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  1. #1
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    Where does my Y-splitter go on this Receiver?

    I am using a y-splitter to play audio from my laptop/ipod. I am using a Harman Kardon HK 3490 receiver. I seem to get the best sound from the "Main In" audio input. However, I was under the impression that I should plug this cord into a "CD In" or "Tape In" jack. But again, I get the best sound from the "Main In" input. Sound is barely audible through the "CD In" or "Tape In" inputs. Is the "Main In" the right input?

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nirama
    I am using a y-splitter to play audio from my laptop/ipod. I am using a Harman Kardon HK 3490 receiver. I seem to get the best sound from the "Main In" audio input. However, I was under the impression that I should plug this cord into a "CD In" or "Tape In" jack. But again, I get the best sound from the "Main In" input. Sound is barely audible through the "CD In" or "Tape In" inputs. Is the "Main In" the right input?

    Main in is a preamplifier input, so your laptop is the 'preamp', and the receiver is a power amp, so you use the volume control of your laptop.

    when you plug the laptop in to the 'cd in' or 'tape in', your laptop is a preamp, with a lower volume, and your receiver also uses it's preamp, with the volume also pretty low (well, not fully open...), which results in a very very faint sound.

    This is because the laptop's headphone/speaker output is not high enough.
    A laptop's output is on the same level as a cd speaker when and only when the laptop's volume is fully open.

    so, if you turn up the volume of the laptop's output to max, and plug it in the cd input on your receiver, it will be about the same volume as it would be with 'main in'.

    Which is best, the main in is probably easier to use for you, as you only have to set only one volume button, quality wise, the CD input might be slightly better, as the preamp might 'smooth out' the very low quality of the laptop's output, but it won't really make that much of a difference

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    Main in is a preamplifier input, so your laptop is the 'preamp', and the receiver is a power amp, so you use the volume control of your laptop.

    when you plug the laptop in to the 'cd in' or 'tape in', your laptop is a preamp, with a lower volume, and your receiver also uses it's preamp, with the volume also pretty low (well, not fully open...), which results in a very very faint sound.

    This is because the laptop's headphone/speaker output is not high enough.
    A laptop's output is on the same level as a cd speaker when and only when the laptop's volume is fully open.

    so, if you turn up the volume of the laptop's output to max, and plug it in the cd input on your receiver, it will be about the same volume as it would be with 'main in'.

    Which is best, the main in is probably easier to use for you, as you only have to set only one volume button, quality wise, the CD input might be slightly better, as the preamp might 'smooth out' the very low quality of the laptop's output, but it won't really make that much of a difference

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Thanks for that awesome explanation!

  4. #4
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Indeed, if the main in is a pre-amp input, it should mean that the HK's pre amp is being bypassed which in turn means that turning the volume control will have no effect on the sound volume. You can check this yourself. However, it may be difficult to use that option as the volume control on your laptop will be quite sensitive when using main-in.

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