How to Hook Up Your iPod or Mp3 Player to Your Home Stereo Receiver or Amplifier Using a Y Adapter Cable


To hook your iPod or other brand of personal Mp3 player to a home stereo, you need to have a stereo that has "Input" ports on the back, as seen in this image. The typical RCA style ports shown here are for hooking up various stereo components, like CD players, LP record players, cassette players, or your iPod, etc. NOTE: You will only be using the "IN" jacks, not the "OUT" jacks. There may be some chance of damaging your iPod if you plug it into an "OUT" jack. You want to send music from your iPod INTO the stereo, you do not want to send OUTPUT from the stereo into your iPod.

NOTE: Some home stereos (especially many bookshelf style stereo systems) do not have INPUT ports, or they may have INPUT ports that are atypical, which would make it hard or impossible to find a Y Adapter connection cable that could be used to connect your iPod to the stereo. You cannot simply plug your iPod directly to large home stereo speakers, because the iPod only generates enough power for your earbud speakers-- to make large speakers work, the iPod must be plugged into the stereo receiver/amplifier itself, so that it may amplify the signal coming out of the iPod, which in turn allows the large speakers to work.

To connect your iPod to the stereo, you will need a Y cable like the one shown, with two RCA jacks on one end (to connect to an INPUT port on the back of the stereo, as mentioned above, and a small pin headphone jack on the other end which connects to your iPod's earphone jack.

When choosing which INPUT port to connect to, it is best to avoid the "PHONO" port, since they are amplified in a way that tends to make them unsuitable for use with an iPod. Look for an open port labelled "AUX" or "AUXILIARY", although other good ports to use include ones for "CD", "TAPE", "VCR", and others as well. Carefully plug the jacks on your Y Adapter Cable into the INPUT port you have selected (in this case, the CD port), again making sure it is an INPUT port, and not an OUTPUT port.

Plug the headphone style pin on your Y Adapter Cable into your iPod.

Turn on the stereo, and make sure that the INPUT mode selected on the front of the stereo corresponds to the port you plugged your Y Adapter Cable into on the back of the stereo. In this case, the "CD" port was used, so that is the setting that is shown being selected here, in order for the iPod connected to it to play through your stereo speakers.

Turn the volume knob on the stereo down to a suitable level for initial testing.

Turn on your iPod and when a song begins playing, the sound should be being played through your stereo's speakers. If you hear no sound, unplug the cable from the iPod, and plug in your normal headphones, to verify that the iPod is actually playing and that its audio volume is turned on. Then plug it back into the stereo. If it still does not work, verify that you are plugged into the same INPUT jacks on the back of the stereo as you have selected on the stereo's control panel. If you find some problem with that, try another port, or try another Y Adapter Cable to make sure yours is not defective (although this would be rare).

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Copyright 2008 Thomas Penrose