Input for car radio, Amp the way to go?
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Shobbz's Avatar
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    Default Input for car radio, Amp the way to go?

    Hey all,

    Car radio is not my thing but here is goes.

    I currently have a nice little phillips car radio, 4 speakers, not bad, but a little underpowered but that is really irrelevant.

    I am thinking of installing an amp, so that i can use it as a conduit for the input of sound from an mp3 player. I don't want to get a mp3 compatiable car radio, just want to be able to hook up a plug so that i can plug the mp3 player into.

    The radio has rca out capability, so I was thinking that I could hook the radio to the amp no probs. If I connected a 3.5 plug socket to the amp would it work in a similar way? Would the volume on the mp3 player be enough to regulate the volume to the amp?

    O do i need to really go through a radio to the amp if i wanted to use my setup?

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    Sorry it this sounds a little jumbled

    Does anyone understand what I am saying/Have any ideas?

    thanks

    shobbz
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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Ummm.... it's all a bit confusing, the best and simplest thing to do would be to buy an mp3 compatible CD player, they are getting real cheap and you can pick them up from about $250 upwards, they are high power resulting in better sound quality (depending on speakers)

    If that does'nt appeal and you want to stick to your idea someone else might have an idea cos.. ummm I don't
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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Shobbz's Avatar
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    Pugsy, thanks for the reply, sorry if it was a bit confusing.

    Simply I want to be able to plug my mp3 player into my car radio. I am thinking that the amp is the way to go as I have been unable to find a car radio that has an AUX input.

    I don't want to buy a cd/mp3 car radio as I don't use the car that much and mp3 player means that I can have portable and car mp3 playback.

    thanks

    shobbz
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  4. #4
    2000+ Brad's Avatar
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    Pretty sure I know what you mean.

    Your amp will have RCA inputs. Most incar cdplayers have RCA output. The two are meant to connect.

    What you want to do is connect your mp3 player directly into the amp's RCA inputs I am guessing.

    If it is your normal RIO/iPod etc, there will be a 3 1/2mm stereo phone plug. You can get adapter cables which have that plug on one end, and a stereo pair of RCA plugs on the other end. Make sure they are male connections at each end.

    This should work fine, so long as you start will the gain on the amp and the volume of the mp3 player on very low which will safeguard you from any weird volume/power discrepancies between the two. Basically the gain on the amp is a sensitivity setting, not a volume control. This is due to the wide variance in output power of headunits, anywhere from 0.2v to 5v. To set the gain, turn it all the way down, then take your mp3 player to 95%, then turn the gain up, with a loud song playing until you hear the first sign of distortion, then turn it back a bit.

    Thats the first part. The next is the remote switch for the amp. This is a single wire which is sent a simple 12v current to turn the amp on. Most headunits have this output, called remote or aerial trigger. It should be a blue wire. If you use this, it means you must have the headunit on for the amp to turn on and play the mp3's. This is fine so long as you turn the volume right down otherwise you'll have two lots of music.

    The alternative is to find a 12v power wire from the car which is connected to the accessories switch. If you have a multimeter, use that, otherwise a auto electician can wire one in for next to nothing. Use this wire to connect the amp remote wire, then the amp will be on when you are driving and turn off when you shut the car off.

    Hope this helps.
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  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! Mitch Mi16's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the Mp3 player would have a pre amp.. if not it most likely would not work... guess best idea would be to go into a retailer and ask!!!!
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  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! lucin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shobbz
    Pugsy, thanks for the reply, sorry if it was a bit confusing.

    Simply I want to be able to plug my mp3 player into my car radio. I am thinking that the amp is the way to go as I have been unable to find a car radio that has an AUX input.

    I don't want to buy a cd/mp3 car radio as I don't use the car that much and mp3 player means that I can have portable and car mp3 playback.

    thanks

    shobbz
    i've seen some panasonic cd-players which have an aux input at the front - seen them at jb-hifi

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  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger! seesully's Avatar
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    It's all too simple and very cheap!! No need for expensive amps or anything like that. Keep in mind that this will only work if your head unit has a tape player.

    Go out and get one of those adapters that look like a normal cassette tape, but have a cable coming out the side of it. The cable then plugs inot to AUX out of your MP3 player. Easy!

    You might also want to consider getting a power supply for your cigarette light to power the MP3 player.

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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts Damien Gardner's Avatar
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    shobbz,
    If your mp3 player has just the one output ie. headphone socket.
    It wont drive the amp without a pre-amp to boost the signal to approx 2v p-p the usual input requirement of audio amps.
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  9. #9
    2000+ Brad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damien Gardner
    shobbz,
    If your mp3 player has just the one output ie. headphone socket.
    It wont drive the amp without a pre-amp to boost the signal to approx 2v p-p the usual input requirement of audio amps.
    Most amps can accept signals as low as 0.2v.
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  10. #10
    XTC
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucin
    i've seen some panasonic cd-players which have an aux input at the front - seen them at jb-hifi luan
    They are very rare and hard to find ... some have RCA inputs on the rear panel, but want a proper CD Changer signal. If the tape deck works the easy thing is the Cassette adapter ... I have a FM transmitter that works well too.

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  11. #11
    1000+ Posts tekkie's Avatar
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    there is another way, and it will be a tad easier to implement.

    FM Modulator

    example of one is here
    Hobbytown
    Im sure you can find one in automotive audio stores locally (eg Strathfield car radios or Brisbane car sound etc).

    The idea behind it is to have the MP3 player speaker output going into a little device that sits inline with the aerial. The device then modulates the input into an FM signal that the radio will pick up as another radio station. It does not affect the rest of the radio spectrum.

    hope it helps.
    Last edited by tekkie; 4th December 2003 at 05:29 PM.
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  12. #12
    1000+ Posts CHRI'S16's Avatar
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    ....mmmm should i reply. nahhh my fingers hurt. Besides, id convince you to get an alarm first anyway. cheers Chris
    ... ptui!

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts Shobbz's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the replies,

    I have tried the cassette adaptor, quality is "poor" to keep language to an acceptable level

    I have seen some players with aux input, but only on cd players. Don't want a cd player, hense the initial question.

    I am considering the fm transmitter idea. But the idea was to get near cd quality, pretty sure that a transmitter would have quality pretty close to the radio.

    Will ask around as to weather or not I need a pre amp, or if i can just plug from mp3 player to amp. Connecting the two is not an issue, its weather or not they will work

    All this talk is going to have me to consider an alterative place for my radio any ways. Currently not the best of places, also moves when I change gears

    All very interesting, will keep everyone posted.

    thanks

    shobz
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  14. #14
    XTC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shobbz
    I am considering the fm transmitter idea. But the idea was to get near cd quality, pretty sure that a transmitter would have quality pretty close to the radio.
    Distance to radio is not a factor (only if interferrence is present) ... CD quality is 44khz/16 bit S/N over 100 in many cases .. FM transmission is much lower then that .. not only is it capped 50Hz to 15Khz (hey AM is only up to 5Khz) the S/N is much lower (not to mention stereo separation). So you can't get ANYTHING using FM close to CD .. of course it's acedemic if your sound system isn't able to reproduce the quality CD offers anyway ... I bet not many people own a subwoofer that can do a flat 20Hz signal

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  15. #15
    1000+ Posts tekkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shobbz
    I am considering the fm transmitter idea. But the idea was to get near cd quality, pretty sure that a transmitter would have quality pretty close to the radio.
    Have a look at the following webpage about the MP3 Freq response at 128kb.
    Mp3 tech article



    As you can see the freq response above 15KHz is pretty... err limited.

    And as XTC206 pointed out the car enviroment (with expceptions of few seleced limousines) is hardly the audiophiles wet dream when it comes to listening to music.
    Its a compromise to say the least. If you are forced to use system fitted to your car right now devices like FM modulator, cassette convertor etc are the way to go for simplicity alone. Seperate inputs into your amp will lead you to have to operate two devices in a otherwise pretty busy enviroment (your car).

    Let us know which way you decide to go.

    cheers
    Voytek
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