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Discussion Starter #1
I know it's a broad question without putting a dollar figure on it, but still I'm wondering what general opinions are. Thanks!
 

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I realize that, and you're right of course. What about general quality of the more popular brands. I'm thinking Audison, AudioControl, Helix, Zapco.
 

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Budget + installer competence & experience w/ the said DSP is paramount. If your installer recommends Zapco go with that & buy the best Zapco DSP you can budget for even if you have to wait a little longer. If they rec Helix go w helix etc... If you are the installer download the manuals & SW & read up.

Stay away from Hertz H8 DSP unless you like accented high end, random Click noises, unexplainable distortion & alt noise/ engine feedback & a poorly worded manual that is confusing. I troubleshot that unit til I was blue in the face. Helix has 0 of the issues that the Hertz did using same install spot, same ground, wiring, RCA’s etc.

The Zapco Z8 IV II sounded more realistic and accurate vs the hertz but my Z8 IV II unit, one of the first installed, ( could have been installer error ) had some weird random stuff that would happen that could not be sorted. Sounded amazing compared to hertz.

Just got a Helix DSP.3 that I installed. I had very little issues installing & setting up a basic tune for playback. Sounds as good or better than the Zapco with a full tune b/c the Zapco had no output ( using OEM source & Iphone ). The helix is more present in the 1000 Hz & up vs the Zapco, but that maybe due to not having a full tune yet.

The helix sounds amazing with just crossovers & TA feeding my Zapco AP which feeds my Audiofrog GB60 / GB15 2 way. The helix DSP3 has 6V outputs so my amps run cooler, less hard than before with a skimp 3-3.5V max from the Zapco & Hertz.

The Z8 IV II has a nice included Rem control. The upgraded one is awesome. The Z8 IV II has built in Bluetooth streaming & a new IPhone remote control. Zapco does have a phone app for tuning which is cool. The helix director is awesome & easy to program to your likes via the menus.

I wish I would have listened to everyone who told me to go Helix DSP from the start! Setup is easy as well. The DSP.3 runs 64 bit SW, up to 96Khz sampling, 6V output, Built in limiter for Clipping prevention w/ digital sources.

Hope this helps
 

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I realize that, and you're right of course. What about general quality of the more popular brands. I'm thinking Audison, AudioControl, Helix, Zapco.
Two of those are pure trash. One is possibly ok but I know has its bugs, and the other is the most solid in the car audio market but isn't the cheapest.

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The helix DSP3 has 6V outputs so my amps run cooler, less hard than before with a skimp 3-3.5V max from the Zapco & Hertz.
This is not how things work. I think you need to look into how gain and gain structure works.

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If you’re focused on the budget/value side, the Dayton is prob the best bang for buck.

No it won’t compare to higher end models like Helix, but at $150, it’s a fraction of the cost.

I guess it depends on your goals and objectives. If budget oriented, my vote is Dayton. If quality/performance oriented (and don’t mind spending a reasonable premium), likely the Helix, though I don’t have personal experience with the higher end spectrum.

Good luck!

Edit: I reread the OP and looks like it’s more about best and less about bang for buck... so I suppose you can ignore the whole post! Lol

Leaving it in case other readers are looking for a budget option.
 

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I have only tried two DSPs - a Rockford DSR-1 and a Helix DSP.3. I absolutely love the DSP.3. To me, the Helix software is what really makes it stand out above others. Their software is very "logical" and extremely powerful, with features that others just don't have.

The only other DSP I might consider would be the MiniDSP 8x12 DiracLive DSP. That is a very unique DSP in that it has DiracLive auto-tuning capabilities and uses FIR filters instead of IIR filters. My understanding is that FIR filters are more powerful and may give better results over IIR filters. Plus the whole DiracLive auto-tuning is a huge benefit for those that don't want to get too involved with the tuning process, but still want to end up with great results.

I do also have a Dayton DSP-408, but have never used in in-car - but have read about some short-comings of the unit and it's not as powerful as something like the Helix DSP.3.

To me, a DSP is a hugely important part of a modern system and is not an area to be "skimped" on. I tried that once already with the RF DSR-1 and I just think that you are much better off getting a great DSP from the start (the DSR-1 is another "budget" DSP that is powerful, but has plenty of "cons" that you learn of as you start using it).

Just my two cents.
 

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The only other DSP I might consider would be the MiniDSP 8x12 DiracLive DSP. That is a very unique DSP in that it has DiracLive auto-tuning capabilities and uses FIR filters instead of IIR filters. My understanding is that FIR filters are more powerful and may give better results over IIR filters. Plus the whole DiracLive auto-tuning is a huge benefit for those that don't want to get too involved with the tuning process, but still want to end up with great results.

Just my two cents.
I have always wanted to try an MS8 but at this point with the age and having to buy used, I think the minidsp with diraclive is going to be my best bet with auto-tuning.
 

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For me it was the Mosconi 6to8v8. Picked one up used with amas/spdif for a little more than a new Dayton. That’s the best bang for my buck. It’s the only DSP I have used so it is all I know. Does everything that I need it to, whether the interface isnt as good as others I don’t give a FF. I am not about to drop ton of money (to me) on a new DSP to find out when the one I have works just fine
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Some really great responses fellas, thanks! I am in the process of possibly switching installers so talking with them is probably sound advice. I have also changed the AMP that I'm using.

There was a lot of shorthand in the recommendations you guys made. DSP's are something that only became wildly popular and readily available after I had already taken a step back from this field. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, I would ask if you could list the actual manufacturer and model number of the units that you mentioned. If it's too much of a pain, I understand.

I'm driving down to meet with Steve Cook this week but I don't even know what brands he sells in his shop. Honestly, the websites for retailers in car audio are just terrible. Actually his is better than many others but I will still need to drive a few hours to get anywhere.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just a quick example of why I asked for clarification. Mini DSP was mentioned, which I believe is a "brand" (could be wrong). But doesn't Helix offer a MINI that is a "model" name?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh, one more thing. The reason I didn't put a dollar figure on it is that since I was switching AMPS, my entire system design was changing. It looks like the layout will be much simpler and I'm not sure that I will need the seemingly endless complications and versatility offered by so many of these units.
 

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I’ve used the AudioControl D-4.800 and it’s nice but the software was very buggy for me and made me want to tear my hair out multiple times with random changes of my EQ settings and randomly losing my EQ settings. Once set, and after some hair loss, it was fine however ;-)

I now have the helix p six and I like it a lot more. Much more stable, and it has features like relative EQ adjustment which is very nice to have when dialing in your tune. (this feature allows you to link output channels where you can make an adjustment on one channel and not throw off the relative balance of everything - so you don’t mess up your center image for example).


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Discussion Starter #20
Meeting with installer in a couple of days, so we'll see what his thoughts are. I would rather he work with equipment he's familiar with and has confidence in but at the end of the day, it's my car and my money. I'm sure we can find common ground, especially after all the good things I've heard about him.
 
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