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Old 19th June 2004, 08:29 AM   #1
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Default Is it worth the effort?

Hey all, I'm planning on putting a computer in my car (to listen to mp3s, and watch movies and all that). One thing I want to do is hook up the computer 5.1 sound card so I can have surround sound in the car. My car is a Grand Prix with the Bose speaker system and stock head unit.

I was thinking of letting the Bose amp handle 2 channels of audio. But all the connections are propietary and would take a while to figure them out. So I thought I might buy a 4 channel amp and use that along with two other amps for center and sub.

I found one for like $105. It's a Pyramid 4x65w. I'm assuming the sound quality will be pretty bad, but I don't have mega bucks to be spending. So I'm wondering, would it be worth it to buy this amp, and then upgrade the quality of the parts and/or make some mods to improve sound quality? Would I get a big, noticeable difference in sound or would I be better off building my own amp?
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Old 19th June 2004, 09:09 AM   #2
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Default It all depends...

I am going to try - but I am going to put more money than that into it. Is it worth it? I have heard 5.1 in a couple of aftermarket installs and in the new Honda with the dvd-a. It sounded quite nice in all cases. Especially since maintaining a natural soundstage in a car is almost impossible given the relative distances of the left and right drivers from the driver.

Building amps for your car is just not practical - the powersupply issues are too great for us mear mortals. Switching powersupplys are needed for anything but the smallest of amps. Most of the cheap car amps are really about 15 watts real world. As for a going forward, I would look carefull for a good used unit from a brand name.

Getting a good center channel can be hard - its the issue I am fighting at the moment.
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Old 19th June 2004, 05:41 PM   #3
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Its totally do able, i have a laptop running in my car, i dont like the sound quality of any head unit nowadays, a 5.1 system is easy, just get one 5 channel amp. its easyer than home av in my eyes!
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Old 20th June 2004, 12:01 AM   #4
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sawzall wrote:e
Quote:
Getting a good center channel can be hard - its the issue I am fighting at the moment.
What a cool ID...

What are you doing for a center channel? I'll be working one up before too long, just to see what it can add.

Are you using DSP, or some other form of processing. In the old days, it was typical to simply use a summed signal for center. Never bought into that idea, although I heard a setup in an MBQuart demo vehicle that was pretty invisible and convincing. It used a pair of stereo tweeters, next to each other in the center air vent.

Tim
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Old 24th June 2004, 01:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsmith1315
sawzall wrote:e


What a cool ID...

What are you doing for a center channel? I'll be working one up before too long, just to see what it can add.

Are you using DSP, or some other form of processing. In the old days, it was typical to simply use a summed signal for center. Never bought into that idea, although I heard a setup in an MBQuart demo vehicle that was pretty invisible and convincing. It used a pair of stereo tweeters, next to each other in the center air vent.

Tim
Probably two 4" or so drivers and a tweeter if I can wedge it all in. Depends on what I can fit, but since the space holds a navigation unit for those equiped that way, there should be some space.

As for signal source, 5.1 units are coming on line now - DVD stuff is common for vid, audio is just now happening. Satellite (XM) is already matrixed surround with true descrete available soon. So its just coming to the normal folks.

The other thing you are talking about is the Hafler center - its decades old method of summing for a center. It works, sorta, for stereo signals. Can cause a problem for amps, so be carefull.
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Old 24th June 2004, 06:47 PM   #6
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Being an old guy, I forget about stuff like 5.1! That should leave acoustic/electrical placement as the biggest obstacle to evercome. Keep us posted on your results, if you will.

The only Hafler circuit I'm aware of derives a difference signal for a rear surround effect. Using rear speakers in series, but out of phase and connected to the hot outputs of a non-inverting amp, the resulting output is only the information that is not common to right and left stereo channels.

I may give it that a try as well, but implemented actively, and with proper rear delays.

Tim
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Old 26th June 2004, 11:21 PM   #7
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So do you think that upgrading the parts used in a lower quality commercial amp would be worth the effort vs. the sound improvement gained, or should I just stick to buying quality amps?
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Old 27th June 2004, 08:41 AM   #8
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Default Buy quality amps

Buy the best. In car amps, they often skimp on the powersupply. And subsitution with the best parts won't overcome a bad powersupply
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Old 27th June 2004, 05:48 PM   #9
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D'oh! Not the answer I was hoping for, but thanks for the advice. I'll do what you suggest.
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Old 4th July 2004, 03:07 AM   #10
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For all you tec savvy folk who want to put a pc in their car, check out this link http://www.mediaengine.org/ . You wont be dissapointed.
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