Originally Posted by BORIStheBLADE
Looking for a new portable that works well in a car
You'd be redefining "works well" in this case. Having a device sitting somewhere with a cable running towards the receiver on the dash that you have to pick up in order to see the display and manipulate the controls to get through the contents doesn't sound like it works well in my book. With a receiver specifically designed for a car I don't take my eyes off the road to hit a button, for example to switch from CD to AM so I'd know if the storm making driving tricky already made the government cancel classes (and therefore if I don't hear about it I'd be the idiot lecturer standing in an empty classroom). Even stock receivers with a USB input that can take Android are likely to be able to read plain storage, so what's another $50 for a 64gb thumbdrive? Or as my brother did, a $20 HDD enclosure and an older 500gb HDD he removed from his Mac when he got an SSD (not all have enough power to run this however).
Originally Posted by BORIStheBLADE
I have noticed on the forums some people mentioning some portables are only good for headphone listening so this is why I bring up my question. Any help is appreciated.
Aside from the ergonomic issue I brought up above, there's the issue with car acoustics. You are sitting off to one side (whichever side your country drives in, unless you have a McLaren F1), ergo, the distance from your ears to the driver's side tweeter, driver's side midwoofer, passenger side tweeter, passenger side midwoofer, and subwoofer (assuming you can switch off the rear speakers) is already screwed up, compared to a home audio set-up where you can just find the "sweet spot" in the center (and you just adjust the speaker toe-in, or move your seat forward and back). The first casualty would be the imaging - the vocals are always offset to one side. If you adjust the balance which can be done on nearly every receiver on cars, the vocals can be moved to the center, but the instruments on the side you biased on will be louder also (it's like having an SR325 on one side and an HD650 on the other side). Other issues will be that if the tweeters aren't installed at the right angle for their dispersion pattern, too much of its sound can bounce off the windshield. What you think is sharp treble due to a louder tweeter therefore will not be cured by equalizer settings, since what sharpness you are hearing are just bouncing off the windshield, and applying too much EQ will affect other frequencies too.
Examples of how the tweeter and midrange drivers' dispersion patterns and asymmetrical distance can be dealt with vis a vis the windshield reflections and the driver's(primary listener's) seating position
This one's mine - Vifa TC25's paired with Focal Polyglass 165 drivers in the door mounts
Some processors or, as was the case, even receivers before, had processors that can run a "fully active" system. That system takes out the passive crossover splitting the sound between midwoofer and tweeter, applying customizable crossover settings (whether you use an amp or the receiver's, if the processor is built into it), but the most important part of such a set-up is that the processor can now apply a customized time-delay to each tweeter, midwoofer (or midrange and a separate woofer), and the subwoofer, as well as gain settings on each instead of just L-R balance. The Pioneer DEH-80PRS ha the best built-in processor for only $350 an you can use its own amp or get better amps and speakers, but of course if your receiver has GPS, you might be better off using what is called an "integration processor" that takes high level inputs (ie, speaker/amplified output; and some can use a sine wave to automatically correct the frequency response to as flat as possible) from the stock receiver and output a low-level (ie, line-level RCA) signal to an amp. Unless the problem is that all your music is in high-res that cannot work in 16-bit/44.1khz, no amount of fancy DAC and output stage design from a DAP that travels through a wire can overcome the fact that you are sitting at a location where the distance to each tweeter and midwoofer are unequal. It's tantamount to spending a too much money on a speaker set-up, including a fancy separate transport and DAC, and then putting it in the living room with a bunch of furniture in the way and one speaker is closer to a corner or wall than the other.
Then there's the need for Dynamat, at the very least in your doors. I did this last, installing a bunch of other stuff first, and all the amp did was make my speakers louder - nothing can change the fact that the speaker was mounted in such a way that the soundwaves towards the rear of the diaphragm was rattling the car door panel and then bouncing back in through holes on the inner frame the speakers are mounted on and causing cancellation. Completely sealing off one side from the other, reinforcing the wide door panel, and in some cases fully customizing the driver mount so it has nothing except maybe a proper grill in front of it (check the pics above) gets you closer to how a speaker cabinet works.
Edited by ProtegeManiac - 12/25/13 at 8:36am