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Sound Card output to Line In

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I purchased a receiver on Craigslist today. It's older (not sure of the year), but it should do what I need it to do. Plus it was exceedingly cheap.

My question is this:

How can I connect my sound card (Xonar DG) to it? Would I be able to just make a cable (I have the parts if the answer is yes, so no use buying one) that would go from the green output into one of the sets of RCA inputs? Is there a problem doing this?

I'm assuming that the headphone amp that's built into the sound card will be of no use doing things this way, and that's ok though not ideal. I'm working toward getting (read building) a separate headphone amp that I can use.

What, if anything, do I need to be aware of with this? Ideally I'd use the s/pdif (optical?) out (unless I really can do this, then yay), but there is no optical in on the receiver.

I'm fairly certain that others have done similar things with older receivers. Buying a new sound card that has the RCA outputs isn't an option, so I have to work with what I have. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
post #2 of 11
Yeah, no matter if it's a (usually green) 3.5mm or even 6.35mm jack for the usual TRS connector, or two RCAs, or even BNCs, what you're getting are two analog voltages: one for L channel and one for R channel.

You can just use an adapter or cable with 3.5mm TRS on one side to plug into the sound card and two RCA on the other side, as you think.

For many sound cards, the green jack is kind of a combo headphone output / line output. The output buffer behind the jack is reasonably suitable for driving headphones, and the maximum level is something in the range of like 1V to 2V—a typical line output voltage. Any output that can drive headphones can also drive much higher impedances easily, like another device's line in. Thus it's both acceptable to use for headphones and to connect to something like a receiver.

Keep in mind that most older receivers have a really bastardized headphone output implementation. They often just tap the main speaker amp but put a big resistor in between that and the headphone jack. This works kinda okay for some headphones, but it completely wrecks the sound for others.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Yeah, no matter if it's a (usually green) 3.5mm or even 6.35mm jack for the usual TRS connector, or two RCAs, or even BNCs, what you're getting are two analog voltages: one for L channel and one for R channel.
You can just use an adapter or cable with 3.5mm TRS on one side to plug into the sound card and two RCA on the other side, as you think.

That's what I was hoping. Not sure I know the abbreviations, though...TRS?
Quote:
Keep in mind that most older receivers have a really bastardized headphone output implementation. They often just tap the main speaker amp but put a big resistor in between that and the headphone jack. This works kinda okay for some headphones, but it completely wrecks the sound for others.

Hm. Definitely something to keep in mind. Is there a way to tell if this is the case? Hopefully it doesn't wreck the sound, but if it does, I suppose I'll give this one to Goodwill (it was only $25) or hook it up in my garage (if I can keep dust/debris out of it) and go back to Craigslist.
Edited by liquidzoo - 4/13/12 at 7:29am
post #4 of 11
Hmm u stated no optical on the receiver? What model would that be and is it at least DD/DTS capable? I fished out my 2004 Pioneer and even that had DD/DTS and coax/optical tongue.gif
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Yeah, no matter if it's a (usually green) 3.5mm or even 6.35mm jack for the usual TRS connector, or two RCAs, or even BNCs, what you're getting are two analog voltages: one for L channel and one for R channel.
You can just use an adapter or cable with 3.5mm TRS on one side to plug into the sound card and two RCA on the other side, as you think.

That's what I was hoping. Not sure I know the abbreviations, though...TRS?
Quote:
Keep in mind that most older receivers have a really bastardized headphone output implementation. They often just tap the main speaker amp but put a big resistor in between that and the headphone jack. This works kinda okay for some headphones, but it completely wrecks the sound for others.

Hm. Definitely something to keep in mind. Is there a way to tell if this is the case? Hopefully it doesn't wreck the sound, but if it does, I suppose I'll give this one to Goodwill (it was only $25) or hook it up in my garage (if I can keep dust/debris out of it) and go back to Craigslist.

TRS is tip / ring / sleeve, the standard audio jack for headphones and most home audio stuff that's not RCA.
117

You could check the other thing with a cheap multimeter. Using a male/male cable to plug into the receiver can help, and some kind of splitter could be useful as well. More or less, you would just measure the voltage output by the thing when playing a known test tone. You're measuring the voltage between the L (or R) channel and ground. On TRS, the tip is L, the ring is R, and the sleeve is connected to ground. If the value is significantly lower with headphones connected (and the same test tone), then it's doing the big resistor in between the amp and jack implementation.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trog View Post

Hmm u stated no optical on the receiver? What model would that be and is it at least DD/DTS capable? I fished out my 2004 Pioneer and even that had DD/DTS and coax/optical tongue.gif

It's a JVC, I'm guessing mid 90s. Rx-507VTN I think, might be the 506VBK (going from the manual). My mid 90s guess is due to the phono and dual tape inputs (for all I know that could be meaningless). I don't see a coax input on it anywhere, though it is Dolby capable according to the manual (strange, considering it's only got 4 speaker outputs though there is an additional out to an amp for center/sub).
post #7 of 11
Hmm me thinks that's an older Dolby Prologic only capable receiver
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post #8 of 11
Connect this between your soundcard stereo output and the recievers stereo input. [could be CD, Tape and so on your reciever, dont hook it up to Phono/Mic though]

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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

That's what I was planning on making.

I actually may be getting a newer receiver instead, so I'm going to hold off until tonight to build the cable. That and I need some other sleeving rather than the paracord I have.

On a side note, why would I want to avoid hooking it up to the phono input?
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

On a side note, why would I want to avoid hooking it up to the phono input?

A phono input is intended for a phonograph cartridge which has a relatively low output level, so the signal needs to be amplified up quite a bit by a pre-amp inside the receiver. You're already supplying a roughly line-level input, so you don't want that boosted up more. The reason is pretty much the same for a mic input.
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