Browsing Archive May, 2012

Tired of Denting your Bumpers? Get a Parking Sensor System!

Have you ever backed up into someone’s vehicle while parking? Don’t you just hate that feeling of having to leave a note for someone to contact you because you damaged their vehicle (given that you actually “DO” leave a note)? Well if this has been an recurring matter for you during your time as a “licensed driver,” you may want to look into saving yourself money, time, and a good reputation by purchasing a Parking Sensor System.

How much room do I have left?

There a various types of parking sensor systems to choose from whether you are just looking for a basic system to better observe your surroundings while backing up, or a more complex system that provides you with protection for all four sides of your vehicle. No matter what, each and every system promotes better safety for you as a driver and others in your surrounding area.

Two brands that you may want to look into, depending on your budget, are Crimestopper and Steelmate USA. Both brands definitely a reliable addition to your vehicle, but of course once again it depends on what exactly you are looking for and what budget you are working with.

Crimestopper CA-5010.II Parking System

Crimestopper’s CA-5010.II has a colorful LED digital display that has a built-in buzzer which provides the driver visual and audible warnings. With a built-in intelligent warning and detection feature, this system is also compatible with vehicles that have tow hitches, spare tire racks, and any other overhangs on the rear of the vehicle. Its wide detection angle will provide a full visual for the driver to spot anything from small children to unseen parking poles.


Steel Mate PTS-800MM Parking System

Steelmate USA’s PTS-800MM is an eight-sensor front and rear parking system built for a full range protection from all directions for the driver. This parking sensor system features the same great functions as the previous product except there is a larger area covered. This is definitely beneficial when attempting to get a better visual of your blind spots and an idea of your surrounding area not only while you are reversing, but while you are driving forward as well.

Whether you are the greatest driver in the world or an individual who may have difficulty backing up from time to time, a parking sensor system would be a great long term investment on your bank account and even at times, your life.


Passive vs Active Crossovers

You may have heard the term “crossover” before. No, i’m not referring to SUV/hatchback vehicles or Chris Paul doing work on the court. I am in fact referring to audio crossovers. Most speakers are not going to be able to reproduce the entire spectrum of musical frequencies without distorting. For this reason, crossovers are put in place to separate frequency bands in order to get the best performance. There are two type of crossovers: passive and active.

Passive Crossovers

DLS Scandinavia Filter box

2-Way Passive Crossover

One of the main differences between the two is that passive crossover networks are unpowered which means there is no external power source.  They use capacitors and inductor coils to passively send frequencies to their desired drivers.  For example, in component speakers,  the crossover will passively send the high frequencies to the tweeters and the mid and lower frequencies to the mid bass drivers.  They will be wired in-line between the speakers and amplifier.  The amplifier’s output will be connected to the crossover’s input and the mid-bass driver and tweeter will be connected to the crossover output.  The disadvantages with passive crossovers is they are not usually adjustable and will actually cause a loss of wattage.

Active Crossovers

Hifonics HFXR

2-way / 3-way Active Crossover

Active crossovers are a different story.  They are essentially electronic circuits that divide the frequencies. They use the input side of the amplifier rather than the output like a passive crossover does.   It is a common conception in the audio world that active are more accurate and flexible than passive crossovers.  Active crossovers are adjustable and have variable filters such as low-pass,  high-pass, and gain.  They also have deeper crossover slopes.  This allows for a more customized and desirable sound for the user.  Another advantage to active crossovers is their ability to allow bi-amping.  This means you can use two amplifiers channels to power multiple drivers.

Usually, a component set of speakers will come with a passive crossover. However, the general consensus is that active crossovers are more accurate and a lot more flexible.  However, if you are looking for a good fixed signal then there is nothing wrong with passive crossovers.  Ether way you’re going to need one or the other in your audio system so what are you waiting for?


Overhead Vehicle Dock Lets You Use Your iPad as the Screen

Having the convenience of an overhead monitor in your vehicle is always a plus, especially if you have children in desperate need of some distractions. Mobile Vision recognizes the importance of overhead monitors for vehicles, and has designed something new to the car video industry that incorporates some very interesting technology. They have taken the overhead monitor and combined it with an iPad dock, turning it into an Overhead Docking Station for the iPad.

Charges & Swivels
When connected, the dock will continuously charge the iPad using the vehicles 12 volt power system. This will allow for unlimited access to the tablet even on the longest trips. The dock can also be swiveled and tilted to allow for optimal viewing angles, without having to compromise your comfort. Also, the dock can be flipped up to provide a secure storing place for your iPad while charging.

Audio Options
When it’s time to listen to the iPad’s audio there are a couple of different options when connected to the Mobile Vision Overhead Dock. If you want to have only the people watching the iPad enjoy the sound, the dock features a built-in IR transmitter for audio transmissions to the two included IR headphones. However if the whole vehicle wants to get in on the excitement, the unit also includes a continuous band FM transmitter which allows for transmissions to the vehicle’s radio.

Color Options and Compatibility
The Mobile Vision MV-IPAD2 system is available in two different colors – Gray and Cream. The docking system is compatible with all versions of the Apple iPad, ranging from the original iPad, the iPad 2, up until the newest iPad, or the iPad 3.


Do I Need a DAC? When and How to Choose a DAC

A common question that arises among music lovers looking to improve the sound quality of their set-up is the question of whether a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC, for short) is necessary and at what point a DAC becomes a useful component of either a speaker system or headphone rig. Before addressing the question of the necessity of a DAC, it is important to understand precisely what DACs are designed to do.


The essential function of a DAC is to convert the digital signals that computers or portable players use to store music into an analog current that can be used by headphone transducers or speakers to create physical sound. As a matter of pure functionality, no player that stores music digitally can interact with analog components without some type of on-board DAC. Of course, to keep the overall price of machines and devices capable of digital music storage down, many manufacturers equip devices such as mp3 players, laptops, and desktops with sub-par DAC systems. These systems generally do only enough to convert binary into a current and do not stress distortion reduction and general sound quality leaving the music without dimension or depth.

Do I Need a DAC? When to Get a DAC?

The statement I am about to make may surprise some and completely offend others: no one ever needs a DAC. A dedicated DAC should be the final step in achieving the finest audio quality for your stereo system or headphone rig. No amount of specialization, flashy specs,

NuForce Signature Gold; No amount of gold or diamonds will save a poor source

or carefully selected DAC components will improve the sound quality of a poor source. Painfully compressed digital audio files such as MP3 and internet radio streams will always leave out the nuances serious listeners crave. Before a DAC should ever come into consideration, it is of greater priority that the audio file is of the best quality available and of the lowest compression.

Even before considering new headphones or speaker components, until the music files have achieved the highest possible level of quality it is premature to begin considering external DACs or amplifier DAC combinations.

Choosing a DAC

Assuming you have all your lossless files in line, decent set of headphones or speakers, and (in necessary cases) an amplifier, a DAC is something to consider as final step in improving you system. Like adding the finishing touches to a carefully crafted work of art, adding a

FiiO-E17, described as having a "neutral" signature

DAC to you system should feel like polishing an already impressive composition. An effective way to select a suitable DAC is to test one with the music it will be used to play. Because DACs feed decoded information to other systems within the unit that eventually travel to the listening device in an analog form, all DACs will have a unique sound signature. The sound signature is basically the amount of coloration, or sound imposed on the analog signal not inherent to the mix or engineering. While the most neutral reproduction is the most desirable, some individuals may find that DACs with “warmer” coloration are more suited to their tastes. At this point in the process, it is just a mater of selecting a DAC with a sound signature that suits your individual tastes and that most heightens your musical enjoyment.


K40 RL100 vs. The Legendary Valentine One

The best way to test something to see if it’s up to snuff is to put it against the industry leader. In this case, we’ve decided to take the K40 RL100 Radar Detector and compare it directly to the Valentine One Radar Detector. The Valentine One has been an industry standard when it comes to radar detectors for many years; does the RL100 have what it takes to stack up against the top dog? Here is our no holds barred matchup between the RL100 and the Valentine One Radar Detectors.

Valentine One
The Valentine One has been an Industry Standard for many reasons. First and foremost are the radar and laser sensors that face both forward and backward. This allows you to detect the presence of radar and laser from both directions. It also displays which direct the presence is coming from. The Valentine One detects the X, K, Ka, Ku, and Laser frequencies that are in range. Another major advantage of the Valentine One system is that you can always have the most up-to-date version with a simple software upgrade.

Valentine One

The helpful display of the Valentine One has an easy to understand indicator to let you know which way the signal is coming from

Although it sounds like it’s ahead of the competition in every way, the main benefit to Valentine One is really the fact that it displays which direction the signal is coming from. For many who are new to radar detection, this indicator may very well be what helps them out of their next speeding situation.  Those who are more accustomed to radar and how signals are distributed and received may not need this additional feature.

K40 RL100

Although it’s up against a veteran, the RL100 has it’s own advantages. It features 360° detection from both radar and laser, and also has many convenience features. The convenience options available on the RL100 are features found even on their highest end models, such as the RL360. One of the main things to keep in mind with the RL100 is the GPS technology on board. You can program areas into the GPS to block specific bands & alerts in that desired area, allowing you to prevent false alarms in familiar territory, but still maintain the security of full-band coverage when in another area. Having GPS on board with the RL100 also promotes safe driving in areas such as dangerous intersections, or school zones.  The RL100 also features many other safe driving features, such as the Speed Monitor. This allows you to select a specific speed to be alerted at by your detector. If your vehicle rides so smoothly that you constantly end up at speeds higher than you mean to be driving, this is a very convenient feature.