Help re connecting PB to stereo

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by xrayyou, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. xrayyou macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2004
    I have a PB G4 17" and would like to play iTunes Apple Music Store files through my stereo/home theater system. Needless to say the PB's speakers are somewhat lacking.

    I have considered devices like the Slimdevices Squeezebox and the newly released Homepod which allow streaming of radio and music files over a wireless network. Neither of these however will playback Apple Music Store AAC files apparently due to licensing/encryption issues on Apples end.

    What other options do I have?

    I guess I could buy an iPod. But then I have the extra step of synchronizing it to my PB and then connecting it to my stereo each time I have new music. It also only has analog RCA audio outs through the iPod dock. The wireless devices above have coax and optical digital outs.

    Is there any way to directly connect my PB to the stereo?
    This ibox thing I keep reading about on the site would fit the bill but is probably somebody's (including mine) pipedream. Anyone out there in the know have a brilliant solution?
  2. MoparShaha macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2003
    San Francisco
    You could just go to Radio Shack and buy a $3 mini-jack to RCA cable. Just hook up your headphone port of the PB to that, and hook up the RCA inputs of the stereo.

    If this doesn't satisfy your need for high-fidelity sound, check out M-Audio's Sonica. It provides 5.1 digital sound through your PB's USB port. Just remember, you're playing compressed audio, so the difference between the RCA jacks and the digital hookup is not going to make a difference in sound quality.
  3. nadyne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2004
    Mountain View, CA USA
    This is what I do all the time, with both my PowerBook and my iPod. I have a mid-range Pioneer receiver, and the sound quality is decent. It's not perfect, but then I'm using compressed files anyway.

    I'd like to get a big hard drive, and be able to rip my CDs using a lossless codec (FLAC would be best, but SHN would do) and listen to them through my stereo. I rarely bother getting out my physical CDs any more (except for playback in my car), since it's a lot more convenient to play the ripped version in iTunes.

  4. oldschool macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2003
    Whatever you do don't get the homepod or the older 'SlimMP3'. For the price of these you can get a nice iPod and sync up your music and have control over which song plays over your stereo AT your stereo instead of having to go back to the computer to select songs.

    Another drawback with Homepod is that it uses up CPU cycles on your machine because itunes has to be open and playing and the wireless network must be on.

    in my opinion get an ipod then connect it with and RCA cable.
  5. Santaduck macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2003
    if your stereo (probably the receiver, or in a separates-system the amp) has a grounded plug (3-prong), then you may get severe audio problems when listening if your PB's ac/dc adapter is being used (since both devices are grounded, and connected by the signal interconnect which grounds the both together).

    I suppose you could defeat your stereo's ground, or run the PB on batteries. Grounding the two chassis together with a separate wire might be a solution but I'm not sure.

    If your stereo has an outboard DAC (digital/analog converter), or a digital input elsewhere, then this may bypass the ground problem if you have it. I think both the spdif optical & the coax should be ok, but i'm not sure, maybe only the optical would be immune. Heck, this way, if you are using a home theatre receiver you might even get home theatre 5.1 sound from appropriate media, again I'm not sure.

    btw doing the ipod dock thing to the stereo is actually surprisingly high quality, high enough that I could rate different AAC bitrates to uncompressed CDs. Only at 320 could I not hear a difference, and 128 was atrocious. I think I rip at either 192 or 224 for most of my stuff now. The difference between 192 and 320 was audible on the stereo, but not on headphones, but I could easily hear the degradation at 128 on headphones.

    Over standard headphones most people can't easily hear the difference between 128 & 224 as far as specific acoustic features, but those same people usually do report much less enjoyment & involvement in the music at 128. That's what really counts. Give it a whirl & see.
  6. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2002
    I'll add that even the smallest bookshelf stereo systems and boomboxes have auxilary inputs.

    Take your $3 mini-jack to RCA (also possibly refered to as 1/8" stereo to RCA) cable, plug it into your Powerbook's headphone jack and the AUX IN ports on your stereo (red=right and white (or black)=left). Select the AUX button on the stereo and you should be good to go.

    Your movies and games will now sound better too.
  7. Nik_Doof macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2003
    St Helens, UK
    heh my stereo is so old its got minijack for the aux input :p
  8. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Ay? the powerbook is a two pin (double insulated) ac adaptor, so there will be no grouding. Also not all receivers are earthed either, if they are not then they use their metal cases as a ground, all devices that are earthed in a house, generally use a common earth, i.e. a big lead/concrete thing under the house.

    Trust me as a user using this solution for a while now on several receivers , Yamaha Dolby Pro Logic / Marantz SR5400 and now Rotel RSP-1066 / RMB-1075 Power amp you will not have ANY grounding issues.

    If you do, either your mains supply is dodgy or theres something wrong with your PB / Receiver.
  9. xrayyou thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2004
    Wow, thanks for everyone's responses. I'm starting to lean toward an iPod. It may be the best solution until something like the ibox materializes. Anyone here use the Navipod to remotely control their iPod?
  10. AbeFroman macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2003
    While this seems to be the popular opinion, I question it. This seems to me to be the sort of statement that once enough people repeat it becomes accepted fact.
    Speaking from my own experience- my sound benefits greatly from a USB audio interface. Going from the headphone jack is a serious step down for me. Even with compressed audio.

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