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Car Audio VS Home Audio


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted January 11 2005 - 03:06 AM

This question is for those of you that have solid backgrounds or allot of knowledge on car audio. Would you consider car audio to have the same quality as home audio? Would you rate a average car system to be as clean, crisp and detailed as a better than average home system? I may be completely off base here so please correct me if I am wrong. It just seems that with the size of the components that are used in you basic car audio compontents that car audio would not be as good as a home system. In regards to cd transports, d/a converters, video processing for car dvd players etc. It just seems like its all to packed in and that it would not be as good. I personally would not invest to much into a car audio system only because its allot more exposed because your car is typically drive to many locations. And during that time people hear it if you have it turned up or people might scope your car out if the suspect it might have a system in it. While it happens I feel its less unlikely that a peson will take the risk to try to steal an home theater system. Heck not to mention overall a home system is allot more flexible than a car audio system and has more format possibilities and highend components to improve the audio/theater exsperience.

Now back to my question, I only ask this because it was something I was thinking about lately. And we don't learn unless we ask questions. I am not into car audio like I am into home audio. So I am hoping that some knowlegedgable people will be able to answer my question.
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#2 of 23 Jean D

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Posted January 11 2005 - 03:32 AM

until its more available and affordable to have cars that can acctually handle hi-rez multichannel music, in my opinion, car audio has a lot to catch up on. I believe that Home Audio is generally better in terms of quality. But your comparing apples to oranges I think. Home theater is in more demand by audiophiles where as car audio is more in demand by a younger generation into music more so than the technological advances in music. So the home theater industry I would guess would make more money, product and be affordable. But Im not an expert. Just my opinion since I have both a nice home theater and a decent car audio setup.
Gear: Crestron AADS, Crestron 4L, RTI T2C, SVS PC 16-46, Xbox 360, Wii, Bass Shakers, TiVo HD, Toshiba A3 HD-DVD, 42" Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK, two Denon AVR-2106's, Speaker Craft Aim 7 Five's, Samsung HD-950 DVD player.

#3 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted January 13 2005 - 05:34 AM

Thanks for your input Jean. I guess I was looking more at compairing them straight across. As far as pure audio performance goes, not necisailly high resolution audio or surround sound. Can current car audio match home audio? Can it match it in regards to frequency responce, detail and clairity. Granted you dont need the large size drivers you would find in a larger room. Also can the video performance of car systems match that of current home video systems.
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#4 of 23 Jean D

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Posted January 13 2005 - 08:40 AM

Quote:
Can current car audio match home audio? Can it match it in regards to frequency responce, detail and clairity.
I would think it "could", but its costly for high end mobile audio. And am I to assume your talking about music and not movie soundtracks?
Gear: Crestron AADS, Crestron 4L, RTI T2C, SVS PC 16-46, Xbox 360, Wii, Bass Shakers, TiVo HD, Toshiba A3 HD-DVD, 42" Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK, two Denon AVR-2106's, Speaker Craft Aim 7 Five's, Samsung HD-950 DVD player.

#5 of 23 Scott L

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Posted January 13 2005 - 04:05 PM

The wide open soundstage and dynamic response you get from a real home audio setup will always be leaps and bounds over anything car audio can produce. I've heard it said before, "you can have good sound in a car, but never great sound."

#6 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted January 17 2005 - 04:56 AM

In general mostly talking about audio performance. It just seems that for the most part its very difficult to get a car system to sound as good or better than a great home system. Also a car by nature because of how it is constructed and the materials it is made of. You also have to deal with alot more than you would in a home system. In regards to outside noise and restrictions of the interior.
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#7 of 23 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted January 18 2005 - 12:35 PM

Quote:
I may be completely off base here so please correct me if I am wrong

Yep, you are. Posted Image Not even close.

#8 of 23 Karl_Luph

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Posted January 19 2005 - 12:20 PM

So has anyone tried to run a small home stereo receiver,say 20 watts RMS per channel using a power converter . I know it wouldn't be very practical looks wise ,but it seems the sound quality would be better than an in dash receiver. Or would it?

#9 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted January 19 2005 - 05:11 PM

Hey Jason would you care to expand that thought?

Quote:
p, you are. Not even close.


Please tell me why it is you feel that car audio is just as good as home audio. You say I am not even close but you did not say what or why.
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#10 of 23 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted January 20 2005 - 01:38 AM

Sure, np.

No way can a car environment compete with a proper room setup. It's just not feasible. You can get great imaging and a superb soundstage in a car, but you can get a perfect soundstage and perfect imaging in a dedicated room. The acoustics alone cannot compare.

In real life, how many of us have a true dedicated room? Probably not many. So in that light, one may feel that their car sounds better than their home.

But the theory is sound. You can't get the perfect accoustic environment in a car.

#11 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted January 20 2005 - 03:50 AM

Thank you Jason I appreciate your input Posted Image
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#12 of 23 Dave Milne

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Posted February 02 2005 - 04:31 PM

I disagree that car audio can't sound as good as the best home audio. It can. It's just not practical.

Take a look at a typical high-end home system (2-channel). You've got, say, $50K worth of pseudo-mass-produced gear (because home environments are generally pretty much the same). Heck, many high end speakers cost that much alone! Now consider putting $50K worth of gear in a car, but also add another, oh, $50K for an engineer to custom tweak it to the particular car interior -custom speakers, filters, digital signal processing, psycho-acoustic mapping, etc. I would venture to guess that you could match some of the best home systems. But how many people want to dump $100K into a car audio system??

It can be done... but why?

#13 of 23 russBryant

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Posted February 11 2005 - 06:16 PM

Dave,

I tried to PM you. Can you send me an email?

russbryant*comcast*net


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#14 of 23 Dave Moritz

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Posted February 11 2005 - 09:25 PM

Hey Russ,

Which Dave ?? Posted Image Posted Image
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#15 of 23 russBryant

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Posted February 13 2005 - 05:01 PM

Milne

#16 of 23 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted February 14 2005 - 01:02 PM

Quote:
but also add another, oh, $50K for an engineer to custom tweak it to the particular car interior -custom speakers, filters, digital signal processing, psycho-acoustic mapping, etc

I wouldn't want to use this argument with an audiophile.

#17 of 23 Steve Rabbit

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Posted March 14 2005 - 06:22 AM

car will never achieve the same quality of sound as a room. I will base this entirely on noise floor. its just too high in a car to compete.

the equipment can be just as good, and for every $900 home audio speaker you can find, you can find a $900 car audio speaker. comparing raw drivers, of course.

so to get an enhanced car audio experience, using home audio equipment or even computers isnt the answer. the problem is environment, not equipment.

#18 of 23 trey-m

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Posted March 16 2005 - 05:13 AM

Great topic. Here's my 2 cents worth.

Just to make this comparison even fair, let's assume the car is off, there is no external noise (wind, sirens, etc.) and that there is sufficient power to the car audio system. For simplicity, let's compare a 2.1 system in car and home. (For the home system it would be 2 bookshelf speakers and a sub.) Let's also assume we spend equivalent amounts of money on each system. Finally, let's assume that the listener is sitting equidistant from the L and R speakers. (Middle back seat of a sedan? Front seats leaned back or ripped out?....)

I think almost all aspects of the two systems will compare quite well, ($ for $), so we can reduce the problem to a few deficiencies in the car audio system: preamp, CD player, mid-range enclosures. (Speaker wire, interconnects, subs, amplifiers, and tweeters will all compare quite well. Why? Because either identical parts can be used, or space and size is not a factor for those components.)

Here's an elaboration of the 3 deficiencies:
1. Preamp- this is simply a size issue. Trying to cram the same quality components into something the size of a car head unit is very difficult, when comparing it to a home preamp of equivalent price.

2. CD player- same problem as the preamp. (To make this even worse, usually car CD players and preamps are integrated together.)

3. Mid range enclosure- no matter how hard you try, a door or dash speaker enclosure will not even come close to the quality of a normal home audio bookshelf speaker ($ for $). This is in my opinion the most important factor (outside of environment) as to why car audio is inferior to home audio- ($ for $).

Finally, I used the expression "$ for $" quite often. The point I'm trying to make is if somehow the environments were made equal (which in itself would be very expensive for the car), the cost of a home audio system is less than an equivalent sounding car audio system. But I do believe that the car audio system can nearly always be made to sound as good- if you have an unlimited budget.

-trey
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#19 of 23 MikeArcher

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Posted March 16 2005 - 06:24 PM

I have spent:

$800 on car speakers
$500 on an amp to power said speakers
$350 on a deck made by denon for Rockford (no internal amplifier)

I have also spent:

$450 on used B&W 602 S3 speakers
$400 on Pioneer 1014
$50 on random dvd player with digital out

The staging/imaging with the B&W's far, far exceeds that of the car speakers. I do, however, prefer the sound of my car speakers to my B&W's. The car speakers may not even produce the music as faithfully as the b&w's, but I definitely prefer their sound. I've heard that you will get fewer standing waves in an automotive environment which will account for "tighter" bass, that maybe part of the enticement, I'm not sure.

So to answer the first poster directly--I think the drivers for car audio can be just as good if not better than similarly priced drivers in the home audio field. I think it is impossible, however, to obtain the same imaging/staging in a car as a room.

#20 of 23 mikeMarz

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Posted March 21 2005 - 06:30 AM

Quote:
people might scope your car out if the suspect it might have a system in it.


I had a system in my car for about 8 mos. because apparently someone thought that it would sound better in their car. Posted Image The system cost about $1500 in a car worth only about $1400-2300. Insurance gave me about $1000, even though I had receipts for all of the equipment, as well as the work that was done, i.e. installing all the wiring so it would be hidden from view, the amp mounting on to the box. The company that made the amp went out of business and then went back into business, selling a comparable amp for $100 more than what I paid for it. I doubt that I would install a system in my car again, but if I did, I would spend good money on a decent security system, and I would have all the components mounted permanently into the vehicle, making it difficult and time consuming to steal.


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