What is DSP and what does it do?

What is DSP?

Should I be on the lookout for a DSP in-car entertainment system?

Author: Bailey Wilkinson

DSP or a Digital Signal Processor is a small microcontroller which can be installed into specific audio systems, to mathematically change the output. When data is sent into the DSP it can be altered in multiple different ways to provide the listener with a better listening experience.

Currently, more and more manufacturers are jumping aboard the train to install DSP into their systems/products, as one of the new Key Selling points of these products. They're in your headphones, they're in our cars, and they're in our smartphones. In this blogpost, I'll mainly be talking about what they can do for you when placed inside an OEM style radio for the inside of your car.

One of the main benefits of having a system with a DSP component is that the audio quality of the system will be better than one without. This is because the audio can be cleaned up through the DSP, to provide increased quality.

How is this achieved, well the DSP component can transform parts of the data stream, adding in things like Equalization, Suppression, and Delay to name a few. Ultimately these microcontrollers control a wide array of outputs to ensure that your audio setup whatever it may be, can be adjusted and tweaked to provide you with the best audio quality possible.

The DSP allows for Bluetooth to transfer data from your phone to a head unit inside the car, and convert the data to audio that is readable, meaning the link between these devices will be of a good quality, and let you use mobile applications to stream music, maps, and assistants like Siri and Alexa through your car.

As we all know, different cars have different timbre, resonance and echo, depending on how they're laid out, the upholstery inside the vehicle, perhaps some custom subwoofers or speakers can all effect how the audio will sound inside the vehicle. These small changes reduce the chance that a stock radio may be able to match the quality that you want or require.

The DSP is also what controls the Voice Recognition in systems. The DSP is capable of recognising data that sounds/looks like a humans voice, converting it into commands for the rest of the system, so the next time you use Siri or Alexa, these virtual assistants have received their data from the DSP, with better and better recognition becoming more and more available to consumers.

Voice recognition is changing the way we operate behind the wheel, allowing us to keep concentration on the road, and less on getting ready to change the Music, open up maps or change the radio station. Simple voice recognition keeps us safer on the roads.

Noise cancellation is one of the more overlooked aspects of a DSP, as people often assume they need to simply have the system louder to hear it, when in actual fact they can have the DSP removes certain tones and noises, or cover them up to provide a better quality, without having to mask the failure of a worse audio setup.

Having a system with a good DSP is vital to a good in-car entertainment system, as it gives the user something beyond what a stock model may come with.

Here at Iceboxauto, many of our models come with DSP now, as we're more interested with giving people plenty of options to customize their audio setups for their new Aftermarket Head unit.

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