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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, MP3 Player pre-amp. Is there such a beast? in Technical; I have been running my iPod into my amp useing a 3.5mm jack to 2x RCA phono lead. The problem ...
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    MP3 Player pre-amp. Is there such a beast?

    I have been running my iPod into my amp useing a 3.5mm jack to 2x RCA phono lead. The problem is that this is quite quiet unless you really turn up the volume. I have also run it via the phono pre-amp we have running from our turntable to the amp and this has indeed improved the volume problem. However I found the sound quality rather 'warm' soft over all tracks which isn't what I really want. Does anyone know if there is such a thing as an MP3 player pre-amp that isn't an iPod dock as I want to use the 3.5mm jack lead rather than the iPod conector so my wife can use her MP3 player as well.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 20th November 2011 at 09:58 AM.

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    What model is your onkyo again?
    I *think* there is a way to set a connectors volume (aka boost that connection) but I need to check. I wouldnt buy a separate as your amp will do a far better job of boosting the sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Does anyone know if there is such a thing as an MP3 player pre-amp that isn't an iPod dock
    FiiO E5 perhaps?

    I use a SendStation PocketDock Line Out Mini USB adapter myself. This bypasses the iPod's internal headphone out circuitry and provides a cleaner/louder audio signal to my amp.

    Another option, depending upon which iPod you have, is to remove the EU volume limit using the method described here.

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    Presumably if you are going from the iPod into an (integrated amp?), you are already feeding the input into a pre-amp (you are using the volume control on the 'amp' - right?). A phono connection (Moving magnet) expects a lot lower voltage signal than a line level so will give you more boost. It will also bring up the noise floor - which might be why it sounds 'warm'. But another pre-amp won't necessarily sort that.

    What amp exactly are you feeing into?

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    A phono turntable pre amp will likly have RIAA equalisation on it, so low frequencys will be louder than quiet ones. Maplins sell this Universal Preamplifier Module : Audio Modules : Maplin Electronics or Low-Noise Stereo Preamp Kit : TR Kits : Maplin Electronics, and there are some others on ebay. Don't know how good they will be. But as others have said, removing any volume limit on the ipod would be the best option. Note you would need 2 of the first one for stereo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    What model is your onkyo again?
    I *think* there is a way to set a connectors volume (aka boost that connection) but I need to check. I wouldnt buy a separate as your amp will do a far better job of boosting the sound.
    It's the TX-SR606. TBH, I'd not looked at the port settings yet.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 20th November 2011 at 01:36 PM.

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    One solution might be to use one of these (to get to the full line level output of the iPod) + a male to male mini jack adaptor (or cut off the male plug and replace it) on the iPod and use the other mp3 player via the hedphones (assuming you get satisfactory output from that?).

    (ETA - my old iPod works fine into a 708 via a dock, so accessing the line output rather than the headphone out should improve matters).
    Last edited by pcstru; 20th November 2011 at 10:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Presumably if you are going from the iPod into an (integrated amp?), you are already feeding the input into a pre-amp (you are using the volume control on the 'amp' - right?). A phono connection (Moving magnet) expects a lot lower voltage signal than a line level so will give you more boost. It will also bring up the noise floor - which might be why it sounds 'warm'. But another pre-amp won't necessarily sort that.

    What amp exactly are you feeing into?
    It's an Okyo TX-SR606. I already have a phono pre-amp for my turntable and was already guessing that these were specially designed for turntables which is why I'm asking whether anyone had got around to designing one for MP3 players (I smell a gap in the market here!). I also now wonder how long it will be before amps, both AV and audio coem with MP3 inputs at the rear?

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    A headphone output should be OK for a line level input - although there can be impedance mismatches (usually resulting in the signal being too loud). You can get headphone amps - anything from cheap and cheerful £30 jobs to ... err, well, much more exotic kit! They are generally aimed at helping to drive higher end headphones which might have high impedances (600 ohm). That would help you but you need watch out for the SN off the headphone output.

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    I never knew you could get heaphone amps! You learn something new every day

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    The output from an IPod is 30mV the input on a Line in is 130mV there is your miss match a record deck input is only 4mV and the impedance will be miles out so giving you your warm sound if you have an AUX they are normally in the 80 to 100mV so will be louder for you, you certanly dont want a headphone amp as that would swamp your amplifier input.
    you need a line match amp. The out put from MP3 players now is limited for safety as mosty hearing damage is from headphones and ear plugs where volume in the enclosed space can easly go over 100db and would very soon damage your hearing permenatly.
    Your miss match is arounf 4db and you could use a guitar preamp if you have one (foot pedal type) ebay for around £10

    Marc
    Projector Engineer
    Last edited by Marc-Engineer; 21st November 2011 at 01:04 PM.

  12. Thanks to Marc-Engineer from:

    Dos_Box (21st November 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    It's an Okyo TX-SR606. I already have a phono pre-amp for my turntable and was already guessing that these were specially designed for turntables which is why I'm asking whether anyone had got around to designing one for MP3 players (I smell a gap in the market here!). I also now wonder how long it will be before amps, both AV and audio coem with MP3 inputs at the rear?
    There's no need for them, just turn your amp up. You bought a decent amp, why put a preamp in there which can only go to degrade the sound. Or is it really that quiet?

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    Thanks for the advice and suggestions everyone. I suppose the answer of 'Why don't you just turn the volume up?' is the best advice. It's right up there with 'Why not just make 10 louder?' and the simplest course of action. I was just wondering originally whether it should have been so quiet compared to, say, playing a CD via the amp. Anyway, case closed as they say


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    Just as a fyi all Chris's onkyo has intellivolume which allows you to set inputs louder/quieter so I have passed on how to work with it.
    http://www.onkyochina.com/files.down...6_manual_e.pdf (Page 77)

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    Cheers Shaun. The Intellivolume settign is just what I need. It does not (as I first suspected) simply automatically adjust the volume when you swap to the channel that has the MP3 player attached. Instead it boosts the Db level it is outputted at allowing you to adjust the volume yourself. Just what I needed, and it was there all the time

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