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iTunes on your home stereo

Yes, you can connect iTunes to your home stereo system. Now I know it is easy to connect an iPod, using a headphone connector on one end, and RCA connectors on the other, but I wanted to connect my entire 200 Gb music library and have it available on the stereo, with good speakers.

I am providing a description below of a configuration that works. This is not to say that this is the only way to do it – but after some trial and error, this is what works for me.

Equipment needed:

iMac Apple computer with iTunes

In this case, an iMac with its lush 27″ screen

Airport Extreme Apple Airport Extreme

This serves as the router and firewall for the network

Costs about $180

Airport Express Apple Airport Express

This has a headphone output that connects to the stereo

Costs about $100

stereo cable Cable between Airport Express and stereo system, and can also be used to connect an iPod or other mp3 player to a stereo.

Available at Radio Shack, Best Buy, Staples, etc. for about $10

The Airport Extreme serves as the router and firewall for the network. It has a gigabit connection for the DSL or cable modem, and then three connections for Ethernet LAN devices (one of which can be a switch, of course). It also has built-in wireless a/b/g/n capabilities. It works well with both PC and Apple computers, and networks with both.

The iMac is connected over a wireless or wired connection to the Airport Extreme, which serves as the base station.

The slightly tricky part is the Airport Express, which needs to be plugged in near the stereo.  You will need a headphone cable that connects to your stereo, and the exact type depends on the stereo.  In my case, it was the one shown above, and it can be plugged into to any of the stereo inputs, except “Phono”. Why not? Because the phono input is specially designed for a low input needle. In my case, I use “Tape 1” which is fine, because I don’t have a tape player anyhow.

The Airport Express connects via the wireless network coming from the base station. Once it is connected, and correctly configured (details below), iTunes can detect it, and send music over the wireless network, and in turn to the stereo.

Now you might be thinking: “What’s so great about that?  You have go over to the computer when you want to change your songs!” Not necessarily. The nifty part is that you can control all this from your iPhone or iPod Touch. There is a free iPhone application called Remote. With this application, you can control iTunes with your iPhone, select songs and playlists, adjust volume, as if you were running iTunes at your computer.

Technical Details: iTunes on your home stereo (part 2)

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