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Thread: back at it

  1. #1
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    back at it

    So I put my screen mount in then got ready to start again...and...well...we bought a house so everything was put on hold. I have my amp in and I am still running a Zune into that.

    I have been watching other installs and catching idea's for little things I want to do.

    Now I have a question that is going to be a silly one maybe but i have searched the forums and can't seem to find anyone that has asked it. I see in the FAQ's it says do it this way and basically its better but never says why.

    Why is it better to use the amp set up rather than a head unit? I have seen stereo compition videos with people doing mini macs and such but they all have head units. Is there a reson behind going to the amp over having a head unit?

    While randomly checking out YouTube I found this guy with 20,000 watts of stereo which he just put in a mini mac with a head unit also...

    Here is a video of his install
    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd1fH5eHr4Q[/media]

  2. #2
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    amps usually output more power to speakers than a head unit can
    '93 Toyota Celica - First Car PC install
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  3. #3
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    audio purists will argue that any more equipment than what is needed is going to hurt the audio signal... i say that it won't be audible

    most of the time, it is a extra step to make everything work-- i like my carputer/amp setup because everything just works right away-- adding a radio would require me to make sure that the radio is setup for the aux input(i know it can be setup to automatically stay on that, but it is the concept)... it would also be yet another volume control for the pc...

    if you want to use a radio, there is nothing wrong with it, and i can definatly see an advantage to keeping am/fm/cd functionality when the carputer has issues. i assume that they left out keeping a radio in the path as a option because of the extra confusion it might cause because almost evey deck has a different type of aux input, and there is alost no way to explain that simply...

  4. #4
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    Most PC audio (onboard/external) doesn't put out the kind of voltage (3-4v) necessary to drive large amplifiers to full advantage. Taking the audio output of the pc to a headunit allows the preamplifier section of the headunit to boost the signal as required. Do a quick search and you'll see that stand-alone 12v preamplifiers are not all that common.

    The audio purist comment is right on the money. Depending on road surface, I'd estimate the ambient signal to noise ratio in my truck at about 2:3. Anything the PC, amplifiers or audio sources add is usually not noticable, regardless of volume.

    I'm exagerrating of course, but audio distortion caused by head units or amps will usually be the least of your problems in a automotive environment. Improper grounding and shielding is what will ruin your day. Oh, and it never goes completely away. Something is always doing its best to shake loose everytime you drive the vehicle.

    Anyway, lots of good advice on this board. Somebody somewhere has probably already done it all and will be happy to tell you how.

    Cheers!

    VegasGuy

  5. #5
    North of the land of Hey Huns
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    Most PC audio (onboard/external) doesn't put out the kind of voltage (3-4v) necessary to drive large amplifiers to full advantage. Taking the audio output of the pc to a headunit allows the preamplifier section of the headunit to boost the signal as required. Do a quick search and you'll see that stand-alone 12v preamplifiers are not all that common.
    Not entirely sure where you're looking... but car audio line-drivers are quite common. I use one in my setup in between my PC and my two amps, so I don't have to use a headunit to get decent volume sound that retains quality.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    Not entirely sure where you're looking... but car audio line-drivers are quite common. I use one in my setup in between my PC and my two amps, so I don't have to use a headunit to get decent volume sound that retains quality.
    A 10 sec Google search would be where I was looking...obviously NOT asking the right question. You're absolutely correct.

    But the basic premise holds, yes? The head unit is essentially acting as a line driver/pre amp for any audio derived from the PC.

    ...and I thought Google was my friend.

    VegasGuy

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    I personally chose to keep my head unit for two main reasons:

    1. Ability to have music (AM/FM & CD/MP3) without running the computer (for short trips around town) or in case the computer should fail (knock on wood).
    2. Amp + USB FM receiver was more costly/complicated option, and from some of the reviews that I've read, USB FM receivers don't have quite as good reception as traditional head units. Plus that'd be just one more USB device to run.

    Finally, I'm not that big of an audiophile, and I'm pretty happy with the sound that my head unit puts out.

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