Portable amp in a car?
Nov 17, 2008 at 6:12 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Sushiglobster

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Sorry in advance, I didn't notice a "noobie" forum to use, so I thought I'd try it in here.

First off, I'm new, this is my first post and I never even knew they had such things like a portable headphone amp. I am intrigued.

My question is simple: I own a Zune 120 GB MP3 player, and I mostly use it in my car when I'm driving around town and such. My 2006 4Runner already has a JBL system (their premier sound system..something like..10 speakers w/ a powered amp blah blah..) I have an AUX Line-In and I use a stereo cable to connect my headphone out to my AUX connection to my car radio.

I works pretty well...the JBL system actually isn't too bad, but was curious to know if using a Protable Headphone Amp would do anything for me in this situation.

I have a slight understanding here that it would go something like this: Zune headphone out to Line-in of the Portable Amp, Portable Amp Line-Out to the AUX line-in of my car stereo...and thus better sound quality?

Though keeping this in mind, there is an amp powering the factory JBL stereo system...so the portable amp would be sending its signal to the factory amplifier first then to the stereo/speakers.

I would also probably use the amp when I walk the dog...or go to the gym. I really am looking for something that nice and thing...Maybe no bigger than a deck of cards..

Though, I'm really looking to get this amp for my Zune while in my car.

is this something I can look in to or is this considered a "NO NO."

BTW: for headphones, I plan on getting the Shure SE530s...
smily_headphones1.gif


thanks!
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 11:07 AM Post #3 of 15

dadozen

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I also think that it wouldn't be helpful to use in your car, since the signal would be amplified over and over. Just the zune is already OK, you already own a good JBL system.
 
Nov 27, 2008 at 10:48 AM Post #4 of 15

yukihiro

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pretty sure it won't do much. if you want to improve the sound quality, upgrading your headunit or speakers will probably do more (even with your jbl system). not sure how the sound deadening in your car is, but i'm sure that would help more than an amp since road noise causes a lot of detail to be lost anyways

most portable amps are around the size of a deck of cards (sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller).
 
May 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM Post #5 of 15

TheBigBad

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I stumbled on this old thread, but I'm also thinking of either the E5 or a CMOY off ebay (perhaps Juice2214 -- sort of in the same ballpark in terms of price as the E5) for my car so that I don't have to crank the volume up on my MP3 player (Zune HD) to close to max and have the volume on my head unit also cranked up.  I want the amp that introduces the least amount of hiss or noise.  What did you decide to get, or, what do others think?
 
May 17, 2010 at 2:18 PM Post #6 of 15

drewfus420

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I run my 120gb zune through a home made CMoy (gain of 2) into my receiver in my car. without the cmoy I have to jack up both my head unit and my zunes volumes pretty high to get decent volume, with the CMoy I keep the zune at 15 on the volume and my head unit volume is around the middle of the range. I find a definite improvement in the sound with my system. Be sure you don't over amplify the signal into your head unit or it will be distorted and could possibly do damage. I Tried a gain of 5 Cmoy with a volume control for a while but I find a fixed gain of 2 to be more than enough to boost the output. The amp just brings the HP out up to around line level which is what the inputs on my head unit wants to see.
 
Drew
 
May 17, 2010 at 5:12 PM Post #7 of 15

maverickronin

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I agree with drewfus420.  If you have to crank the volume on both the Zune and your head unit, then it may provide some benefit by bringing the signal up to line level and not having to crank everything in sight to get some decent volume.
 
If you can get some kind of dock for your Zune that has a line out, then that will be even better, since you won't be adding any more noise. (That you're not likely to hear over the road noise anyway.)  I have no idea if such a thing exists or is even possible though.
 
May 18, 2010 at 10:22 AM Post #8 of 15

JackRyan

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Cars are inherently noisy environments for audio components, with wire bundles running everywhere carrying a mishmash of signals weak and strong.  It is common for car audio equipment to run much higher line level signals as a way to increase signal to noise ratio.  Line-out levels of 2, 4, or even 8 volts are not uncommon. 
 
Now, how much of this is affecting the Zune-to-JBL connection is anyone's guess, but it may not be a bad idea to get an amp that can supply good quality voltage amplification.
 
May 18, 2010 at 12:40 PM Post #10 of 15

ProtegeManiac

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You don't need a headamp, you need to send a fixed line-out signal. For a meaningful comparison between using the HP out and lne-out, use a Video or Classic using a common an LOD and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. I'm not sure but I think there are LOD's for the Zune already, but in your case, I suggest you either make your own to have it reach up into the AUX in, or you can get an extension cable with a male plug for the AUX in side and a female one for the LOD's male plug. Now you can still get an amp, and you use the LOD with that.
 
May 18, 2010 at 3:46 PM Post #12 of 15

High_Q

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Line Out Dock.  Its used if  you want to bypass certain components that you think that can be improved with external components(internal amplifiers for example).  Some portable players have a connector where you can do just that.  For ipods, its the data cable connector, line out sound signals comes out of those pins.
 
May 18, 2010 at 9:12 PM Post #13 of 15

drewfus420

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There is no LOD for zunes per se, even the docks for them still give you the variable HP output.
 
May 21, 2010 at 8:18 PM Post #15 of 15

qusp

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your ZUNE SHOULD be at full volume or close to it to provide the cleanest signal anyway. at lesser volumes the signal is going through a digital attenuator which degrades the signal. all a line out does in many cases is provide the signal without attenuation with digital attenuation as with any type, when you have the volume down low, you are working from a starting point that has less dynamic range.
 

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