You might think it's impossible to figure out how to plug an iPod into a stereo without an aux. hook-up, but there are a few ways around this inconvenience. You won't even have to drop cash on a proper stereo receiver! You will, however, almost undoubtedly need some other means of hooking the iPod up without an auxiliary input, but any of these options will be significantly cheaper than new stereo equipment.
You will need:
- An iPod
- A stereo with a cassette deck or an FM radio
- A battery-powered FM transmitter with an 1/8" plug
- A cassette adapter with an 1/8" plug
- Determine your stereo's functions. We've already established that your stereo does not have an auxiliary input or an iPod dock, so you'll need to figure out what capabilities it does have. A CD player won't help in this case, but it's likely that the stereo has one or two cassette decks, an AM/FM radio, or some combination of those functions.
- If your stereo only has a cassette decks, purchase a cassette adapter. Nearly all of the cassette adapters on the market have small headphone jack-sized plugs that allow direct transmission from your iPod through a cassette player. Many cassette adapters are designed as a means to connect an external source without the aid of an auxiliary port—such as front-loading cassette decks in car stereos—but they will still work in most conventional home stereo cassette decks. You may need to briefly toy with the wire to squeeze it through the closed cassette deck, but more than likely you will not have any real trouble with this. Be careful not to pinch the cable in the deck so tightly that it interrupts the signal or damages the cable.
- If your stereo only has an FM radio, purchase an FM transmitter designed for iPods. A small battery-powered FM transmitter broadcasts a very nominal FM signal within its immediate vicinity. These transmitters allow the user to select an FM station and play an iPod through a nearby stereo, even if the stereo lacks any auxiliary input. Find an empty frequency (which might be difficult depending on how many radio stations exist in your area), and match the frequency with your FM transmitter to broadcast your iPod through the stereo. Make sure that you find an FM transmitter that does not need to be plugged into a car outlet in order to operate correctly. Battery-powered FM transmitters work best for a home stereo setup.
- If your stereo has both options, select what's best based on your personal preferences. Each setup has its own advantages. FM transmitters almost always require batteries, and these little devices can drain batteries pretty quickly. However, the sound quality can be higher than a cassette adapter if you find a completely clean frequency. On the other hand, cassette adapters do not require batteries at all, and you won't need to worry about finding a clean radio frequency. Regardless, both of these setups are great alternatives if your stereo does not have an auxiliary input.