Line output would be less than headphone output
Just added the AUX IN plug to my BA Falcon factory stereo (goodbye iTrip! and at the moment I have just got it connected via the headphone jack on my 4G iPod. Sounds soooo much better than the iTrip. I was wondering how much different the sound would be if I connected it from the bottom of the iPod to get a true "line out". I know it would boost the volume a bit, as the only downfall I can see with the headphone jack to AUX IN being the low volume level when compared to CD or radio.
Has anyone connected their iPod via both line out and headphone jack to test the difference? I'm not worried about having the music pumping too loud, but if the line out would give me a much better result, I would go for it. Also, the cord i'm using at the moment was under $10, and I am not keen on spending $50 plus for a minor upgrade in volume/sound.
I researched a bit before I added the AUX IN, and found some options for line in were the SIK imp and the Flex Dock thing from Ten Technology (the latter which I could not find for sale in Australia). What are people using for line in options?
short of a ipod compatible head unit (pioneer for example) you probably wont find many ways to connect using the dock connector.
at the end of the day, the only thing you will get from having the dock connector is an ability to control your ipod from the HU. and at the end of the day, that is only a luxuary and not a neccessity. AFAIK, the dock connector outputs sound the same way as the stereo headset plug you put your headphones into.
Its close but not the same the dock port gives a line level out while the headphone jack goes thru an amplifier, since the car stereo will also be amplifying the signal its "better" to have the line level especially if you have a good amp in the car, but for most people the only difference, will be the pod charges and plays by one cable and the head unit can possibly control the iPod.AFAIK, the dock connector outputs sound the same way as the stereo headset plug you put your headphones into.
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I have a BA falcon also with the AUX input. With the volume up full on the iPod it sounds much the same as through the line out from the dock at the same volume setting on the stereo. The biggest problem I had with playing through the headphone port was with changing songs you can accidently change the volume if the scrollwheel in brushed.
I curently use a Belkin Auto kit whick plugs into the dock connector and the amplified line output is then plugged into the cars' AUX input. Because of the amp in the Belkin, I get bad alternator whine through the stereo because the cigarette lighter draws its power from a different source than the stereo, so it introduces interference. Ford now have a 'boosted' AUX kit which has an amp powered from the mobile phone plug, so I tapped +ve power from there and it reduced the whine by a bit, but I also have done another grounding mod as per a Ford Service Bulliten which connects the audio ground to the cars earth.
The service bulliten was put out for cars with alternator whine through the AUX when there was no input playing (which mine was). It fixed this, so all of my whine is coming from the Belkin. If you don't have a 'boosted' AUX kit and no whine with no input, using un-amplified line out from the dock (probably use a PocketDock with firewire/usb and audio out) should give you the cleanest sound, but will sacrifice volume. As you said, this has really only been a problem when I accidently select CD or radio without turning the stereo volume down first (too hard on the speakers and scary for passengers).
The less amplification the signal has before the Car stereo the better, especially in the BA falcon. Having said that, the whine from the alternator can be put up with as the sound quality is much better when ampififed (open to subjective opinion of course...)
I have a Harmon/Kardon drive+play on order which I hope to install soon.
The Transpod FM transmitter uses the line-level output in the dock connector, but also has a stereo jack allowing direct connection.
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I had one of those DLO Transpod things that had a connector which was designed to go from the unit to the AUX input. I wanted something that would hold the Ipod and charge it while it was in use. I experienced that whine whenever it was connected and I could hear it over the music. I also looked into the Ice Link solutiuon, this connects via an FM modulator. However, it seems that it also suffers the same fate so I passed on it. I ended up getting an Alpine head unit (9847) with an Ipod adapter that connects to the dock connector of the Ipod. This sits neatly in my glovebox and I can control it from the head unit. It also charges it at the same time. Its sounds great and I couldn't be happier. I have a 2005 Ford Focus.