Do you love retro analogue HiFi’s but crave the convenience and cool factor of the modern gadgets? Then fear not! For you can add Bluetooth, iPods, iPhones and Media Centers to any of the vintage beauties on this site! Digital sources of music such as CD’s and iPod sound so much better through quality vintage audio gear, here is how to connect them.
RCA Cables and Sockets have been the primary means of connecting audio gear to amplifiers for more than 50 years. And the good news is most modern gear still supports these connectors. iPhones, iPods, iPad, Media Centres, MP3 Players and others all have docks and adapters that can connect into most vintage amps using RCA connectors.
Most vintage amplifiers have ‘AUX’ or auxiliary inputs, the manufacturers provided some future proofing on their amplifiers to allow new music sources to be added to their gear and these are the perfect choice for adding iPods and Bluetooth music receivers. Other than the amplified PHONO ports, virtually any other RCA input can be used such as ‘TAPE’ or ‘TUNER’. Just be aware that some amplifiers select their TAPE sources differently and may have an individual button or switch independent of the usual source selector.
Running out of Inputs?
If you have run out of RCA inputs you can always add a input port multiplier. Similar in function to a power-board the port multiplier allows you to add multiple sources to a single input. The box plugs into an available RCA input on your amplifier and then use the input box to select from the sources you have added to it. Some boxes are available with remote controls.
iPhone, iPod & iPad Docks
A huge range of iPod and iPad docks are available, but not all support audio line-out, especially for the newer phones and tablets, ensure that the dock you purchase has an audio line-output. These docs make it easy to connect your iPod, iPhone or iPad to your HiFi so can enjoy your digital tunes.
Bluetooth music receivers can also be added to your HiFi and allows you to beam your music to your vintage equipment. Enjoy your music from your phone or tablet as you walk around your home!
Other Phones & MP3 Players
If you own another brand of phone or mp3 player please check with your manufacturer. In almost all cases a docking station or cable that allows music playback on a HiFi will be supported.
LED Televisions, Blu-Ray, Computers & DVD
Yes you can! All of the above can be connected to your vintage amplifier. However please note that when you connect to a Stereo amplifier you will only be getting 2-channel sound, so it is important to setup your device to DOWNMIX to 2-channels.
You CAN get 5.1 or more channel surround sound with vintage gear, but you will need multiple amplifiers to achieve this. This is completely over the top, but hey some of us are willing to go there! Perhaps one day you will see me post on such a setup
Digital to Analogue
Some devices may only have digital outputs such as HDMI or Optical. In these cases you will need a converter!
Please be wary of some dodgy sellers on eBay and elsewhere selling cables that purport to do this. They are an absolute SCAM and will not work. These devices need to convert and decode a digital signal into analogue, and as such need power and circuitry to achieve this.
ABOVE: REAL Digital-to-Analogue Converters
ABOVE: SCAM – FAKE CABLE