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Lightbulb Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

I have been out of the car audio hobby for almost ten years now, and I am looking to design a new system for my vehicle. I am stuck in a debate between buying a double-din all display head unit or building something more customizable with a double-din touchscreen and PC.

These double-din all display head units have come a long way in the last ten years, there are even low quality versions sold at Walmart now. They used to be very limited to a menu driven system.

One of my goals in an all display head unit is the ability to play uncompressed audio files such as FLAC. They had just started supporting WAV files back when I was running an entry level single-din head unit. My entire library is stored in FLAC so I had to convert anything I wanted to have in my car to WAV first, then put it on a USB flash drive. Another goal in my new setup is the ability to use the head unit display for multiple cameras. I see some of these new all display head units come with a backup camera, but camera technology is constantly being improved in resolution. It would be nice to be able to upgrade the camera without replacing the head unit, and have more options to choose from with standard USB webcams. There may be driver compatibility issues connecting any USB camera to a head unit.

There are many benefits to running a car PC setup other than just the type of camera or music file compression. You can connect multiple cameras, backup, dash, cab, use surveillance software and record all camera footage to a central storage device that your music is also stored on. Really any USB device can be used in your vehicle, including a high quality DAC sound output device. You can upgrade the PC, touchscreen or storage device separately. Adjusting your DSP settings on the fly can also be done if it’s wired to the PC, I know most DSPs have phone apps but it is easier with a PC.

Are there any popular software solutions for emulating custom head unit menus when running a PC? I do not use FM or AM radio, I would just run a web browser based version of Spotify if not playing local FLAC files. I honestly just use Foobar2000 to play my FLAC files. I am sure there is a way to add a hands free mic to a PC and route your calls through your speakers. Thoughts?
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

I messed around with the carPC idea a few years ago, bought a bunch of hardware, but never could get it to work the way I wanted. I do suggest that you check out Aimp. If you really want a customizable front end, this is the player for you. With the skin editor, you can make up your own button skins, layout, and everything.

AIMP - Free Music Player
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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I messed around with the carPC idea a few years ago, bought a bunch of hardware, but never could get it to work the way I wanted. I do suggest that you check out Aimp. If you really want a customizable front end, this is the player for you. With the skin editor, you can make up your own button skins, layout, and everything.

AIMP - Free Music Player
What were your hangups?

Great suggestion with AIMP looks like just the program I need to tie things together.
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

Rooted Android tablet can do all that.

Just because I have 2000+ posts doesn't mean I have learned anything.
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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Rooted Android tablet can do all that.
Exactly, although I don't think there are any tablets that can update DSP settings. I am not sure of a tablet that can also run multiple cameras, everything else is very easy to do though and quick to set up.



Having recently switched from a tablet to a head unit, I can tell you that I definitely miss the customization of the tablet. For example I had used Photoshop and a widget app to create a custom launcher for my tablet with the specific apps that I used frequently, if I did not use a particular app, I just deleted it etc. Navigation was always up to date, I could stream anything I wanted.

Why did I switch to a head unit? My tablet was dying, while I wanted to keep a tablet since I had everything in place to simply swap it out. I could not find anything new enough that allowed me to retain charging + OTG host mode, that would also fit in my dash without more fabrication than I have the skill for (I want the tablet to sit flush in the dash, an OEM type look).

So, I switched to a Kenwood 9906XR head unit. Honestly, I can't see a ton of advantages to the head unit over a well set up tablet. The screen is a definite improvement to my tablet (It was a 2012 Nexus 7, YMMV depending on any screen/tablet you use). It was plug and play, which is a sort of moot point since again, I had everything ready to run another tablet, but from the perspective of starting from scratch, the head unit is an easier installation. It will play FLAC without issue, think it also plays DSD files although I have none, has the option for multiple cameras, Bluetooth streaming, Pandora, Spotify and so on. This unit also has Android Auto (works nicely, both wired and wireless) which means maps are up to date, I also get all my notifications on the head unit and can reply via voice to messages should I choose to do so.

What I don't like.... no optical, had to run RCA's through the car. Annoying, but not a huge pain. I also cannot remove things I don't use, SiriusXM, iPod, CarPlay etc. all things I will never use. The shuffle mode for all songs is quirky, no access to fault codes / engine data. Although I can get those, I need to buy a $150 Maestro RR and another $30 cable specific for my vehicle, with the tablet, $10 bluetooth OBDII reader and $5 for Torque Pro.

I did look into a PC way back before installing the tablet, but for me I liked that the tablet was self contained and the Android ecosystem meant pretty much anything I wanted to use was either free or cheap.

If I had to do it again, tough choice. I spent a good bit getting the tablet to work in my car (trial and error with various things to get it 99% reliable). At the time I installed it, 2012, Android Auto was not a thing, most head units did not play FLAC, or cost upwards of $1000 to get one with Navigation. Now it would be a much harder choice, a decent DD head unit is around $500 and finding a new tablet that checked the boxes for me was difficult. I probably spent around $500 getting my Nexus 7 set up (tablet + wiring harness + steering wheel control module + USB hub + power supply) as well as the time spent getting everything to work in an environment it was not designed for. A head unit now would, other than the lack of customization, be a much simpler option to install.

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

My boy is still working on that raspberry pi. That can do everything. He's got lots of stuff running. I can even run with Moto mods. Haven't got that far but I'm learning a lot. To the point I'm putting my Sound Monitor hu in my car now wondering why. I'm just purchased a wireless charging pad for my new tablet (not sure which. Narrowed it to 3). Digital output while charging in to the SM hu.

Windows can be run on Android tablets. Not sure if there is any good windows tablets.

Just because I have 2000+ posts doesn't mean I have learned anything.
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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What were your hangups?
First, in order to combat vibration and a tough car environment, I wanted a motherboard with a built-in processor. I found one on newegg, but it was sloooow.

I also wanted a capacitive touch screen. I found a nice one online, but I couldn't get the resolution and icons quite to a usable state...and half the time, the PC wouldn't even recognize it.

Lastly, one of the biggest desires was to do DSP internally, and I had several really cool VST plugins, but I couldn't find a sound card that gave me multiple channels of output that could be routed the way I want. A nice 7.1 card would work in theory, but I couldn't figure out how to override the built-in routings. Once I decided that I would need a separate DSP anyway, it kinda made the whole exercise pointless.
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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My boy is still working on that raspberry pi. That can do everything. He's got lots of stuff running. I can even run with Moto mods. Haven't got that far but I'm learning a lot. To the point I'm putting my Sound Monitor hu in my car now wondering why. I'm just purchased a wireless charging pad for my new tablet (not sure which. Narrowed it to 3). Digital output while charging in to the SM hu.

Windows can be run on Android tablets. Not sure if there is any good windows tablets.
Cool, what tablets are you looking at? Also, if you need any spare parts for a tablet install, shoot me a PM. I have all the wiring, power supplies etc. from my Nexus install that I may never use again. Cost of shipping and you can have them if it means they will get some use.

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

If you run a JL VXi amp with a bluetooth adapter you can run the JL TUN DSP software on a tablet or iPad real time
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

Lenevo Tab 4 8 plus, Samsung Tab A, Huawei M5. All of them do wireless charging and Verizon. All 3 also are within the last couple versions of Android.

I really liked my LG. I didn't realize how much until I found out that hardly any other tablets have USB input. That one has a full size. Can easily run peripherals.

It's just getting to old. I'm used to faster, better screens, etc

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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Lenevo Tab 4 8 plus, Samsung Tab A, Huawei M5. All of them do wireless charging and Verizon. All 3 also are within the last couple versions of Android.

I really liked my LG. I didn't realize how much until I found out that hardly any other tablets have USB input. That one has a full size. Can easily run peripherals.

It's just getting to old. I'm used to faster, better screens, etc
I played this game as well.

Lenovo has some SD card issues but is a decent choice
I bought a Tab A (2017 8"). The front buttons no longer light up (they may on the LTE version), its not the fastest tablet and I wish the screen was better than a 720P screen.
Huawei tablets have a lot of great features BUT quite a few people complain about BT/WIFI issues. Also there is the whole software debacle with Google they are having atm.


Some other thoughts,

I thought about doing a Odroid N2 with a screen from Chalk-Board elec. Would have to make an HDMI/RCA switch but could do back up camera in this manner. This is an advantage over a tablet with one of those USB video inputs and software switching. Can also wire up the screen to a vehicle dimmer wire.

For steering wheel control, can either track down an RC JOycon or program an Arduino as well.

For Car info, thought about using a ODBII Link SX or the wireless versions.

Calling is of course the biggest issue. My thought is to use Verizon Messages as its the closest thing to an iPad / Apple continuity. Supposedly can make and recieve calls when paired over WIFI.

Thought we be to either get a 4G USB modem, use an LTE tablet or tether the phone. Have yet to see if this is feasible.

As for DSP software, some manus are making Android/Apple apps for control. But biggest question would be how often are you intending to tinker with it?
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

Messages works great then paired with your phone. Don't need wifi for texts. I have been doing that for years. I could care less about steering wheel controls. Never use them with any of my vehicles. I will say I've consider joycon just so the buttons work.

I like the lenevo as I have think pads and Motorola phones. The Huawei seems great but they definitely need to work things out with Google.

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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Messages works great then paired with your phone. Don't need wifi for texts. I have been doing that for years. I could care less about steering wheel controls. Never use them with any of my vehicles. I will say I've consider joycon just so the buttons work.

I like the lenevo as I have think pads and Motorola phones. The Huawei seems great but they definitely need to work things out with Google.
This was my consensus. Can you elaborate on your use of the Verizon Messages+ app?

Do you just need to wifi tether (or use tablet LTE). Does it use the microphone on the tablet?

I wish the app would scale a bit better on the screen sometimes.

The Lenovo was my 2nd choice btw. May switch over to it.
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Cool thread, lots of info, thanks, I recently picked up 2013 Nexus7 they can be found cheap if ya look around. Funny part is it took me a month to figure out how to root the darn thing and install Timurs Kernal. Still have alot of research to do for all the right parts for the Install and programming,. I love the diy stuff and this has been a challenge for-a computer dumb mofo. Hopefully in the end will be way more rewarding than slapping in a DD that i wont be happy with
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkFloydEffect View Post
I have been out of the car audio hobby for almost ten years now, and I am looking to design a new system for my vehicle. I am stuck in a debate between buying a double-din all display head unit or building something more customizable with a double-din touchscreen and PC.

These double-din all display head units have come a long way in the last ten years, there are even low quality versions sold at Walmart now. They used to be very limited to a menu driven system.

One of my goals in an all display head unit is the ability to play uncompressed audio files such as FLAC. They had just started supporting WAV files back when I was running an entry level single-din head unit. My entire library is stored in FLAC so I had to convert anything I wanted to have in my car to WAV first, then put it on a USB flash drive. Another goal in my new setup is the ability to use the head unit display for multiple cameras. I see some of these new all display head units come with a backup camera, but camera technology is constantly being improved in resolution. It would be nice to be able to upgrade the camera without replacing the head unit, and have more options to choose from with standard USB webcams. There may be driver compatibility issues connecting any USB camera to a head unit.

There are many benefits to running a car PC setup other than just the type of camera or music file compression. You can connect multiple cameras, backup, dash, cab, use surveillance software and record all camera footage to a central storage device that your music is also stored on. Really any USB device can be used in your vehicle, including a high quality DAC sound output device. You can upgrade the PC, touchscreen or storage device separately. Adjusting your DSP settings on the fly can also be done if it’s wired to the PC, I know most DSPs have phone apps but it is easier with a PC.

Are there any popular software solutions for emulating custom head unit menus when running a PC? I do not use FM or AM radio, I would just run a web browser based version of Spotify if not playing local FLAC files. I honestly just use Foobar2000 to play my FLAC files. I am sure there is a way to add a hands free mic to a PC and route your calls through your speakers. Thoughts?

Well, you pretty much already know my thoughts from my post in your other thread. For a Daily Driver I prefer to apply the KISS principle.

Regarding the BOLD text in your OP above...

Again, it all seems awesome...in theory. The problem lies in getting all of these many USB devices AND THE DRIVERS to work consistently, and to KEEP working when transitioning from boot/sleep/hibernate/shut-down/wake-up cycles, etc.

In addition, you must have a special, custom PSU that will not bork the computer when starting the car due to a huge supply voltage drop to the PSU right in the middle of the boot/wake sequence every time you Start the vehicle. Just this one specialty item can lead up to a large percentage of your overall budget.

Then finding a really great Capacitive Touchscreen that has a Bright Enough Display for viewing in full sun and with good Anti-Glare properties, combined with the proper Screen Resolution for easy viewing while in a moving vehicle, is also tough. Just this one item can cost as much as some decent double-DIN head units.

And what about potential theft when people see a nice, large PC touchscreen display in or on your dash? I'm sure that will raise some extra interest, and trust me that your era Ford Ranger is one of the easiest vehicles to break into.

Double-DIN head units may pose the same problem regarding thieves, but my solution for my girlfriend's vehicle was to make a dummy faceplate using the Factory head unit. See the photos in the following links...

https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum...83-post18.html

https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum...97-post19.html


The hands-free calling setup with a PC is quite convoluted, and extremely difficult to get working properly, if at all. This is one area that is a extremely simple with even a basic BT-enabled head unit.

In addition, most PC/USB sound cards will only have one pair of RCA Preamp Outputs, and 99% of them will only be up to 2 Volts, whereas better head units will have 4-5 volt preamp outputs.

You'll have to do some form of custom fabrication if you want to integrate standard PC USB web cams as well. Even the inexpensive eBay and Amazon car audio cameras come with purpose-made mounting hardware for vehicles. PC webcams do not, and often have bulky/odd housings.

Do you plan on keeping a Mouse and/or Keyboard in the truck?

The main issue with a in-car PC setup is getting ALL of these many, many peripherals setup to work all together or so that you can switch between them SEAMLESSLY, EASILY, QUICKLY, and SAFELY while driving.

I'm really not trying to completely discourage you from doing this. I'm just trying to forewarn you about all of the many pitfalls, problems, and issues that myself and others have gone through when trying to implement these types of setups.

It's not impossible. It's just freakin' really DIFFICULT. It's often quirky and doesn't always work consistently when you really want it to, especially with blazing hot and freezing cold temperature extremes that are common in a vehicle environment.

It CAN be done, but just be prepared for A LOT of frustrating trial & error, and re-purchasing many new peripherals because the first or second ones that you chose don't work right or at all. If you are someone who really likes a challenge, then by all means, Go For It!


HEAD UNITS:

Many of the latest head units will play FLAC files...even Hi-Res FLAC and WAV files, such as the newer 2018 & 2019 Kenwood XR (eXcelon Reference) double-DIN head units. Even mid-range double-DIN head units are offering this functionality now.

With my Kenwood XR DDX9905S, I have a 2TB SSD loaded with WAV, FLAC, MP3, and AAC files that loads and plays faster than any of my computers! And it remembers and resumes playing files via USB exactly where the song cut off when I got out of the vehicle. It has TWO USB inputs that provide 5V at up to 1.5 Amps for charging your phone/tablet or powering a USB HDD/SSD.

The 2018 models have connections for 2 cameras, and the new 2019 model has connections for 3 cameras, or 2 cameras + Kenwood's DashCam that will record and playback directly to the Head Unit and/or save the files to an internal SD card.

Depending on what I have connected, my Kenwood DDX9905S boots up in 8-12 seconds, and the BACKUP CAMERA comes on nearly INSTANTLY when I hop in the vehicle to back out of the garage or driveway, for instance. Try that with a PC system and multiple USB cameras connected! I guarantee you'll be waiting a lot longer. Even if it just takes 30 seconds, that seems like an eternity and you'll probably just start driving without it...which defeats one of the main points of having it.

I'm not saying that these Head Units are perfect either. They have several quirks and a few things that really annoy me (but I'm the extreme OCD type, haha). HOWEVER, they have a great screen, with excellent functionality, Steering Wheel Controls, etc...and they consistently allow me to quickly and easily enjoy my music collection and or stream music every day, all day, without any glitches....and they sound fantastic right out of the box!


Oh, as a side note, there is a Foobar2000 app for Android devices on the Google Play Store, and a several other really great bit-perfect Hi-Res digital audio playback apps such as USB Audio Player Pro.

Good luck.

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

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I really liked my LG. I didn't realize how much until I found out that hardly any other tablets have USB input. That one has a full size. Can easily run peripherals.
The full size USB on the LG is great, I use mine now for flying my Mavic drone. Although, annoyingly for some reason the drone does not allow me to use the full size USB.

Quote:
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I could care less about steering wheel controls. Never use them with any of my vehicles. I will say I've consider joycon just so the buttons work.
Braver than I am! When my tablet first went in I went a few days without steering wheel controls, I hated having to look at the tablet to know if I was hitting the volume button correctly, or pressing play etc. Joycon went in ASAP after that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petererc View Post
Cool thread, lots of info, thanks, I recently picked up 2013 Nexus7 they can be found cheap if ya look around. Funny part is it took me a month to figure out how to root the darn thing and install Timurs Kernal. Still have alot of research to do for all the right parts for the Install and programming,. I love the diy stuff and this has been a challenge for-a computer dumb mofo.
Send me a PM if you are interested, but I have pretty much everything you would need to get a Nexus 7 up and running. Mine was a 2012, but other than that I have all the parts that could make it mostly plug and play.

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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

The tablet and phone sync through Bluetooth via message+ app.

I've had screens in my dash since the mid 90's. I'm just used to it. I'm also tall enough and sit mostly upright so I have no issues reaching the dash.

Just because I have 2000+ posts doesn't mean I have learned anything.
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Default Re: Head Unit vs. Touchscreen & PC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by naiku View Post
Exactly, although I don't think there are any tablets that can update DSP settings.

...without more fabrication than I have the skill for (I want the tablet to sit flush in the dash, an OEM type look).

What I don't like.... no optical, had to run RCA's through the car. Annoying, but not a huge pain. I also cannot remove things I don't use, SiriusXM, iPod, CarPlay etc. all things I will never use. The shuffle mode for all songs is quirky, no access to fault codes / engine data. Although I can get those, I need to buy a $150 Maestro RR and another $30 cable specific for my vehicle, with the tablet, $10 bluetooth OBDII reader and $5 for Torque Pro.

I did look into a PC way back before installing the tablet, but for me I liked that the tablet was self contained and the Android ecosystem meant pretty much anything I wanted to use was either free or cheap.

If I had to do it again, tough choice. I spent a good bit getting the tablet to work in my car (trial and error with various things to get it 99% reliable). At the time I installed it, 2012, Android Auto was not a thing, most head units did not play FLAC, or cost upwards of $1000 to get one with Navigation. Now it would be a much harder choice, a decent DD head unit is around $500 and finding a new tablet that checked the boxes for me was difficult. I probably spent around $500 getting my Nexus 7 set up (tablet + wiring harness + steering wheel control module + USB hub + power supply) as well as the time spent getting everything to work in an environment it was not designed for. A head unit now would, other than the lack of customization, be a much simpler option to install.
Technically I think tablets are capable of adjusting DSP settings, if they support a mobile app which most do than you should be able to download that app from either Play Store or App Store. Since this post I have discovered the world of Android head units, which is a new trend and can be rooted as well.

This is exactly why I do not want to use a tablet, too many variables between tablet physical updates and the bezel fabrication between upgrades. Physical buttons on tablets are still there for a reason, its the only way to hard reset and access hidden boot menus for diagnosis...which will be either hidden under a bezel or look terrible included in the install.

I really have no need for optical, I used to burn HQ CDs from FLAC before the ability to play WAV files using dBpoweramp but ultimately I migrated to using the original 64GB Cruzer (USB 2.0) with WAV files, also converted using dBpoweramp (10 years ago). I am sure there is a way to get engine management using an Android head unit, but my vehicles are a bit older and do not have steering wheel controls and such.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAl205 View Post
First, in order to combat vibration and a tough car environment, I wanted a motherboard with a built-in processor. I found one on newegg, but it was sloooow.

I also wanted a capacitive touch screen. I found a nice one online, but I couldn't get the resolution and icons quite to a usable state...and half the time, the PC wouldn't even recognize it.

Lastly, one of the biggest desires was to do DSP internally, and I had several really cool VST plugins, but I couldn't find a sound card that gave me multiple channels of output that could be routed the way I want. A nice 7.1 card would work in theory, but I couldn't figure out how to override the built-in routings. Once I decided that I would need a separate DSP anyway, it kinda made the whole exercise pointless.
I would go with laptop or high end netbook hardware tucked into the glove box or under the seat, mounted in some way. Use the HDMI or just USB3.0+ to run a DD screen, but resolution and UI are the hardest things to get right.

Very good point on the divided sound channel outputs. I am sure there are some software solutions, and your right about a 7.1 card but it may come down to having to run multiple 2-channel USB DACs. Choosing the right DSP software is also crucial like you said, recognizing your DAC(s) the way you want to use them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Phobos223 View Post
If you run a JL VXi amp with a bluetooth adapter you can run the JL TUN DSP software on a tablet or iPad real time
While the bluetooth protocol has recently made some much needed updates its still not perfect in SQ and the highest quality BT signals are power demanding. So if you need to leave your phone plugged in for power reasons anyway to save battery cycles you might as well make use of the connection and get that wired digital music file. BT 5.0 compression is a lot better but I don't trust it lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Theslaking View Post
Lenevo Tab 4 8 plus, Samsung Tab A, Huawei M5. All of them do wireless charging and Verizon. All 3 also are within the last couple versions of Android.

I really liked my LG. I didn't realize how much until I found out that hardly any other tablets have USB input. That one has a full size. Can easily run peripherals.

It's just getting to old. I'm used to faster, better screens, etc
Get an S3 it will be a lot better lol


BBFOTO-

I really do not see a problem with voltage control if your computer device has its own battery like a netbook or tablet, it is essentially a UPS.

Have you seen all the double-din touchscreens for sale these days with either HDMI or USB 3.1 connections? I don't want anything larger than that. I am not worried about theft, the rest of my components are worth a lot more than the head unit. I have already addressed the door handle access holes and I have a solid rear window without a slider, it is 2019 and nice car alarms are not hard to install. The decoy was a good idea, but it clearly looks like you can just grab the tablet which is not the appearance I am looking for. You would have to remove my bezel to even get access to the screws to remove it, meanwhile the car alarm going off with a battery source you are unaware of and a notification being sent to me in the meantime. I live in a really nice area, not a concern.

Clearly I would have been using USB DACs with a PC, come on man a keyboard seriously? Yeah I can keep something like a Candyboard on hand if I needed do debug something on the road but that DD touchscreen is where its all at. I have been building PC since I was a child, IT is my career, car audio is my hobby.




Ultimately I am going to try going the Android powered head unit direction, its the newest trend and it looks like its going to be a success. May not be brands we are used to, so the physical quality may not be the best as far as longevity but the SQ should be on par. To get my toes wet I will be trying out an ATOTO A6 Pro for less than $300. It has a 7" 1024*600 5-Touch Capacitive IPS Touchscreen with 178° full-viewing angle. I can download apps from the Play Store including DSP module apps which I assume if they design them to work on your phone than they will work on this including Foorbar2000 if I really wanted to. The firmware updates are constantly pushed out by ATOTO unless I decide to eventually root it, then run any software I want if there are app restrictions I can't live with. It supports 5Ghz WiFi with an included external antenna so I can hotspot from my phone, but I will try to see if I can tether with the front USB since I will be using that to charge @ 2A. It supports external USB HDDs and SSDs, potentially USB cameras (may need rooting) but it does have an optional coax camera port or two...boo. It also includes an external GPS antenna. Although it does support bluetooth 5.0 again like the WiFi I would rather transfer the data using the USB while charging. That is battery cycle nonsense to be running a cellular radio, a WiFi radio, and a bluetooth radio simultaneously as a 3-band multi repeater lol.

Aside from the ability to playback the highest quality file containers including FLAC, I have options on how to preserve this signal on its way to my Zapco amps, ultimately hitting my Focals. These C2K amps have a great feature and this is accepting up to a 16v line level input and a 3-wire per channel balanced input. This was my main driving factor where the entire PC system came from. The only thing that can provide this high quality of an input was an XLR connection from a HQ USB DAC and probably not @ 16v either. You will never find a mobile DSP to work with that type of setup though, maybe something rack mounted or a sound board lol. So this brings me back to a traditional 2-wire 16v connection, which turns out you won't find a mobile DSP that works with 16v either....so I am left with the standard 2-wire 4v line level. This A6 Pro has 3 pairs of 4v RCA pre-amp outputs, with 14.4v high level speaker outputs (4 x 29w RMS) but they are 10% THD. I cant find any specs on the 4v RCA THD % anywhere. My amp is literally near 0% THD so this is actually somewhat important to me in this signal chain. It can easily handle the 14.4v high level inputs but that will not work with a DSP. My assumption is that while a high level line may be less subject to interference due to its higher voltage it compromises the distortion? Really curious what the 4v RCA THD % will be, and hopefully a DSP does not contribute any in the chain. This deck may support a USB 32-bit DAC which I would rather use, but I assume the A6 Pro supports at least 24-bit/44.1kHz for the FLAC conversion (no info on it that I can find).

I was suggested the Dayton DSP-408 but it only supports up to 3.4v before distortion so I am leaning more toward the Pioneer DEQ-S1000A which fully supports 4v like the A6 Pro head unit. The software looks better than the Dayton with mobile phone app tuning tools like time delay, but it only supports 6 channels unlike Dayton's 8-channel gold outputs. I am only running 2-way Focals so 6 channels will work for now until I decide to upgrade to 3-way with midbass in the future....hopefully by that time there will be an 8 channel DSP option with good software. It is only $30 more than the Dayton, and it actually has a small built in amplifier too, supports 4 high level outputs @ 14w RMS. Says they are 4-8 Ohm stable but does not specify if 14w RMS is @ 4 Ohms or 8 Ohms. If I was able to get 14w of RMS power @ 8 Ohms already processed by the DSP that would be sufficient enough to run my 16w RMS Focal TN53K tweeters I would think...but again @ what % THD.
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