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Old 10th February 2011, 12:58 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dr Zeus View Post
I'd like a head unit which uses a capacitive discharge touch screen; much like an iPhone, iPad, or Droid.
I'd like to see one that just uses an iPad, iPhone, or Touch as the screen/UI. (like the Panther)

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Old 21st February 2011, 07:35 PM   #12
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exploding dye pack, as an Anti theft deterrent. Have it armed when car is not in motion, and any movement, attempt at removal will set it off like a mini airbag.
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Old 21st February 2011, 08:00 PM   #13
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Originally Posted by head_unit View Post
Alpine and I think Pioneer already have iPod digital direct via USB.
I realize that connectivity and control of basic iPod functions via USB is nothing new, but does "direct digital" for the above mentioned units actually provide for bypassing DAC / analog audio stages which by necessity are more than somewhat compromised in the smaller Apple devices?

Starting several years ago now, several home audio manufactures such as Wadia, Cambridge Audio, Onkyo to name a few had paid the requisite Apple licensing fee to accomplish that in a device that is more than just a Dock. This a bandwagon onto which many manufacturers catering to the home "audio nervosa" fashion victims are more than happy to jump, and of course they'd prefer to sell as many separate components as necessary to replace the old single chassis CD spinner whose days are apparently numbered.

In a car audio device that would imply (but not guarantee) the inclusion of a superior grade DAC . With all the CPU resources dedicated to more elaborate (perhaps unnecessary?) functions, that surely wouldn't take or cost much more to accomplish.

I agree with the VOLUME KNOB comment. And let me press it for power on/off (and de facto mute), don't make me hold some other tiny button!

THREE-line big display of artist, song name, album name, and hopefully album art.

And TIME ALIGNMENT!!!! For crying out loud, this is the 21st Century already, we're not even solving this most basic problem that afflicts every car?
How about a volume/power control that doesn't have such a soft touch that it's too easy to initiate the wrong function. This is certainly the case with the stock factory radio in my 2011 Ranger pick-up. I'd be almost inclined to replace it for that reason alone, but do have other priorities at the moment.
I could have added that something like Audyssey calibration such as was included with my $400 Denon Home Theatre AVR would take all the guess work out of setting the baseline settings for EQ/ channel balances and time alignment.
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Old 13th March 2011, 07:35 PM   #14
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id just like one that only responds to me so that the missus cant mess with it or put on her god awful boy band music
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Old 14th March 2011, 02:08 PM   #15
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My opinion, excellent SQ, nice intuitive controls, easily readable display, capability of understanding some standard form of playlists, HD via USB, capability of playing some widespread lossless format, and all the DSP bells and whistles-- time alignment, multi-slope xovers, eq options for each channel, and capable of doing 3 way active.

Things that would make it over the top, bluetooth integration, DVD audio would be nice-- actually DVD playback with "multizone" capability would be the cats ***, voice recognition, optional 5.1 DD or DTS output, navigation, integration with vehicle on board diagnostics, etc...

I think that limiting the digital auxiliary input to IPOD, is retarded, and I don't understand why so many manufacturers cater to apple. Is it really that much more popular than ALL the other mp3 players out there? I personally don't have an Ipod, my audio is all on flash or hard drives. Much, much cheaper than the apple solution...

Anyhow, I ended up building this (bellow) because my dream HU does not exist... I'm not quite there yet, but it has my whole dream list above, as well as a bunch of other not needed and incredibly geeky stuff. It is dual core, 3ghz, 2gigs of ram, 500gb hd, supports 4 individual monitors, wifi, bluetooth, etc... and I am into it for less than $400 so far. All of the hardware is done, it is just down to software now and I can install it. I managed to fit it all in a DD opening in my VW jetta.

BTW, resistive touch, or surface accoustic wave touch screens are the only ones that will work well in an automotive environment. Capacitive will not function when those of use in winter climates have gloves on. Also, if a capacitive screen "fogs up" in the winter, it will not work properly either.

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Old 15th March 2011, 03:53 AM   #16
m4ick is offline m4ick  United States
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Nice build!

I miss my carputer. One day I was bored and had a power inverter, I just put it in the car with a 15" monitor on the front seat. Soundblaster Xfi really made a world of difference, on board audio is complete garbage but you can't tell untill you hook it to a high end audio system.

The fun part was stopping at stores while friends would stay behind and play Street Fighter 2 with bass in the parking lot. Metroid bombs sounded cool. That's how I describe rough roads now, Metroid bombs.

I eventually got a flip out 7" touch screen and an M2-ATX PSU so I could ditch the power inverter. I also got a Logitech Media Mouse which was much easier to use on the fly than a touch screen.

I was going to get a serial interface that would activate relays up to 240V. Imagine making a program to run your door locks, dome lights, whatever you want, hell hydraulics too!

If you look just above the monitor, that's a Sound Blaster X-Fi sticker on the dash.
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Old 15th March 2011, 03:59 AM   #17
m4ick is offline m4ick  United States
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I know it's out there but I want to see more digital surround output from decks and more amps with digital in, or at least crossovers that accept digital in and put out balanced or unbalanced output to multiple channels.
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Old 15th March 2011, 02:17 PM   #18
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I neglected to mention, my build above has S/PDIF via toslink or coaxial output. I will be using the optical interface to an outboard older Clarion processor that was built for vehicle use and does DD, DTS as well as stereo and has a fair amount of DSP for it's age.

IMO, the problem with designing an aftermarket HU, is all the factory integration of non audio peripherals in most factory units anymore. It seems the industry is moving more toward aftermarket processors that can allow factory integration and great SQ but still retain the original source unit. Unless you want to go full blown PC for HU, you are not likely going to be able to replace the integration in every possible unit out there, even with a PC type base you would have a ton of RE work ahead of you to build software and hardware modules to integrate everything.

More and more vehicles are coming with non standard size/shape HUs, things like climate controls, parking assist, vehicle diagnostics, etc... are all being integrated into factory units. On the other hand, from what I understand, a lot of factory HU's have balanced outputs or even some with S/PDIF to their outboard amps, so, at least you might have a decent signal chain if it turns out that the only option you have is an aftermarket processor.

For the OP, I love the idea of a decent aftermarket HU being designed and retailed, but be cautioned that I think there is a reason that the aftermarket is trending the other direction.

Good Luck,
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Old 15th March 2011, 06:18 PM   #19
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A real volume knob, and dump the Las Vegas/New Years/Disco Bar light show.

I really don't see a huge need for multi-line displays. Anything more than two lines is probably wasted; a small LCD screen is even better, as long as you let me change the font. Nevermind if you don't let me do that; worse than useless in that case, since it takes up space that a useful interface could be using instead.

I know what the stereo is doing, thanks ... the basics are fine. Put a clock on it, though.

If you're giving me a factory system, feel free to put the (compact, to the point) display right smack between the speedo and the tach, thanks. Once I become familiar with the controls of the car, I shouldn't have to look anywhere else for information, and I should be able to operate everything by feel alone.

Touchscreens are a problem rather than a solution. Give me knobs and buttons and switches. The problem is the sheer flexibility of a touchscreen UI ... it tends to encourage feature bloat and unnecessary complexity, which means you will have to actually look at the thing instead of operating by tactile feel. Part of the problem is the need to wow people at a store display, so I can guarantee no engineer will be able to over-ride the marketing department on that one. So just forget the idea, then, if corporate culture won't allow it to work properly. And it won't.

Put it this way ... if you need even a single menu, you've done it wrong. And without menus, with fixed graphic elements, they are worse than tactile controls. So, no earthy use then, in a vehicle.

If you don't give me a Heads-Up Display (HUD) and steering wheel controls for that, then save it for later, when you can.

If you're going to give me a remote, make it interface with the steering wheel controls the factory gave me, since with airbags we're stuck with the factory wheel no matter what.

I don't need something to lose or glue on to my dash, thanks ... keep the remote and save me money in that case.

That may sound like the talk of a Luddite, which isn't really the case. But user interfaces must be appropriate for the environment before they can be appropriate for the job, not the other way around.
" ... Go back to the beginning of a technology before the priesthood was established; that was the time when people were communicating information, not proving why there needs to be Priests. This is why the old texts tend to be so good. ..."

Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 15th March 2011 at 06:48 PM.
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