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Useful resources: learning about car audio.

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  • Useful resources: learning about car audio.

    Just seen on facebook a page posted up a site with written white pages which explain information for understanding the basics, what all the numbers, specs etc mean and so and how they function etc

    Some seem to point back to bcae1 and stuff which is a valuable site too and it's certainly worth reading if you're interested in learning about car audio stuff. Maybe worth a sticky ?

    http://www.glasswolf.net/papers/index.html Contains the following:

    Skill Level
    Car Audio: date last updated
    Amplifiers:
    Beginner
    "Clipping:" What is it, and what causes it? 17-May-2010
    Beginner
    The anatomy of an amplifier 12-May-2010
    Advanced
    Car Audio Amplifier Fundamentals 05-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Amplifier Specs explained 28-July-2008
    Advanced
    Amplifier headroom: A brief explanation 12-May-2010
    Beginner
    How to set your amplifier input sensitivity (gain) 06-May-2010
    Beginner
    What exactly is the gain setting on an amplifier? 07-May-2010
    Intermediate
    The relationship of Power to Volume 12-May-2010
    Beginner
    How do I set my amplifier up? HELP! 20-May-2010
    Beginner
    What is a "subsonic" or "infrasonic" filter and why do I want one? 19-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Crossover setting fundamentals 22-May-2010
    Electrical:
    Intermediate
    Alternator ratings - Shopping for High Output alternators 16-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Electrical charging Systems and Alternators 19-May-2010
    Beginner
    Stiffening Capacitors and what they do 05-May-2010
    Intermediate
    How to install a capacitor 16-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Why you don't need a capacitor. 06-May-2010
    Beginner
    What wire size do I need? 05-May-2010
    Intermediate
    The "Big 3" wiring upgrade. What it is, and how to do it. 05-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Battery Isoators: What are they? Do I want one? 21-May-2010
    Beginner
    Car Battery Types Explained 28-July-2008
    Intermediate
    How big of a battery does my stereo system need? 23-May-2010
    sigpic
    Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

  • #2
    Subwoofers:
    Advanced
    An Unbiased Comparison of Linear BL Technologies 12-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Hoffman's Iron Law 12-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Thiele-Small parameters defined 05-May-2010
    Intermediate
    DUMAX and T/S parameters 05-May-2010
    Advanced
    Damping Factor by Richard Clark (external link) 20-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Subwoofer enclosure types 12-May-2010
    Advanced
    The A-to-Z of Aperiodic enclosures 16-May-2010
    Advanced
    Calculating Impedance Rise 07-May-2010
    Advanced
    How to calculate for a flared port 12-May-2010
    Advanced
    Calculating frequency wavelengths 12-May-2010
    Beginner
    Polyfill (Dacron): What it does, and how to use it properly. 12-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Which way should you aim your subwoofer box? 16-May-2010
    Beginner
    Why do I get more bass when my windows are down? 16-May-2010
    Beginner
    What will inverting my subwoofers do? 05-May-2010
    Beginner
    How do I wire my subs to my amps? I don't know this ohms stuff! 19-May-2010
    Beginner
    Can I port a sealed sub box? 23-May-2010
    Beginner
    Notes on speaker size 24-May-2010
    Speakers:
    Beginner
    Sound Quality, Sound Pressure Level, and Boom Cars 05-May-2010
    Advanced
    SQ system set-up and theory 16-May-2010
    Advanced
    Front Stage Speaker Fundamentals 08-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Imaging and Soundstage Fundamentals 16-May-2010
    Advanced
    Sound Quality tutorial: The right way to set up a SQ system. 17-May-2010
    Advanced
    Rear-Fill Speakers; Do I need them? 19-May-2010
    Beginner
    What size speaker wire do I need? [calculator] (external link) 16-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Horn Loaded Compression Drivers (wave guides) 05-May-2010
    Beginner
    What speaker "Power Handling" numbers mean. 23-May-2010
    Miscellaneous:
    Intermediate
    The Ten Commandments of Noise Prevention 16-May-2010
    Advanced
    Sound curve weighting 16-May-2010
    Beginner
    A quiet car cabin is a happy car cabin 16-May-2010
    Advanced
    Transfer Function and Cabin Gain 12-May-2010
    Intermediate
    What is "Sound Quality" and how is is judged? (external link) 16-May-2010
    Beginner
    A brief history of car audio 20-May-2010
    Beginner
    A lexicon of car audio terms (a dictionary) 07-May-2010
    Intermediate
    Useful formulas for car audio applications 12-May-2010
    Beginner
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: What brands are good? 20-May-2010
    Head Units:
    Beginner
    The truth about head unit power ratings 16-May-2010
    Beginner
    How do I wire multiple amplifiers with only 1 pair of pre-outs? 05-May-2010
    Beginner
    RCA level pre-out line voltages explained 21-May-2010
    Intermediate
    How to connect an aftermarket stereo to an OE head unit 23-May-2010
    Last edited by Antz007x; 30-08-2012, 10:14 AM.
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    Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

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    • #3
      Terrific post, I second the sticky.

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      • #4
        Needs to be stickied IMO

        Great consolidation of information, some of it is really interesting

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        • #5
          Awesome content!
          Sticky indeed.
          Regards - Samantha XOXO
          2001 VX Commodore

          Originally posted by brian_rs/ss
          modded auto's are the tits. but i still love playing with my stick.

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          • #6
            Great post, rep your way come.

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            • #7
              Cheers for sticky... hopefully it'll help answer some questions for people starting out.
              sigpic
              Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

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              • #8
                Just though i'd attach these vids to bottom as they're useful for explaining some things in simple terms for folks who're not too interested in learning or reading about advanced electronics and stuff:

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                Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

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                • #9
                  sigpic
                  Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    sigpic
                    Girls like diamonds. Not STi's

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wrote this post as an introduction to car audio. It outlines what you need to get started, and some basic car audio theory. I've posted the first part here, and a link to the full article over on talkaudio.co.uk as it won't fit on MCM!

                      This Guide (and it is only a guide) is intended to answer some of the standard questions we have asked on this Forum. More often than not the question starts as:

                      "Hi! I'm new and I'd like to put a stereo in my car!"
                      So, You're new to the world of car audio and you've decided to spend your hard earned cash on audio upgrades. The following advice will help you buy and build a high performing versatile and upgradeable car Audio Install which will provide you with loud clear music, and be safe and reliable.

                      At the end of this Guide you should have a clear understanding of:
                      • The bits you need to buy to get a working sound system.
                      • The bits you DON’T need to buy.
                      • How it all fits and works together.
                      • How to install and wire it up to get it working (In a general sense).


                      "What Will I Need?"
                      The most fun part of every project is shopping. Yes, you will need to spend some money. How much, and on what, is down to you. Do your research and spend wisely. For the purposes of your first install the recommended system will be:
                      • Head unit.To play music, obviously.
                      • An Amplifier. To amplify the signals the head unit supplies.
                      • A Set of Speakers. To produce the bulk of the music for your “front end”
                      • A Subwoofer of some kind. In 90% of car audio systems you NEED a subwoofer. The unintiated my never even notice it’s there when you’re playing music, but you need it.



                      Other Equipment:
                      • Wiring kit to supply power to the amp and signal to the speakers. This will generally consist of:
                      • Large gauge Power Cable.
                      • A fuse holder and fuse to protect the power cable.
                      • Identical gauge Ground cable to connect the amp to ground (your cars chassis).
                      • RCA Cables (“Phono” cables) to carry the signal from the head unit to the amplifier.
                      • Speaker cable.
                      • A “Remote” wire which is simply any old length of wire that can carry a +12V signal to that amp to tell it to switch on (if +12v is present) or off (if +12V isn’t present). Some RCA cables have this built in.
                      • You may also need a Head unit wiring adaptor to convert your cars Wiring loom to an “ISO” block which is a standardised wiring block to allow you to plug in any head unit to any car and for it to work properly, drawing it’s power from the cars loom and powering standard speakers acceptably well, and a facia adaptor to make the head unit blend into the dashboard.
                      • Sound deadening. It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of sound deadening. The ever raging battle of Car Audio is defeating the harsh audio environment of a running, moving car and allowing the music to be heard. Sound deadening stops you losing your speakers energy to the outside world. It stops panel resonance overcoming speaker output. It makes the car a quieter, more pleasant place to be even if you’re not listening to music. Even the cheapest install should have some nod in the direction of making the car a better acoustic environment in the first place. If you’ve not sound deadened, you’re wasting money you spend on upgrades like a more powerful amplifier or a slightly nicer set of speakers.
                      • Some basic building materials: MDF, Screws, Glue, Tools… as much as you want and specific to your plans and aspirations!



                      "What DON’T I need to buy?"
                      “But my mates installs all have… The audio shop said I needed…. The audio shop has this on offer….”

                      Some of this is contentious and some of it less so but this is a basic install and designed to get a new Car Audio enthusiast the biggest bang for their buck. As such you can safely ignore:
                      • Line Drivers. These hark back to the good old days when head units had a very low Pre-Out voltage (0.1-1Volt). A Line Driver was like a pre-amplifier that boosted that voltage to 4-6V perhaps, and meant that your amplifier gains could be set lower, and higher sound quality and volume was the result. Nowadays even cheap headunits almost all have 2 Volt -8 Volt Pre-Outs, and a Line Driver is not necessary.
                      • Equalisers/Processors: These most definitely have their place, but in a first install, the head unit should give you some EQ and limited processing ability and will be more than confusing enough for a beginner. Some complex headunits have enough processing power on board to make external EQ’s and processors totally unnecessary.
                      • Power capacitors: Yes, lots of people have them, and they’re all shiny and stuff and they look bling and they’re fun to Leave charged up in the garage for your mum to find (don’t do this). If you’re running a very powerful amplifier, and the power supply is a problem, there are many things you should do before spending money on a power capacitor. You should do “The Big Three” to re-inforce your charging system. You should Run a bigger battery or more batteries. You should invest in a more powerful alternator. You should not spend money on a power cap.
                      • 6X9’s… Now, again, these have their place. Sort of. In specific applications they can be made to work well. However, by and large, they’re badly designed, have horrible sounding tweeters, they mess up the sound stage in your vehicle and they deafen you and your passengers. If they’re amplified they’re too loud and in the wrong place. If they’re unamped they’re probably distorting badly. A well set up system should not need 6X9’s, and certainly not £30 6X9’s screwed into a sagging parcel shelf above a booming subwoofer.




                      So Now I’m going to break down each of the key components in the System and explain to you what to look for when making your choices.

                      Head Unit:
                      “What’s wrong with what’s in my car already?”
                      The problem with most factory installed head units is primarily that they have no way of getting a signal to the amplifier. There is a way around this, but it’s messy. Some (Cheaper) amplifiers have “High Level” inputs, which means that you connect the speaker outputs to the amplifier directly, and it then amplifies this. This is all well and good, but that signal has already been through the head units (very cheap) amplifier output stage. You will also lack a number of other adjustments. You may not have a Sub Woofer output and the ability to control the Sub Woofer level independently of the rest of the system. You probably won’t have anything other than a basic EQ settings. You might not be able to control your Ipod or play music from a USB stick or even hard drive. All of these things can be provided by choosing the correct aftermarket Head Unit.
                      One caveat I will address is that more and more frequently, cars at all price points are now equipped with integrated Stereo/Navigation/Information display systems. Some of these can be really, really complex and fiendishly difficult to get around. It may simply not be possible in your New Audi, BMW, or Mercedes, or even Peugeot for that matter, to pull out an old stereo and put in a new shiny one. If this is the case, you are really limited to buying a product such as the expensive and extremely clever JL Audio Cleansweep, Audison Bit One or JBL MS8 Processors. These take the speaker or signal level inputs from the cars own audio system, and allow you to split it, process it, and output it for amplification pretty much however you want. At a minimum of £400 you’re looking at a significant investment, and you may want to seek professional installers to do this work. I would refer you to Model specific owners clubs if you’re in this situation, to see what others have done to improve their car audio.

                      So, that out of the way, you’ve decided you want a DIN slot sized Car Stereo. What should you look for?

                      Head Unit shopping list Summary:
                      • 2 or 3 pairs of RCA sockets on the back.
                      • High level Pre Outs – 2V to 8V
                      • Compatible with your music sources.
                      • A reputable Brand
                      • Some Audio Adjustment – Equalisers, Crossovers, Sub level control.
                      • Any advanced features are a bonus, such as Time Alignment or a configurable crossover network.
                      • New or Second Hand according to budget.


                      For the rest, please click this link:
                      TalkAudio.co.uk

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                      • #12
                        This is actually quite helpful, 10th post muhahahaha.

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