is there a difference in audio quality between headphone jack and 30-pin out cable?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by watermelonbook, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. watermelonbook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    #1
    I want to plug in my iPod nano into my car's AUX IN port and listen in the car.

    Is there a real difference in audio quality between these two?

    (1) 3.5mm-to-RCA and connect it via the iPod nano's headphone jack

    (2) 30-pin-to-RCA cable and connect it via the iPod nano's 30-pin jack
     
  2. Pakaku macrumors 68000

    Pakaku

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    #2
    Probably not a big enough difference to hear over the noise of your car and from outside.
     
  3. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #3
    I think the 30 pin would be a better choice. The headphone jack is amplified and certainly not by a high quality amplifier. This will introduce distortion - not much at low volumes but still. Also, the resulting stereo volume will be tied to the iPod volume. If you accidentally bump the iPod volume, you'll get a surprise in the car stereo!

    Using the 30 pin output should be a "line level" output with less distortion and zero volume-related variability.
     
  4. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #4
    30 pin connector is better quality, plus you can control the ipod through it.

    I have a griffin autopilot, which charges the phone, transmits sound through dock connector and gives you 3 buttons to play/pause/rewind/fast forward.
     
  5. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #5
    The OP is connecting to the head unit via RCA so he/she won't have control options.
     
  6. watermelonbook thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    #6
    exactly... :) My #1 concern is the audio quality. Based on what I've read so far, I assume the 30-pin connector offer the best line level output. Will know when my cable arrives tomorrow. :)

    Thanks to all!
     
  7. jimthing, May 1, 2014
    Last edited: May 1, 2014

    jimthing macrumors 6502a

    jimthing

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    The thing to note is as above: the RCA-in on the stereo end, as this too is analog, just as the headphone-out on the iPod is. Hence, you won't achieve any better sound quality using the 30-pin over the headphone-out.

    What you need is a car stereo that has a 30-pin (or Lightning, for newer device users) DIRECTLY GOING IN to the stereo without a separate connection on it. This not only will achieve the "line level" better quality you want, but should also offer you additional controls directly on the stereo itself.

    Ultimately though, does it matter? When you're listening in a car environment, you have so much background noise (engine, street, etc.) that the difference is likely pointless to you.

    Oh, and don't forget to make sure you're running your car's engine, as otherwise you'll run the battery down – like I did a while ago, having to call the AA out to start me up as the battery voltage had dropped below the minimum level needed for my car, before immediately taking the car for a good half-hour run to top the battery back up from the car's alternator!
     
  8. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #8
    Line level input isn't relevant to digital signals, only analog ones. Digital is on or off by definition.
     
  9. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #9
    Have never tried it, but I agree that with the noise in the car and with the quality of car speakers, not sure you will notice a difference
     
  10. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #10
    Autopilot has controls built into it, it can control the iphone through the dock connector.

    I have one, i can control my iphone with it. I must be a magician!

    Also line out from dock connection will have better audio quality than the headphone connector. The headphone output has an amplifier which slightly distorts the audio, the dock connector line out doesn't have this so doesn't have this extra distortion.
     
  11. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #11
    Yes, this answers "What are some ways I can connect my iPod to my stereo." but not what the OP asked.

    And this was already stated. Thanks!
     

Share This Page