A/V Support: Playing An iPod Through Aux Input

Question: I have an older high-end Marantz receiver, which I now use with my iPod. Unfortunately, the receiver doesn’t have a dedicated iPod input, so I use the auxiliary jack instead. The playback volume is lower than from other sources. Is there any loss of fidelity playing an iPod through the auxiliary input? I know that newer receivers have dedicated iPod inputs. JEFFREY S. BALOG / VIA E-MAIL

Answer: The voltage level of an iPod’s headphone output is considerably lower than what you’ll fi nd on the line outputs of a typical stereo component such as a CD player. That’s why you have to crank the volume abnormally high when you connect your iPod directly to your home stereo’s Aux input — an adjustment that also reduces audio fidelity by boosting noise levels.

Plenty of fancy “iPod docking stations” are available in a range of prices. But you can also buy a special cable for under $20 from online stores like CablesToGo.com that will extract a line-level output from your iPod’s dock connector and connect by way of standard stereo RCA jacks to your receiver’s Aux input. Happy listening.

-- Al Griffin

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