7 Best DSP for Car Audio [Digital Signal Processors]

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Going online to just search for a car audio DSP (digital signal processor) is a mesmerizing endeavor; you’ll find literally thousands of results. Yet, fear not because you’re in the right place. We went the extra mile to narrow down the selection to only the best in the market.

Speaking of which, the number one on our podium is the Audiotec Fischer HELIX DSP.3S. We chose it because it features audio-enhancing capabilities not found in any of the competition. Moreover, the 64-bit processing power makes it audiophile-ready as well.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg; keep on reading and find out what other options fall into the budget, bang for the buck, and top-notch categories.

Car Audio DSP We Recommend

ImageDigital Signal Processor (DSP)InputsOutputsFrequency response
HELIX DSP 3S
Our Pick

Price at Ebay
6 x RCA / Cinch
6 x Highlevel speaker input
1 x Optical SPDIF (12 - 96 kHz)
1 x Coax SPDIF (12 - 192 kHz)
1 x Remote In
8 x RCA / Cinch
1 x Remote Out
10 Hz - 44,000 Hz
HELIX DSP 3S
Runner Up

Price at Crutchfield
Four 4-pin Euroblock connectors for a total of 8 available input channels. 6 (Front/Rear/Sub output pairs)N/A
Dayton Audio DSP-408 4x8 DSP...
Bang for the Buck

Price at Amazon
High-level inputs: 48-Channels RCA20-20,000 Hz
Arc Audio PS8-Pro Digital...
Top Notch

Price at Amazon
8 ch. Differential in (RCA or Speaker Level);
Digital Inputs: TOSLink
8-Channels RCA2Hz - 23.5kHz
Stetsom STX 2448 DSP Crossover...
Budget

Price at Amazon
2410Hz ~ 22kHz
Our Pick

Audiotec Fischer HELIX DSP.3S

You’ll know when you’ve plugged the right DSP into your car’s audio system. The feeling is that the sound stage is just better, more articulate, clearer, and oozes punch and low end. Such is the case with the Audiotec Fischer Helix DSP.3S.

To begin with, the Helix offers an optical digital input and an additional coaxial digital input. Thus, you can connect more than one source to it maintaining a resolution of up to 192 kHz. Speaking of resolution and sound quality, the Sigma350 processor allows 64-bit audio to transform any listening experience into a Hi-Res sonic journey.

Also, this unit works as a state-of-the-art DAC. Indeed, this unit utilizes Burr Brown technology so you can be sure that the audio quality coming out of the speakers is the same as the one coming out of the digital signal processor.

Finally, the ACO technology, exclusive from Audiotec for this model, allows the user to select from up to ten modes. This helps to fine-tune the sound depending on the song. For example, Augmented Bass Processing could mean larger-than-life beats. Likewise, the StageXpander and Input Signal Analyzer can make the most out of every song.

Adding a Helix DSP to your current setup will surely feel like you’ve changed the entire system.

Runner Up

JL Audio FiX – 86

Although this car audio digital signal processor delivers 24-bit sounds, it can be the missing link needed to enhance the audio of any system. This is because, besides having 8 channels that add flexibility to your car’s audio, it features digital equalizers. Thus, you can fine-tune your system to make every song sound exactly as it should.

On top of that, the dedicated RCA outputs for subwoofers make the connections much easier while delivering the quintessential pumping sound when coupled with the right speakers. Speaking of which, the dual stereo outputs for the rear and the front make sound distribution inside the vehicle very simple as well as keeping cable tangling to the absolute minimum.

Perhaps the only caveat that brought this unit to the second spot on the list is that it doesn’t offer any presets for the equalizer, making it hard to dial in a new sound in a breeze.

That being said, this DSP is perfect to work as the brains in your system elevating sound quality, dynamics, and options to your car’s audio.

Bang for the buck

Dayton Audio DSP-408

Dayton Audio has created an apparatus that can make your stereo sound better, play easier, and be more versatile in a single purchase that won’t break the bank.

For starters, this car audio DSP offers 4 inputs and 8 outputs, which is perfect for use in your car and can also double as a home unit serving, for example, your home theater. Indeed, the multiple connections allow you to hook it up to the car audio with the included cable, a remote controller, and even a USB connection.

It is through this USB connection with a computer or using the app for Android and iOS that you can fine-tune the sound with the 10-band EQ per channel. This way, despite not having dedicated outputs for subwoofers, you can simply use the EQ to direct the lows to a specific output.

Finally, the unit also offers a Bluetooth connector so you can utilize the app as mentioned above and transform your phone into an audio source as well, streaming straight to the DSP.

There are virtually no boundaries to what you can do with the Dayton Audio DSP-408.

Also Great

AudioControl DM-608

Another mighty contestant on the list is the AudioControl DM-608, a powerful, easy-to-use, flexible DSP ready to be the brains of any system.

To begin with, this unit features a 6×8 configuration which means it has 6 inputs and 8 outputs. Moreover, you also get input and output RTA to perform informed and accurate tuning. Speaking of which, you can apply high and low pass filters between 20 Hz and 20 kHz to get rid of mud and harshness in the resulting sound.

In the same vein, you can access a 30-band EQ through the laptop application connecting the unit with a USB cable. By accessing this tool you can perform time adjustments and apply a different EQ to the rear and to the front channels. Here’s where some people might find a caveat since there’s no Bluetooth connection possible meaning you have to either connect your laptop inside your car or calibrate it blindly.

Finally, this car DSP also comes equipped with LED indicators for peaks, crossovers for different speakers, and AcuBass technology for those super-tight beats.

The AudioControl DM-608 is a great DSP that can breathe new life into your car’s stereo system.

Also Great

AudioControl DM-810

Pros:

  • Excellent audio optimization
  • Small size
  • Ease of installation
  • 8 input channels, 10 outputs

Cons:

  • The application software can be confusing to beginners
  • The software faces glitching problems
  • Bluetooth comes as an add on

AudioControl DM-810 offers one of the best control and optimization features for sound quality. The AudioControl launched the DM-810 to help optimize any car stereo system to give high-fidelity audio.

The software uses Linkwitz-Riley crossover, parametric filters, 3-band graphic EQ, phase correction, time delay/alignment, polarity, real-time analyzers, and AccuBass bass correction system to help improve audio quality.

The DSP controls any feature and allows you to route any input to output. Hence, you can combine your car’s pre-filtered or amplified signals with subs, woofers, and mids to give one smooth signal and create audio harmony. Moreover, it offers up to ten channels of output.

You can connect the DM-810 to your laptop using a Type-B micro-USB and the AudioControl DM smart DSP app. The 12 dB or 24 dB octave Linkwitz-Riley crossovers allow you to set up high-pass and lowpass filtering.

It is highly user-friendly, with LED lights indicating clipping and a reg glow indicating that you must turn down the gain level until the green glow sows. Moreover, the top panel labels all input and output connections and LED indicators, so you don’t have to read through the hefty guidebook.

The DM-810 offers a maximum input level of 8V for the line and 40V for the speaker, and a maximum output level of 10V.

Top-Notch

Arc Audio PS8-Pro

Just taking a look at this DSP by Arc Audio will make you realize you’re in front of top-notch equipment. Indeed, this design by Robert Zeff takes the first spot on the podium of looks, elegance, and finesse.

But it is not all about looks when it comes to this unit because it is powerful enough to process audio streams of 192 kHz at 32 bits. Moreover, it is possible to integrate this unit into your OEM audio system. This way, you’ll have audiophile-grade sounds straight from the factory-standard speakers.

But that’s not all since you can use the unit’s 248-band EQ to fine-tune exactly what you need when you need it. In the same vein, the PS8-Pro features delay per channel so you can adjust the timing between speakers inside the car. Perhaps, the caveat with this state-of-the-art equipment is that it doesn’t feature Bluetooth capabilities and thus it is impossible to fine-tune it from your phone.

Other than that, if this car audio sound processor fits your budget, trying it out is a must.

Budget

Stetsom STX 2448

Although a budget-oriented unit, the fact that the Stetsom STX 2448 offers the user an LCD display to visualize exactly what is happening separates this car’s audio DSP from the competition.

The LCD display allows the user to make real-time adjustments to the audio. For example, the unit features 12 presets for the 5-band EQ distributed by style (Hip-Hop, Electronic, Rock, etc.). That being said, you can also go fully manual and create your own favorite EQ settings.

In this sense, the available hotkeys on top of the apparatus let you select easily one of the modes you’ve created (or a factory one). This way, you can do changes on the fly. Likewise, you can use the unit’s crossover function to deliver the right frequency to each channel maximizing speaker performance.

Finally, the Stetsom STX 2448 features a limiter with an attack-release system, providing security to amplifiers and loudspeakers.

If you are on a budget and looking for a car audio digital signal processor to take your car’s sound system to the next level, this Stetsom has to be on your list.

Budget

PRV AUDIO DSP 2.8X

The PRV Audio DSP 2.8X offers 2 inputs (labeled A and B) and 8 outputs. Between these inputs and outputs, you can find 10 digital crossover filters and a high-voltage preamp. This preamp works wonders, especially in low-gain sources; you don’t have to play them so loud reducing the noise floor.

Moreover, adding to the crossover, the unit also offers phase inversion, graphic and parametric equalization, and a limiter to help you dial in exactly the sound you want and make the most out of your audio investment.

Also, a great feature offered by PRV Audio is the ability to connect three different amps (for example) to the remote sequencer. This way, you can tell your DSP to sequentially engage or disengage an amplifier. Moreover, you can set a triggering interval for the amplifiers ranging from 0 to 4 seconds. Finally, you can also set the amplifiers to go on or off simultaneously for maximum power.

For budget-oriented buyers, few brands in the car audio DSP market offer you so much at this price range.

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Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / *Image Disclaimer: We use images/data from Amazon Product Advertising API solely on products that link to Amazon. On products with the "Price at Crutchfield" button, we use images/data from Crutchfield.com as per the partnership deal.

Hey, there mobile audio lovers! My name is Vincent Talbot, founder and chief editor at 99carstereo.com. Ask any mobile audio fanatic, installer, or company rep what makes a good car speaker, sub or amp, or, better yet, why he or she prefers a certain brand over another, and be prepared to endure a litany of opinions, viewpoints, and passion-fueled perspectives. To be honest, mobile audio shopping can be a daunting task without a guide, so I’ve assembled what I feel are the best products to consider to make things easier for you. More about me.

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Mobile audio is my passion, so before I put anything in front of you I exhaustively research a broad range of products, review all the available information on them and ultimately make a curated list of recommendations. As a result, I want this site to be a trusted resource that you can rely on and that is not rigged by brand sponsorship, so you can use this information when you are planning your new mobile audio upgrade.