Sound degradation through audio cables | iLounge Article


Sound degradation through audio cables

Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

Q: I have a brand new iPod photo (color iPod) that I want to connect to my home stereo. I purchased the appropriate Dock and want to connect it with a 1/8”-to-RCA jack cable. Is there a limit on the length of the cable I can use before the sound quality might be compromised? Also, what are the ideal volume and equalizer settings on the iPod? My home stereo is located one floor below where the iPod will be. I will likely run an adapter cable that will 25 to 35 feet long.

- Glenn

A: If you play your music through a Dock, the iPod’s volume setting won’t affect the music’s volume. The Dock’s jack is a line-out jack, which is unaffected by the iPod’s internal volume setting. As for the equalizer, that depends on your music, your environment, and your ears. This article tells you more about using the iTunes and iPod equalizers.

As for the length of the cable, there’s no simple answer. Audiophiles will insist that you’ll need expensive hand-made or special cables in order to avoid sound loss past 6 feet, but professional musicians have opined that quality of analog cables isn’t significantly compromised even at distances of 25-33 feet (10 meters). There is a natural loss of gain with long unbalanced cables, potentially audible in the high frequencies, but it would be most pronounced at around 33 feet and beyond. Digital cables are another story.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

The most asked question at

How do I copy content from my iPod/iPhone onto my computer?

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, Apple TV and iPhone Video Formats

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Mac)

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Win)

Best Speakers?

Best Headphones?

Best Case?

Best In-Car Solution?

Best Battery Extender?

Find more answers in the latest publications in our Library. Free downloads developed by the editors of iLounge!

Ask iLounge Archives:

1-24-14: Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks

1-22-14: Splitting purchased content between two iPads

12-13-13: Non-Bluetooth Lightning dock speakers

12-11-13: Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone

12-6-13: Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac

Read more recent Ask iLounge articles...

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

« AirPort Express volume and iPod compatibility

First Looks Shuffle: Luxury Case, DLO Docks, MP3Bandits, Shufflesome & Poptune Stickers »

Related Stories


If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy