connecting Ipod to main stereo system [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Glen Rasmussen
12-02-2004, 07:14 PM
I have just made the jump to apple, bought a powerbook 17"with loads of software, I am going to transfer many of my cd collection to the notebook and then eventually the ipod. I notice that you can hook it up to your home stereo or for that matter just hook up the powerbook wirelessly to the home stereo. What is the sound quality like? I really like the idea of a complete digital jutebox, down load the best of all my Cd collection and building portable format for car, boat, outside parties etc. Anyone with experience with this?? Please enlightend me. Thanks


12-02-2004, 11:49 PM
Just my .02 cents. It depends on your soundcard in your notebook and just how good a source you want. If it were me I would upgrade the soundcard. In your case an external one would probably be best. Something like the Creative Audigy platinum II. The soundcard in your notebook will work but I'm guessing that it won't be as good. You may even be able to hook the ipod up directly to a receiver and let a receiver process the signal. Anyways If you get an external for your notebook you have to disable the onboard soundcard, having two soundcards will conflict with each other. Other than that from what I've heard the sound quality from the ipod is pretty good as I understand it uses a better codac than Mp3.
My friend is thinking of getting an ipod and doing something similar. So he's been telling me the advantages of storing everything on an external hard drive and downloading to an ipod.

12-10-2004, 07:00 AM
If you go to you can download pdf. copies of magazine issues. In issue 70 they have a full article on the apple i-pod and how it sounds. here the magazine in pdf.

12-10-2004, 07:53 AM
Hey man,

Here's what I'm doing.

I'm sending digital music files (MP3s or Apple Lossless) from my Apple PowerBook to the Apple Airport Express unit, and than I have an optical digital Toslink cable running from the Airport Express into the optical jack of my reciever.

So you're sending direct PCM digital stream into the receiver and than allowing your receiver to decode and do the Digital to Analog Conversion.

The sound is fantastic!

iPods are great for taking your music around with you, but utilizing the optical digital jack on the Airport Express is a better sound quality solution than using the output jack of the iPod (IMHO).

For more info on this very subject:

As you'll see if you read those threads, some guys are customizing the Airport Express unit to do digital coaxial output instead of the digital optical, and they feel it gives a better sound reproduction (which I'm sure it does), but it's also a lot of work to make such a modification (for someone without much tech knowledge such as I).

Oh - sound quality using this method is going to be totally dependent on your original files sources since you're just stream direct PCM data into your receivers DAC (digital to analog converter). So using files that are either 192kb MP3s or the Apple Lossless format is the way to go. I've had the same exact songs playing on my CD player, and streaming Apple Lossless from my computer and I have trouble telling the difference. Though when you get down to 128kb MP3s the difference is pretty easy to hear. So the original files are what will make or break sound quality.

So how cold is it up there in Potsdam? I'm down state in Roch.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


12-10-2004, 06:05 PM
The only audio out the powerbook comes with is the stereo mini-jack, which really sounds bad when connected to a line level input on a receiver. I use an M-audio sonica connected to my powerbooks USB. The Sonica has both optical and mini-jack out, both sound much better than the powerbooks stock mini-jack. By the way, light up USB cables cause audible interference in this setup. To do this wireless, I gotta agree, use an Airport Express.