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Thread: Possible FAQ for audio(need help)

  1. #1
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Possible FAQ for audio(need help)

    NOTICE: This is NOT to be used as a source of information until this notice has been removed! It will be removed when I'm reasonably sure the information is accurate enough to help people!

    Below is what Ive started, can somebody help with this, and correct any errors, and possibly post it as a sticky? Thanks! I think it would help!


    This is my attempt at car audio FAQ.
    It is my hope that this article/post teach you:
    1) What different stereo components do
    2) Options to look for in said hardware.(I need help with this)
    3) Options for replacing a head unit(will do later)


    If there are any errors please let me know so i may fix them!

    Section 1: Stereo components and what they do.

    This section will explain the following components:
    Headunit Or Deck
    Speakers
    Equalizers
    Crossovers
    Amplifiers
    Stiffening Capacitors


    Special thanks to:
    Red GTi VR6
    DJiK

    For helping make this accurate, and possible.




    Headunit or Deck

    Deck or Headunit, We all have seen one but do you really know what it does? I know I know it plays music. But what we really need to know is all the components that make up a head unit. For example did you know that most headunits include an amplifier built-in? Sure its not the strongest or most powerful one, But had it not amplified the signal chances are you wouldn't hear it.

    Many of the after market HU's come with an auxiliary input. This means that the basic CarPC could be plugged in to the car's audio system by a single stereo wire.


    What to look for

    Well, if your going to use your headunit with your carpc, you probibly want an auxiliary input in the rear of the unit. This way the wires arn't hanging everywhere, and you don't need to use an unreliable FM transmitter. If your unable to purchase a new or used headunit with auxiliary input, a FM transmitter will work, if properly positioned (I personally used a belkin, when i didn't have a cd player). Typically an FM transmitter is meadicore at best, and should be considers a last option resort only!

    Any other suggestions for this??



    Equalizer


    Most Headunits have an equalizer built in. There are also many many external models. Some are primitive, such as an adjustments for bass or treble. Some are more advanced, similar to that in winamp or similar programs that include multi-band adjustments. (Bands are selections of a signal, just like your favorite radio station is a small selection (200hz) of the FM band). The equalizer is particularly useful for fine tuning a setup.

    Many people including myself mess with the settings because it just sounds 'better', or maybe were bored. Theres nothing wrong with this either, Its just about personal preference.


    What to look for

    As with everything theres several different opinions. Theres 1/2 DIN, which is just its size, there are also full DIN size models available. Personally I'd suggest the 1/2 DIN as it takes up half as much room as most stereos. However kits for the install of the full DIN sized models are much easier to find.

    The 1/3 octabe 31 band EQs that are HIGHLY saught after by those in the quest for supreme SQ from the audio systems. These EQs FAR surpass WinAmps capabilities.

    Another option you may be interested in is fader or fade control, This is what allows you to put more power to the front speakers then the back, or vise versa. Tuned correctly this dosn't generally need to move. However if you have sleeping people in the back it may be nice of the driver to turn the back speakers down or off using the fade control. This way its a little louder to the front passengers, while not likely to wake the other passengers.

    A lot of the models Ive seen also have a master volume control, which is of course a technical name for the volume control. This is good when or if you want an easy and tactile way to adjust the volume. Which is something I personally prefer.

    Any other suggestions for this??


    Crossover

    Then theres the crossover, This can also be built into some Headunits. It limits what frequency's a certain channel gets. Think of it like this, Most of the time you don't have particularly large speakers up front. Their better for playing highs or treble, whereas your back speakers are generally bigger. They're more apt to play bass or low frequency. The lower the signal the more the speaker has to move, Typically speaking the larger speakers have more room to move, and because their larger they don't have much trouble being so loud. So basically up to a point its less strain on the speaker to provide a lower signal (like bass) at a higher volume. So in short you would probably take the higher signals (treble) and put them to the front, meanwhile not letting it play lower frequency's. Then your back speakers can play the midrange, without worrying about the highs, or the lows because other speakers are taking care of those. This allows it to play clearer without so much stress and distortion. And your subs are playing all the bass, but not anything above the midrange. This allows for all of your speakers to play their strengths, while not making them play the entire audio range at the same time.

    Some speakers (like those three ways or two ways) claim to be able to do that, However in my personal experience, they don't work all that great, but they're better then nothing.

    What to look for

    Theres two basic kinds of crossovers that I've seen. One type only allows a certain frequency to pass through the line, to one speaker. You would need to buy one for each speaker you have. The other is like a control board, this type is usually adjustable. One think you need to make sure of with the later style is that you get a stereo not mono, as you have a stereo (IE: atleast one left and one right speakers) the second thing is you need to figure out how many channels there are. Most amplifiers have a crossover built in (as far as Ive seen) So chances are you dont need an external unit. However if you do make sure you have enough channels Usually 6 (2 front speakers,2 back speakers,2 subs)

    Any other suggestions for this??

    Amplifier

    Now onto Amplifiers, I don't want to start a debate here. And there are many many better places to find information on these, However, They are quite simple as far as what they do. They take a signal in, and put out a stronger signal! This usually equates to louder volume, or stronger transmitted signal and therefore in both cases better range (the louder a cd is playing, the further away from it you can hear it, same with a transmitter, the stronger it is, more or less, the better range it has. (not quite true but for just audio principals I'm not going there....)

    This site is very informative, and so until somebody helps me, this is what its going to be for now: Click me


    Somebody else is more then welcome to write for this section!

    What to look for

    Use only the RMS numbers!
    Find out what your speakers are rated in RMS Watts, and make sure your amplifier is that or less. However it can be a good idea to purchase a more powerful amplifier then you need, and turn it to a lower setting as its not going to generate as much heat vs the heat it was designed to handle. For example a 1000 watt RMS amp, turned to half, is only going to use half the power. So it will only loose half as much through heat as normal (more or less). Meaning the amplifier should stay cooler, and therefore less stressed.

    Any other suggestions for this??
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

  2. #2
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    kudos!

    might I suggest that you add in some formatting?

    Some bolding and enlarging of text to distinguish the different segments? Some underlining to emphasize things?

    Just a thought to help make it more readable!

    btw, I haven't read any of it yet, just scrolled through and noticed this. I'll make it a priority to read tomorrow though!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate DJiK's Avatar
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    Since this isn't a Wiki-like thread, I can't really edit the things you had said and the minor spelling mistakes you've made. Instead, I'll write what I'd want you to consider/add below, and later delete my post.

    Headunit:
    Many (if not all) of the aftermarket HU's come with an auxiliary input. This means that the basic CarPC could be plugged in to the car's audio system by a single stereo wire.
    BTW, "we all have one [deck]" is a misleading statement because I, for instance, haven't had one in the car for about a year now.

    EQ:
    External equalizers also exist -- that is, outside the HU.
    If anyone decides to use one of those, primitively speaking they can wire theis setup in the following order:
    CarPC --> EQ --> Amp
    For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
    Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
    Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

  4. #4
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    Youl be happy to know I'm going back to school.

    Sad thing is Im not kidding.
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

  5. #5
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    Assuming you were going to connect EVERYTHING, would it be like this?

    Source (car pc) > EQ > Crossover > AMP > speakers?
    The only thing im not sure of is the EQ and crossover (which order would be best? i assume putting the amp after the speakers may be a bad idea, so :P
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

  6. #6
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    fairly sure I've fixed most spelling erros (I didnt use spell check before)

    Anybody know of anything else that needs to be on this?

    I figured if i started it, people would help me make it complete (and thus help me, and everybody else in the process
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJiK
    Headunit:
    Many (if not all) of the aftermarket HU's come with an auxiliary input.
    Just being nit-picky here. Many is correct, all is far from correct. More and more are starting to have them though.

    Now onto the rest of the thread!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  8. #8
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    Ok Thats been fixed. Ild prefer everybody nit-pick. Leaving this to be correct and helpful vs not being so much helpful.

    So Thanks for your help
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simy
    For example did you know that all headunits in your car include an amplifier?
    This is not true actually. Many of the high end HUs do not have internal power. This is actually HIGHLY desired in the high end relm by many audiophiles. Though these HUs are becoming less and less common due to consumers driving the market.

    a FM transmitter will work, if properly positioned (I personally used a belkin, when i didn't have a cd player)
    You might want to at least make a mention that many times this will lead to the worst sound quality out of all options. FM transmitters are known for being extremely noisy. Some instances show this to not be the case, but those are by far the minority. I would just hate for someone to go into one of these thinking it will be JUST as good if not better than other options.

    Most Headunits have an equalizer built in. There are also many many external models. Some are primitive, such as an adjustments for bass or treble. Some are more advanced, similar to that in winamp or similar programs that include multi-band adjustments.
    If you wanted to go into more detial, you can mention the 1/3 octabe 31 band EQs that are HIGHLY saught after by those in the quest for supreme SQ from the audio systems. These EQs FAR surpass WinAmps capabilities.

    (Bands are selections of a signal, just like your favorite radio station is a small selection (200hz) of the FM band). The equalizer is particularly useful when your used to hearing more or less bass, for example. Lets say you go from country to rap, and you had it tuned so the lower pitch in the country songs are a little louder by turning the bass up, or its corresponding frequency, then you listen to rap, you had the treble low, because you didn't want the 'twang' of the country to be so deafening, but on your favorite rap song thats all wrong! because the higher pitch is too loud and the bass isn't quite loud enough, or is too loud as well. Now while there are systems which don't have adjustments there usually level. Think of it as being neutral. There not to loud or too quiet. Each frequency depends soly on what the audio source says it should be. This is fine or some people and theres really no problem with it. However allot of people including myself mess with the settings because it just sounds 'better'. Theres nothing wrong with this either, Its just about personal preference.
    I just take a bit of issue with this part. See, a properly tuned and installed system shouldn't fall into any of these problems. But, we all know, that most people don't spend the time to properly tune or install components in their ideal locations. So I can see this making sense to those people. Maybe a disclaimer that a properly tuned system wouldn't have these problems? Up to you.

    As with everything theres several different opinions. Theres 1/2 DIN, which is just its size, there are also full DIN size models available. Personally I'd suggest the 1/2 DIN as it takes up half as much room as most stereos.
    full din units might be easier to install due to kits being more readily available.

    Some speakers (like those three ways or two ways) claim to be able to do that, However in my personal experience, they don't work all that great, but they're better then nothing.
    Just a quick grammar fix.

    Now onto Amplifiers, I don't want to start a debate here. And there are many many better places to find information on these, However, They are quite simple as far as what they do. They take a signal in, and put out a stronger signal! This usually equates to louder volume, or stronger transmitted signal and therefore in both cases better range (the louder a cd is playing, the further away from it you can hear it, same with a transmitter, the stronger it is, more or less, the better range it has. (not quite true but for just audio principals I'm not going there....)
    quick fix.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  10. #10
    Newbie Simy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red GTi VR6

    I just take a bit of issue with this part. See, a properly tuned and installed system shouldn't fall into any of these problems. But, we all know, that most people don't spend the time to properly tune or install components in their ideal locations. So I can see this making sense to those people. Maybe a disclaimer that a properly tuned system wouldn't have these problems? Up to you.

    I've changed it a little for now.

    If you know what should be put there, or along the lines of what belongs there, ild love your suggestions.

    I have a feeling you could have written this in under 5 minutes.

    Again, Thanks for your help.
    Carputer Status: 10%
    Have: Dell L400 (700Mhz 32?RAM, 20Gig HD), 7" Newvision, Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW via USB
    Need: Amp.

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