How can I connect my iPhone 6s Plus to my stereo?

I understand that Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock has a headphone jack that I can use:

Connect the dock to powered speakers or a stereo system using a 3.5mm cable (sold separately) to play music and podcasts from your iPhone

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I actually have a similar dock (third party) that I used with an iPhone 4s. However, (a) it obviously has an old-fashioned 20-pin connector, and (b) the sound quality was poor.

Clearly Apple’s new dock would have the right connector, and I hope the sound quality would be better, but I worry about that dock’s negative reviews, which means that stress on the connector can cause the phone’s lightning socket to be lost and eventually fail.

I don’t care about having a “stand” for the phone, and I don’t really care about the charge… is there a cable solution I could use? (In other words, something I just plugged a cable into rather than putting the phone on a twisted stand).

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Or, is wireless more appropriate? I see there are Bluetooth receivers out there that seem to be designed to do this, but again there are a lot of negative reviews, especially about the reliability of the Bluetooth connection. The only device I found that got a lot of positive reviews was the Arcam rMini Blink, and this is quite expensive.

Doesn’t Apple offer something in this space? (Not that it would be any less expensive!).

I did it in 4 different ways (from low to high cost). The sound quality largely depends on the quality of the audio file on the iPhone and the quality of the stereo. The quality degradation due to any of these 4 connection mechanisms seems relatively low – unless you are an audiophile or Neill Young. 😉

  • Connect the iPhone headphone output to stereo auxiliary audio with a adapter cable appropriate (stereo mini jack => what your stereo accepts, e.g. RCA). Important: Run iPhone output volume only about 50% to avoid input distortion to stereo.

  • Receive device Bluetooth for receive (I had good luck with a Philips bad luck one with some generic Chinese stuff), which plugs into the stereo input. Then connect with Bluetooth to that device. In my experience bluetooth worked pretty well when the iPhone was stationary reasonably close to the bluetooth device. Moving around with iPhone in your pocket while connected to Bluetooth could cause audio dropout pain in some cases.

  • Use a Airport Express as a wifi or wired networking participant (eg as a wifi amplifier) ​​on your home wifi adjust and connect the audio output from that to the stereo input. Then use Airplay to send the iPhone audio to the Express airport. Moving around with an iPhone in your pocket seems to be more tolerant of the bluetooth-based connection.

  • Use a Apple TV like wired or wifi participant in your home networking. However, to my knowledge, Apple TV only outputs digital audio (HDMI or optical SPDIF on 2nd or 3rd gen Apple TV), so the stereo must have inputs for HDMI or optical SPDIF or one requires an additional converter box. And then use Airplay to send iPhone audio to Apple TV. Walking around with iPhones in your pocket is just as forgiving as with Airport Express, as they both use wifi for iPhones.

You can use a suitable cable to connect the headphone jack to your stereo system. Note that the input to the stereo must accept headphone levels or it doesn’t sound right.

Airplay may be a better approach however depending on how you prefer to do it.

You need Wifi and the Airplay device connected to the stereo.

The AppleTV is certainly capable of doing this with the sound of what is shown on the HDMI cable and may be able to do this with sound alone (I haven’t tried). This is a standard optical cable.

Also, you can use the Express Express Express devices, if they are set up to connect to Wifi (or wired). I have successfully used a 1st generation Express Express device for this, where the headphone jack supports both a regular cable and an optical.

Apple’s dock is their only entry in the iPhone hardware game for Stereo.

You could start with whatever metal cable you like and plug it into the headphone jack and plug the lightning cable into a charger (if that’s one of your requirements).

From the observations and the text – poor quality is due to a bad cable or the amplifier’s inability to take the signal from the line level / 50% volume and not a limitation of the iPhone in almost all cases.

A custom DAC for the iPhone should be required for audiophile-critical needs if you have the source material in high-quality, high-speed encoding. For random use – modest cables and not absolute volume should let the iPhone send consumer sounds to digital quality sound over a short metal cable.

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