Connecting an iPod to audio equipment

Q: I own and run a bar in Bath, England. I am dying to know how to set up an iPod to run the music for the bar. We have two amplifiers running two different areas of the bar but they are not near where we would want the iPod; is it possible to use a long cable?

– Paul

A: Connecting an iPod to one amplifier is pretty simple. You need to get a cable that has a 1/8” (3.5 mm) plug on one end (that’s the end that connects to the iPod’s headphone jack, or to the line-out jack on the Dock), and two RCA jacks on the other end (that connect to your AUX input on the amplifier). Connect the two, switch the amp to AUX, and you’re up and running.

However, since you talk about two amplifiers; you could use a splitter cable from the iPod (that’s a cable that has one 1/8” plug going into two 1/8” jacks) and then connect two cables, one to each amplifier. We’ve reviewed a few audio splitters for the iPod in our reviews section that might be of interest to you.

And if your two areas of the bar are far apart, you’ll also need to be careful about latency problems. Latency occurs when the cables aren’t the same length, and when one amplifier is a few microseconds (or more) ahead of the other. If there is enough of a difference, you could hear the music out of phase.

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.
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