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Thread: Simple computer to car stereo hookup

  1. #1
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    Simple computer to car stereo hookup

    I have a Dell Inspiron E1705 notebook with the standard SigmaTel sound in it. We live on a boat, and have a Pioneer DEH-P5200 head unit as our stereo. I want to hook up the computer to the Pioneer's AUX input. I found the needed cables and plugged the AUX input from the Pioneer into the headphone jack. It sounds awful. I suspect the headphone jack is both mismatched in impedance and lacks adequate power to drive the AUX input on the Pioneer.

    I know the headphone jack provides a decent quality signal to good headphones, as that is how I normally listen. I looked for a way to switch the headphone jack to LINE OUT, but if it is there I can't find it. (The microphone jack can be switched to LINE IN.)

    What's next? Does anyone know of a decent 12v preamp that would take headphone input and produce LINE OUT - AUX signal? Or did I miss a setting that would reconfigure the headphone jack to LINE OUT? Or do I need a more capable sound card for the Dell (there is a slot that accepts whatever they call the successor to PCMCIA cards.)

    Have patience with a newbie..

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    many people connect their computer's line-out / headphone output directy to a HU aux-input. I did it with my laptop and a Pioneer DEH-P490IB and it sounded fine.

    are you sure you have the proper cable? you need a stereo 1/8" > RCA adapter. did you get a mono adapter by mistake?

  3. #3
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    I think it is right. I used an off-the-shelf 1/8 stereo headphone jack to a pair of RCA pin plugs cable, connected to the (proprietary) Pioneer AUX input adapter that plugs into the back on the head unit. There is signal in both speakers, just very noisy and distorted, even with the computer headphone output turned up.

    BTW, I don't think my headphone jack is producing LINE OUT signals, or I think my troubles would be over. Why do you think you are getting a LINE OUT signal from your headphone jack?

  4. #4
    FLAC Chairboy's Avatar
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    Say, have you tried lowering the volume on the laptop?
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  5. #5
    Newbie b5b4you's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairboy View Post
    Say, have you tried lowering the volume on the laptop?
    Off topic.... Chairboy AWESOME AVITAR!!! Sonic Boom on a Cesna...lol

    Ok anyone ever use Line Output Converters from car audio?
    They take any volume/watage of speaker/headphone output, and make the proper "Line-Out" signal

    out of many options, here is the first example i came up with in google...


    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-YmmLpLZ...evel&i=142SLC4

  6. #6
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    I'd also recommend lowering the headphone out volume. If that doesn't help, I'd also check the cabling. (Try it with something else).

    Also, the successor to PCMCIA is ExpressCard.
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  7. #7
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    No joy when I lowered the volume, or raised it. The volume of the very distorted audio signal does change, but does not clean up. I talked to a guy at the local electronics store about the problem and learned that he thinks the problem is impedance mismatch. Speakers/headphones are low impedance (4 or 8 ohms) while line in and line out signals are supposed to be at 10K ohms. He thinks I need a device to match the impedances.

    I am looking in Dell's website trying to find out if I can reconfigure the headphone jack to line out, but no luck yet. I may also try the line out converter mentioned above. If I don't hit a simpler solution soon, I will just get a sound card with line out capability and plug it into the Expresscard slot.

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