Computer audio in a car .... Set me straight

cirrus1

Member
2010-09-27 9:29 pm
Call me way behind the times, but I just now switched over to computer audio in my home system, ALL with the help of a friend. I was able to rid myself of my BluRay/DVD/CD player , and preamplifier, and now ALL of my music comes straight from my external hard drive.

So I want to do this in my car now. I have ideas, but I am pretty sure my ideas are waaaay off, and I need help with some advice ( please remember if you use ANY abbreviations or tech speak, I will simply be lost )

Here is what I am thinking of doing ... please advise if there are easier or better ways :

Thinking about getting a nice power inverter first. Then I can plug in my laptop and external hard drive in the car. I can buy a USB DAC and plug it in also, and go from there to my car's amps.

So here are my questions :

#1 - Does anyone make a head unit that can control Foobar2000 instead of having to use a laptop ?


#2 - Does anyone make a REALLY small computer ( not laptop ) with a small separate screen, for controlling Foobar2000 which would make installation options better ?


#3 - IS there ANY chance there is a computer program add on ( like equalizers ) that allows for time alignment ?

#4 - In my ignorance, what am I missing to best do what i want ?


Thank you for any help you can offer.
 
the one thing i can offer help with is number 2. take a look at this site littlepc.com offers small pc, mini pc and small computers - little pc products .
as for the display take a look at this.
Pioneer M-Connection Single 7 Inch LCD Monitor | Vancouver Montreal Toronto Canada
should help you out. i have no experience with little pc just a quick google search for a suitable computer. and the lcd is awesome connects through a RCA yellow video connector but it is easy to buy a VGA to RCA adaptor
 

wakibaki

Banned
2008-01-08 11:51 pm
There are some good small (mini-ITX motherboard) computers available now, such as the ones on this page: Ion | Mini Motherboard. These are capable of displaying HDTV. They'll run off a car battery and regulators or downconverter so an inverter will be unnecessary. They will accommodate a large hard drive in addition to a bluray or DVD drive so an external drive will probably not be necessary. Atom 330 dual-core processors and n-Vidia ION graphics are the high performers right now, but even better are in the pipeline.

You can get very robust trackballs to use instead of a mouse.

w
 
I would actually recommend a Mac mini and there are forums devoted to their use in cars. You can also use an iPad as your remote if you wish and take it with you when you leave the car. Mp3car.com is a good place to start. The Mac has it's own HD and disc media drive, Bluetooth etc can interface with your phone for taking calks etc.
 
You need to start with a screen/control interface. There are single and double DIN solutions for this. Neither are cheap though.

Check here for double DIN options....

BYBYTE.COM - Infotainment Solutions

Single....

Xenarc 700IDT In Dash 7 inch Touch Screen VGA Monitor
Thermaltakeusa»Chassis»Chassis Accessory»7" Touch Screen LCD Monitor : 7" Touch Screen LCD Monitor A2413

Then you need to decide if you want to use a netbook/laptop, or an permanently installed car PC.

The possibilities are endless, and only limited by how much money you are willing to spend.
 

cheapskate

Member
2007-08-01 12:31 pm
I agree about the external controls. I use a wired remote that has play/stop skip forward/back and a volume rocker. I can control the ipod by touch without looking at anything.

There are plenty of other ipod control solutions from ones that use a cars own steering wheel mounted controls to a head unit with a slot in it that you actually insert the iPod into like a cassette tape.

iPods have perfectly good enough D/A converters for use in a car, IMO.
 

Z1

Member
2005-01-13 9:00 pm
Italy
So here are my questions :

#1 - Does anyone make a head unit that can control Foobar2000 instead of having to use a laptop ?


#2 - Does anyone make a REALLY small computer ( not laptop ) with a small separate screen, for controlling Foobar2000 which would make installation options better ?


#3 - IS there ANY chance there is a computer program add on ( like equalizers ) that allows for time alignment ?

#4 - In my ignorance, what am I missing to best do what i want ?


Thank you for any help you can offer.

In my car I made a system with this mobo:
Intel Desktop Board DG45FC - Overview
This power supply:
M2-ATX (160w) Intelligent DC-DC Car PC Power Supply
this monitor:
http://www.mp3car.com/blogs/141162_Hardware-Review-Lilliput-669GL70NPCT-7quot-HDMI-Monitor.html
and this audio card:
RME: Fireface 400

I'm using it as player and dsp with foobar and some vst plugins like blocc crossovers, bluecat equalizer and voxengo audio delay... it's something like what you need? ;)

Fabio
 

4sfed5

Member
2008-05-27 12:37 pm
i have used a western digital media player in my car to play all my music and music videos....it's a very elegant solution as the unit runs off 12 volts and uses an external usb hard drive for storage. i installed them under the seat and use the standard remote.if i wanted to get REALLY flash i could use a little pic chip to interface with the toyotas "AVCLAN" bus and that way i could use the touchscreen to control it...but thats just a bit too flash.

i hacked the firmware to customise the graphics...

heres a few screen shots:

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/4939/dsc08762v.jpg
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/8166/dsc08766.jpg

and a link to some build pics etc...

Altezza Club Of NZ/Australia -> Western Digital 320 Gig Media Player In Car!

let me know if the links don't work
 
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Re: 4sfe5
that's cool. I've been thinking that the WDTV is an ideal solution to in-car entertainment.

It would be nice if the WDTV supported an alphanumeric text display for browsing content, and to show title and time while music or video is playing. Like this one:
Guide Make your own USB LCD controller! - bit-tech.net Forums

If you don't need frills that video playback, this looks like a good option for a wired remote display for an embedded PC.
 
4sfed5,

Can you elaborate on hacking the firmware of the WDTV, and what was involved in that? I'm specifically interested in having the unit display larger type, as I'm using it with a very small screen (car backup monitor), and the thing is very hard to read as it comes.

FYI, those of you using this, the PCM1793 Mini DAC from eBay runs on 12v and makes a huge improvement over the DAC built into the WDTV. Op-Amp is socketed, easy to upgrade as well.

--Buckapound

--Buckapound
 

4sfed5

Member
2008-05-27 12:37 pm
the wdtv does show time an song info while playing have a look at the links i posted for some screen shots.

If you do a search for "B-rad custom firmware" or wdlxtv you'll see whats involved. basically you load a hacked firmware to the unit which allows you to modify the XML sheets so you can totally customise the unit. as you can see in my previous post i have enlarged the text and customised the graphics to match my toyota.
you have to use linux to do this. you can't do it with windows, but thats pretty easy to set up a dual boot on your pc to do this.

heres a stock layout...
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/2557/dsc08685s.jpg
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/8258/dsc08687e.jpg

heres my modified theme for the car:
http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/4939/dsc08762v.jpg
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/8166/dsc08766.jpg


The only con to this device is that in "library mode" its pretty dam slow to navigate and each button press takes about 3 seconds to respond. using it in standard file mode is waay better.
I also added a large capacitor and diode to the power supply of the unit so it wouldn't repower when i started the car.

hope this helps
 
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A good site to read up on all of this is the site mp3car.com

I know it says mp3 in the name but the reality is this site is dedicated to carputers. The forums are kinda of like this site but for carputers (commonly called carpc's but some run linux or OSX as well). Lots of details on what you need, what interface to use to make it touch friendly. Additional things you can do like tab in to the ODBII port (get diagnostic information and loads of information about your engine that the dashboard doesn't display). etc.