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  1. #1
    Frank
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    Music player through CD-changer line-in

    I started this thread on SC a while ago and need to get back into this. I am re-posting it here for easy reference, particularly for myself.

    My '05 9-5 has the factory navigation system with the CD-changer. I currently have a Scosche FM modulator directly connected to the antenna-in at the back of the headunit but sound quality is pretty mediocre. I would like to add a music player/aux-in so I was browsing through the WIS and see what connections there are.

    The CD changer is controlled through the i-bus but the audio connection seems pretty basic with 4 pins on the head unit. Would it be this simple to tap into the line-out from the CD-changer to a 3.5mm jack on a music player? I know, it sounds too easy..

    It seems the trick is to leave the rest of the cd changer connected so the head unit thinks the cd changer is sending the audio signals to the head unit, instead of the music player.

    Would the audio signal be the same from an iPod as the cd changer? Are there better portable music players for balanced output (same as the cd changer)? I read up some on balanced vs unbalanced output bu I am just not familiar enough with it.

    There was this thread a while back about the saablin project which seems very cool but it's more than what I need. I just want line-in to the head unit.
    http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh....php?p=1719207

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  2. #2
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    This was a response from gw0udm:

    I should think that it would be quite easy to do what you want in the way that you suggest.

    The main problem as you have identified is that you are wanting to feed an unbalanced source into a balanced input (ie the CD changer input on the head unit).

    There are a number of ways of approaching this. I've not tried any of these actually in the car myself, but the principles are broadly applicable and any should work.

    This site gives quite a lot of advice:

    Sound System Interconnection

    It talks about using a transformer as a means of interfacing the two, and quite a simple way of doing so is to use a common or garden ground loop isolator. These are in effect 1:1 transformers, and I believe people have used them with some success to convert unbalanced to balanced. THe problem is that you do lose quite a significant amount of signal. Whether this is enough to cause a problem I guess depends on your equipment, but it's not an ideal solution.

    You've seen the Saablin project, and I can see that it is overkill. However, one part of it is quite a neat solution to this problem. The project has developed a fairly simple but effective converter - details here:

    Balanced audio | saablin.net

    I believe you can order the custom PCBs directly, and a guy on there is offering some for free (dunno if he has any left though):

    Balanced Audio Converter | saablin.net

    If you were up for the soldering this would provide a really nice solution. You could plumb this board into the CD changer audio connections as above, and just leave all the control wiring in place.

    One final option is to use off the shelf kit. Converting unbalanced to balanced is quite commonly done in professional audio, as all professional mixing desks use balanced inputs and cables where possible. If you have something with an unbalanced output (eg a guitar or keyboard) you use a 'Direct Inject' or DI box to convert from one to the other. I see no reason why this shouldn't work for the car. DI boxes are readily available, but you would need either two boxes, or one with two channels.

    Something like this would be good:

    http://www.bluearan.co.uk/index.php?...emode=category

    The disadvantage would be that you'd need quite a lot of bulky wiring - you'd need to terminate the CD changer connection in XLR connectors, and the output from each of the two stereo channels from your Ipod with 1/4" mono jacks. However, you could easily hide this away in the boot somewhere near the changer if you wanted.

    I reckon any of these would be viable options. I'd be interested to hear how you get of if you try any of these.

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  3. #3
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    The dock connector on an Ipod has line level outputs but I don't know if this is balanced or not. And I don't even know if the CD Changer sends its signal to the head unit balanced or not. Perhaps I should use a 3.5mm cable with RCA outputs and tap into the line in on the head unit. Too bad I haven't been able to find the connectors for my head unit. I'd rather not tap into the cables directly but probably don't have much choice.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-3550.../dp/B000J022G6
    The dock connector produces line-level audio providing better sound quality then using the iPod headphone jack



    I actually have this Belkin audio and charging dock connector.


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  4. #4
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    Hey there Wulf, Thanks so much for all you do for us Saab'ers. Were you able to figure this out? I'm looking at taking it on so just thought I'd see if you had any insight. Thanks again!

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  5. #5
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    No, I never went ahead and trying to make this work. So it seems you're on your own for now but perhaps some other members can provide assistance.

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  6. #6
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    No worries at all. I've been able to find the relevant WIS document outlining the pinout and it really seems like it should work as you've theorized. I have a heavy background in pro audio, so I think I'm gonna take a stab at it sometime this weekend. If nothing else, I'll keep this thread posted.

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