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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 04:09 PM
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So you're going to be using the laptop to store your music and playback from Winamp. Are you using a lossless format for the audio files? How are you keeping the laptop charged / powered on when the car isn't running? Or do you shut it down each time? <edit> Saw your plans to run an IGN wire to the back to power on

128GB wouldn't hold a 1/5th of my music if it was lossless. 1TB+ drives are just as cheap as a decent SSD now a days and since you do not need fast read / writes for audio playback, i'd go with storage over speed any day of the week.

What is the audio out source on the laptop? I see what looks like an optical jack on the external box you have. Is that what is feeding the DSP? It's a little hard to tell by the pictures.

Last edited by gardidien; 02-05-2013 at 04:16 PM.
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gardidien View Post
So you're going to be using the laptop to store your music and playback from Winamp. Are you using a lossless format for the audio files? How are you keeping the laptop charged / powered on when the car isn't running? Or do you shut it down each time? <edit> Saw your plans to run an IGN wire to the back to power on

128GB wouldn't hold a 1/5th of my music if it was lossless. 1TB+ drives are just as cheap as a decent SSD now a days and since you do not need fast read / writes for audio playback, i'd go with storage over speed any day of the week.

What is the audio out source on the laptop? I see what looks like an optical jack on the external box you have. Is that what is feeding the DSP? It's a little hard to tell by the pictures.
I'm using FLAC (lossless) and playing from Winamp for now, but the SSD is only going to be to hold the software. Eventually I'll be using a 1 or 2 TB 2.5" external to carry around my music on. I want the software run off the SSD. Fast boot times and not having to fear for mechanical failures in a mobile installation for the boot drive are the reasons. I agree though that you don't need the fast read/write times for music playback, hence I'm going best of both worlds.

As far as the power for the laptop, I'll explain further. There is a guy over at mp3car that builds (or built, not sure if he still does it) a module for turning on the computer. You splice into the power button for the device, in my case I spliced into the docking station, and there is a USB wire that you plug in as well. The USB is just to detect if the computer is already on so it doesn't shut off the computer when you're starting to car with it already on. The module will automatically boot up the computer when you start the car.

I have a DC power transformer for the computer. I'm running it to the IGN power so it can't drain the battery, but I set the computer to stay on with it's own battery power for 15-20 minutes before hibernating. Even if it gets hung on shut down it's isolated from the car battery, it'll only kill itself.

I do have an optical out from the computer. That's a PCMCIA sound card. It's the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. It's an older model that isn't made anymore, but it's pretty nice. If I wanted to I could use it as a DSP that's pretty powerful with the kxproject driver set, but what I have now is even better.



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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 11:39 PM
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I'm using FLAC (lossless) and playing from Winamp for now, but the SSD is only going to be to hold the software. Eventually I'll be using a 1 or 2 TB 2.5" external to carry around my music on. I want the software run off the SSD. Fast boot times and not having to fear for mechanical failures in a mobile installation for the boot drive are the reasons. I agree though that you don't need the fast read/write times for music playback, hence I'm going best of both worlds.

As far as the power for the laptop, I'll explain further. There is a guy over at mp3car that builds (or built, not sure if he still does it) a module for turning on the computer. You splice into the power button for the device, in my case I spliced into the docking station, and there is a USB wire that you plug in as well. The USB is just to detect if the computer is already on so it doesn't shut off the computer when you're starting to car with it already on. The module will automatically boot up the computer when you start the car.

I have a DC power transformer for the computer. I'm running it to the IGN power so it can't drain the battery, but I set the computer to stay on with it's own battery power for 15-20 minutes before hibernating. Even if it gets hung on shut down it's isolated from the car battery, it'll only kill itself.

I do have an optical out from the computer. That's a PCMCIA sound card. It's the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. It's an older model that isn't made anymore, but it's pretty nice. If I wanted to I could use it as a DSP that's pretty powerful with the kxproject driver set, but what I have now is even better.
Good idea with the SSD. I upgraded to 256GB drives for my OS and core programs and have everything else on HDDs. That's the way to go. Externals are so cheap now a days you can have all your music on one and have another for backup very easily. I like what you have planned.

That's very interesting to read about the computer. With an SSD, there's no reason you couldn't be playing music after 30 seconds from a cold start.

Cool setup with the PCMCIA card. I had an older SB Audigy 2 for my notebook as well. Though mine looked a bit different than yours. Would you see any benefit in using a USB DAC as the source for your sound instead of the SB Audigy card? Just curious if that would work or not in your application.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 12:35 AM
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Flac right now.
was hoping you weren't using some lossless format. flac is a good choice. they uncompress pretty quick. and it's a pretty common format. very compatible.
even with everything that plays mp3 nowadays, i still don't use them.
although my computer is full of them for my daughters ipod.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Good idea with the SSD. I upgraded to 256GB drives for my OS and core programs and have everything else on HDDs. That's the way to go. Externals are so cheap now a days you can have all your music on one and have another for backup very easily. I like what you have planned.

That's very interesting to read about the computer. With an SSD, there's no reason you couldn't be playing music after 30 seconds from a cold start.

Cool setup with the PCMCIA card. I had an older SB Audigy 2 for my notebook as well. Though mine looked a bit different than yours. Would you see any benefit in using a USB DAC as the source for your sound instead of the SB Audigy card? Just curious if that would work or not in your application.
You seem to understand exactly what I was thinking with the external HDDs. They are ridiculously cheap. I'm trying to wait for a good deal on a 2TB 2.5" portable which I'll never be able to fill up unless I use it for movies, and even then it's doubtful. I'm in no big hurry for it though, I can fit enough to listen to for my commute on the current HDD on a temporary basis.

30 seconds to music would make me pretty happy. I'm at less than that now, but I'm not booting into a front end yet, just winamp by itself.

I could use anything that created a digital output from the computer. I'm using DACs on the DSP, not the sound card (even though this particular card does have a good DAC). The docking station I have actually has a coaxial digital out, but I haven't figured out to enable it. The other setting work for the computer knowing it's docked, but it's no big deal since I already had the card and it gives me a digital input as well. I'll be using that for a USB controlled XM unit that I added a toslink chip to the board. I do need one more input for a radio module, but I haven't decided how I want to do it. That part isn't much of a priority, I didn't build this to listen to the radio.

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Originally Posted by hrmwrm View Post
was hoping you weren't using some lossless format. flac is a good choice. they uncompress pretty quick. and it's a pretty common format. very compatible.
even with everything that plays mp3 nowadays, i still don't use them.
although my computer is full of them for my daughters ipod.
I have a lot of mp3s still, but I'm working on converting all the music I care over into FLAC (and I don't mean converting mp3s, I mean replacing the files with a truly lossless version). I won't listen to mp3s in the car now with this set up if I can help it. It's night and day different, especially with certain music. Even well encoded mp3s cut off sound above 16k or so, which I can easily hear.



My car won't ever be done because I'm insane. That is all.
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 03:15 AM
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i notice the difference, even encoded at 320. i try and find lossless encoded sound for whatever i can.
but still, i have over 250gb in mp3/m4a, and over 150gb lossless(flac/ape/wv/wav,aif)). i do have more lossless, but most has been burnt to cd. but it's easy enough to rip it back. i prefer burning for storage. cd/dvd's don't crash, taking everything with them.
and my new head unit recognizes wav on a usb drive, so i don't need to travel with cd's anymore.

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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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i notice the difference, even encoded at 320. i try and find lossless encoded sound for whatever i can.
but still, i have over 250gb in mp3/m4a, and over 150gb lossless(flac/ape/wv/wav,aif)). i do have more lossless, but most has been burnt to cd. but it's easy enough to rip it back. i prefer burning for storage. cd/dvd's don't crash, taking everything with them.
and my new head unit recognizes wav on a usb drive, so i don't need to travel with cd's anymore.
Someone finally made a HU that reads wav over USB? I looked for something that could play that or a lossless over USB for years and it didn't exist. I figured that USB drives like that couldn't accommodate the data transfer rate necessary. That was the last straw that pushed me in the computer direction.

I really don't have that long of a history building up a library. I don't listen to any of the same stuff past really the beginning of college.
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 01:52 AM
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this is the one i got.
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...-KD-R80BT.html
i'm sure there are others that will. i just c/p from my lossless library, after changing them to wav from whatever their compression is. make my own best of evertbody sticks for traveling. even a 2gb stick is good for 2-3 hours of wav's.
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 03:38 PM
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You seem to understand exactly what I was thinking with the external HDDs. They are ridiculously cheap. I'm trying to wait for a good deal on a 2TB 2.5" portable which I'll never be able to fill up unless I use it for movies, and even then it's doubtful. I'm in no big hurry for it though, I can fit enough to listen to for my commute on the current HDD on a temporary basis.

30 seconds to music would make me pretty happy. I'm at less than that now, but I'm not booting into a front end yet, just winamp by itself.

I could use anything that created a digital output from the computer. I'm using DACs on the DSP, not the sound card (even though this particular card does have a good DAC). The docking station I have actually has a coaxial digital out, but I haven't figured out to enable it. The other setting work for the computer knowing it's docked, but it's no big deal since I already had the card and it gives me a digital input as well. I'll be using that for a USB controlled XM unit that I added a toslink chip to the board. I do need one more input for a radio module, but I haven't decided how I want to do it. That part isn't much of a priority, I didn't build this to listen to the radio.



I have a lot of mp3s still, but I'm working on converting all the music I care over into FLAC (and I don't mean converting mp3s, I mean replacing the files with a truly lossless version). I won't listen to mp3s in the car now with this set up if I can help it. It's night and day different, especially with certain music. Even well encoded mp3s cut off sound above 16k or so, which I can easily hear.
Have you considered running a lightweight version of Linux on the laptop to speed up boot times and keep a low footprint? You might run into driver problems with the PCMCIA card though.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Have you considered running a lightweight version of Linux on the laptop to speed up boot times and keep a low footprint? You might run into driver problems with the PCMCIA card though.
I have considered linux, but I'm not ready to learn it yet. I've wanted to for a long time, but for the time being I'm building in Windows because it's what I know (and lots of car computer guys have programmed applications for it). I've got a wife, a home to work on, the car projects, and essentially three jobs. I just picked up a new contract of work at one of the jobs that will basically put me at double time for the next three weeks, so wherever I get to over the weekend will likely be where I leave it at for the month.

I could move away from the PCMCIA card now that I'm not using it as my DAC. Getting something that is just a digital output device is a lot easier. Still, right now I don't have a need do try it.



My car won't ever be done because I'm insane. That is all.
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-2013, 09:30 PM
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Cool, good luck and keep us posted!
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 01:31 PM
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I have considered linux, but I'm not ready to learn it yet. I've wanted to for a long time, but for the time being I'm building in Windows because it's what I know (and lots of car computer guys have programmed applications for it). I've got a wife, a home to work on, the car projects, and essentially three jobs. I just picked up a new contract of work at one of the jobs that will basically put me at double time for the next three weeks, so wherever I get to over the weekend will likely be where I leave it at for the month.

I could move away from the PCMCIA card now that I'm not using it as my DAC. Getting something that is just a digital output device is a lot easier. Still, right now I don't have a need do try it.
A/V truck jobs?
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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A/V truck jobs?
Yeah, one client delayed the project enough that it's overlapping with the next one in line, and of course everyone wants accelerated deadlines. I'm going to come in and do a video install for one of them because he only had one crew lined up. I'll have well over a thousand video cables to install.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Just an FYI guys, I haven't disappeared on this project. I'll be ordering the SSD soon, I'm tired of waiting for a special deal and I've got a huge paycheck coming in. That'll let me take a huge step forward as I haven't bothered to do anything with the software on the computer yet knowing a fresh install is coming.

Also about ready to put the touchscreen in the dash as well, so I'll be returning to finishing the bezel as soon as my jobs settle down.

The big thing I've been keeping up with is research and learning the whole tuning procedure that I'll follow. I'll put that stuff in a separate thread for funsies.



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