So you finally get your new Audio Video system working and you play a favorite CD on it and it sounds great, play the FM and it sounds quite good, hook up your I-Pod and or digital portable player of any type including your Android or other type phone and now this great sounding system seems to have no bass, and also is very dry sounding, with no warmth or engaging sound coming from the speakers. “What happened? I thought I-Pods sounded great?” Well the sad fact is that all of these portable devices have very poor D/A (digital to analog) converters and also very poor analog sections behind them which lead to a very poor sound quality.
I have recently rectified this problem (to a significant degree) by using a new trick that will only work on newer receivers which have either a USB or HDMI input which is compatible with your device. I took my Android phone which is a Motorola Razr and hooked it up to my system via a simple mini or 1/8” male plug to a set of stereo RCA plugs and was very disappointed with the sound quality. Having a great assortment of cables available, I took an HDMI micro to standard also called HDMI type A to D.
You can get this adapter in a micro male to standard size female 2 inch long adapter (not recommended due to its bulky structure) which is required to plug into the phone, or buy it in a male to male plug in a variety of lengths usually 6-10 feet is an adequate length.
If you have an I-pod or I-phone, you can use the Apple-related adapter to either USB or HDMI input on your surround receiver. Many receivers employ Apple compatible features, meaning you can run the Apple device using your receivers remote and have an on-screen display, which basically duplicates the Apple display on your TV display. So use the USB port as the first choice on Apple products. It’s also becoming true on Android.
Now listen to your portable device and you will hear some real bass. And the speakers will start to have some warmth and depth which was completely gone. Here is what happens: The digital files which were in your portable are now being exported in digital into your surround receiver and being processed there, the Audio DAC’s and the analog section of your receiver is far superior to the portable’s. This will not fix however-poorly recorded music from your I-pod or portable. If your music sounds flat even with this hookup, you now have proven to your self that copying 10,000 songs for free was not such a good idea. The only cure is to start over; record your CD’s or buy it from either Apple or Amazon, to one of the popular music archiving programs like I-Tunes or Windows music. And as long as you are doing this, go into the record settings and set the record quality settings to HIGH or next to the highest setting. This will reduce the amount of music you can record but did you really listen to 10,000 songs? The likely answer is no. I have recorded all my music from my CD’s to this system and am now using this feature. I am quite pleased with the sound quality.
This trick is also good for a whole house system. It requires that you use a modern type surround receiver (be certain to shut off all surround features and shut off subwoofer output on the surround receiver) we want only stereo sound for this feature. Onkyo builds a stereo receiver which has a USB input (it’s hard to find this on a stereo receiver).