How to Connect an iPod to an Amp and Subwoofers

by Jeff Grundy

While many iPod users use the included ear-buds listen to music when exercising, jogging or traveling, others connect a set of external speakers to free themselves from the wires. However, when connecting your iPod to a pair of external speakers, you must ensure that they have an amplification source. While many computer speakers include a small built-in amplifier, most home speakers and subwoofers depend on the receiver unit or a discrete amplifier for power. Consequently, if you want to listen to your iPod tunes over your home stereo speakers and enhance bass through the subwoofer, you must connect the iPod to an auxiliary source input on the amplifier or receiver.

Connect to Amps or Receivers with a 3.5mm "Aux" Input

Plug the 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable into the headphone jack on the iPod. Plug the other end of the 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable into the “Aux,” “Aux In” or “Auxiliary” port on the face of the amplifier or receiver.

Press the “Aux” or “Auxiliary” source button on the face of the receiver or amplifier.

Press or tap the “Play” button on the iPod. Music from your iPod streams over the speakers and attached subwoofers. Adjust the volume on the receiver as needed.

Connect to Amp or Receiver with RCA Inputs Only

Connect the 3.5mm end of the audio cable to the headphone jack on the iPod.

Locate the “Auxiliary” or “Auxiliary Input” ports on the rear of the amplifier or receiver. Connect the red and white RCA plugs on the adapter cable to the matching colored ports labeled “Auxiliary” or “Auxiliary Input.”

Select “Auxiliary,” “Auxiliary Device” or another similar source option on the amplifier or receiver. Press or tap play on the iPod to begin streaming music from the device over the subwoofer and any other speakers connected to the receiver or amplifier. Adjust the listening volume on the amplifier as needed.


  • Depending on the wattage output of your receiver, you may have to adjust the volume on the iPod to higher than half to attain adequate sound levels.
  • Newer iPod models support Bluetooth connections. If you have a high-end AV receiver that supports the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), you can sync and connect an iPod with and stream music wirelessly to your home stereo without any wires or cables. Refer to the user guide or manual for your A2DP-enabled receiver to learn how to synch the receiver with Bluetooth devices.
  • You can connect an iPod to a speaker and subwoofer set designed for a computer if you dont have a home stereo. To do this, simply plug the 3.5mm plug from the computer speaker set into the headphone jack of the iPod.

Items you will need

  • 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable (optional)
  • 3.5mm-to-RCA audio cable (optional)

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images