View Full Version : Getting computer sound to play through my stereo system?

11-07-2003, 06:35 PM
Hi, I have a Phillips sort of cd/tape/radio stereo system.
Model Number: AZ8050/10S

I'm not sure if you could class it as a proper stereo system, as it only has one cd player, and one tape drive in it.

I'm wondering if I can get sound from my computer to play through it, and possibly the speakers I got with the computer.

The stereo itself has microphone input on the front, and headphone point at the back. As far as I can see those are the only inputs it has.

Will it work? And if so what cord will I need to connect it to the computer.


11-07-2003, 06:43 PM
Unless it has Line In sockets then its a compromise.
Using the Microphone input is a severe impedance mismatch, and a signal level mismatch. Distortion may be excessive.

Many mini systems have an "Aux" set of input sockets - these are Line In level.

11-07-2003, 06:48 PM
i would take out either the cd/tape or radio and replace it with the computer input.

are you running it through a preamp? if so unplug one of the cd/tape or radio from the back (unless you have a free space, usually called AUX) and use a cable which splits the 2 audio channels into seperate stereo channels from the output at the back of the PC. plug the 'single' end into the pc and the 'double' end into the back of the preamp replacing what you took out before. if the audio channels are reversed e.g left on the computer comes out on the right speaker then all you need to do is switch the 'double' end around...

i hope all that made sense ;)

i have one which connects my audio straight into a NAD power amp. works like a charm.

11-07-2003, 07:19 PM
> i would take out either the cd/tape or radio and
> replace it with the computer input.
> i hope all that made sense ;)
Well Dylan, I cant see that it does make sense, as Powa says he only has a mic input.

As GF has advised, unless the stereo has a 'line input' or an 'aux' input it is not possible to satisfactorily feed the PC sound to the stereo

11-07-2003, 08:10 PM
Agreed. And the mike socket is of no use anyway because it is an input

whereas we need a sound output here. The headphone socket may

supply enough signal output to an AUX input (probably an RCA plug) on

the stereo. You need a lead which splits from a single headphone plug

into two RCA plugs to go into the stereo. Worth a go - I know I would try.

Good luck


Tom McB
11-07-2003, 08:35 PM
What about one of those CD player car kit thingies with a stereo jack in one end wired to a cassette case ? The idea being you plug the stereo jack to the CD player and drop the cassette thingy into your car player. In your case, this would be your PC sound card's output and your stereo system switched to "tape" mode.

Not sure about the line levels though - is this workable B T ? If it is, DSE should have some kits.

IMHO, JAT (just a thought...)


Tom McB
11-07-2003, 08:37 PM
a thousand apologies GF - I meant you :8} :(

11-07-2003, 08:59 PM
Ingenious! Now that is what I call a team approach to a problem.
Possibly a bit more expensive than a cable but functional.
Well done Tom.

11-07-2003, 09:23 PM
Hi Winston: Powa asked how to output his PC sound to his stereo. He said the stereo only had a mic input, and a headphone output.

GF has explained that without a 'line in" or 'Aux in" on the stereo it is not possible. I agreed.

Now you tell us that "an input is no use" but a sound output is needed? and he should use RCA plugs into the stereo.

Wow, how will he do that, as he has no aux RCA inputs on the stereo?

Yes, Tom, that idea of the car kit adaptor will work.

11-07-2003, 10:56 PM
> Yes, Tom, that idea of the car kit adaptor will
> work.

But wouldn't you need to close the tape deck? As far as I remember, none load the same way as a car head unit...??


11-07-2003, 11:05 PM
I'm a little confused ?:|

So I need one of those car adapter things that are actually used for portable cd players?

If I put the tape thing in my stereo, it would sorta be chopping off the cord?

Sounds useable though. Can you get these things in like 4m length??

11-07-2003, 11:19 PM
if the speakers are detachable u could wire them to the computer being left and right speakers ..

Tom McB
11-07-2003, 11:32 PM
> So I need one of those car adapter things that are
> actually used for portable cd players?

> If I put the tape thing in my stereo, it would sorta
> be chopping off the cord?
Wouldn't think so. The cord is generally flexible and is actually made of stranded/twisted wire (which would stand up to kinking, etc.) rather than a solid copper core. It really depends on the cassette tape door lid. I suspect your problem would be if the door did not close properly to engage a mechanical switch that is usually there.

Try this: tape a short length of bell wire, etc. to any cassette and see if you can get it playing. If yes, then DS is your uncle. Otherwise, either the switch cannot be engaged or the tape would be a bit out of alignment and the sound would end up garbled.

> Sounds useable though. Can you get these things in
> like 4m length??
Don't think so - remember, the idea is to have the portable player somewhere in your centre console or glovebox and the car stereo in your dash (unless you have one of those stretch limos). Expect it to be < 1.5m. If you are daring enough, you can cut it in half and slice a similar length of wire. I'd suggest you don't cut too close to either cassette or plug ends; give about 100mm allowance.

There is an electronic coil/device (sorry - I'm not that familiar with the term) at the bottom of that adapter that 'mates' with the read head of your tape deck - handle that end with care. It is the 'transducer' that coverts the electrical signal from the CD player into magnetic signal that is read by the tape head and re-converted into electrical signal all over again.

Hope this helps

Tom McB
11-07-2003, 11:37 PM
that's SPLICE not 'slice' ok?

what a difference a p makes :^O

11-07-2003, 11:43 PM
Good point Lohsing, it all depends. The car kit is really designed for use on car players.

Anyway, Tom has given useful information for Powa.

Nomad: where are you comming from? Are you suggesting that the pc soundcard will drive speakers, (even detachable), without some amplifier or stereo?? Please tell.

11-07-2003, 11:46 PM
true .. the amplifier issue. the pc soundcards are weak if they in fact have a amplifier..

11-07-2003, 11:48 PM
i suppose its too weak. yes i thought of pc soundcard drive the speakers thru a rca splitter cable. not the best idea thou ..

is it possible to amplify it while still being attached to the sound card??

11-07-2003, 11:51 PM
The stereo is connected as a unit. Yopu can't separate the speakers or anything. Its similiar to a ghetto blaster or whatever ;)

I don't think any cords are going to fit around the edges of the tape player. Its a pretty tight fit. About 1 mm room allthe way round.

12-07-2003, 12:16 AM
Good thought Nomad, but do some research or reading on audio levels.

The 'line' levels for audio are approx 1 volt or less. As such they required an 'amplifer' to produce the several watts to drive speakers.

And yes, it is very practical to connect the PC soundcard line output to an amplifier (or stereo with line input) for driving speakers.

While on the subject, the microphone levels are very different. Only about 1/10 of a volt. And so you see that a preamp is necessary to lift that to line level. The PC soundcard mic input has a preamp to do that.

12-07-2003, 12:26 AM
Final thought Powa: If the sound quality is important for you, look for a mini stereo with "line input". The line out from the pc will connect to the line in of the stereo, and provide excellent sound.

Thats the way to go. I can recommend that setup. I have similar, using a surround sound mini stereo with subwoofer.

Another bonus is being able to record on the stereo tape casette any pc sounds or music.

Tom McB
12-07-2003, 12:37 AM
OK - on a different tack this time.

You could try an FM transmitter which accepts a pair of RCA inputs and sends out a radio signal.
FM transmitter1 (http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/3f0e99880b7a5950273fc0a87f990714/Product/View/K5007) or
FM transmitter2 (http://http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/3f0e99880b7a5950273fc0a87f990714/Product/View/K5009)

These are kit sets - not sure if you can get one assembled for you but you can always ask them.

Upside: better range (> 4m), no cable splicing, no risk of ruining your ghetto blaster tape deck door

Downside: anybody within range could accidentally tune in on what your PC is playing - remember, these units FM broadcast !

These are often tuneable to send out at different Mhz freq just in case a commercial station's signal interferes.

Don't worry about the RCA jacks - you can get a stereo plug-to-RCA adaptor cable eg Pudney range of cable accesso. As you can see, the cost can start to add up.

All the best - let me know how you get on.


13-07-2003, 12:25 AM
Alright thanks everyone :)

Tom you come up with some good ideas!

But a little expensive for me <- was hoping a cheap cable could do the trick. Might be best for me to get a proper stereo system :)

13-07-2003, 01:45 AM
It's simple if youre electronically-mod-minded. Simply pull the back off your stereo, find the wires that take the cassette sounds to the main amp get a 3.5mm stereo socket, attach that to one side of a [double gang on-on] switch take the cassette wires attach that to the other side. Then attach the middle to where the cassette wires were. Then get a 5m long 3.5mm stereo plug to 3.5m stereo plug, plug one to your new socket on the stereo and one to your computer. Switch on one side = cassette, other side =computer.

JAYCAR (Wairau & Newmarket)
5mtr 3.5mm male to male = $2.10
switches = $4 to $6
3.5mm stereo socket = $1.50

13-07-2003, 01:47 AM
JAYCAR (Wairau & Newmarket)
5mtr 3.5mm male to male = $1.50
switches = $4 to $6
3.5mm stereo socket = $2.10

13-07-2003, 03:10 AM
Nup, you lost me sorry :p

Would that method involve stripping and cutting wires etc?? I've never been inside my stereo thing, so I wouldnt know what is what.

13-07-2003, 02:28 PM
Why don't you record CD's on your computer CDWriter, and play them in your stereo.

Ingenious, simple and effective!!!!!

14-07-2003, 10:46 AM
Wouldn't that void the warranty?

14-07-2003, 06:42 PM
> Why don't you record CD's on your computer CDWriter, and play them in your stereo.

> Ingenious, simple and effective!!!!!

Yer I do that already :) I'm talking about playing games. You know - ya hear a shell explode and it shocks the whole room? :) Adds that bit more realism to it. //

14-07-2003, 09:45 PM
replace some v nice speakers on the pc. get rid of the stereo...

then do all the playing on the pc. mp3/cd/dvd/vcd/games and so..
add a tv and radio tuner too ;)

and a subwoofer at it too. make the whole house shake :^O


14-07-2003, 10:14 PM
Yer thats a real good idea. ;) You reckon just skip getting the normal stereo??? They are down to like $300? Thing is our tv isn't that good, I'd rather wait for a reasonable priced High Definition TV

14-07-2003, 11:29 PM
i find that if u wish to connect pc to the stereo get the larger speakers.

i find the surround sound should be in the lounge w. the dvd and sky etc..

is unlikely u are gonna load the pc to the lounge everytime, have larger spks in ur own room with the pc u can hog it to urself. great for the student being a recent grad myself. everything in ur room, work and enjoy urself with a nice colllection of sounds in the background while actively seeking email checks all the time, and of course ready for that sudden break then multimedia can really cut loose.

man, i miss the student life.

$300 can get some nice speakers ...

14-07-2003, 11:36 PM
the set up will def be much more neater and having a silly cable in between.

u will not be using the analogue cable too ;)
u be using the internal cables in the pc.

jus my 2c worth :)

15-07-2003, 12:14 AM
Hey POWA, u can split aheadphone cable and run it from the pc to the stereo,but in the end it's better to get a decent stereo. U can get a cheap one aslong as it has a aux or line in plugs in the back.U then get a sparky to make up a cable that runs from ur headphonejack on ur pc to the aux/line in plugs on ur stereo (red-white),usually around $3-4 per meter,I use this system on mine(Pioneer component)and with a 400 watt amp can get the walls to rock. hope this helps. GREETINGS FROM THE DEEP SOUTH S MAN.

11-08-2003, 09:34 PM
An update:

I managed to find some old, 1992 style soundblaster speakers (model# SBS38) that came with our 386 pc :D

After one failed attempt and some help from the guy at DSE, I managed to split the sound from the sound card into two sets of speakers (making 4 speakers total). I had originally tried 3.5mm Mono Plug To 2 RCA Sockets, which didn't work because the speaker plugs didn't fit into it. The guy from DSE set me up with this gizmo thing (much cheaper) which has two 3.5mm inputs for the speakers and one 3.5mm output to the soundcard.

I also had trouble trying to find out how to get power into the old speakers because the old power cord must have been lost. The power input on it is a small round hole which says " DC 6V -?+ " (what does that mean?). Anyway I found a HP worldwide power adapter which was actually for the 386's printer! Must have saved me a bit of money. Old technology can be SO useful huh? Anyway that plugged in perfectly to the speakers and everything is playing nicely. I'm wondering though - the output on the Power Adapter is: DC 10.6V, 1.32A. Is that higher output going to fry the old speakers by any chance in the long run??

I now have 2 speakers next to the monitor, and 2 in behind my chair, which is basically quadraphonic speakers. Sounds quite good so far but I'm wondering whats the best setting in windows to have the sound playing at -quadraphonic speakers, Surround Sound, 5.1ss, or 7.1ss. I know when I put into 7.1surround sound it sounds much better than quadra.

Thanks for all your help everyone!! I figure I might chop a little off the top of the stereo's tape deck to get that car-cd-walkman-tape thing to fit in. hahaha

11-08-2003, 10:15 PM
The 6v will indicate the voltage the amplifier expects. The +)- or whatever will likely indicate the centre pin is +, the outer shell is -

Your 10.6v is a tad (or more) high, and will probably give a short life to the electronics. The original 6v will have been unregulated and closer to 8v, but the 10.6v likely is as well and is closer to 12v in all probability. Almost 100% over-voltage. It may be OK, but probably stressing the capacitors on the amplifier if not the electronics. Your risk.

11-08-2003, 10:29 PM
Thanks Godfather, I'm wondering, how can I minimise the risk?

The 10v cord goes into one speaker, and then there is a cord which runs between the speakers to supply power to the other one. With the boost (DXBB) turned on in both speakers, will that be using all the voltage, so it won't fry? :)

[10v divided by 2 speakers = 5v in each one] minus a volt or 2 for the boost thing??

11-08-2003, 11:11 PM
There is but one stereo amplifier, in the speaker unit the power goes to. The lead between the speakers is just the speaker signal to that speaker. Its not carrying the DC power.

The voltage is not "divided" between the speakers as you suggest.
The amplifier will be supplied directly with the higher voltage and there is no mitigation available apart from using the correct power adapter.