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Old 13th January 2010, 15:17   #1
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Default How important is the Head Unit(HU) for medium sound quality

I was thinking of a budget system for somebody who just listens to 128-196kbps mp3s

The system would be the 1000-1200rs SD Card/USB only HU, a 5000-6000rs budget amp(4 channel) like JBL entry levels, 1 pair of compos, and a pair of 3 way speakers costing less than 4000rs. So for 11000rs total cost it would be a complete system.

Now my query is that for decent sound quality, nothing exceptional, will such a chinese HU be okay? Most of the amplification will be done by the Amp itself, so HU can be operated at lower level, hence low distortion.

Anybody seen or used such a system?
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Old 13th January 2010, 15:33   #2
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if an amp is certain, might i suggest
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/ask-gu...will-work.html
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Old 13th January 2010, 15:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I was thinking of a budget system for somebody who just listens to 128-196kbps mp3s

The system would be the 1000-1200rs SD Card/USB only HU, a 5000-6000rs budget amp(4 channel) like JBL entry levels, 1 pair of compos, and a pair of 3 way speakers costing less than 4000rs. So for 11000rs total cost it would be a complete system.

Now my query is that for decent sound quality, nothing exceptional, will such a chinese HU be okay? Most of the amplification will be done by the Amp itself, so HU can be operated at lower level, hence low distortion.

Anybody seen or used such a system?
I hope the HU doesnt end up damaging the Amp, You never know about the chinese, right?

The basic principle in any 'process' be it audio, car manufacturing, food preparation in restaurant, be it anything - All three attributes are important

Attributes are INPUT --> PROCESS --> OUTPUT

Car Example: Say you give cheap steel, faulty pistons, leaking petrol tank, cogged filter as input - now even if you use, 6 sigma methodology, kizen, 5S pricpals and say toyota way of building the car - do you think the car willbe good ?

Restaurant Example: Say you use decayed vegetables, rotten meat and sewage water in preparation of Navarathna Korma and Tangri-kabab using the best of the cooks in the best possible way (duration and quanities) you think you ll survive that food ?

Now Car Audio Example: Do i have to explain the whole stuff again ?

A better option would be to skip the Amp for now, get a good HU and then the rest follows phase wise

Always (or you want 'Sadly' here), Quality comes at a price

Last edited by Mi10 : 13th January 2010 at 15:44.
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Old 13th January 2010, 16:23   #4
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My understanding was that if I am listening the HU at 1/3rd of peak volume, the difference in sound quality(esp when source is 196kbps mp3) between various HUs, no matter how expensive or cheap will be similar?
Good HU will come with a CD player. I do not want a CD player just USB or SD card player
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Old 13th January 2010, 18:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
My understanding was that if I am listening the HU at 1/3rd of peak volume, the difference in sound quality(esp when source is 196kbps mp3) between various HUs, no matter how expensive or cheap will be similar?
Good HU will come with a CD player. I do not want a CD player just USB or SD card player
Well the Gurus may be able to better answer your query. In the case of 128-196 kbps songs also I would still think that an Alpine sounds better than a Pio/JVC !
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Old 13th January 2010, 18:52   #6
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While its fairly easy and cheap to make acceptably good sounding electronics, the super cheap ones tend to have reduced low end performance, and a peaky high end, resulting in a rather shallow sound, and will seriously bottleneck any good amplifier ( unless you have an equally cheap amp in mind )
Thats why i suggested bypassing it entirely. Or try it out, and if it sounds good to you, then buy it.

if bass is not a priority, and just background music is the requirement, why the need of an amp in the first place. stick to the HU's amp and blow the rest on speakers !

Last edited by greenhorn : 13th January 2010 at 18:54.
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Old 13th January 2010, 19:39   #7
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tsk: I switched to Alpine 9883 from the stock ones we get. There was a big differenence in soudn quality which even sounded better with CDs. This experience was based on 9883 HU and stock speakers.
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Old 13th January 2010, 20:30   #8
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agree with jkdas;the HU makes a big difference.

based on my limited experience but detailed listening in entry level quality car audio,pio HUs are far better than jvc w.r.t sound quality
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Old 13th January 2010, 21:18   #9
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I am no audiophile but have my love for Jazz. So in 2004 I got myself a Sony HU with AuxIn in front, I must say I am still pleased with the quality of the unit. Are these available now a days? Why does no one talk about them?

I also suggest a nice HU with nice User Interface, else you will be all over the place searching for the right menu option and clicking the right button. I suggest something with USB instead of AuxIn.
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Old 14th January 2010, 10:14   #10
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There could be reason why Headunits are called 'main source point'. It's where the sound is first processed. One of the single most compenent in an audio system apart from the installation on tuning.
It can make even bad recording on MP3 sound good or make the usual audio cd sound bad.
For example I replaced my stock HU on skoda keeping everything else the speakers, amps, sub the same to Clarion785. The first thing I noticed the midbass had opened up, vocals or mids were more cleaner, the highs became smoother. Now rest of the system was the same but if the amp actually would have done wat you said than I guess I wouldnt have noticed the difference. Amp only amplifies the signal it recieves. Every few high end amps will make a difference to the sound all over the spectrum.
It's also Imp to match rest of the setup along with the HU. For instance if you pick good speakers or comps but if the main source is point bad you would never be able to use the full potential of the speakers or even the other way round. For instance if I replace my HU with Clarion HXD2 or Pioneer P99 or anyother high end Headunit, I know it would be an overkill to have such an Headunit with my current Morel speakers and amps. Most likely I may upgrade my amps and speakers too.
Like everyone suggest get a decent HU along with some good speakers for the front and rear and may be the amp part can be kept to be added later. The money one would save on the amp can be used to get better HU and to add some damping to the doors and one can get better performance from speaker. He can enjoy the sound better than getting an avg source point with the amp.

Last edited by Invinsible : 14th January 2010 at 10:31.
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Old 14th January 2010, 10:44   #11
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Yaar,

my experience is the exact reverse. You can take an amp and barely amplify the volume - but the purity of the HU signal anyday trumps the amplified signal.

For medium quality - minimum amplification is needed. Pre-amplification is critical. I'd instead say buy an el cheapo Sound barrier amp in 2.5-2.8k, a good pio HU (used) in 3.5-4k, front compos (i love JBL) in 4k and you're done. But one still needs the sub - else there's just no thump.
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Old 14th January 2010, 11:31   #12
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I know a proper company HU is better. But I am talking about volumes at the level which is 1/4th of the max output. If you put HUs at 1/4th their max capability do they sound very alike.
Let me give you a parallel.
In our electronics lab, we had signal generators. Some of them were very desi ones, cheap, but there was one from Japan which used to give amazing clean signal. However, when operated at 1/4th of the level, the sine wave from the desi cheap ones was as clean as the one from the japanese. Only when you pumped up the gain, the distortion in the cheap one used to show.
So my question is similar.
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Old 14th January 2010, 11:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I was thinking of a budget system for somebody who just listens to 128-196kbps mp3s

The system would be the 1000-1200rs SD Card/USB only HU, a 5000-6000rs budget amp(4 channel) like JBL entry levels, 1 pair of compos, and a pair of 3 way speakers costing less than 4000rs. So for 11000rs total cost it would be a complete system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
My understanding was that if I am listening the HU at 1/3rd of peak volume, the difference in sound quality(esp when source is 196kbps mp3) between various HUs, no matter how expensive or cheap will be similar?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I know a proper company HU is better. But I am talking about volumes at the level which is 1/4th of the max output.
Get a good HU. Sound once screwed up (poor processing, poor mechanics - if you are using a CD, poor quality output) cannot be undone easily.

If you do not need loud volumes and low bass you can make do with just a HU, components in the front and 2 6x9s in the rear deck.

Even a simple Pioneer like the link below is better than a Chinese HU then it also costs 5 times as much!
Team-BHP Classifieds - Pioneer 2190 - Powered by PhotoPost Classifieds

Honestly I have not heard these sub-Rs. 2000 Hus so I cannot comment of the sound quality of the same. I suspect they wont be that bad but I would doubt their reliability.

If you are reading from SD card then the CD mechnaics are not required. Only the DAC and output needs to be decent.

edit: as a trial I took some 128k MP3 and 192k MP3 along with lossless and ran then into a cheap no-name pair of computer speakers I had lying around. With little trouble I could tell the difference between the MP3s and the Lossless. The difference between the 128K and 192K was also easily noticeable. Then again I was actually looking for differences. In traffic with all those distractions the same might not be as noticeable.
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Old 14th January 2010, 12:02   #14
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Thanks navin. The thing is that I do not want a CD player, just FM and SD/USB readability. Do any good companies make such HUs?
An alternative could be to use a 4GB create nano paired with an AMP and Components.
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Old 14th January 2010, 12:46   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Thanks navin. The thing is that I do not want a CD player, just FM and SD/USB readability. Do any good companies make such HUs?
An alternative could be to use a 4GB create nano paired with an AMP and Components.
There is one Alpine Model forget the number - IDX-302 or something

It play only mp3's and has ipod capability - No CD
Might be bit pricey though (of what we know of Alpine's)
See if you get to bring down one from US - might work out cheap
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