How to connect a portable music player to your home stereo

July 29, 2015

Headphones or ear buds are fine for plane rides and the morning train commute, but did you ever consider listening to your MP3 player, personal stereo system, portable CD player, or even your laptop computer through your home stereo? It's really easy to do.

How to connect a portable music player to your home stereo

You can also turn your portable music device into a hi-fi system for a bedroom, workspace or kitchen area. Here's how to connect your personal music player to your home stereo:

  • All you need is an unoccupied input on your stereo receiver or amplifier and something called a mini-plug-to-RCA adapter cord.
  • This 1 or 2-metre (3 or 6-foot) cord has a small mini-plug on one end, which should fit the headphone jack of your portable device, and a pair of red-and-white RCA plugs on the other.
  • The RCA plugs go into the input on the receiver (do not plug into the phono input, however, unless you want to blow out your speakers).
  • Before you attach the player, set its volume to about three-quarters and leave it there.

Once the player is hooked up:

  • Make all volume adjustments on the receiver.
  • This prevents sudden volume spikes that might damage the receiver.
  • Make sure everything is powered off when you connect the player to your stereo, and when you unplug the player from the adapter cord.
  • It's fine to leave the RCA adapter cord attached to the stereo when your portable player is on the road.

Make a personal stereo deck

  • Although special, pricey decks exist, all you need to turn your portable player into a small-area stereo is to connect it to an inexpensive two- or three-piece speaker system — the powered type sold for computers at electronic retailers.
  • These speakers connect to your portable player with the same jack used for a computer, so that you don't need any special cables.
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