Welp, the time has come. From this thread, there's been a few of us to take the tenative steps forward and try this out.
Yes, there have been a few people to impement tuning to this scale on their CarPCs already, I'm hoping to make it much more seamless for the next guy (or gal?!?) that comes along and wants to give this a go.
Since I'm now going to be competing in the Advanced Pro class in USACi and the Street Pro class in IASCA, I know I need to step up a bit. This is fine. The past two years were spent learning and tweaking what I had. Without that, I'd be even more lost than I am now in trying to implement something like this on such a high level.
The test rig I'm running right now (depending on results, this may or may not make it into the car, I'm hoping to get away with running a mini-ITX with a Core 2 Duo):
Why this sound card?
This sound card has user replacable operational amplifiers. This means that the sound of this card can be tweaked and tuned to what sounds best in the given application, this is a BIG plus. What's great is that there are a few cards coming out now that allow for this modification. Just proof that sound quality isn't really dead afterall.
Now before you go and start thining that audio is audio, and that this is all being done in a digital domain, remember this, the sound that comes out of your speakers is not digital, it's analogue. I could go into the whole lecture that was given to me a long time ago about how computer cd players and their error correction and are not the best at recreating the sound on the cd in the absolute most accurate means, but we will leave that alone for now. Just suffice it to say that I'm on the quest to make an absolutely amazing sounding computer...
Here's some of the changes I've made so far:
This is the stock OpAmp that comes with the sound card, you can read up on the specs here(pdf)
This is the new OpAmp, it's a BurrBrown, which is known in the audio world as the cream of the crop, you can read up on the specs here (pdf)
Here's the OpAmps installed on the card:
Because I'm not too fond of the idea of using an 1/8" to Y-RCA splitter in the car, I've desoldered the 1/8" plugs on the card with the idea that I will be using some very nice female RCA sockets in their place.
Here's the card after desoldering the ports:
and the ports:
The RCA sockets I'll be using:
These are links to them:
For the highs (tweeters), I'll be using solid silver wire and as such, silver RCA ends. Silver is better for higher frequencies.
For the mids and subs, I'll be using copper wire and as such, copper RCA ends. Copper is better for lower frequencies. Ideally, I would be using a mixture for the mids, but I'd not really feasable right now.
And yes, in the extreme high end home and car audio products, you will find different RCA ends used as well.
I'll be posting more up slowly. I'm balancing a lot of things right now, so this project isn't getting as much attention as I would like. I'm researching the possibility of this sound card having the ability to internally route the audio signal currently. Once I know the answer to that, I should be well on my way.