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Old 05-10-2010, 21:01   #1
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12vdc Surround Sound ?

I've been searching the internet for a car audio surround sound receiver but I can't find anything. I'd like something that runs on 12v, has a built in 5 channel amplifier and a subwoofer output, and has an auxiliary input so that I can plug my laptop or whatever straight in to it. I can always use a home audio receiver but I don't want to lose the 20% or whatever the inverter wastes, especially after having already lost 20% to battery inefficiency.
Can anyone point me to a specific unit like this?
I can also do it with an automotive surround sound decoder unit, 2-3 amplifiers, and a car deck, but that's a lot of stuff.
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Old 05-10-2010, 21:07   #2
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The new "thing" in auto radios/receivers is the USB versions that allow you to plug in a memory stick/flash drive that has your favorite music on it and then play it. Being solid state the USB system eliminates the tape and CD mechanical functions that corrode and stop working when used in the marine environment. And you can get rid of all those CD discs that gather algae and crude and scratches. Everything is going solid state now, no moving parts.
- - I don't know of any car audio system that put out surround sound but would be interested only if they also include USB access.
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Old 05-10-2010, 22:09   #3
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I have a usb port on my stereo but what I actually use all the time is the aux input so I can play the ipod through the stereo.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:09   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sww914 View Post
Can anyone point me to a specific unit like this?
I can also do it with an automotive surround sound decoder unit, 2-3 amplifiers, and a car deck, but that's a lot of stuff.
sww,

This took me a while to find and research to see if it was a good alternative. So hopefully this will assist you and possibly others.

  1. Your going to need a bare bone DC powered surround sound processor (decodes DTS, DD5.1 and PCM).
  2. Western Digital HD Live Media Player
  3. Then you get (2) 4 channel automotive amps (5 channels for your F/L, CENTER, F/R, S/R, S/L) then bridge two channels together for your sub and then 1 unused channel. (So, you would have to make sure you get an amp that allows bridging). Now you can work the amp magic anyway you want..but this setup will probably be the most efficient and space-saving.

HD Audio Rush 5.1 Decoder:
Purchase & Specifications
o HD Audio Rush 5.1 Gear Sound Decoder for DM500s DM800 xbox360_HDTV Box, Audio decoder..._5.1 audio sound decoder,HDV-18a,Monster Cable adapter,Wholesale
o HD Audio Rush 5.1 items - Get great deals on Electronics, Video Games items on eBay.com!
Reviews
o HD Audio Rush 5.1 Decoder Review
o Product Review: HD Audio Rush Digital Surround Sound Decoder FoxMajik
Optical to 3.5 mm Headphone Adapter
o Toslink Jack to 3.5mm Optical Plug Adapter, Toslink Jack to 3.5 mm Optical Plug Adapter, Toslink Adapters, Cable Assemblies Fiber Toslink 3.5mm

Western Digital HD Live Media Player (do NOT get the first generation...make sure it is the HD Live !!)

Now the HD Rush needs 9 VDC. So goto Radio Shack and get a Universal Automotive cigar lighter power kit, This will have a regulator in it, with different voltage settings and various DC coaxial tips. Or you could build your own

Good luck!,

Doug
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:21   #5
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i have a 4 channel kenwood unit with usb and aux inputs .. also plays mp3 disks. this thing sounds better than my home system for around 130.00 !! plus you can have 10 disk remote if you want.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:28   #6
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Yes, but is sww was looking for home theater sound in a small compact, more efficient D/C (Direct Current) option.

Your setup does NOT decode DTS, DTS-MA, Dolby Pro Logic.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:56   #7
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First you should consider whether 5.1 is suitable for your application, boats are hardly ever set up in a manner where surround sound would work well with respect to positioning and environment. That being said, what is wrong with just running 2.1 system. I don't believe you will ever find a 12 volt home theater receiver unless you buy one and rip out it's internal power supply which may or may not be outputting 12 volts to the amplifier/decoder electronics. Either way you would probably want really efficient speakers (high DB/W sensitivity). I personally would go with a simple car subwoofer amp and an amp from sure elctronics at parts express, plug your audio source into the sub amp, it will only play sound below its crossover setting and let the sure amp take care of the rest. A 2x25 watt stereo amp should do fine in a boat environment.

Another option is to build a computer which has 6 native audio output channels and let the computer be the decoder/processor while running 3 of the sure stereo amps for the 6 channels.

Check out mp3car.com for mobile computing
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malovich View Post
I don't believe you will ever find a 12 volt home theater receiver unless you buy one and rip out it's internal power supply which may or may not be outputting 12 volts to the amplifier/decoder electronics.
malovich, did you look at my reply above and the links? I offered a small DC powered device that does what the receiver does. Just add amplification

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I personally would go with a simple car subwoofer amp
True, good idea if he's using a sub..this way the audio signals to the satellite speakers would be stripped of there lower frequencies (basically filter network for free). However, if you read the review in my above post. The decoder strips the lower frequencies internal and adds them to the SW channel)

Quote:
Originally Posted by malovich View Post
and an amp from sure electronics at parts express, plug your audio source into the sub amp, it will only play sound below its crossover setting and let the sure amp take care of the rest. A 2x25 watt stereo amp should do fine in a boat environment.
Class D (Class T) amps are awesome..efficient and powerful. I have a TAMP-90 for my portable sound system and will be getting the TAMP-300 in a few weeks when they release it.

Quote:
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Another option is to build a computer which has 6 native audio output channels and let the computer be the decoder/processor while running 3 of the sure stereo amps for the 6 channels.
This would not be as efficient as the above decoder and a few of your Sure Electronics amps. However, if they needed the PC at that same time..could be an option. They could also use a laptop with a Sounblaster 5.1 USB external card.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:06   #9
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There are 12 volt computers. You will need one that has the ability to decode the 5.1 sound. The 12 volt computer will either need a sound card that can do this or an onboard motherboard sound chip that can do this. The computer of course will need the black, green and orange analog audio ports for 5.1 sound.

From there its a matter of getting the correct 12 volt amplifiers to power the center channel, left and right front channels, rear channels and the subwoofer.

I don't know that after doing all this its more efficient to have an inverter powering a regular computer and a regular 120 volt 5.1 amplifier. The 120 volt method is certainly a simpler way of doing this.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:10   #10
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Chief,

Good points. Just wanted to share my setup. I agree that few boats would benefit from a 5.1 system, better to spend the money on a quality 2 channel system that can deliver good quality sound. I have a Alpine D-class 2 channel car amp fed by a Soundblaster 5.1 from my laptop (better quality that the laptop's built in sound). The amp powers 2 mid-high end 3-way bookshelf speakers. These give me the full range of sound I'm looking for. I could also drive the system with and ipod by plugging the amp into it instead of the soundblaster.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:12   #11
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Quote:
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I don't know that after doing all this its more efficient to have an inverter powering a regular computer and a regular 120 volt 5.1 amplifier.
Dave,

Did you look at the DC powered decoder I posted?
With that, all you need are DC powered amps ... problem solved...most efficient.

Hell the WD HD Live box I posted is DC also...has a DC coaxial jack with a Wall-wart A/C to D/C power cord.

Ladies & Gentleman..this is truly the "best" DC powered option I see. However, I am always willy to debate/converse about other options. My option is all purely DC.

Doug
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Old 07-10-2010, 23:14   #12
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Army Chief, thanks!
That's better than what I've come up with so far. Not too expensive or complicated, except for the amps. Fortunately I already have an amp that I can use if I must.
I do, in fact, have enough room for surround sound and a nice TV. I bought a Vagabond 39, it has a V berth, a mid berth, (TV room if I choose) a pilothouse, and an aft cabin. My wife and I have only 1 child so he'll be in the V, we'll be in the aft, and with the large pilothouse I can't yet figure out anything better to do with the mid cabin than a TV room.
I like the HDD media drive idea, you can pack a lot into a small package like that.
I probably won't have enough electricity to run the TV & surround sound all day long unless we're in a marina but I really enjoy a good movie with top quality sound.
Since I already have most of the stuff, a big US Amps 5 channel amp, good but smallish speakers, 2 subwoofers and a 32" flat screen, I might give it a go. If it's a waste I can still sell the electronics later as well as I can now.
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:24   #13
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I probably won't have enough electricity to run the TV & surround sound all day long unless we're in a marina but I really enjoy a good movie with top quality sound.
sww,

Don't be so sure about that. This will depend on how many solar panels & wind gen's you have..plus the size of your house battery bank.

See this chart for TV's:

The chart: HDTV power consumption compared - CNET Reviews

Based off that..with a calibrated TV (not in ECO mode with dimmer picture) and LED uses about 0.6-0.9 AH. Where a LCD would use 0.8-1.6 AH. I'm sure that decoder uses about 0.3 AH. Now, it's only your amps for sound. let's say you have 25 watts per channel into 4 and 80 watts into the sub. With about 85% efficiency using fuzzy math...each of the 4 channels would use about 0.4 amps and the sub about 1 amp. Now unless your moored AWAY from people..your NOT going to have the volume maxed out..these numbers are at the amps max output.

So I hypothesize your system toal usage during "normal" operations should be 4.2 AH with a 40 ish LCD TV and the amps I specified. I'm not a boater that counts amps..someone here should be able to add better reality on that..but that does not seem excessive. Your total wattage is about 250 watts (+/-) 10 %. One 250 watt solar panel will almost cover this.

Doug
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Old 08-10-2010, 13:08   #14
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Seems poster cannot edit his/her post in this forum. So, my amperages are off in my above post..due to using 120 volts, not 12 volts. However, the wattages are what they are and should be covered mostly by a 250 watts of solar...if you have that much space
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Old 08-10-2010, 20:11   #15
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Thanks, I was thinking in watts anyway.
The amps & volts get all squirrely sometimes but the watts stay watts no matter watt.
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