DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’ve read around a little recently and I’m still a little unsure what route to be looking.

I like headunits, I like having the volume right there, the display and just the “stereo” being what I grew up with, a headunit. But, I’m wanting to prepare for my system coming together soon and I’m trying to figure out a birthday gift from the lady, I don’t really have any wants that I don’t just go get.

I’ve seen @dumdum mention in past posts about the volume best being “further down” the signal chain when dealing in digital. So that means finding a non awkward location for the Minidsp remote knob and I feel it lacks the romance of a headunit volume, especially a volume knob on a headunit, the old outdated volume knob, sigh.

What I’m getting at in a round about way is can a modestly priced ~$4-600 headunit provide a superb analog signal from something like tidal via usb? I’ve seen headunits, Alpine I think boasting 24bit DAC, which I don’t even know if it’s good. Is there a minimum entry fee to a really good signal from a traditional headunit? I mean of course there’s a price to pay but is it prohibitive? I can’t be spending or asking for a $900 headunit when a ~$100 topping unit or ~$50 usb to digital unit might be way better sq wise. But man, I’d really like to just be doing the “radio” stuff from the actual radio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,465 Posts
You should probably define "Superb Analog Signal" as simply having a 24 bit DAC won't necessarily mean that it has 112dB SNR or ruler flat response.

If you find one sign me up...

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You should probably define "Superb Analog Signal" as simply having a 24 bit DAC won't necessarily mean that it has 112dB SNR or ruler flat response.

If you find one sign me up...

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
So my strengths in the hobby are more towards my interest in sound perception, frequency localization and the likes. I don’t have much foundation on this type of stuff. Your saying that the analog signal from a headunit is fundamentally flawed, especially when compared to the digital topping route?
 

·
Premium Member
2006 Hyundai Sonata V6
Joined
·
384 Posts
Stinger Heigh10 is about $900, so not relevant, but to show as reference to the miniDSP and Sundown knobs. I got lucky and was able to fit them both in the little pocket in my dash - even has a door that hides them. Maybe you could find a similar-ish location? I have the Stinger to DSP via optical - I leave the HU at its maximum volume, and use the miniDSP controller for volume. I like the feel and speed of the miniDSP knob better than the HU, very happy with the results. My primary reasons for going with the Stinger was optical out, massive number of addressable USB FLAC files & folders, SiriusXM tuner input/control (Howard Stern), and Android Auto. Overall it's somewhat of a mixed bag functionally, but I don't regret it, and as a music player to feed the DSP it's been fantastic.
Audio equipment Electronic instrument Electronic device Gadget Center console
Car White Personal luxury car Motor vehicle Steering part

If the Stinger got stolen, I had a tight budget to replace it, I'd investigate something like the Topping & using my Android phone as source. No experience with this, but I admit I also like having a HU, and I feel like I'd probably end up with an Android HU with optical out. The Stinger replaced a JVC M740BT - that JVC was quite good, and sounded great via RCAs to the mini, but I wanted a larger screen, optical, and AA. The JVC was quiet, but the Stinger is a bit quieter. Not really sure how much of a role optical plays in that, since I've never hooked up the Stinger via RCA.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
I get that whole “want a volume know" feeling!!! I use a Director that has a decent sized rotary dial on it that controls my system (and sub separately). Buy what i have started to wonder is what is the point of a "good" radio dac IF you use an external DSP? You end up converting the signal on the HU from digital, sending the analog signal to a DSP which then converts back to digital to do all of the converting (EQ-TA-XOver-ect...) then back to an analog signal to the amplifiers/speakers...

So why not just start with the best digital signal you can, send that digital to the DSP and pick a dsp with a good DAC?
 

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I get that whole “want a volume know" feeling!!! I use a Director that has a decent sized rotary dial on it that controls my system (and sub separately). Buy what i have started to wonder is what is the point of a "good" radio dac IF you use an external DSP? You end up converting the signal on the HU from digital, sending the analog signal to a DSP which then converts back to digital to do all of the converting (EQ-TA-XOver-ect...) then back to an analog signal to the amplifiers/speakers...

So why not just start with the best digital signal you can, send that digital to the DSP and pick a dsp with a good DAC?
The reason I didn’t include headunits with digi/optical output is I don’t see any. Except for the joying headunits I’ve read about on here a digi/optical output from HU had been elusive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,465 Posts
So my strengths in the hobby are more towards my interest in sound perception, frequency localization and the likes. I don’t have much foundation on this type of stuff. Your saying that the analog signal from a headunit is fundamentally flawed, especially when compared to the digital topping route?
So if you look at the technical aspects of the signal quality for the miniDSP then that becomes your defacto standard to try and achieve the best quality sound since anything less than that is not taking full advantage of the DSP quality.

Depending on your goals and preferences though - you may feel that a quality analog signal is "good enough" to accomplish your needs. The example for me is that I prefer 24/48 and above digital for reference listening but in daily driver use with wind and road noise I'll listen to satellite radio through the factory HU and consider that good enough given the tradeoff between quality and convenience.

Sending a Digital Signal to the DSP prevents (when done properly with quality equipment) prevents any degradation of the original signal whether that's from inferior analog componentry or interference in the signal path. As soon as you convert the original digital (nearly all music is delivered digitally in today's world) to analog then that conversion and its subsequent quality becomes the new maximum quality that this audio can achieve. Sending that analog signal into a high quality DSP will not get rid of any artifacts introduced by the analog conversion so your stuck with that quality now.

So by defining the Signal to Noise Ratio, Dynamic Range, Frequency Response, etc. That you consider to be "good enough" you can then filter the available HUs that meet that criteria.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: 420tabbycat

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well then, it sounds to me like my current lower tier pioneer headunit is fine for driving around pulling a noisy trailer of equipment in a not so tight 20yo truck. But then, on the occasions that I want to show off to someone who appreciates the hobby, or even dabble in a sq meet if I ever feel the need I’ll get one of the latter options.
I’ll be looking over the threads on the converters but if anyone wants to comment on this thread it’d be cool. Between the douk usb to digital signal converter or the d10 unit with an IPhone running tidal as probably the highest quality source? Seems like the douk is powered by the phone and would be the simplest but the d10 with camera wire will allow phone charging and maybe some sort of expandability.
 

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Douk Audio USB Converter XMOS XU208 Digital Interface TOSLINK Coaxial DOP SPDIF Adapter DSD64 PCM192Khz Amazon.com: Douk Audio USB Converter XMOS XU208 Digital Interface TOSLINK Coaxial DOP SPDIF Adapter DSD64 PCM192Khz : Industrial & Scientific

Topping D10s HiFi DAC USB DAC XU208 ES9038Q2M DSD256 32bit/384kHz Coax/Opt/RCA Output Mini Desktop Audio Decoder(Black) Amazon.com: Topping D10s HiFi DAC USB DAC XU208 ES9038Q2M DSD256 32bit/384kHz Coax/Opt/RCA Output Mini Desktop Audio Decoder(Black) : Industrial & Scientific
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Topping D10s HiFi DAC USB DAC XU208 ES9038Q2M DSD256 32bit/384kHz Coax/Opt/RCA Output Mini Desktop Audio Decoder(Black) Amazon.com: Topping D10s HiFi DAC USB DAC XU208 ES9038Q2M DSD256 32bit/384kHz Coax/Opt/RCA Output Mini Desktop Audio Decoder(Black) : Industrial & Scientific
This option here has been the most trouble free, easiest to use and provides the best signal path for me!!! However being tied to Apple (in my case) is not ideal :( I just dont like apple phones/tablets but they are the only one that i have found that doesnt screw with the bits via lightening port
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,465 Posts
Cool so d10 and Apple camera adapter and I’m in business
The Douk or the Topping can both use the camera adapter.

Douk - more affordable, smaller (easier to hide) limited output configurablity

Topping - display; so you know what format, better ultimate SQ capability, impressive to look at and can be configured to output a specific format if you want to go through connecting it to a control source (laptop or tablet)

So the choice becomes aesthetics, financial and ultimately your own goals in whatever order your situation dictates.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2014 VW CC Sport
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
Get ya a topping d10 for usb to optical conversion for when ya want to have sq. Use whatever headunit for daily using rcas into the dsp. And use optical from topping to dsp with phone as source. I even put my topping into my dash. It usually says 88.2 or 96 but changes to 44 only when trying to take a pic.
Car White Light Automotive design Steering part
 
  • Like
Reactions: 420tabbycat

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can croon over not having a headunit to change volume and such but I can imagine that in practice, I would be running through the topping on the daily and force myself to get used to the Minidsp multi knob. I don’t listen to the radio, maybe npr but considering I don’t have CarPlay or any screen mirroring I really shouldn’t miss my old love and step into the modern sq setup with open arms. I’m already choosing the music on my phone I really don’t know what my hang up was, Alison ordered me the d10 and a set of better ground loop isolators today so the 900/5 can have both subwoofer and bridged midbass channels running noise free.
My gear is mismatched somewhat with different 5 channel amps but I’m about to have a solid 200w per midbass, close to 900w sub stage and decent drivers all around generally speaking, imho. And now a good clean digital signal, thanks y’all 👊🏼
 

·
Registered
2014 VW CC Sport
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
I can croon over not having a headunit to change volume and such but I can imagine that in practice, I would be running through the topping on the daily and force myself to get used to the Minidsp multi knob. I don’t listen to the radio, maybe npr but considering I don’t have CarPlay or any screen mirroring I really shouldn’t miss my old love and step into the modern sq setup with open arms. I’m already choosing the music on my phone I really don’t know what my hang up was, Alison ordered me the d10 and a set of better ground loop isolators today so the 900/5 can have both subwoofer and bridged midbass channels running noise free.
My gear is mismatched somewhat with different 5 channel amps but I’m about to have a solid 200w per midbass, close to 900w sub stage and decent drivers all around generally speaking, imho. And now a good clean digital signal, thanks y’all 👊🏼
What was causing the need for ground loop isolators?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
And I’ll just add I’d run coax rather than Toslink. Amazon Music doesn’t like anything less than 192khz. iTunes isn’t as picky. You’re in for a treat!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 420tabbycat

·
Registered
2004 Rav4 JL900/5 NVXvad2 MiniDsp 8x12(Dirac) LPG26NA GS25 Epique180-44 (2)Um12
Joined
·
1,792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What was causing the need for ground loop isolators?
Make sure you’re in a comfortable chair, it’s a long one.

 

·
Registered
2014 VW CC Sport
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
Long thread in the noise? You shouldn’t get any noise if you use optical. That’s what’s great about it! If you forget using the headunit that is.

I left my oem connected to the rear speakera only that way I still could have some talk radio or background noise when not using my real system. It also kept my backup camera working
 
  • Like
Reactions: quickaudi07
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top