DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 132 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Several of us have been using a digital media player as out main source - using a hard drive up to 500gb and lossless bit perfect files through a digital output and relegating our CD players to second fiddle (I have three cd's in the car atm and rarely listen to them). By connecting the digital out stright into our: Clarion DRZ - Alpine H701 - Bit One (or anything else with a foolable digital input) we have gotten a very clean signal that honestly seems at least on par with and possible cleaner than CD sound. Plus, you have hundreds of songs, random selection, the ability to play even hi def video and many other features right at your fingertips.

Unfortunately, the main thread was written primarily for users of the DRZ - so anyone who had another product may have simply passed it by... so I started this thread for the several of us to share our ongoing experience and to let people with different systems see whats been going on. For anyone with interest in this direction, I recommend searching the word Sarotech and my user name and you should find 3 prior posts with nearly EVERY part, its seller, how it fits and more! Anyone with reasonable audio understanding and minor electronics skills should be able to make this happen!

Here are some other places to look:
The current thread most of us have chatted on: http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/diy-mobile-audio/38456-no-more-cds-ipods-me-drz9255-optical-input-fooled-4.html

Sarotechs website: ???

Please please check the other posts prior to asking a general question... they are 4 pages at most and really do explain most everything that you will need.

You will need a monitor of some sort - people have used everything from $75 visor mounted monitors to double din - indash monitors... but you may be surprised at how nice it is to be able to watch a movie or an episode of southpark over lunch in your ride from time to time.

Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
I said it before and I'll say it again...This is one of the best improvements I've for my truck to date. The qaulity and convenience is unmatched. I posted it on one of the other threads but in total, I think I spent around $400 for everything I needed, including the monitor. And now that I have a bit one, I don't even need a head unit!

The most painful part of the whole thing is converting/re-ripping all of your CD's to lossless (if you haven't already), especially if you have a large CD collection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I'll say this again, since we may be reaching new people here, the entire reason I am posting this information is because this little system is just so d#$m sweet! It sounds incredible, and since using it and ditching CDs I am getting to listen to a lot of music that I'd simply not hear if I had to sort through all my cds to find the one track I liked on that particular list. You know those tracks you always forget about - but when you hear them playing somewhere you go - oh yeah... I love this! Well, you will hear those all the time!

In addition, the player can be used to tote your entire collection of hi definition video complete with dolby digital or whatever... and you can just plug it into anyones HT system which is pretty cool too. I've not used the hdmi cable option but it seems like an easy way to go. You can also have photos rotate while you are headed down the road... all in all, it was a big hit with the grandkids too.

I have now used the S version for about 6 months (then I scorched it - my fault for hurrying...) and the X version for about 6 months. The person I bought it from and I have talked a lot and he has never had anyone have to return one but me (and he has sold a lot) and has never had an issue with one, so it seems pretty dependable. For the price of a hard drive and the unit itself, it seems like one of the single best investments a person can make toward having perfect audio output and allowing extreme listening access and flexibility. I guess that fact that I am getting rid of my head unit and going to a Bit One.1 and one of these for all of my listening and watching should pretty much tell you how much I like this. I love my DRZ, but I never use the radio or the cd player, so the B1 gets me more flexibility and the chance to do more add ons later.

As far as being handheld, I have to disagree sadly. It doesn't have a battery or a screen and runs far too hot to be something you want in your hand imho haha. The S version is cooler running by a long shot though.

As I mentioned, since patching to the latest version (which allows audio playlists again!), I've been having an issue with a snapping noise when playing any WAV file - but everything else is working great. I'm not sure its the patch though - since I don't know exactly when the issue started. Anyone else having this issue?

EDITED: Sadly the only lossless codec supported is WAV, and although it supports wma9.2 it only supports the lossy version. I'd apparently converted the ones I thought that were lossless to the least lossy versions - so my earlier statement about the lossless codec is not correct.... Naturally, this is relevant for the 260X version.

It appears that I might have to buy another unit if I can't determine what is making these files behave badly, but I've written the company to see what they might have to offer. Be aware, customer service on this isn't so hot unless you can speak Korean. You can send things back for replacement under warranty or repair for a small fee, but it takes them a good while to do the work. I'll be sending this unit in I suppose, but since they don't cost too much, I'll probably pick up another one for use in the meantime.

Lastly, I did a LOT of research before selecting the Sarotech version of this type of player. Yesterday I ran into another companies model that has burr brown op amps and a quite nice digital/analog onverter built in! It also has some sort of temperature dependent crystal time adjustment that the makers claim is very beneficial to the sound. It'd sure be great to use a model that I know is designed for the audiophile! I think this unit is more designed for home use - but one can always stick a 2.5 drive in it for superior vibration and temp adjustment. I doubt I'll ever count on a PC to produce the main sound for my system (as someone mentioned) because the media player is a dedicated device with quality output already... unless the sound cards become very advanced and lower priced... right now a good sound card cost more than the media player does... so why bother?

Jim

UI screen shots coming soon...
Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
"Less, how about this: UnicSen - Unique Electronics from Around the World - Unicsen, Inc. It´s the US branch of the company
I´ve bought my units from. "

BTW - best price around on the X model can be found here - $179

Thanks for the tip friend and sorry I don't know how to quote into a different thread =)

Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Lastly, I did a LOT of research before selecting the Sarotech version of this type of player. Yesterday I ran into another companies model that has burr brown op amps and a quite nice digital/analog onverter built in! It also has some sort of temperature dependent crystal time adjustment that the makers claim is very beneficial to the sound. It'd sure be great to use a model that I know is designed for the audiophile! I think this unit is more designed for home use - but one can always stick a 2.5 drive in it for superior vibration and temp adjustment. I doubt I'll ever count on a PC to produce the main sound for my system (as someone mentioned) because the media player is a dedicated device with quality output already... unless the sound cards become very advanced and lower priced... right now a good sound card cost more than the media player does... so why bother?

Jim

UI screen shots coming soon...
Less
Let me guess .............this one:D
Pixel Magic Systems - Media Players - HD MediaBox
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,807 Posts
any way to bypass the hu altogether, and run a signal from an mp3/mass storage device straight into the car amps/processors via a quality DAC?

i am ready to lose all the scratched cds on the floor of my van.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
any way to bypass the hu altogether, and run a signal from an mp3/mass storage device straight into the car amps/processors via a quality DAC?

i am ready to lose all the scratched cds on the floor of my van.

That is exactly what I am planning on doing as soon as the Bit One comes in... provided that it works correctly. Jeesh it sucks to worry so much that I am going to get a working unit though - dealer told me yesterday that it was a "special order" and due to that it doesn't qualify for a refund... but since I've not seen the unit yet, I'm half tempted to cancel the order on my credit card and blow off the Bit One just because of this attitude!

Anyhow, sure, you just run the coaxial or optical output out of the media player into your bit one - or any processor that has a digital input and off you go!

And yes, I was looking at the Pixel Magic version - but NO WAY. Just read their forums and you know not to go that route! Thats wjy I keep reading and researching though. Someday, someone will get it all together. So far, the Sarotech still seems to be a good option. And, the S model actually has some features that make me prefer it to the X model - especially since my X model makes a ticking noise when playing the only kind of file I want it to play (which I think is the result of their patch!) Hopefully they will get it back going again... but I'll probably buy a S version to run music anyhow, sine M3U playlists still work on it.

I'm also curious about the Tvix products, but their portable version has been discontinued from what I can tell... and the operating temperatures of the in home versions make me worry a bit - plus they cost more... but they do have some nice features!!! EGreat and Popcorn hour are others that I am looking into - and I've heard good things about both. Egreat has an open forum for their products and it doesn't seem to be over run with peoples complaints... or at least complaints that the thing just isn't working.

Anyhow, the CD thing is why I went this way and I won't be going back. Even though there isn't a perfect solution yet, the Sarotech is really a nice unit and would probably still be working well had I not wanted to patch it haha.

Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
I am just so used to the iPod in the car and since I have all of my music, with a few random iTunes downloads, in Apple Lossless I am planning on upgrading the HDD in my 80GB iPod video to 240GB. This will easily hold my 120GB music library and give me room to grow. I have just a bit too much music to fit it all on a 120GB iPod classic.

The main reasons for this are that I don't want to add a screen and I don't want to have to re-rip all 400 CDs to another format. Apple lossless suits me well.

For anyone else this sounds like an awesome device.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
I just purchased a Zapco DSP6, which has optical input. I called Zapco and told them that I was interested in going the Sarotech route. But my concern was whether I would be able to switch inputs on the DSP6 from my DVD double din to the optical input connected to the DSP6. Also, since the optical wouldn't be connected to the HU, I was concerned about having volume control.

Zapco advises that the latest firmware on the DRC controller is preset by default to switch inputs by pressing the left and right arrow keys on the DRC, and control volume with the up and down arrow keys.

This sealed the deal for me. It means with the DRC I would be able to run whatever DVD Dubdin that I wish with the anaolog out going to the DSP6 and run the media player to the optical in, easily switching between the two.

I would be able to run the video out of the media player to the aux video in on the HU and view the playlists, etc.

Am I correct in this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
It sure sounds like you have a good deal going with the Zapco to me! I think you will enjoy this option a lot...

As for my ticking noise issue when playing wave files (that just recently started), it appears that it wasn't the firmware as I've downgraded back to 1.07 and it still makes an annoying tick! I hope whatever the BitOne had isn't catching lol!

I strongly advise anyone using one of these to keep their unit in a well ventilated space or to fan cool it if you are putting it in a glovebox or something. Mine has overheated before I fan cooled it and I think that might be why the WAV files are giving me grief now =(

It normally runs a little hot, but its amazing how much more heat you get if you don't give it a little breathing room. I don't remember this being an issue at all with the 260S model though.

Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Less, how about this: UnicSen - Unique Electronics from Around the World - Unicsen, Inc. It´s the US branch of the company
I´ve bought my units from.
FYI, This place seems like a pretty good place to work with. I picked up a DVP260S for just $109 plus shipping. Sadly I had to do this because I got an empty box for my trouble and $23 shipping when someone at the post office apparently stole it - and Robert Kassas didn't bother putting insurance on a package that was shipped to China, then Korea then China then back to the US.

Anyhow, they are located in the US and are an actual company with people who answer the phone and speak English quite well! The 260X model is only $175 and that blows away some of the eBay sellers out there. I was actually planning to by mine from eBay but the seller actually was cool enough to write me and tell me that he was having such bad trouble with shipping that he didn't even want to sell one to me!

Anyhow, I am looking forward to having working playlists and a really nice hand made wallpaper again... plus the S model volume control doesn't adjust the digital output, which makes me think it may be less likely to have non-audiophile quality processing of any kind in the signal path. Sadly though, the GUI is not nearly as nice - with the biggest issue being the fairly small number of characters it displays. I don't remember it having any issues with heat either - but I'll still be running it with forced air cooling since I've already built it and I think it helps the hard drive longevity to run cool.

As for my 260X, I'm waiting to see if they send me an RMA number to get it repaired. Naturally, I'll keep you posted.

Its nice to know these are available from an actual company for a really nice price though and I am very thankful to whoever posted the link for that place on the other thread!

Enjoy your independence day!
Less
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,958 Posts
Less have you solved your ticking noise issue? Slowly piecing this together, got the changer and optical cable, once I can afford it I will pick up the sarotech or modded xbox, which ever is cheaper and better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Less have you solved your ticking noise issue? Slowly piecing this together, got the changer and optical cable, once I can afford it I will pick up the sarotech or modded xbox, which ever is cheaper and better.
XBOX1? Cheaper, better and BIGGER. Do you have a tft screen adapted to the xbox?

How about powering the porn box?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,958 Posts
XBOX1? Cheaper, better and BIGGER. Do you have a tft screen adapted to the xbox?

How about powering the porn box?

Well I've found the xbox unit itself for 50, but then you need a power supply...I found a nice one for about 120...then it needs to be modded...i''m guessing 50 for the chip...so 50+120+50 =220 not including harddrive...for a used unit that takes up more space and is not portable...will take more work to get it up and running since I will have to configure the o/s, which I have to go find and figure out how to install...plus I fucking hate microsoft and if the xbox reliablity is anything like any of their o/s's then, well... we know who the winner would be:rolleyes:...but I guess I still consider it an option despite all that...

and what do you mean porn box?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Less have you solved your ticking noise issue? Slowly piecing this together, got the changer and optical cable, once I can afford it I will pick up the sarotech or modded xbox, which ever is cheaper and better.
My problem is that the unit overheated... and it was somehow damaged so that it has issues playing .wav files and nothing else. Strange, but true! I picked up a 260S and put the same hard drives in it, and it works fine! I'm not having much luck with the Sarotech Customer service folks, although they did send me new firmware files to try... now I can't get them to repair the unit even offering to pay up front for the repairs and shipping both ways.

While that troubles me a bit, I am honestly so stoked about how good this thing sounds and how easy it is to use, I'm sticking with it. You can get the S model for like $120 at the site listed above and a huge hard drive for $100 and the S has some nice benefits! It plays from multiple playlists without requiring file duplication and it also allows you to create a nice custom background. That way, instead of looking at the 260X gui, you can put a picture like the ones for the Alpines (check out this site for a wealth of very cool custom backgrounds that you could just cut and paste: Pride Rock:  Home of Mufasa) and the menu projects right over top of it.

Here is the latest BG I made today just for kicks (note that it projects a bit bright so I tone down the images and they brighten up on the screen):



The S model doesn't play as many video formats though and it doesn't allow as many characters on the screen. I wish some manufacturer of these things would get it right... and I've even contacted a few to see if they'd bite on the concept of making a portable audiophile quality player with high end d/a converters and op amps allowing anyone to drop this in through even an analog aux in.

Still, the digi out on this is simply as good as you are going to get sound wise. There are a fair number of us using the Sarotechs now, and some pretty high end users at that. To date, nothing but praise and not a single negative commend on SQ quality (using the digital outs).

XBOX - I was actually looking at the same option for quite a while, and one guy wrote telling me he'd sell me a custom converted one for about $600. The theory of massive hard drive storage, easy access, playlist ability and quality output could come through a variety of techniques ... some may be better than others, but I say - be creative! It makes you feel pretty good when you come up with something like this and not only does it work - it works well!

If you don't understand what is being talked about - you have a couple options: 1. search sarotech and read through the threads completely and: 2. write one of us with some specific questions. Lots of friendly helpful folks doing this.

Jim
 
1 - 20 of 132 Posts
Top