View Poll Results: Would you be intersted in a USB amp as described?

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  • No, not at all, you can put it where I think!

    3 11.54%
  • Only if it was really cheap, say $50

    10 38.46%
  • Only if it was cheap, about $100

    5 19.23%
  • This is the thing I was born for, send me one now!

    8 30.77%
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Thread: Small and simple USB audio amp anyone?

  1. #11
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    This sounds like something I would be very interested in. It'd be a great way to get up and running without having the research amps and soundcards vs DAC's etc....

    I'd make the suggestion of having line-level outputs for possible later upgrade options?
    Also maybe 6 channel option for those who would prefer to run components on separate channels?

    I don't know if those are easy to implement, but those are what would make it a must-have for me.

    Cam

  2. #12
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    I have a couple of amps, I've gotten from 41Hz.com

    Cheap and huge sound for the price

    But would like building something in the same league but with USB connectivity

  3. #13
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    sounds very promising to say the least!

    While I would wish for high end audio, I think even a quality piece would be very popular and highly saught after. Just take a look at the 5.1 amps with optical in thread...lots of people looking for options that mean no processor necessary or line driver, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC-S60 View Post
    This is a poll to gauge interest in a simple and small car amplifier (4x40w, like used in a head unit).

    The idea is simple:

    - Audio input over USB (amp will be recognized as USB speakers in any OS - MAC, Windows, Linux, ...)

    - Powered by the car's 12v (power regulator on board)

    - Amp on/off controlled by 5v of USB (pc on = amp on, maybe with delay)

    - Output for 2 to 4 speakers

    Let me know your interest and/or ideas!

    Joachim
    Quote Originally Posted by BiG K View Post
    I don't mean to knock your idea, I would most probably get one myself, but if it only has 4 channel output, would it not be easier and probably to just get a 4 channel amp and a USB external soundcard??

    I just got an external Creative USB soundcard for $20 delivered, a four channel amp is probably $60-120 depending on type and power.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC-S60 View Post
    That would work too, certainly... BUT

    - It would be bigger

    - It would be more cabling

    - It would be more expensive most of the time

    - It would be more complicated driver-wise in most of the cases (There are many known problems with soundcards going 100% volume after resume or needing a program to run in the background for all channels to work)

    This amp WON'T NEED A SPECIFIC DRIVER, it's recognized by most OS'es (Win, Linux, Mac) as standard USB speakers using the OS built-in drivers

    Just to give the info

    Joachim
    Quote Originally Posted by JC-S60 View Post
    That's the main goal of this project: a simple drop-in replacement for a HU. It would come with an ISO harnass so you just plug in USB on one side and the harness on the other - done!

    Maybe a line-out to connect to a SUB-amp would be possible, depends on the price of components, but anything else would be complicating things and making it more expensive.

    This product is aimed at anyone concentrating on the PC part of their setup, but still want decent sound.

    Outside the carpc community, most people don't run amps and subs, only a simple HU. We want to offer the same simplicity and basic quality to anyone wanting to put a PC in their car, without wanting to do a major upgrade to their car's sound system. All that at a decent price.

    The key here is simplicity. As we're also developping a complete carpc solution, I can tell you we've tested multiple external soundcards, and while they all produce very good sound, we encountered some problems too: external power needed, problems with upmixing stereo sound, high CPU usage (indeed - because of badly written drivers), USB-cable length and/or bandwidth issues (a lot of them require USB 2.0 to function right - our solution would be USB 1.1).

    Thanks for you input!
    Joachim

    I think this is a fantastic idea and will get a lot of people to take the plunge. it'll save them money by not having to run a dedicated amp and all the cabling that is needed for it. It'll be a nice space saving alternative as well and just be a simple plug and play. This is the final hurdle that i think deters most people from going car pc. I think it would be foolish not to make this device. you dont need audiophile grade here, this should be marketed for the masses. people that want the computer but dont care about pure sq. On suggestion that i have is to try to integrate a 'pre out' into this design. this would allow those who want to add a sub to the setup and easy hook up. all the processing can be done on the sub's amp... just a pure full range signal with decent voltage (2v?)
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC-S60 View Post
    That's the main goal of this project: a simple drop-in replacement for a HU. It would come with an ISO harnass so you just plug in USB on one side and the harness on the other - done!

    Maybe a line-out to connect to a SUB-amp would be possible, depends on the price of components, but anything else would be complicating things and making it more expensive.

    This product is aimed at anyone concentrating on the PC part of their setup, but still want decent sound.

    Outside the carpc community, most people don't run amps and subs, only a simple HU. We want to offer the same simplicity and basic quality to anyone wanting to put a PC in their car, without wanting to do a major upgrade to their car's sound system. All that at a decent price.

    The key here is simplicity. As we're also developping a complete carpc solution, I can tell you we've tested multiple external soundcards, and while they all produce very good sound, we encountered some problems too: external power needed, problems with upmixing stereo sound, high CPU usage (indeed - because of badly written drivers), USB-cable length and/or bandwidth issues (a lot of them require USB 2.0 to function right - our solution would be USB 1.1).

    Thanks for you input!
    Joachim
    Ahh you should have mentioned you were designing a simply drop in amp
    I wonder if it is possible to make two versions?? One version has the USB amp and one version in which you have to use a soundcard and it is only a straight amp??

    Also you have to remember, that the amp has GOT to be tiny, because many people don't have much space in the dash board and also can't take up and slots. Maybe customizing a double din unit, with screen infront and amp behind with maybe a small fan to keep both cooled might be a good optional extra??

    As to USB bandwisth issues, USB 2.0 is pretty much the standard these days, if anyone actually has a usb 1.1 motherboard, than you most likely need to upgrade....the processor will be crap!! There's USB 3.0 in the works at the moment!!

    The USB cable length is an issue, using both sound solutions.

  5. #15
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BiG K View Post
    Ahh you should have mentioned you were designing a simply drop in amp
    I wonder if it is possible to make two versions?? One version has the USB amp and one version in which you have to use a soundcard and it is only a straight amp??

    Also you have to remember, that the amp has GOT to be tiny, because many people don't have much space in the dash board and also can't take up and slots. Maybe customizing a double din unit, with screen infront and amp behind with maybe a small fan to keep both cooled might be a good optional extra??

    As to USB bandwisth issues, USB 2.0 is pretty much the standard these days, if anyone actually has a usb 1.1 motherboard, than you most likely need to upgrade....the processor will be crap!! There's USB 3.0 in the works at the moment!!

    The USB cable length is an issue, using both sound solutions.
    I'll think about the two versions (with and without USB)...

    It will be as small as possible!

    Using USB 1.1 has the advantage of being less sensitive to interference and cable issues, even on 2.0 systems, that's why I mentioned it (also, there are p4 laptops that only have 1.1 ports !)

  6. #16
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott_fx View Post
    I think this is a fantastic idea and will get a lot of people to take the plunge. it'll save them money by not having to run a dedicated amp and all the cabling that is needed for it. It'll be a nice space saving alternative as well and just be a simple plug and play. This is the final hurdle that i think deters most people from going car pc. I think it would be foolish not to make this device. you dont need audiophile grade here, this should be marketed for the masses. people that want the computer but dont care about pure sq. On suggestion that i have is to try to integrate a 'pre out' into this design. this would allow those who want to add a sub to the setup and easy hook up. all the processing can be done on the sub's amp... just a pure full range signal with decent voltage (2v?)
    Were thinking about doing just that, a stereo full range output...

    Thanks for the input!
    Joachim

  7. #17
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    Using P4's is irresposible, Pentium 4's are based on the netburst core, which are notorious for their power consumption.

    That said, USB 1.1 is fine for pretty much upto and including 5.1 sound.

    One more point to note, doing a google search, the only USB speakers I could find, was stereo speakers, is this because sound over USB does not allow more than two channels??

  8. #18
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    You might find this interesting.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/USB-3D-SOUND-C...QQcmdZViewItem

    As for the power amps, there are plenty of good single chip design out there.

    If you can make this module for under $50 then Im sure alot would be interested. Have you decided on the USB-AUDIO chipset + power amps? People would be interested to see the spec for sure, even if its one of those cheap drop in $50 jobby.


    EDIT :

    This post was directed to Joachim

  9. #19
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris31 View Post
    You might find this interesting.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/USB-3D-SOUND-C...QQcmdZViewItem

    As for the power amps, there are plenty of good single chip design out there.

    If you can make this module for under $50 then Im sure alot would be interested. Have you decided on the USB-AUDIO chipset + power amps? People would be interested to see the spec for sure, even if its one of those cheap drop in $50 jobby.


    EDIT :

    This post was directed to Joachim
    That USB thingy is only stereo with some 3D effect, as it only has a single stereo output...

    We are looking into different amps and usb chipsets, simplicity is key here also... once we know what we'll use, I'll make some info available.
    Probably gonna be a car-radio amp as these are perfect for this application.

    Joachim

  10. #20
    Car Audio Moderator durwood's Avatar
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    I think this is a great idea! People want simple and small and easy to use. I can see definite value in something like this because I see people asking all the time for a simple amp solution and don't want to do the HU or amp. With all the new cheap efficient amp designs out there, I think this is totally feasible. I personally wouldn't buy one because it wouldn't fit my needs, but anyone who wants a simple soultion should be drooling over this.

    I'd say keep it within $50-100 probably $75-100 would be a good place to shoot.

    I imagine as with your other projects, it would come preassembled? No building required right?

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