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#12075 - 26/07/2000 23:56 Kendall's MP3 DIY unit
Cas_O
journeyman

Registered: 17/05/2000
Posts: 92
Loc: 's-Hertogenbosch; the Netherla...
Here's a fun one; someone's built his own MP3 car player and now, at $15 you can buy the plans. The info on his site are a bit skimpy (have a look):

http://www.kokopelli-online.com/mp3/Mp3page1.htm

Anyone familiar with the plans? I won't bother though, got my mind set on the MKII which I'm eagerly awaiting; just out of curiosity.

Cas

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#12076 - 27/07/2000 01:13 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Cas_O]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hmm, looks much like the spam e-mail I recieve daily, complete with "I did it, and made $XXX,XXX doing it, and now you can for only $XX!"

And the screenshot of his Alpine Winamp skin makes me a bit skeptical. 32Kpbs at 11kHz. What person who competes in competitions would listen to anything at that quality?

Also, his Why MP3 section is, well, one of the reasons the RIAA is probably going after anyone. "No more buying CDís with only one good song on them. MP3 files are all over the internet!"

_________________________
Tom

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#12077 - 27/07/2000 06:12 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Cas_O]
Geoff
enthusiast

Registered: 21/08/1999
Posts: 381
Loc: Northern Ireland
Hugo put his web site up over two years ago detailing how he built his mp3mobile, right down to part numbers and code samples, and he didn't ask anyone to send him any money (of course, many thousands of us dutifully queued up, desperate to fling hundreds of pounds at him, but that's because we had a look at his empeg player, and indeed thought it was very cute )

Geoff
---- -------
Got one of the first Mark 2 empegs...
_________________________
Geoff
---- -------
Mk1 Blue - was 4GB, now 16GB
Mk2 Red - was 12GB, now 60GB

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#12078 - 27/07/2000 08:08 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Cas_O]
Kureg
member

Registered: 08/05/2000
Posts: 135
I'm probably being too much of a critic, but I think it's rather funny that there are no screen shots other then the front cover of a book. We live in a age these days where selling things on the Internet without screen shots is just not done!

But what really is lacking from all these other in car MP3 solutions is the level of professionalism that only empeg provides! The friendliness and service seems to be unanswered by any competition.

Kureg



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#12079 - 27/07/2000 12:07 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Cas_O]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5496
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
This is almost certainly a complete scam.

I have competed in (and won) more than a few audio competitions, and what I have to show for it is not $175,000 but maybe $175 worth of trophies!

I understand that cash prizes are awarded at IASCA National Championship events... but it is highly unlikely that a VW Beetle could do well at such a venue if for no other reason than limitations in size of passenger compartment and lack of options for locating speakers and other equipment. It is also unlikely that any device playing audio from MP3's (even an empeg insert flame war here...) could place well in a national competition. In fact, at my last local competition the judges told me that unless I could play their (i.e., the judges' own) official IASCA CD they would not judge my car. They won't allow judging from a modified (i.e., MP3'd) CD, or even my own official IASCA CD. So once I get my empeg, I will have to work out some method of playing CDs in my car as well as MP3s. Sigh... :-(

My sincere advice (completely unnecessary here, I know) is don't send this guy any money. You'll never hear from him again if you do.

tanstaafl.

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#12080 - 28/07/2000 06:32 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Cas_O]
Cas_O
journeyman

Registered: 17/05/2000
Posts: 92
Loc: 's-Hertogenbosch; the Netherla...
Thanks for all your comments guys! I for one certainly am not going to part with any money, even if it's only $15, with such little info to go on.

It's all a bit dubious, as I couldn't find anything at all, not even on this board, where it seems its members are pretty quick to pick up on anything related to MP3 and cars. If he's been so successfull in sound-outs I assumed I should have come across it somewhere.

Anyway, just curious.


Cas

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#12081 - 07/08/2000 15:39 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: tanstaafl.]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Doug!

Simple Idea!

Parts required:

1 x portable CD player / Discman (whatever you wanna call it)
1 x top quality RCA stero cable suitable for the player
2 x top quality RCA stereo cables input/output, females mounted unobtrusively out of site where you choose, connected to Empeg AUX inputs
1 x power regulator for the cigarette lighter plug set for the correct voltage for your portable player

When the judge turns up with his disk and says "Oi! Where's your CD?" You whip out your tackle and stick it all in the right holes, power on the player and the empeg, unleash the remote and flip to the AUX source. Since you have previously selected a Flat Equaliser preset, instant satisfaction is guaranteed!

Cheap, you retain the simplicity and stealthiness of the new empeg installation, you remain compliant with the IASCA rules for test playback. You remain winning! (OK, so you're a couple of hundred dollars extra out of pocket).

PS. I got the '99 IASCA disk (on your recommendation) and RIPped it for setup; it is proving useful to tweak my system in the Mini. It has already made a bit of a difference just by changing balances and so forth and I can now accurately position the stereo image best for the driver. Any tips?

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
_________________________
One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#12082 - 07/08/2000 16:35 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: schofiel]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5496
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
1 x portable CD player

Yeah, I was thinking along those lines, but have some doubts. As I have found out, CD players (portable or otherwise) don't put out digital audio -- they put out analog, and in so doing, they process the signal according to the whims or preferences of the design engineer. As Tony has pointed out more than once, most CD players put an unnatural emphasis on the bass, which tends to please the majority pf purchasers but is not an accurate reproduction. I suspect that a portable CD player, designed primarily to drive headphones, will be even more skewed towards excessive bass.

This is not an insurmountable problem... after all my input device does have a 20 band parametric equalizer!

1 x power regulator for the cigarette lighter plug

As seldom as I would be using this lashup (perhaps 5 hours per year total playing time) I would probably just rely on the internal batteries of the portable CD player.

You whip out your tackle and stick it all in the right holes, power on the player and the empeg, unleash the remote and flip to the AUX source

This is a big problem... a significant portion of the judging is devoted to installation and ergonomics. Better to find someplace I can mount it permanently. Have to see what sort of options I have as far as top-loading, front loading, etc. Don't know much about these portable players... But even so I have to compromise between ergonomics (how easy is it to put in a CD? The judges won't be happy with me if they have to stand on their heads and snake their arm under the passenger seat to put in the CD) and neatness of installation (The judges will also be unhappy with a DiscMan velcroed to the top of the dashboad with cables hanging down over the gearshift lever )

...a couple of hundred dollars extra out of pocket.

Probably not that much... I don't need to spend extra for things like shock protection (I guess the jogging DiscMans cost more) because the only time it will ever be on is with the car parked and full of judges. Sound quality will be the big question, won't it.

I got the '99 IASCA disk.... Any tips?

Yes. Go visit Henno and play the entire disk half a dozen times on his home stereo. (Or, maybe I'm short-changing your home system? Henno's description to me of his system leads me to believe it is one of the more impressive and above all accurate stereos around...) Listen to the disk until you have it very much in mind exactly what it is supposed to sound like under optimal conditions. Then you take the disk (or the empeg version of it) to your car and start tuning and tweaking until you make it as close to what you heard in the home system as possible. Takes a good ear to do that.

Be prepared to compromise. You may find that getting the widest sound stage wrecks track #13 (the seven drum beats left to right) and when you get the drumbeats evenly spaced, your sound stage has dropped. Above all, unless you are foolish like I am and planning to compete, tune the stereo the way YOU want to hear it, not the way you think the judges want it. My judging settings are different from my listening settings. (Yes, I admit it -- I am your typical consumer, and I crank my bass up about 3dB and end up with my soundstage right in my face instead of out in front of the windshield because that's how I like to hear it!)

The three linearity tracks are invaluable. If you get good linearity you are way ahead of the game. The last track on the CD (the one used for "Back to Basics" judging) is excellent, too -- it is from Sheffield Labs, and is exceptionally well produced.

I could go on, but I see this is getting pretty wordy and most of the other people on this bbs aren't as interested in this topic as you and I are... At least you didn't get me going about drag racing!

tanstaafl.





"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#12083 - 08/08/2000 00:20 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: tanstaafl.]
Henno
addict

Registered: 15/07/1999
Posts: 568
Loc: Meije, Netherlands
Go visit Henno and play the entire disk half a dozen times

Yeah Rob, consider yourself invited (anytime)!

Then you take the disk (or the empeg version of it) to your car and start tuning and tweaking until you make it as close to what you heard in the home system
This is what Rob and I started doing some 2 weeks ago, but never finished.

Remember the discussion on sound stage that developed when Rob mentioned some ICE judge criticizing the empeg? It evolved in a long discussion on WAV vs Xing vs Lame. This was just after the first Mk2's shipped.

To validate the comments, we ripped two tracks using Frauenhofer and the Xing rippers. And attempted to also push the track onto the Mk2 in WAV format. WAV failed: apparently there's only 14MB or so of space in the directory we copied it into and we ran out of time (doing this over serial *is* slow). This is what we tried (sizes inMB)

original WAV 42.6 MB

Frauenhofer 160 4.8
Xing 160 4.8
Xing Med/High VBR 4.7 (reportedly 157)

Frauenhofer 256 7.7
Xing 256 7.7
Xing High VBR 5.6 (reported at 193)

As I said, we didn't finish this. Preliminary conclusions:

1. The Empeg playing WAV over a high-end stereo beats any MP3 by miles; Empeg sound quality is more than sufficient for MP3s
2. The Empeg is not a high-end player, but sounds *very* decent
3. The Frauenhofer rips sound nicer; the Xing ones more course, grainy
4. The sound image of Frauenhofer is much less distinct than the Xing image
5. VBR quality improvement within the same space is significant: Xing 256 (at 7.7MB) and Xing High VBR (at 5.6MB) difference is hardly noticeable
6. The difference with 128 is enormous
7. There is a clear difference between 256 and 160 (or High vs Med/High).
8. Xing is much faster in ripping than Frauenhofer

In my car (factory speakers , the differences between 256 and 160 (or High vs Med/High) are is hardly noticeable. The difference between Xing and Frauenhofer is much more significant. You'll have to decide for yourself what you like. I haven't decided yet (was happy with better stereo image; may try some more Frauenhofer rippings to see if this conclusion sticks).
Have all my MP3s ripped with Xing at Med/High VBR

(Have done this in a hurry; may want to qualify some of it later)





Henno
mk2 nr 6
_________________________
Henno mk2 [orange]6 [/orange]nr 6

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#12084 - 09/08/2000 18:14 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: Henno]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5496
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
And attempted to also push the track onto the Mk2 in WAV format.

?? Does the empeg now support playback of .wav files? I thought that was an enhancement to be expected in the distant future.

tanstaafl.

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#12085 - 09/08/2000 18:32 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA
Yeah, Henno, I wondered about that myself. Your description sounds like you got a .wav file to play.

I know that this could be done via a third-party player application, but not through the Empeg player software. Is that how you did it, or was that a typo?

___________
Tony Fabris
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#12086 - 09/08/2000 23:59 Re: Kendall's MP3 DIY unit [Re: tfabris]
Henno
addict

Registered: 15/07/1999
Posts: 568
Loc: Meije, Netherlands
Your description sounds like you got a .wav file to play

Yep, but you're right. Not from standard empeg software. When I started talking about the compare (MP3 vs .wav) on this BBS, I was offered a wav playback utility. At first c code only, but when I told the author about my total lack of c and linux knowledge I received a ready compiled version that plays the .wav from the command prompt.

I don't know if the author wants to advertise availability of his player. I'll ask him. Worst case (I guess, if he agrees) could be that you get it through me - with guaranteed no support for the reasons described above.

BTW (Mike/Hugo): The emplode read.me still lists its ability to transfer non-MP3 files as a bug. I believe it's a FEATURE and that it should NOT be changed .

Henno
mk2 6 nr 6
_________________________
Henno mk2 [orange]6 [/orange]nr 6

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