Read Here First: Basic Info, Brands, Etc

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Ronin, Aug 12, 2005.

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  1. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    Read Here First: Basic Info, What To Look For, What's What, Etc.

    Car Audio

    (Don't buy your car audio equipment from places like Circuit City, Best Buy, Magnolia, or just about any other major retailer. Use these places and places like smaller shops for auditioning; 9 times out of 10 you will get better deals elsewhere, if you need to have them install the stuff for you then I suggest still getting your stuff online and paying a relatively small fee for them to install it for you. Most likely you will still be ahead in price and online you get a better selection if theres something you dont care about auditioning.)


    Head Unit



    "Head Unit" of course refers to a CD/MP3 or DVD player.

    Head units can cost anywhere from 100 to 600 or even more. You first need to decide what you need from your player.

    Budget receivers, lets say 100-200 come standard with everything you expect to have an CD player and should play MP3 files.

    Brands common in the 100-200 range are Pioneer, Panasonic, and Alpine.

    Another feature to look for is a sub out if you plan on using a subwoofer in your vehicle.

    As the price keeps going up you will see more features coming in such as remotes for back seat passengers, aux inputs for ie. hooking up an mp3 player.

    Now most receivers are compatible with sattelite radio which I myself like since long spans of commericals on local radio stations grows tiresome.

    Line output voltage is another thing to be looking for if you are starting to get into more expensive units, the unit should be 4V (some players such as high end units by Eclipse may have 8v pre-outs). It may also be shown as pre-out voltage.

    Another thing you will see on head units is the signal to noise ration (S/N), this should be 100 or greater. The difference between a high 100 dB number and a 105 dB is not a deciding factor as both figures are excellent and will cause no problems in ordinary listening.

    A S/N ratio of 100 dB means that the maximum signal output is 100 decibels above the noise floor, or the point at which the signal will be obscured by noise (low-level hum and other electrical interference that is part of the component).

    Another term you may tend to notice is THD or total harmonic distortion.
    This is distortion created by harmonics in the original wave by adding in additional frequency peaks. The lower the THD the better. It is as Veonake described a useless figure. You will not hear differences in say between something that is .008 and .006 percent.

    When you install an aftermarket head unit you will find it neccasary to purchase a wiring harness which looks like this: [​IMG]
    wiring harness by Scoshe


    Recommended Receivers for varying budgets:

    People are always asking for help deciding what receiver to get and they almost always seem to be on a lower budget, lets say the 200ish and under range.

    Here is a list of receivers for each range that I picked, my search was relatively quick, please feel free to critique my recommendations also note each one is linked:

    100ish and under:

    Pioneer DEH-2700


    Panasonic CQ-C5110U


    I recommend a budget extension down here unless you are that tight for money.

    100-200:

    Alpine CDE-9843

    Pioneer Premier DEH-P770MP

    Panasonic CQ-C8300U


    200-300ish:

    Alpine CDA-9851

    Pioneer DEH-P8600MP

    Panasonic CQ-C9800U


    300+ high end:

    Nakamichi CD45Z

    Pioneer DEH-P9600MP

    Nakamichi CD-700II


    Alpine CDA-9855

    Eclipse CD8445



    Speakers:

    There are a lot of different speakers, lets start off with types.

    Coaxials are good in the event you are looking for a simple stock replacement, they consist of a woofer with a tweeter mounted in the center.
    [​IMG]
    6.5 inch type-r coaxial speaker by Alpine Usa

    [​IMG]
    Focal 165CV Coaxial


    A better choice would be Component Speakers. A typical component system includes separate woofers, tweeters, and external crossovers and are designed to work with each other. The ease of placement provided with the tweeter allows for better imaging. Component systems are generally made of better materials than their full-range counterparts, so they're capable of delivering exceptional dynamics and detailed sound.

    [​IMG]
    Rainbow Audio Profi Vanadium 3 way kick component speaker system



    There are a wide range of speakers, if you are on a tight budget a set of decent coaxials will probably be a good choice and they run better off of a head unit then large components which usually need to be amped.


    All speakers run better properly amped. Coaxials also will sound better with an external amp, and often times you can experience a bigger gain in SQ by adding a decent external amp than spending a little more to buy components.

    The material used in the speakers can also greatly effect the sound output this is a common observation when testing tweeters. The difference between a metal dome and a silk dome is something you should definately check as people will have different prefences for this. Metal tweeters can often get a little 'painful' or perhaps you could say 'shrill', that is depending on the users opinion though. Just remember to shop around and listen to what is available.

    As far as loudspeaker manufacturers go there are quite a few good ones: (Be sure to check prices at www.pricegrabber.com , www.ebay.com , www.thezeb.com , and www.woofersetc.com for the best deal possible. Morels will need to be boughten direct as others may also.)

    CDT

    HD-Z series and Eurosport series are recommended brands for this manufacturer.

    Focal

    K2 Power and Utopia Be series.

    Morel
    Renaissance and Elates, feel free to consider a customized option there is a lot of flexibility in this brand.

    Image Dynamics

    People tend to like the Chameleons and HLCD horn line.

    Dynaudio
    Be sure to check out their 3-way systems.

    MB Quart
    The Q-Line is quite impressive.

    Boston Acoustics
    The Z-series is one of the favored lines throughout car audio.

    Alumapro
    Makers of subwoofers and components. The United States official dealer of Rainbow Audio. Currently their site isn't linking to the rainbow section properly.

    When it comes to front stage there are a lot of different models you can go with.

    For about 800 bucks the Dynaudio 3-ways are a great set of speakers and about in that same range so are the Boston Acoustic Z6s. For about 1500 dollars the Morel Elates are top notch. You can't go wrong with the other companeis either.

    Subwoofers:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Adire Audio Tumult

    Subwoofers provide the low frequency extension for a sound system and if you listen to music like Rap and Techno a subwoofer is a very good addition to your set up. Not that a subwoofer doesnt effect

    other music as well, but the mentioned genres can be very bass heavy.

    Generally speaking you will want to build your own subwoofer box to make an optimal enclosure for your sub set up.

    As far as loudspeaker manufacturers go there are quite a few good ones: (Be sure to check prices at www.pricegrabber.com , www.ebay.com , www.thezeb.com , and www.woofersetc.com for the best deal possible. Morels will need to be boughten direct as others may also.)


    JL Audio
    A popular brand although generally high priced, if you are interested in JL Audio products expect to pay a premium price. JL isnt too savvy for online orders so don't expect a factory warranty

    www.adireaudio.com
    Makers of the acclaimed Brahma subwoofer, they also make other subwoofers and DIY home audio drivers.

    www.reaudio.com
    Maker of the XXX subwoofer, a widely popular subwoofer praised by many. The SX is also worth looking at.

    www.soundsplinter.com
    Great performance at a great price. Denim likes them a lot ;)

    www.edesignaudio.com
    One of my favorite companies, their prices are awesome.


    Equalizers:

    Taken from carstereo.com

    Equalizers are used to fine tune a system, not to fix design flaws. If you have to use a lot of equalization, there is a problem with the system that should be solved first by relocating speakers, changing crossover frequencies, amplifier gains, etc. Equalizers are valuable instruments to flatten a system's frequency response (making the levels the same at all frequencies). In competition, a measurement is taken on how flat the response of a system is. More points are given to a competitor with a flatter response. In a real system, a flat frequency response is a starting point, but does not ultimately mean perfect sound since human ears are not sensitive at the same level to all frequencies.

    Many people believe that an equalizer is to boost power by raising signal levels. 95% of the time an equalizer should be used to cut levels rather than boost them. In a well designed system the settings on an equalizer should not be too far from the zero dB line.

    Frequency

    [​IMG]

    Frequency is how many times per second a signal (AC) switches from positive to negative and back, measured in Hertz (see page on "Electrical Concepts" for a more extensive explanation). The frequency range in which we are interested for audio is from 20 Hertz to 20,000 (20k) Hz. The lower the frequency, the slower the signal oscillates.

    The frequency spectrum is read using a logarithmic scale, and is divided in octaves (doubling of the frequency). Octaves are for example, 20, 40, 80, 160, 315, 630 Hz and so on. Equalizers are divided in octaves, 1/2 octaves or 1/3 octaves. A 1 octave equalizer can only control 7-9 bands (frequencies), while a 1/2 octave equalizer can control 15 bands. A 1/3 octave equalizer would give you the most control over the system, by being able to adjust 30 -31 bands.

    Q

    Q is a measurement of how much the equalizer band affects a range of frequencies. A high Q means that the EQ can control a lower "envelope" of frequencies, while a low Q is a larger envelope. Looking at the image on the right, Q is the thickness of the affected frequencies. A smaller Q means a wider range of frequencies boosted or cut, while a larger Q is a narrower shape. Typical Q values are 1, 2 and 3.

    Parametric vs. Graphic Equalizers

    A graphic equalizer has usually fixed frequency and Q value. The layout of a graphic equalizer is the typical sliding controls arranged by frequency. The advantage of a graphic equalizer is that in the way it is laid out, it is easy to see what frequency is being boosted or cut and any person without much experience can adjust it. Since a graphic EQ has fixed frequencies and Q, it has limitations on what it can control.

    A parametric equalizer consists of knobs that are turned to desired levels, have adjustable frequencies and (usually) Q. The advantage of parametric equalizers is a much greater control, since frequencies and Q values can be adjusted. On the other hand, a parametric equalizer is much harder to adjust than a graphic EQ, requiring an experienced person and measuring equipment.

    Mono and Stereo Equalizers

    The main difference between mono and stereo EQs is that a mono EQ has only one input and one output, and a stereo has two inputs and two outputs. They both have their advantages and disadvantages: A stereo EQ controls your whole system (both left and right channels) and it is easy to adjust: Just turn the knob or slider and both left and right channels are taken care of. If you want to adjust left and right channels independently, you can't!

    A mono EQ controls only one channel, so you need two of them for the whole system. Since you have now two EQs it takes a lot more time to setup the system. Many people use mono EQs for the greater control they give over the system. Since left and right speakers are not exactly at the same distance to our ears, two mono EQs can help compensate for time delays and problems caused by speaker placement. Buying two mono equalizers is more expensive than buying one stereo EQ.

    Low Level and High Level Output

    A high level output equalizer takes either high level (speaker) or low level (RCA) inputs and has a built in amplifier. The output goes directly to the speakers and can not be hooked up to another amplifier. These equalizers are cheap and cause more damage than good to the sound system. They do "boost" signals, but all this does is add distortion to the overall sound.

    A low level input EQ takes RCA signals from the radio and has RCA outputs that get hooked up to amplifiers. Since these equalizers work at low signal levels, they introduce very little distortion, if any to the system. They do cost more and require more wiring than a high level EQ.

    A third kind of equalizer gets hooked up directly to the head unit via a special cable and is controlled by the head unit. These EQs use low level signals and are usually of good quality. The drawback is that if you want to upgrade the head unit or change brands, the EQ will not be compatible with other brands or even with different models from the same manufacturer.

    If you are looking for equalizers for your car then take a look at:

    www.audiocontrol.com

    Types of Enclosures:

    Sealed:

    The speaker driver is mounted into a sealed box with no air exchange from the air inside the box to air outside the box. This is acoustic suspension.

    The acoustic suspension design is able to play lower in the frequency spectrum and provides an arguably tight and more defined sound. The acoustic suspension enclosure is also the easiest to make with the most important (indeed vital) consideration being the size of the box (the box size must meet strict guidelines in order to work properly with a given bass driver putting out the most sound for a given input without sounding bloated).

    An acoustic suspension design takes advantage of the sealed enclosure to act as a spring helping to move the bass driver. As the driver moves in, the air inside the box is compressed. As the driver moves out, this compressed air acts like a shock absorber pushing the driver outward. This constant compression and decompression within the sealed enclosure helps this type of speaker enclosure to attain the lowest frequency response (all things being equal). However, it is important that such a design be absolutely sealed so that no air escapes or enters the box.

    [​IMG]

    Ported Enclosure:

    A ported enclosure is also known as a Bass Reflex enclosure.

    It is a type of speaker enclosure which uses a port to increase bass output for a given power input resulting in 2 to 3 dB (decibels) more sound pressure than a similar sealed enclosure.

    A port is a specifically tuned circular opening in the enclosure itself with a round tube extending back into the box. The port allows audio output generated from the back-side of a speaker driver to be used (as a speaker driver moves in and out to generate sound waves the front of the driver creates the primary sound energy heard, however, the unseen rear side of the speaker also moves air and produces sound waves). The port allows air inside the enclosure to move to the outside of the enclosure in order to improve bass output.

    A properly ported enclosure allows a speaker driver to perform more efficiently and provide more bass impact for a given input level compared to the same enclosure without a port. While a ported bass reflex enclosure is more efficient and able to produce more bass output than a sealed enclosure, a ported enclosure generally does not have quite as high a level of articulation and detail.

    [​IMG]

    In this diagram we can see the rear wiring and to the side of the sub the port tube which extends into the box.


    Bandpass Enclosure:

    This type of speaker enclosure used with subwoofers to produce large amounts of bass with minimal power input by utilizing essentially a sealed subwoofer enclosure mated to a ported box. A bandpass enclosure first uses a sealed subwoofer enclosure with an outward firing bass driver. This enclosure is sealed to a second enclosure with the bass driver firing into the second enclosure. The second enclosure does not have its own driver only a port. The audio output developed by the driver is reinforced in the second ported enclosure and then emerges through the port. In a bandpass enclosure the bass driver is not visible from outside the complete enclosure, and all the sound output comes through the port or tube.

    [​IMG]

    Diagram images were hax0red from bcae1.com but are hosted via my own hosting account.


    How To Aim a subwoofer:

    http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=2062426

    Amplifiers:

    Adding an amplifier gives you a clean power source that can drive your speakers without straining. That means your music will sound cleaner and more defined at all volume levels.

    There are many different configurations you can use to amplifier your speakers/subwoofer. You can use a 2-channel to power to speakers or a subwoofer. A 4-channel to power 4 speakers, or 2 speakers and a sub. And you can use a mono-channel subwoofer to power a subwoofer.

    (howstuffworks.com had a good article on the basics of an amplifer, the content I am taking from there will be located inside double brackets)

    [[In actuality, the amplifier generates a completely new output signal based on the input signal. You can understand these signals as two separate circuits. The output circuit is generated by the amplifier's power supply, which draws energy from a battery or power outlet. If the amplifier is powered by household alternating current, where the flow of charge changes directions, the power supply will convert it into direct current, where the charge always flows in the same direction. The power supply also smoothes out the current to generate an absolutely even, uninterrupted signal. The output circuit's load (the work it does) is moving the speaker cone.

    The input circuit is the electrical audio signal recorded on tape or running in from a microphone. Its load is modifying the output circuit. It applies a varying resistance to the output circuit to recreate the voltage fluctuations of the original audio signal.


    [​IMG]


    In most amplifiers, this load is too much work for the original audio signal. For this reason, the signal is first boosted by a pre-amplifier, which sends a stronger output signal to the power amplifier. The pre-amplifier works the same basic way as the amplifier: The input circuit applies varying resistance to an output circuit generated by the power supply. Some amplifier systems use several pre-amplifiers to gradually build up to a high-voltage output signal.

    So how does the amplifier do this? If you look inside an amplifier for an answer, you'll only find a complex mass of wires and circuitry components. The amplifier needs this elaborate setup to make sure each part of the audio signal is represented correctly and accurately. Hi-fidelity output requires very precise control.


    [​IMG]


    The goal of a good amplifier is to cause as little distortion as possible. The final signal driving the speakers should mimic the original input signal as closely as possible, even though it has been boosted several times.

    This basic approach can be used to amplify all kinds of things, not just audio signals. Anything that can be carried by an electrical current -- radio and video signals, for example -- can be amplified by similar means.]]

    Companies for amps you should check out:

    www.zapco.com
    Sort of a mainstream company for "higher end" amplifiers.

    www.arcaudio.com
    Pretty good amps, I'll probably be getting an amp from here or Elemental Desgins (money saving is always important ;)



    http://stereos.about.com/cs/gtamplifiers/a/tube_amps.htm In this link you will find an explanation of Vacuum Tube amplifiers. (Often found in Home Audio)

    Want to test out your car stuff inside your home but need an adapter? http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...G=Google+Search You will need a 120v to 12v adapter, many places to get them.


    Home Audio


    How To Put Together Your Own Audio System *Tutorial* LINK

    Room Placement:

    5.1
    [​IMG]

    7.1:
    [​IMG]
    Another Look:
    [​IMG]
    Of course, it's not always possible to place your speakers exactly as shown. The diagrams give a range of placement angles, so you have some flexibility. Sometimes you'll have no choice but to mount the surrounds behind you, but if you follow the guidelines as closely as you can, you'll have good sound.


    [​IMG]
    Ideally, your front speakers, high-frequency drivers, or tweeters should be positioned at ear level (when you're seated). Our recommended height for the surrounds is above ear level, as soundtracks are likely to be optimized for that location.

    Beyond keeping it on the floor, there's no specific rule for placing the subwoofer, as bass sound is non-directional. However, the amount of bass may vary depending on room location. You might want to try a few different places to determine what's best for you (sometimes moving the speaker even a few inches can change the sound).


    How To Written By Galen Carol Audio LINK
    THX Speaker Placement And Modes LINK




    Placing A Subwoofer In Your Room



    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    Subwoofer Placement Procedure


    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1) Connect the "Sub Out" of your Receiver / Preamp Processor using an RCA cable into a Y-cable into the "L" and "R" inputs of your subwoofer. Note: Unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, be sure to utilize both inputs of the sub as many subs sum the "L" + "R" inputs to yield a 6 dB gain from the input voltage of the processor. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]2) Place the Subwoofer in the most common location of your listening area. (Usually your couch, chair, or bean bag).[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]3) Play a bass heavy CD or other format (not 8 track!) that you are familiar with and turn the volume up so that the sub is really working.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]4) Now get on your hands and knees and pay homage to the subwoofer (just kidding). Seriously, for the next part of this set-up, prepare to do some crawling (this is the part that could get you committed, but its all worth it!) [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Note: The reason why you should crawl is that standing will put you about 5 feet off axis (depending on how tall you are) with the sub and thus will change the characteristics of the sound enough to potentially cause you to place the sub in a non optimal position. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]5) Crawl around the listening room and listen for when the sub seems to sound the best. (IE. Listen for depth, loudness, tightness and definition)[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]6) If possible, place the sub as close to this position as you can. This will ensure you have chosen the best location in the room.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]7) Now get off your knees and calibrate your system.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    For Example:


    [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]a) Adjust crossover point on the sub for optimal blend with main speakers. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]b) Adjust gain control of sub to tonally balance your system. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]c) Repeat A + B until satisfied. [/FONT]​
    (above taken from www.audioholics.com)
    DVD-Audio:

    (brackets indicate information used from howstuffworks.com)
    [[DVD audio and DVD video are different formats. DVD audio discs and players are relatively rare right now, but they will become more common, and the difference in sound quality should be noticeable. In order to take advantage of higher-quality DVD audio discs, you will need a DVD player with a 192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Most DVD players have only a 96kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converter. So if you want to be able to listen to DVD audio discs, be sure to look for a DVD audio player with a 192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converter. DVD audio recordings can provide far better sound quality than CDs. The chart below lists the sampling rate and accuracy for CD recordings and the maximum sampling rate and accuracy for DVD recordings. CDs can hold 74 minutes of music. DVD audio discs can hold 74 minutes of music at their highest quality level, 192kHz/24-bit audio. By lowering either the sampling rate or the accuracy, DVDs can be made to hold more music. A DVD audio disc can store up to two hours of 6-channel, better than CD quality, 96kHz/24-bit music. Lower the specifications further, and a DVD audio disc can hold almost seven hours of CD-quality audio.


    [​IMG]

    The graph above shows how the highest quality DVD audio compares to CD audio. You can see that DVD follows the signal more closely, but it's still a long way from perfect.

    [​IMG]


    Acoustical Manufacturers:

    http://www.acousticsciences.com/index.htm
    http://www.acousticsfirst.com/
    http://www.audioalloy.com/
    http://www.auralex.com/
    http://www.decware.com/p1324.htm
    http://www.echobusters.com/page1.html?
    http://www.guilfordofmaine.com/
    http://www.kineticsnoise.com/
    http://www.mason-ind.com/HTML/index.html
    http://www.owenscorning.com/
    http://www.questai.com/home.htm
    http://www.realtraps.com/
    http://www.rpginc.com/news/index.htm


    Recommended Systems

    I will be creating mulitple price backets and different types of systems, after this section I will be recommending individual components, if people would wish to add or suggest a change please do so. Each general price bracket will be accompanied by the recommended choice of audioholics.com with my own personal point of view to go with it.


    1000 Dollar Price Bracket:

    http://www.audioholics.com/showcase/systemguide/1Kentrylevelsystem.php

    Audioholics suggests:

    Home Theater Receiver: Pioneer VSX-815-K
    Price: 300 (253 at pricegrabber)

    DVD Player: Samsung DVD-HD850
    Price: 150 (137 with pricegrabber)

    Loudspeakers: athena TECHNOLOGIES Micra 6 Home Theater In A Box
    Price: 550 for system

    TV assumed to exist

    70 dollars on cables


    Ronin Suggests:

    http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=2192175

    Or

    HTIBs are pretty easy and this is the easy way to get a system going:
    Home theatre-in-a-box systems are always a good choice in the under 1 grand budget, this is considered relatively low end and getting everything together is going to save a lot of money and get things that were meant to work with one another. Yamaha makes great HTIBs.

    http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?stk_code=yamyht960&srccode=cii_5784816&cpncode=07-1345420-2

    Not only is this Yamaha HTIB from their newest line of HTIBs its also 290 dollars under the list price WITH shipping (because its free shipping :p) That eliminates the need to seperately buy speakers DVD player and receiver. You can now fully furnish ur cables.

    Assuming the cables run say 80 dollars you are 740 which leaves 260 dollars to play with. If you have vinyl and need a turntable you could buy a good enough one to play those records. You could buy an SPL meter from a place such as radioshack to help with the present and future set ups. 260 dollars can also buy a few new CDs and movies to try out on your new system as well :)


    Other than HTIBS :

    http://forums.offtopic.com/showpost.php?p=46873380&postcount=5

    Good OT Audio Threads:

    Basic difference in speaker wire quality: http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=2069747

    How some OTers feel about exotic wires: http://forums.offtopic.com/showthread.php?t=2055723
    Informational sites:

    www.audioreview.com
    www.audiovideo101.com
    OT's Audio Product Review Thread
    If you have a product you would like to review do it in that thread, each post will bump the reviews that way.
    http://www.bcae1.com/
    www.crutchfieldadvisor.com (gives the bare basics)
    www.howstuffworks.com Not only does it explain some basics of technical workings of audio components and sound itself, it will give you understandable descriptions to all sorts of topics you may be interested in.
    www.about.com Also has a large quantity of interesting technical/nontechnical information
    http://www.stereophile.com/reference/31/index1.html Building a hifi house
    http://www.harman.com/wp/index.jsp?articleId=default harman white papers
    http://www.harman.com/wp/pdf/multsubs.pdf Harman sub white papers
    http://www.harmanaudio.com/all_about_audio/acoustical_design.pdf acoustical design white papers
    http://www.epanorama.net/links/audioacoustics.html Tons of acoustical information
    http://www.audioholics.com/

    Online Dealers:
    --Car Audio--
    www.crutchfield.com (car AND home)
    www.pricegrabber.com (compares dealers, car AND home)
    www.thezeb.com
    www.onlinecarstereo.com
    www.justwoofers.com
    www.woofersetc.com
    www.etronics.com
    www.hookedontronics.com
    www.the12volt.com/
    http://www.fastfoursforumscarclub.com/temp/fhrxstudios/faq.asp (lot's of stuff in this thread has come from this link or has reminded me of one thing or another, they even have product outlines but beware they are full retail etc etc and are just examples ie there could be better combos available)
    --Home Audio--
    www.brandnamez.com
    www.onecall.com
    www.bhphotovideo.com


    (i may take excerpts from following posts to make things easier.)


    Terms and abbreviations explained and defined:

    Channel Seperation:
    Measurement in decibels of the amount of channel leakage that occurs; higher figures are preferable meaning that there is little channel leakage. A higher dB value of channel seperation is what you want.

    Channel Leakage: Audio signal that travels from one channel to another where it is not intended to be thus creating distortion; bleeding of audio information between channels. Channel leakage is just that, sound leaking from one channel to another.
    Take a stereo left and right channel. The left channel should have a distinct signal as should the right channel. Channel leakage occurs when information from the right channel moves over into that of the left channel or vice versa.

    dB: Logarithmic scale measuring the intensity of sound (the sound pressure level); a 10 decibel (dB) increase represents in a doubling of sound level.

    Since the decibel scale is logarithmic, there is not a linear relationship between levels. For example, on a linear scale, 4 is twice is big as 2 and 8 is twice as big as 4 and 4 times as big as 2. When measuring decibels, 20 is twice the sound level of 10 decibels but 30 is twice as loud as 20. That makes 40 decibels twice the sound level of 30 decibels and four times the sound level of 20 decibels (on a linear scale, 40 is two times 20). In an audio system, to produce three decibels more sound output, the amplification power must be doubled.

    One decibel is the smallest perceptible change in sound level that the human ear can detect. Some examples of sound pressure levels are: whisper – 20 dB, normal speech – 70 dB, passing subway train – 100 dB, large jet plane – 120 dB. The threshold of pain is around 120 dB.

    Decibels are most often used to describe sound pressure level (commonly referred to as volume). However, the term is also used in various other measurements such as signal-to-noise ratio, gain and dynamic headroom. In these instances, decibels refer the measurement of signal increase or signal strength instead of sound pressure level, but the scale and basic idea behind it remains the same.

    [​IMG]

    Dynamic Range: Difference between the highest and lowest sound levels a sound system reproduces; also the difference between the overload level (the highest possible output) and the noise floor (point where output is at a minimum – if output goes lower it is obscured by distortions or noise making it unusable).
    Dynamic range is measured in decibels (dB) with a higher number being better. The higher the dynamic range the more a particular audio component can output undistorted sound from a low level to a high level.

    Wow and Flutter: Variations in the speed of playback of a recorded signal resulting in pitch variations and distortions. Wow has to do with small speed variations resulting in a wobbling sound. Flutter deals primarily with quicker speed fluctuations. Wow is a slower form of flutter. The two cause audible distortions in the reproduced signal.

    Think of driving down the highway at a constant speed of 60 miles per hour versus slowing down to 55 then speeding up to 65 then slowing down again and so on to average 60. The engine emits a steady, constant sound at the constant speed. However, when the car speeds up and slows down constantly, the engine noise lessens then revs up to a high level then lessens, etc. This is similar in concept to the effect of wow and flutter.

    Wow and flutter is given as a percentage and the lower the percentage the better. Wow and flutter is primarily an issue with cassette tapes and records.



    The How-To Section

    How to build custom speaker pods for a car
    Building A Sub-Box Site 1
    Building A Sub-Box Site 2
    Building A Sub-Box Site 3
    How To Aim A Subwoofer
    Tons of how to articles by CarStereo.com

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2006
  2. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    A critique: THD is a basically useless figure. Preout voltage is not DIRECTLY related to SQ - a HU with 4 volt preouts could sound better than one with 8 volt preouts. You should also mention with higher price you also SHOULD be getting better DAC's, CD mechanism, time alignment, x-over adjustment, more bands on the eq or a peq, etc. A full range is not a coaxial. A full range speaker is one cone that produces the entire audible spectrum, and are basically only found in the home, often in transmission-line designs. Coaxial is as you described.

    All speakers run better properly amped. Coaxials also will sound better with an external amp, and often times you can experience a bigger gain in SQ by adding a decent external amp than spending a little more to buy components.

    As for your company recommendations, well... speakers are so subjective it's a lot harder to make those recommendations. I also think you should include Polk, but I'm biased. Some people really like Infinity as well. I'd shy away from recommendations on brands for speakers.

    I know it's bandwagon, but so what, JL also makes great subs. You should also include something about the benifits of sealed, ported, and band-pass.
     
  3. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    ok thanks, im editing in more stuff and the primary reason for listing brands is for people who might not know many brands and they can find some generally decent companies.

    I have very little sleep right now so I will do more editing in the afternoon.


    EDIT: If anyone wants to do some reviews for products we could put them in here or make a product review thread. :dunno:
     
  4. bigman7903

    bigman7903 OT Supporter

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  5. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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    excellent start to your thread. you might want to include an amplifier section to explain what the basics are about amps (if you haven't already thought of this). I would explain the many different output setups (i.e. 2 ch, 4ch, 5 ch, mono, etc.) and what kind of features to look for in those setups. Also I agree with veonake on the brand inclusions in your thread, mainly for the reason that they are so subjective. I personally prefer DEI audio products (Orion, PPI, Viper, etc.) and I do like Kicker products (we know that you and i disagree on that one!:big grin: ). My opinion is that you could leave the branding to the other threads and perhaps let this one be strictly informative. I think another thing to be included in the thread is to remind people that audio is all about what sounds best to them, and encourage to go further than just saying "hey OT, what sounds good". Let's encourage some research and listening as well.
    Overall, you've got something very useful here, and I am excited to see how it's going to pan out!

    EDIT: I also like the product review idea, but I think we could do another thread for that.
     
  6. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    I agree with the branding idea, Ill make another thread for such things. And I will try working on this thread more soon. (I keep forgetting :hs: )

    I will most likely edit it in little pieces over a period of time as new ideas and info come into me. I will also try to get some pictures to display.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2005
  7. JRock10

    JRock10 Active Member

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    excellent job with the pictures!! this is going to take a while, but when it is done i think that this will be an excellent aid and may help eliminate some of the pointless threads.
     
  8. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    Updated amplifier section
     
  9. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    added more dealers, started and worked on the terms section

    planning on starting a how-to section and getting the home audio specific information going
     
  10. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    I'll be adding large quantities throughout the day to this thread.

    Added equalizer section

    Remeber to use the search feature or u can use your browsers which is CTRL+F to find things.
     
  11. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    added a recommended receiver section, should be of some use

    I am putting it in this post also so I can link it http://forums.offtopic.com/showpost.php?p=41386310&postcount=11

    Recommended Receivers for varying budgets:

    People are always asking for help deciding what receiver to get and they almost always seem to be on a lower budget, lets say the 200ish and under range.

    Here is a list of receivers for each range that I picked, my search was relatively quick, please feel free to critique my recommendations also note each one is linked:

    100ish and under:

    Pioneer DEH-2700


    Panasonic CQ-C5110U


    I recommend a budget extension down here unless you are that tight for money.

    100-200:

    Alpine CDE-9843

    Pioneer Premier DEH-P770MP

    Panasonic CQ-C8300U


    200-300ish:

    Alpine CDA-9851

    Pioneer DEH-P8600MP

    Panasonic CQ-C9800U


    300+ high end:

    Nakamichi CD45Z

    Pioneer DEH-P9600MP

    Nakamichi CD-700II


    Alpine CDA-9855

    Eclipse CD8445
     
  12. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    Added tons of resources involving acoustics, will add more readily readable information.
     
  13. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    Started adding brands to each respective category
     
  14. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    Thread will be overhauled tonight, got a lot of stuff to throw in here
     
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