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Thread: HOW TO: Get sound from PC to Car Stereo / Amp

  1. #1
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
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    HOW TO: Get sound from PC to Car Stereo / Amp

    This seem to be a weekly question. "How do I get sound from my sound card to my car speakers?"

    It's quite simple. You do NOT need a sound card with RCA outputs.

    This is what you'll need to get stereo sound from your PC to your speakers in your car. This is assuming your headunit has aux-in (may need seperate adapter, check with your manufacture) or you have a amplifier running the the speakers already:



    Here's a 5.1 Example:



    Using exsisting Headunit:



    For those who have an FM Modulator, here's how its done: by lgbr

    1. Sell your FM modulator
    2. Sell your head unit
    3. Use that money for an amplifier

    Very simple. Here's an FAQ

    Q: Aren't amplifiers expensive?
    A: Amplifiers range in price greatly. My first amplifier was used and cost $30. It put out more power than my headunit.

    Q: But amplifiers are hard to set up!
    A: If you have a computer set up, you're ready to go for an amplifier.

    Q: What if sound quality isn't that big of a deal to me?
    A: Save yourself some money and use an amp. Maybe you're not an audiophile like myself, but you'll thank yourself in the end for using an amplifier.

    Q: I want to keep my head unit so I can use radio. How can I do this?
    A: It will be a few months before good solid FM radio is available for the computer. If you still want a head unit, you can use the plugs mentioned above to go from your head unit to the line in port on your sound card. In fact, many external sound cards (Anything in Creative's Sound Blaster USB line) will automatically forward the line-in port to the line out, whether the computer is working or not.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    The simple version

    I don't know about everyone else, but I have about 400 of these cables in my basement. Step 1: plug into line out jack. Step 2: plug colored ends into amplifier. Step 3: worry about everything else, as this is the easiest step in your installation.


  3. #3
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWRedDragon
    The simple version

    I don't know about everyone else, but I have about 400 of these cables in my basement. Step 1: plug into line out jack. Step 2: plug colored ends into amplifier. Step 3: worry about everything else, as this is the easiest step in your installation.

    This will not work if you have a sound card with only stereo (2 channels) and are using a 4 channel amp. At least it didn't with my amp (it's older). Also, sometimes 6' isn't long enough if you're running from the front to the back of the car. Otherwise the cable you posted is an excellet option.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate d_sellers1's Avatar
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    You can make that work with a stereo soundcard on a four channel amp. You simple need a RCA Y-splitter (1Female > 2Male). However, by doing this you will cut the power in half causing you to probably have to turn up the gain on the amp and you will not have any (true) fade left to right and front to back.

    Overall 5.1 or 4.1 is the best way to go. They aren't that expensive and most motherboards have them built in.

    Like the pictures. Perhaps the mods should make this sticky for a while.

    Derek
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    View my Worklog to see some of my progress.
    Downgraded Progress - Starting with another car... 09/13/06

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks, that information is very helpful. So, if I have a stock radio and it is still connected to speakers, there is no way to get music from the sound card because I can't wire the audio out to the original HU conection unless I have a AUX in on the radio (I need to get a new radio). If I have the sound card connected to an amp then the speakers will have no problem getting sound (I need to get a AMP) but what about the radio ? Can I hear music from the radio once I get the amp installed to the speakers? Thanks.

  6. #6
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Showmehow
    Thanks, that information is very helpful. So, if I have a stock radio and it is still connected to speakers, there is no way to get music from the sound card because I can't wire the audio out to the original HU conection unless I have a AUX in on the radio (I need to get a new radio). If I have the sound card connected to an amp then the speakers will have no problem getting sound (I need to get a AMP) but what about the radio ? Can I hear music from the radio once I get the amp installed to the speakers? Thanks.
    Some stock stereos have the ability to controll a CD Changer. If yours can and you don't have one connected you may be able to find a adapter to convert the CD changer input to a aux-in. You'll have to search around (this site, google) to see if this is possible. If not you can always get headunit that can or use a seperate amplifier. If you use a amplifier and really want to listen to the radio you need an external FM tuner (PCI card or USB).

  7. #7
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    I have a pioneer Head Unit and just use one of these from the computer to the Head Unit. I just got one of the BUS to RCA cable converters. If you on here you can find out how to make one of those converters for a lot cheeper.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
    Top Ramen lgbr's Avatar
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    For those who have an FM Modulator, here's how its done:

    1. Sell your FM modulator
    2. Sell your head unit
    3. Use that money for an amplifier

    Very simple. Here's an FAQ

    Q: Aren't amplifiers expensive?
    A: Amplifiers range in price greatly. My first amplifier was used and cost $30. It put out more power than my headunit.

    Q: But amplifiers are hard to set up!
    A: If you have a computer set up, you're ready to go for an amplifier.

    Q: What if sound quality isn't that big of a deal to me?
    A: Save yourself some money and use an amp. Maybe you're not an audiophile like myself, but you'll thank yourself in the end for using an amplifier.

    EDIT:

    Q: I want to keep my head unit so I can use radio. How can I do this?
    A: It will be a few months before good solid FM radio is available for the computer. If you still want a head unit, you can use the plugs mentioned above to go from your head unit to the line in port on your sound card. In fact, many external sound cards (Anything in Creative's Sound Blaster USB line) will automatically forward the line-in port to the line out, whether the computer is working or not.
    Audio Rockford Fosgate: 900 Watt 4-channel amp, 501bd Mono amp
    Computer AMD 2400+ XP, 1 GB DDR RAM, Orbit Micro 250W DC-DC PSU

    Head units are for cheaters!
    sure some girls fake orgasms.....but it's guys like me who fake the whole relationship

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate phord's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by lgbr
    Q: I want to keep my head unit so I can use radio. How can I do this?
    A: It will be a few months before good solid FM radio is available for the computer. If you still want a head unit, you can use the plugs mentioned above to go from your head unit to the line in port on your sound card. In fact, many external sound cards (Anything in Creative's Sound Blaster USB line) will automatically forward the line-in port to the line out, whether the computer is working or not.
    All of this is fine if you're a hobbyist. But if you want to build your own carputer and not interrupt your car's other primary functions too much (radio, cd player, etc.) then you still can get an adapter for your head unit, you can get an FM modulator that wires into your antenna line, or you can get a wireless FM modulator like they sell for MP3 players.

    These are acceptable options for some people. They are nowhere near as good quality as a direct amp. The FM modulators are not as good as the head-unit adapter. But the have the advantage of being cheap and ubiquitous. Get one, enjoy it, and sell it when you get tired of it's crappiness.

    Just don't pretend that it's not an option.
    Carputer-II: Infiniti Q45
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  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate
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    I have a three.1, how can I make this work? It has 1 RCA input, and 3 outputs, 1 for sub and 2 for speakers. I have my 2 amps but dont know how to hook this up to the computer. Thanks

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