Linking laptop audio output to analogue hifi input

  Jeff105 10:59 12 Oct 2011

I'm hoping this is a place where old folk in their sixties can ask stoopid stuff without getting laughed at?

My Acer 5740G laptop has terrible sound and I'm wanting to link it to my Arcam Solo Mini amp which has only analogue phono inputs.

There is a 3.5mm jack socket output on the laptop which "supports SPDIF". Can I just use a 3.5 jack to twin phono converter lead? If not do I have to use a DAC somewhere?

Is this one of those clever output sockets which connects a simple jack but also one with a longer reach for optical connection?

  eedcam 12:58 12 Oct 2011

Can you not just use the Headphone socket

  Jeff105 13:17 12 Oct 2011

Hi eedcam.

The headphone socket is the one I am referring to. Sorry if this was not clear.

Headphones with the usual 3.5mm jack work fine. When I contacted Arcam about this they said that the SPDIF output from the socket would need to go through a Digital/Analogue Converter (available from them for mucho, mucho dinero)before connecting this to the amp.

What I don't understand is whether the socket is capable of more than one kind of output according to the type of connector you insert into it? Hence the last sentence in my original question.

  eedcam 15:31 12 Oct 2011

Ok different setup is mine I use line out from the pc ( I know you dont have that) this feeds my speakers which have a headphone socket this I use to feed my amp .Have you tried your lead from this to the amp? as for old folk in their 60's your just a young 'un

  robin_x 19:43 12 Oct 2011

If it works with ordinary headphones you can use a 3.5mm to twin phono adapter/cable.

But the levels will be too high. It's not an ideal method.

Set the volume on the laptop to minimum and gradually increase it to see what you get.

  Jeff105 10:48 13 Oct 2011

Thanks both for responding.

Have a 3.5 jack to phono converter cable on order, so will see what that does for me.

Point noted about keeping the volume turned down, thanks. Actually the speakers are so dreadful the volume is always turned down as it happens.

The Arcam Solo Mini is designed so that the input from any source is presented at the line out at the same level regardless of which input is switched. I'm using the Solo mini as a source for FM and DAB radio and for its ability to play MP3 discs. From there the signal goes to a pair of older Arcam Alpha 9 control and power amps, so these should receive a level signal regardless of the gain from the laptop's volume setting. But I will turn the volume down initially, just to be safe.

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