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MP3s from PC to Stereo - Volume too low

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May 29, 2005 1:18:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I've been playing MP3s from my PC via a line out of my PC's speakers
(with RCAs on the other end into my stereo). The connection "out" from
the speakers has gone defective from over-use, so now I am runnning RCA
straight from back of PC - but apparently the PC speakers were adding
some power to the line to provide sufficient signal. Now that the line
is no longer going through the PC's speakers, the volume of the signal
is VERY low. Is there a device I can get (aside from new PC speakers)
that I can run the line through to provide some boost to the signal
going out to my stereo? Any advice would be appreciated. Jay

More about : mp3s stereo volume low

Anonymous
May 29, 2005 1:55:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"jay" wrote ...
> I've been playing MP3s from my PC via a line out of my
> PC's speakers (with RCAs on the other end into my stereo).
> The connection "out" from the speakers has gone defective
> from over-use, so now I am runnning RCA straight from
> back of PC - but apparently the PC speakers were adding
> some power to the line to provide sufficient signal. Now
> that the line is no longer going through the PC's speakers,
> the volume of the signal is VERY low. Is there a device
> I can get (aside from new PC speakers) that I can run the
> line through to provide some boost to the signal going out
> to my stereo? Any advice would be appreciated. Jay

You didn't mention how the software "volume controls" on
your computer are set. This is a critical part of your issue
and we cannot discuss it further without knowing if ALL (*)
the volume settings are in proper adjustment. Without knowing
this, my first guess would be that the output volume levels are
set low and you were making up the gain with the speakers.

(*) At minimum, there is likely a volume control for the
"source" (like "WAV" or similar), and then another
"master" volume control. At least I would set both of
them at the 60-75% settings.
May 29, 2005 3:06:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

apologies for leaving that out...i have to set the volume controls on
the software at max. and at that setting I can get sound out of my
stereo, but i have to really crank up the volume - and even then it
doesn't sound all that great. I just bought a stop-gap solution at my
local radio shack, which is a device with two double A batteries in it
that boosts the signal. It's doing the job. Ideally, though, i'll
need to find an equivalent device that can be plugged in so I won't
have to continually get new batteries. I guess i've seen headphone
amplifiers at some point...perhaps those are what I need.
Related resources
Anonymous
May 29, 2005 10:22:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"jay" wrote ...
> apologies for leaving that out...i have to set the volume controls on
> the software at max. and at that setting I can get sound out of my
> stereo, but i have to really crank up the volume - and even then it
> doesn't sound all that great. I just bought a stop-gap solution at my
> local radio shack, which is a device with two double A batteries in it
> that boosts the signal. It's doing the job. Ideally, though, i'll
> need to find an equivalent device that can be plugged in so I won't
> have to continually get new batteries. I guess i've seen headphone
> amplifiers at some point...perhaps those are what I need.

Then something is wrong somewhere. Any modern sound
computer card/device should put out more than enough to
drive any consumer stereo line-level input. Have you
checked the cable (substitute another), etc? The "doesn't
sound all that great" is another indication that something
is wrong, beyond just the matter of levels. Of course, it
would be helpful to know what it was: noise? distortion?
etc?
May 29, 2005 2:09:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

no, i'm pretty sure the problem is that the speakers on my PC have a
line out for using headphones and somewhere along the line (within the
speakers) a small amount of power boost is added to the signal so
headphones can be driven. On my PC - which is a compac - the signal
coming out of the back of the PC is not boosted until it hits the
speakers. I notice that there's a separate line from the back of the
PC to the speaker, which provides power to them as well as power to
boost the headphone line-out. So I may have solved my own issue - i
guess i need a headphone amplifier (presumably, there are inexpensive
versions out there). Thanks again for the assistance!

Richard Crowley wrote:
> "jay" wrote ...
> > apologies for leaving that out...i have to set the volume controls on
> > the software at max. and at that setting I can get sound out of my
> > stereo, but i have to really crank up the volume - and even then it
> > doesn't sound all that great. I just bought a stop-gap solution at my
> > local radio shack, which is a device with two double A batteries in it
> > that boosts the signal. It's doing the job. Ideally, though, i'll
> > need to find an equivalent device that can be plugged in so I won't
> > have to continually get new batteries. I guess i've seen headphone
> > amplifiers at some point...perhaps those are what I need.
>
> Then something is wrong somewhere. Any modern sound
> computer card/device should put out more than enough to
> drive any consumer stereo line-level input. Have you
> checked the cable (substitute another), etc? The "doesn't
> sound all that great" is another indication that something
> is wrong, beyond just the matter of levels. Of course, it
> would be helpful to know what it was: noise? distortion?
> etc?
Anonymous
May 29, 2005 2:44:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"jay" wrote ...
> Richard Crowley wrote:
>> "jay" wrote ...
>> > apologies for leaving that out...i have to set the volume controls
>> > on
>> > the software at max. and at that setting I can get sound out of my
>> > stereo, but i have to really crank up the volume - and even then it
>> > doesn't sound all that great. I just bought a stop-gap solution at
>> > my
>> > local radio shack, which is a device with two double A batteries in
>> > it
>> > that boosts the signal. It's doing the job. Ideally, though, i'll
>> > need to find an equivalent device that can be plugged in so I won't
>> > have to continually get new batteries. I guess i've seen headphone
>> > amplifiers at some point...perhaps those are what I need.
>>
>> Then something is wrong somewhere. Any modern sound
>> computer card/device should put out more than enough to
>> drive any consumer stereo line-level input. Have you
>> checked the cable (substitute another), etc? The "doesn't
>> sound all that great" is another indication that something
>> is wrong, beyond just the matter of levels. Of course, it
>> would be helpful to know what it was: noise? distortion?
>> etc?

> no, i'm pretty sure the problem is that the speakers on my PC have a
> line out for using headphones and somewhere along the line (within the
> speakers) a small amount of power boost is added to the signal so
> headphones can be driven. On my PC - which is a compac - the signal
> coming out of the back of the PC is not boosted until it hits the
> speakers. I notice that there's a separate line from the back of the
> PC to the speaker, which provides power to them as well as power to
> boost the headphone line-out. So I may have solved my own issue - i
> guess i need a headphone amplifier (presumably, there are inexpensive
> versions out there). Thanks again for the assistance!

You should be using the "line-out" jack on the computer. This
is usually color-coded a lime-green. This output should have
more than enough output to feed into your stereo amplifier.

I reject the notion that you need any kind of amplificiation to
make it work properly. There is something wrong with the
setup somewhere. Your computer speakers should take exactly
the same level as your stereo needs.
May 29, 2005 4:06:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

yes, it is connected to the lime-green output, but believe me, the
signal coming out of that connection is very weak...even for
headphones. for some reason, compaq designed everything so that the
power boost to the line out comes at the point of the speakers. the
speakers have a separate line into them that provides power.
Anonymous
May 29, 2005 5:09:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"jay" wrote ...
> yes, it is connected to the lime-green output, but believe me, the
> signal coming out of that connection is very weak...

Then it is broken. Consider installing a new sound card. A low-end
Soundblaster (~$25 in my neighborhood) would likely work better
than what you have.
May 29, 2005 8:37:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote in message
news:119k8aut7fs65b2@corp.supernews.com...
> "jay" wrote ...
>> yes, it is connected to the lime-green output, but believe me, the
>> signal coming out of that connection is very weak...
>
> Then it is broken. Consider installing a new sound card. A low-end
> Soundblaster (~$25 in my neighborhood) would likely work better
> than what you have.

But first: Windows, Control Panel, Sounds and Audio Devices, Speaker
Settings.
May 29, 2005 10:46:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

thanks laurence...then perhaps the best option is to install a
higher-end sound card, which (presumably) would provide better sound
performance without the low signal issues I'm running into as currently
configured. Of course, i'd only do it if: a) appropriate replacement
sound card not absurdly expensive and b) installation feasible for a
technology-phobic amateur. My PC's a few years old (a compaq) and is
equipped with an NVidia TNT2 Vanta LT Graphics Card and something
called "Soundmax Integrated Digital Audio". In any case, when I do
provide some boost to the signal (with this radio shack battery powered
gizmo i previously mentioned) it sounds pretty fair to my relatively
forgiving ears. Perhaps the easiest and least expensive solution is to
simply buy a new set of computer speakers, which would be equipped with
headphone out socket. If I go this route, this time I'd buy a small
length of cord to place between the speaker and the main length of cord
running to the stereo to avoid wearing out the headphone-out socket.

Laurence Payne wrote:
> On 29 May 2005 10:09:48 -0700, "jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> >no, i'm pretty sure the problem is that the speakers on my PC have a
> >line out for using headphones and somewhere along the line (within the
> >speakers) a small amount of power boost is added to the signal so
> >headphones can be driven. On my PC - which is a compac - the signal
> >coming out of the back of the PC is not boosted until it hits the
> >speakers. I notice that there's a separate line from the back of the
> >PC to the speaker, which provides power to them as well as power to
> >boost the headphone line-out. So I may have solved my own issue - i
> >guess i need a headphone amplifier (presumably, there are inexpensive
> >versions out there). Thanks again for the assistance!
>
>
> Your computer should provide Line Out. This is designed to drive an
> external amplifier, like the one built in to your computer speakers.
> It should equally well drive a Line input on a hi-fi amplifier. Any
> socket marked CD, Aux, Tape In etc. is a Line input.
>
> The headphone socket on your speaker delivers a higher level than a
> Line output. This is not intended to feed Line inputs of an
> amplifier, though modern equipment is very forgiving and you will
> often et away with such mis-matching.
>
> Careful with the term "Line". It refers to a specific level of
> signal. On domestic equipment this is about 3/4 of a volt. (There is
> a (higher) pro Line level, but you don't need to worry about that.)
>
>
> None of this solves the problem of why your hi-fi works well on a
> headphone-level sign (typically a few volts) but not on the (correct)
> Line output. Some modern computers offer a bewildering assortment of
> in/output options on the 3 minijack connectors. Have a look at the
> control panel for your sound system and see if there are useful
> changes to make to the settings.
Anonymous
May 30, 2005 12:44:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On 29 May 2005 10:09:48 -0700, "jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote:

>no, i'm pretty sure the problem is that the speakers on my PC have a
>line out for using headphones and somewhere along the line (within the
>speakers) a small amount of power boost is added to the signal so
>headphones can be driven. On my PC - which is a compac - the signal
>coming out of the back of the PC is not boosted until it hits the
>speakers. I notice that there's a separate line from the back of the
>PC to the speaker, which provides power to them as well as power to
>boost the headphone line-out. So I may have solved my own issue - i
>guess i need a headphone amplifier (presumably, there are inexpensive
>versions out there). Thanks again for the assistance!


Your computer should provide Line Out. This is designed to drive an
external amplifier, like the one built in to your computer speakers.
It should equally well drive a Line input on a hi-fi amplifier. Any
socket marked CD, Aux, Tape In etc. is a Line input.

The headphone socket on your speaker delivers a higher level than a
Line output. This is not intended to feed Line inputs of an
amplifier, though modern equipment is very forgiving and you will
often et away with such mis-matching.

Careful with the term "Line". It refers to a specific level of
signal. On domestic equipment this is about 3/4 of a volt. (There is
a (higher) pro Line level, but you don't need to worry about that.)


None of this solves the problem of why your hi-fi works well on a
headphone-level sign (typically a few volts) but not on the (correct)
Line output. Some modern computers offer a bewildering assortment of
in/output options on the 3 minijack connectors. Have a look at the
control panel for your sound system and see if there are useful
changes to make to the settings.
May 30, 2005 12:44:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

> Your computer should provide Line Out....
> The headphone socket on your speaker delivers a higher level than a
> Line output. This is not intended to feed Line inputs of an
> amplifier, though modern equipment is very forgiving and you will
> often et away with such mis-matching.

Probably not *much* difference. A reasonable line-level signal is a maximum
of 1 volt peak-to-peak. A headphone output might deliver 4 volts
peak-to-peak. That is only 12 dB more. If you don't run the PC at maximum
volume, the headphone output *is* line level. It has the advantage of
having a low output impedance, suitable for driving long cables better.

As you said, the control panel for the sound system (in Windows Control
Panel) lets you choose lots of options. The OP can probably specify whether
the soundcard outputs are line level, headphone level, speaker level, or
something else. When in doubt, try some of the other options!
May 30, 2005 2:40:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1117417608.765906.211840@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> thanks laurence...then perhaps the best option is to install a
> higher-end sound card, which (presumably) would provide better sound
> performance without the low signal issues I'm running into as currently
> configured. Of course, i'd only do it if: a) appropriate replacement
> sound card not absurdly expensive and b) installation feasible for a
> technology-phobic amateur. My PC's a few years old (a compaq) and is
> equipped with an NVidia TNT2 Vanta LT Graphics Card and something
> called "Soundmax Integrated Digital Audio".

I have exactly that one (built into my Asus motherboard), and in Windows
Control Panel you set it to tell it whether it's driving amplified speakers,
plain speakers, headphones, or something else. I strongly encourage you to
experiment with that setting.
Anonymous
May 31, 2005 2:19:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On 29 May 2005 18:46:48 -0700, "jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote:

>thanks laurence...then perhaps the best option is to install a
>higher-end sound card, which (presumably) would provide better sound
>performance without the low signal issues I'm running into as currently
>configured. Of course, i'd only do it if: a) appropriate replacement
>sound card not absurdly expensive and b) installation feasible for a
>technology-phobic amateur. My PC's a few years old (a compaq) and is
>equipped with an NVidia TNT2 Vanta LT Graphics Card and something
>called "Soundmax Integrated Digital Audio". In any case, when I do
>provide some boost to the signal (with this radio shack battery powered
>gizmo i previously mentioned) it sounds pretty fair to my relatively
>forgiving ears. Perhaps the easiest and least expensive solution is to
>simply buy a new set of computer speakers, which would be equipped with
>headphone out socket. If I go this route, this time I'd buy a small
>length of cord to place between the speaker and the main length of cord
>running to the stereo to avoid wearing out the headphone-out socket.


A better sound card won't produce a louder signal than your present
card, if it is working and connected properly.

Can't you replace the headphone socket on your present speakers?
(Though if you can't use a soldering iron, it's hardly worth having
the job done, considering how dirt cheap replacement speakers would be
:-)
May 31, 2005 11:36:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

even better, i'll get some sort of on-off switch to hook up to the
headphone line - thereby avoiding headphone socket wearing-out problem.

Laurence Payne wrote:
> On 29 May 2005 18:46:48 -0700, "jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> >thanks laurence...then perhaps the best option is to install a
> >higher-end sound card, which (presumably) would provide better sound
> >performance without the low signal issues I'm running into as currently
> >configured. Of course, i'd only do it if: a) appropriate replacement
> >sound card not absurdly expensive and b) installation feasible for a
> >technology-phobic amateur. My PC's a few years old (a compaq) and is
> >equipped with an NVidia TNT2 Vanta LT Graphics Card and something
> >called "Soundmax Integrated Digital Audio". In any case, when I do
> >provide some boost to the signal (with this radio shack battery powered
> >gizmo i previously mentioned) it sounds pretty fair to my relatively
> >forgiving ears. Perhaps the easiest and least expensive solution is to
> >simply buy a new set of computer speakers, which would be equipped with
> >headphone out socket. If I go this route, this time I'd buy a small
> >length of cord to place between the speaker and the main length of cord
> >running to the stereo to avoid wearing out the headphone-out socket.
>
>
> A better sound card won't produce a louder signal than your present
> card, if it is working and connected properly.
>
> Can't you replace the headphone socket on your present speakers?
> (Though if you can't use a soldering iron, it's hardly worth having
> the job done, considering how dirt cheap replacement speakers would be
> :-)
Anonymous
June 2, 2005 1:06:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On 31 May 2005 19:36:17 -0700, "jay" <reeltyme2002@yahoo.com> wrote:

>even better, i'll get some sort of on-off switch to hook up to the
>headphone line - thereby avoiding headphone socket wearing-out problem.

Ort unplug it at the other end? Or just turn it down or select a
different input on the amp?
!