Monday, September 12, 2005

Part 5 - Sound

Next in 10 Steps to Understanding Car Computers is sound output.

For computers, there are 3 hardware choices for getting sound out of the computer.
  • Onboard Sound Card
  • PCI Sound Card
  • USB Sound Card
Many motherboards these days come with onboard sound. If you chose VIA conputers then it has an onboard sounds card. They are not the most powerful cards, and do not offer advanced features. With these you still have the option to upgrade later.

There are PCI card slots in the majority of computers. It is an expansion card that plugs into the slots on a motherboard. With these cards you can upgrade at any time and still ave a lot of advanced feaures.

USB has allowed many devices to easily be attached to a computer without having o open it up. You can also easily swap the device between multiple computers. There are a few very popular USB sound cards.

I chose to use a usb sounds card. I was trying to decide between the Creative USB MP3+ and Creative Axtegy thingy

OK, so you have some sort of a sound card. Now how does the compoter's sound play out of your car's speakers?
  • Auxilary Imput
  • Cd Changer Hacks
  • Fm Radio Modulator
  • Directly into Amp
Heada unit vs. No head unit

A lot of the time when people install touch screen. they remove their head unit and replace it with an amplifier. For this kind of setup, the computer connects directly to the amplifier. You then replace the factory wiring so connect the speakers to the new amplifier.

If you leave the head unit in place, you can connect your computer to it in a number of ways. The easiest is having a CD Player with an auxilary input jack on the front of it. You can also hack into the head units cd changer options if it has that feature. Finally, you can use a FM Modulator to broadcast your music's signal from your computer over FM radio waves to the head unit's radio.

I left my head unit in place and connect the computer via Aux input. I purchased my head unit a few years ago specifically because it had the input. At that time I was just using my mp3 player. It is the easiest solution. out of the 3 head unit choices.


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