Can't decide if the Carputer approach is right for my needs
This is my first post on the forum, so I thought I'd introduce myself and let you know about my dilemma. I'm hoping the veterans here can help me out. I drive a 94 LS400 which is my baby, and I'm finally getting around to replacing my Pioneer HU for a host of reasons. It served me well. Upfront I have a pair of CDT components which I love, and I will be replacing those with new CDT components. In my trunk I have an Elemental Designs sub that sits inside my spare wheel in a fiberglass enclosure so as to give me my trunk. I'll be powering it all with the new ED 5-channel amp, all in all it will be running about 1000WRMS when I'm done.
But I'm in a dilemma. I'm not sure if the Carputer is what I want/need. I'm considering a couple other options, all of which are pretty good. I've begun by reading the Wiki and I've answered some of my own questions about the technical possibilities with a Carputer, but I need a more quantitative analysis.
Also, I just graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in EE and CS, so I'm not a newbie to computers ;) I don't mind getting my hands dirty and writing a few hacks here and there to make it work, but for the most part, I want to be able to build it, load software, configure it, and getting it going. I don't want to write anything from the ground up--...
Let me specify exactly what I need in my HU, in somewhat order of importance (but not exactly).
1) Easy to use, nice looking user-interface. Can't stress this one enough, as I'm sure you all can relate.
2) iPOD integration. Even if the carputer has an HD, I use my iPod as my central DB of music. I want to be able to plug it in, and have a nice interface to control it. I'm using the new Pioneer units as a benchmark for this. The Avic units have a great interface for usign the iPod.. its basically the iPod interface duplicated on the screen. Eclipse does a great job too.
3) Navigation. I want a great looking, accurate nav, preferably that comes with a nice soothing female voice who also accepts my voice commands. (She'd be the first ;) ). Again, I'm using the Avic Z1/Z2 from Pioneer as a benchmark, as well as the Tom Tom interface. Those are some damn nice navi setups.
4) Time Correction. I just can't live without this feature anymore. It's crucial to a proper setup. Presets would be nice ;) Its got to be able to handle al 5 channels (4 speakers + sub).
5) High Powered Line Level Outputs. I want something near 4-5V in outpout voltage, at < 100 ohms. I really want a clean signal to my amp so at high volumes I can minimize as much noise as possible.
6) Parametric EQ. Anything with 16 or more bands will be fine. Presets are also nice here ;)
7) X-over setup. Not super worried about this, my amp has a great x-over setup, but if I can do it digitally then why not.
8) BlueTooth for Phone. Also want a nice interface for this. I want my music to automatically mute. I want to be able to see the nav while I'm on the phone.i want to see who's calling, accept the call, and make calls from the HU.
Pretty much I want it all. In one package. I think that about covers it. Let me tell you about the alternatives I'm considering.
Pioneer Avic Z2
- AMAZING Nav.
- Great iPod interface
- Great BT interface
- LLO sucks
- No TimeCorrection/Alignment
- EQ sucks
Pioneer DEH-P980BT single din HU + Tom Tom Navigation mounted in dash
This is a little different setup. I'd be using the "best" of "both worlds". This pioner HU kicks ***, and the Tom Tom nav is also spectacular. I'd mount one of those portable TomTom's in my dash, along with the Pioneer unit
- "Best of both worlds"
- Great LLO
- Built in 24 bit DAC
- Great iPod interface
- Time correction
- Has mic for auto adjustment
- Great BlueTooth interface
- "Instant" start up time compared to carputer
- Have to use 2 units
- Nav screen is smaller
Thats pretty much what I'm considering alongside a carputer. Here's my pro/con breakdown of a carputer setup. Please challenge my assertions and provide your opinions.
- Great SQ tuning possibilities with advanced time alignment, EQs, and x-overs
- Ability to use excellent sound cards, so I'm assuming better DSP and DACs onboard
- Lots of flexibility
- Many other uses of car puter
- Startup time (I do however have remote start on the car.. so that should help)
- Power consumption.. my system is already pushing 1000WRms.
- Not sure about compatibility of all software
- Not sure about how nice interface is
In this project... cost is not my deciding factor. I'm pretty sure building a great Carputer would be cheaper than the Avic Z2, which is selling for like $1800.
Bottom line.. I want my cake.. and I want to eat it too. ;)
Please help me decide! Thank you.