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I'm trying to lay out my car audio and I'm having trouble deciding on my head unit.

I'm the guy who has historically purchased a $150 cd receiver and mounted it in his car with either the stock speakers or a slightly upgraded version thereof.

Well I really appreciate sound quality and I would like to step it up. When I installed a 5.1 system on my computer at home, I was blown away at how much difference just the little woofer made to the sound quality over the typical two-speakers-on-the-desk set-up.

So for my car I have been laying out a 3 way system with a 10" sub (about the biggest I can accommodate in my car), but I'm having problems with the head unit.

I would like to install a car computer, which I did in my wife's car. But her system is problematic. There is a noise issue and you have to wait for the computer to power up before you can hear music, there is no local radio just satellite radio, the screen is small, etc.

So I thought I would build a nice sound system and just plug the computer into it so that I had "the best of both worlds."

Well larger (10.4") screens are pretty pricey. I can actually buy a whole tablet PC for the same price and that fits nicely into my car. But those things are pretty weak, so while I can get a pretty good head unit sound quality wise for the car for a reasonable price, if I got a head unit with navigation and DVD, I could remove some of the burden from the computer. I've been told those don't have the best sound quality however. Is this true?

If I got a head unit with no DVD capability and plugged the computer into it using the aux-in on the head unit, I presume I won't get surround sound, but will it sound like crap? Also, will the tablet handle playing a DVD? Also, how do I handle the center channel? If I set it up with mono from both the left and right sides, as I've read on the interweb, will that even function as a surround center? Are these two ideas; great musical audio output and DVD viewing with surround sound, just incompatible?


My budget for the audio portion is $2000, that includes cables and everything.

The budget for the computer is still not really set, but the tablet is very attractive because it already has a small size, low power consumption and a touch screen interface.

Bring on the opinions! Everyone has one.
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