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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:57 pm 
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Location: surrey, BC, CA
Technology may have advanced rapidly . But die hard car audio afficionados still use, minimalist front end units, absolutely no DSP's except notable companies that really define quality- like Audiocontrol, also the maker of Mackie for Pro audio use.

Back in 96 IASCA sound q competition, the judges were clueless we used Home audio cables, the least expected contributor to the sound quality. Even the car audio cables like Esoteric Audio simply cannot sonically compete . Another thing was that while most were at MB quart camp, Focal had started to creep into the really good sounding bunch. And there was another french maker of speaker that is as musical as Focal, it is Davis Acoustics, this is rare here in the Americas.
And there was a trick to in utilising those undermount tweaks or spikes in the amps- also made it sound really dynamic than screwing the amp to the panel. It is our One dollar tweak. No one figured out how the amps were supposed to stay put in a moving car, if cones were deployed underneath.

Today , we see really good value in amplification, prices that are so ridiculously low versus 15 years back. All processing, crossovers and integral with the amp. And for a basic setup you really only need a 5 channel amp , a single 10 inch sub and some descent speakers.

The only real problem is the player, where to find a minimalist one.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:48 am
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Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
I am still using my 1988 Alpine 7909 in my daily driver. I take it out during the winter and put in a Denon DCC-8570. I've been out of the car audio scene for a few years now but I am still using some of the very first pieces I bought. The only exception is the Alpha Core TQ-2 IC's running to modified Soundstream D-100 amplifiers. I had a couple of Adcom 2 channel amps installed for a while but they didn't fit into my last car and I stupidly sold them :(


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Location: surrey, BC, CA
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I am still using my 1988 Alpine 7909 in my daily driver.

That is one of those highly coveted units. Though my preference is the Denon dct R1 series, I bought one from canuckaudiomart, tested it out and it was real stunning in sonics, the Nakamichi sounded shut in by comparison. Also using a soundstream amp reference in my ride and Transparent Audio cable as well as Black Rhodium Prelude.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Location: burlington, ON, CA
Pioneer make a minimalist player and if you can find a 12 volt disc player or digital player with optical or rca out I would dump that into an Apogee Mini-Dac (12 Volt!!) alas now discontinued but exceedingly high quality sound. I do love Focal Auto products. Lexus make a supreme Levinson system in the long wheelbase top model-one can go deaf....in style and ultra quiet to boot. Most ultra expensive racing machines hiding as daily drivers do not have even power windows never mind a radio. They are so fast you need all your wits to drive them rocketships among and around ordinary tailgaters. Anyone who spends a fortune on car audio had better have a quiet car and there are almost NONE of those around.

-- 27 Jul 2010 04:11 --

Pioneer make a minimalist player and if you can find a 12 volt disc player or digital player with optical or rca out I would dump that into an Apogee Mini-Dac (12 Volt!!) alas now discontinued but exceedingly high quality sound. I do love Focal Auto products. Lexus make a supreme Levinson system in the long wheelbase top model-one can go deaf....in style and ultra quiet to boot. Most ultra expensive racing machines hiding as daily drivers do not have even power windows never mind a radio. They are so fast you need all your wits to drive them rocketships among and around ordinary tailgaters. Anyone who spends a fortune on car audio had better have a quiet car and there are almost NONE of those around.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:37 pm 
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goroigoi wrote:
Technology may have advanced rapidly . But die hard car audio afficionados still use, minimalist front end units, absolutely no DSP's except notable companies that really define quality- like Audiocontrol, also the maker of Mackie for Pro audio use...

...The only real problem is the player, where to find a minimalist one.

I’m not sure I’d agree with that statement, and I’ve been a serious enthusiast for 20 years. I've owned minimalist Denons, an Alpine 7909 limited, etc, and I'll never go back to analog signal processing for eq or crossovers. Time alignment is pretty much a must in a car IMHO, and it can only be done properly through DSP.

I spend quite a bit of time on various car audio forums and most serious enthusiasts seem to be using processors like the Audison Bitone, Alpine PXE-H650, or the new JBL MS-8 which are digital. High end decks like the Clarion DRZ-9255, Pioneer DEX-P99RS, or even the modestly priced Alpine CDA-9887 handle audio processing digitally better than any analog processor I've ever used.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:31 am
Posts: 90
Location: North Brampton, ON, CA
Wow, wish I had the time to get into this one properly....

Same background as a few people, near 40 with exposure to the good 'ol stuff back in the 80's and early 90's. Will type something out next week after the long weekend....

In a nut shell. Competed with Alpine amps (2pcs- 3545, 1pc-3555) head unit was the top of the line one from 1990 (had a very large square shaped display, can't remember the number at this time but will look it up), 11band graphic Eq 3331 and the piece de la resistance.... 7 band parametric eq 3401. All this mated up to MB quart separates all around and 2 Cerwin Vega XL-S15's in a 6.6 cuft box (a bit small for those drivers).

Bottom line... Fantastic sound after tuning. Hit 133dbA peak, +/-1.5db across the useable frequency range (40Hz up to around 13kHz). This was only due to the parametric where I could tune out the holes and peaks. Result... won every competition I ever entered except IASCA which novice competitors were allowed to bring their cars to professionals with a blank check and then come up against me! Amazing how my $3,500.00 worth of gear out shined their $20k cheque cars as I used to say. Competitors used to line up to listen to mine but the install was novice for sure. Cost me all my points.

Will update this later. If you check my previous posts you will see I owned a lot of good home gear before 1992/93 when I did the car audio for one reason... law of diminishing results.... home audio started to get VERY expensive without the returns I expected so I moved over to the car. Was a great idea at the time....

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:09 am 
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Location: surrey, BC, CA
Quote:
Time alignment is pretty much a must in a car IMHO, and it can only be done properly through DSP
.
Absolutely. I use audiocontrol myself, I stressed the exception from the above since I have compared Alpine vs Audiocontrol.
But before playing with time alignment, you are to start with smoothening up the peaks and dips. Which in itself is a challenge, since even a gain setting can throw you off in that elusive soundstage. In the IASCA days, we were tipped off by the judges regarding gain setting. Most of the failure was actually overbassed systems. And if it was corrected , there is still the trace of hearing that bass behind the back seat. This is why the variable 0-180 degree phase ( a time align in its disguise), is better than a switched one. When you will have tinkered and perfected it, the soundstage is dead on your front, which is the way it should be.
Time alignment is not only limited to bass , if correctly done - it will greatly help in the anomalies of difference location of speakers. But then again, even car audio clients come back to the shop after tinkering with their gear in which we nearly spent half of the day doing the correction.

If there is something learned .

1. Not all processors sound the same.
2. There is such thing as a sonic characteristic, most evident with upstream component players that can be A/B tested.
And the only way to do it is physically remove the unit from the car audio environment to fascilate ease of testing out which is better than the other. Back then it was easy to pick the Alpine over the Pioneer. The Alpine simply had cleaner highs. The Pioneer had the worst bass, it has that slack. And if you want a play safe unit that has pounding but clean bass, Clarion was one. The Denon DCT series were the cream of the crop, even the Naks couldn't match it sonically.
3. TRANSPARENCY , you cannot get it through DSP, no matter how long you spend time. It always starts out with the product that you choose.
4.DSP, if you are not sure with how it works, have it setup with qualified personnel, but the one who have a "trained ear". The mics that pickup the frequency in RTA and a correction applied thereafter is NOT a guarantee for good sound as well. Again this is why you have pricey mics that are the same price as your DSP. Not all mics are the same.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:58 am 
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goroigoi wrote:
3. TRANSPARENCY , you cannot get it through DSP, no matter how long you spend time...

Sorry but that simply isn't the case. You can read about a DPS prcoessed car that scored the highest sound quality score at Spring Break Nationals in 2007 here:

http://www.audiojunkies.com/blog/783/jbl-ms8-the-future-of-car-audio

That same processor can be purchased for less than $700 and it will outperform a trunk-full of old school analog (noise inducing, phase shifting) processors. Digital processing has been the standard in high end car audio for years, and there's no shortage of quality implementations.

I actually compared a battery powered Clarion DRZ-9255 ($1800 list, on board digital EQ, X-over, T-A) in my home system (then Thiel, BAT, Thiel) in place of my usual $3200 Copland CD player a few years ago. The Clarion gave up very little, and certainly wasn't lacking "TRANSPARENCY".

Some car audio enthusiasts like old school equipment, but it's no different than home audiophiles who prefer "vintage" gear; most of the time it's because of nostalgia or an item's "legendary status" rather than objective performance.


Last edited by electrafixion on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:16 pm
Posts: 249
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
It's not an option on the Lexus is250 AWD. I know...this is the car I am getting next year and its ashame that it is not included!!

OBI56 wrote:
Kartmn wrote:
Is there not a Mark Levinson sound system option on a Lexus SC400? (not sure about the model)


The Mark Levinson Audio system is optional on all Lexus models.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:14 am 
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Location: Brantford, ON, CA
I bet it will be installed if you say so! And pay.

Nice car!

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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Rennie wrote:
It's not an option on the Lexus is250 AWD. I know...this is the car I am getting next year and its ashame that it is not included!!

OBI56 wrote:
Kartmn wrote:
Is there not a Mark Levinson sound system option on a Lexus SC400? (not sure about the model)


The Mark Levinson Audio system is optional on all Lexus models.


The Mark Levinson Stereo IS offered on ALL Lexus models; you just need to step up to the bigger engine in the IS to get it! It is not offered on the IS 250 RWD and AWD, IS 250 C and IS 350 C or the upcoming CT 200h (basically a rebodied Prius with lots of extra luxury features). It is offered on all other IS series Lexus models as well as every other single Lexus model.

It is not a dealer installable option; it must be factory ordered.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Location: Welland, ON, CA
I wish I could remember more, anything actually, about the make and model of the equipment that comprised an audio system I heard about four or five years ago. The owner of the car, a Dodge 300, said the entire system cost about $16,000. I only got to hear it briefly, in the parking lot of a golf course, and it was the first and only car system I have ever heard that sounded this way. The entire soundstage was out in front of the windshield spread across the hood of the car, very much like the soundstsage of a good home system. There was absolutely no sound emanating from the rear area of the car at all, actually no sound appeared to be emanating from anywhere inside the vehicle. It was extremely dynamic, smooth, and detailed with very tactile but natural sounding bass. The soundstage was very deep, and layered although image size did seem to be miniaturized in comparison to live instruments. You would think I would remember at least some details about something that made that large of an impression on me but, no. I think maybe the head unit, which is actually the only piece of the system I saw may have been an Alpine, but I've heard some other higher up the line Alpine decks, and they never sounded like this one.

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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
The Bose sounded very very good in my NSX, although not as good as my home systems of ESL 57 or Tympani 1Ds.


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:53 am
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Location: Surrey, BC, CA
Alpine F1 Status head unit a slew of PDX amps, Type X components and some JL w7 subs!


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 Post subject: Re: high end car audio
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:59 pm 
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Posts: 1784
Location: Caledonia, ON, CA
Getting ready to install my first high end car audio since the 90's...
Picked up the Clarion DRZ-9255 for a head unit, pretty cool all copper chassis, 4 pre outs with almost infinitely adjustable cross over points, outboard power supply and d/a
Grabbed a four channel Focal amp for mids and tweets.
Have Scanspeak tweets.
Thinking of either Focal, Eton or Davis mids, have experience with all of them in the past, just can't decide.
Picked up Audioquest Boulder speaker wire, unterminated off the roll, normally for home theatre install.
Next I need to decide on custom terminated lenghts of interconnect wire, maybe cardas?
Not sure what to use for power wire, as this has been critical to sound in my home system, any suggestions?
Finally have to decide best place to get installed, in Southern Ontario.

Starting with a minimalist system, no sub, may need special door treatment/cabinet work to coax a little more bass from a 5 1/4 or 6 1/2 inch mid driver. If I can get that right I will live without subsonic bass. Not looking to blow out any windows. Just want something approaching the sound of a good 2 way stand mounted moniter.

Anybody with helpful suggestions?


Last edited by newmusic on Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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