iPhones, iPads, iPods, Androids, laptops and desktop computers, or any device with a headphone output can be interfaced to a home stereo with a simple cable widely available at retailers for about $10 to $25, or online from $3 to $15 depending on length and quality.

The sound of music players is higher fidelity when hooked to a larger stereo system compared to listening on tiny built in speakers, headphones or ear-buds. Laptops, for instance, have practically no audible low frequency bass which is quite a letdown for modern music. Hooking the music player to a larger stereo increases listening enjoyment and is cheap and easy to hook up. Wireless hookups, now exist on some players via blue tooth, but most stereos cannot accommodate blue tooth and frankly, it decreases the sound quality using wireless.

Any device capable of music playback can be hooked to a stereo system using the headphone output jack with a mini TRS male plug to dual RCA male cable. Use that as a search online and a vast number of cables will appear. I usually use the mid-grade priced cables. More expensive cables may stronger but will not have a significantly better sound quality. The cheap cables will work fine too if not subjected to much handling.

Home stereo systems have a series of RCA female inputs located on the rear of the unit. There will be a white input for left and red input for right for audio. Yellow and orange inputs are for video or digital outputs which won’t be needed here. Read the rear panel and use inputs designated: CD input, DVD input, auxiliary input, tuner input, or tape input. All these inputs accept the same input levels regardless of accessory name which corresponds to the buttons on the front of the unit. Do not use a phonograph inputs as these are designed to work only with record players. All other inputs are fair game, but it must be an input—not an output—sometimes labeled record output.

Select the input on the front of the stereo that corresponds with the input that you plugged the cable into. Aux, if you used aux inputs, CD if you used CD inputs and so forth. Turn the volume of the playback device down to about one third of full output. Because these devices are meant to power headphones, the output level can be hot enough to distort standard level stereo input. Then turn up the stereo to taste and enjoy.

For a boom box or a car stereo, there are two ways to achieve a successful hookup. The unit may have RCA inputs, but it is quite rare. Some units have a mini plug auxiliary input on the front of the unit. A mini TRS male to mini TRS male cable will be needed for such a hookup. These are easily found on the web. It would be nice if more units had this option.

If a car stereo or boom box has a cassette deck, this can be used as the input with a special mini TRS to cassette interface. These are only a few bucks too. This adapter has the mini TRS plug with a wire to a cassette that is inserted into the cassette bay. Push the play button on the cassette player and the unit will produce sound from the player. Keep the player’s output level low to medium as it may distort if turned up high. Then turn up the stereo system’s volume to taste and enjoy. If the cassette player has a pause button, use it to prolong the unit’s motor life.

View this video to watch how it is done.

Search links are included at the bottom of this post.

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