14.4V input if it has an SMPS? (No readers - I still haven't traced the Kicker's SMPS sensing feedback.)]

    An optic DAC in the amp would probably be cheaper than analog inputs.
    Imagine that - elimination of that source of noise and ground loop.

    If DAC quality is poor - and that is difficult to achieve since it's bit related (post-processing is another issue) - then sales will suffer.
    And don't assume all Chinese stuff is poor quality - is Japanese stuff still rubbish? (My MOOG ball joints, purchased from USA, are made in China (Taiwan if you prefer).)


    I agree from digital through digital as far as possible - ie, from cd/mp3/DAB via optic (else copper) to into the amp with DSP to final analog power stage (and preferably hi-ohmage speakers - not 1 Ohm etc!).
    Conversion of analog (FM etc) at the source is desirable to take advantage of the digital path advantages - with a good quality DAC of course.
    But addition of digital transmission between analog devices is IMO a negative step - unless its distortion (quantisation etc) is less than analog transmission noise.


    But why isn't stuff digital?
    I suspect because most still but analog outputs to match with the analog outputs (or amps) that they are so familiar with. To upgrade requires complete reinvestment...

    And the killer reason? The industry still makes a lot of labor and money from alignments, tuning, ground loop isolators, noise filters, EQs, crossovers, batteries, connectors, caps.... and of course the add-in digital processors.


    'tis an interesting topic indeed. All I can say is that my amp will be powered from a "high" voltage balanced rail. But it'll probably have the odd analog input as well as digital.

  7. #27
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    if you think about it, it is really quite amazing that there has been very little advancement in aftermarket car audio in the last 5 years.. sure there have been new devices, but compared to all the new tech that i can add to a home theater system in the last 5 years, car audio is still pretty much the same...

  8. #28
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    Yeah - it's our capitalistic system. No need to release new unless there is new competition else a new demand.

    Certainly just on the PSU side, people seem quite happy to accept the status quo: buy lots of fat copper, and bigger batteries (all high current of course which means most expense).

    Related to that is 1 & 1/2 Ohm subs etc. High current, most inefficient.
    I even see sites where they reckon the LOWER the speaker impedance, the BETTER the sound quality. (I thought it was the other way around LOL!)

    The latter irony - once they went above a few hundred Watts, they had to use SMPS.
    So why not move back to high-Ohmage speakers (4 Ohm or higher) and hence reduce weight & heat and cost, and regain the sound quality - especially if buying the new >300W speakers?


    I'm waiting for the clean break. PSU by the alternator/battery, remote amp and high-Ohmage speakers etc. It should be a good market killing, except maybe misinformation would kill them (like low Ohmage is "better" than high...).

  9. #29
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    the wattage/ohmage thing is easy to explain-- the majority of people don't care how the 'rated' numbers of equipment are generated, they just want the most powerful stuff at the lowest cost.

    after thinking about it, i also think that part of this is the market. in home theaters, or high end stereo home systems, i see more older/wiser people buying the gear(i believe a major factor is the 'older' part--where they have more money to burn on stuff like that), and many are always demanding the latest and greatest, and willingly pay for it. in car audio, the primary market is young punk's who 'want to be heard 4 blocks away'-- easily evident by walking into the car audio section of any electronics store. of course, they don't care about interconnect styles or the latest features and want to be as obnoxious as possible without spending all of their small paychecks...

    the flip side of this is the way that most car audio shops are with technology-- if i try talking to any of my local shops about optical audio, or integrating a carpc with a active audio setup, their eyes glaze over, and they don't have a clue what i'm talking about(one place offered me a job)... and it is hard for a shop to sell tech that they don't understand, or know how to install...

    i see high end car audio as a larger market, but similar market as carpc's-- it is a niche, and as such, the products that specifically cater to it tend to cost more, and there are less overall products. that is evident both in the dwindling amount of amps that fit the premise of this thread, and the way that most high end guys seem to be migrating back to older equipment instead of the latest and greatest.. wow, it pains me to even say that... on teh plus side i have seen some new companies crop up in the last couple years to cater to the high end, and the mid-high end, unfortunately, their limited exposure makes it hard for the majority to even know they exist... i still mention hybrid audio technologies legatia lineup when talking to someone who tries bragging about knowing car audio, and rarely do any of them know who they are..

    though, i also see the term 'high end audio' moving in the same direction as the term 'sound quality'-- where, in a world where everyone would rather have low bit-rate music fast, then wait for high quality music, the term has become nothing more then to mean that the speakers emit sound...

    oh well, /rant
    Last edited by soundman98; 11-12-2011 at 09:04 PM.

  10. #30
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    built in optical dac would also probably decrease the size of the amp wouldnt it?

    i looked at the amp from mercedes c320
    its a size of a single din stereo roughly. and powers 1 8 inch sub 4 woofers 3 midranges and 4 tweeters.
    and also is damn good sound coming out of it.


    speaking of digital. the only reason analog sources are still around is because of the old school people.
    for a second i thought well the radio still needs to be converted but then i remembered we are now in HD radio age.(not very widespread yet but its getting there)
    theres barely any true analog sources left.
    1 almost all records have been DIGITALLY remastered(sometimes more than once)
    2 radio broadcast is now also DIGITAL, and so it satellite radio and pandora and such
    3 cds are also a DIGITAL source
    4 cellpnones/mp3 players are DIGITAL source as well
    5 movies, music, any kind of sounds are almsot all digital.
    karaoke is not digital lol
    and i think the only time they should be converted to analog is at the last step before going to speaker( in other words amp)
    i mean what do you trust more. a set of RCAs running through your car or a copper(or other) trace running on your circuit board in your digital to analog converter.
    which will have to be done anyway and then sent through RCAs to the amp...


    but on that note i think im gonna go with this lil box here instead of bit one it fits my budget better.
    id love to own one but unfortunately i can only get as high of an end as my spare cash allows me
    so for me a set of boston pro 6.5 highest end at the moment
    trying to ballance the upgrades between the home theater PC and car is kinda sucks without much spare cash

    http://www.hllyhifi.com/aune-mini-us...ial-p-182.html



    hi-fi managed its way into cheap boomboxes and shelf systems

    then came the hi-end. to separate true high quality sound from the rest like hi-fi once did.
    but soon the hi-end's days will come when it will also be on the box of a shelf stereo( it its not already)
    wonder what will be next "the super highest end fidelity sound" "the infinite end"
    Last edited by raverx3m; 11-13-2011 at 02:01 AM.

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