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Old 12-04-2016, 03:22   #1
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Music from a Macbook via help?

Hi, this may be obvious to many but I'm struggling.

We have a Mac Book Pro with heaps of music on it. Playing it through the boat/car stereo via the headphone jack on the Mac book is hopeless because the plug and socket are not a good fit resulting in heaps of nasty noises when you move it. I know Macbooks are supposed to have standard headphone jack sizes but they are not I've measured them they are just a little fatter on the neck of the pointy bit on the end

The USB interface from the Mac Book into the stereo doesn't work either, nor with an iPhone (no device recognised). The tinny sound of music from the laptop is killing us haha

I guess my question is, should I be able to play music directly from the Macbook into a car stereo via USB? Are my problems just because the car stereo is of unknown age?

Thanks for any help
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Old 12-04-2016, 04:55   #2
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

You may have a bad USB interface. Macs are very picky on whose cables and interfaces are recognised. I had a problem with a non apple adapter for my projector, purchased the apple version and it worked straight out of the box. The audio jack is one of the standards. You may just have the incorrect one. It is a 3,5mm jack. Most 3.5mm jacks will work, but... The fact it doesn't work on the macbook or the phone indicates the jack.
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Old 12-04-2016, 05:29   #3
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Directly coupling your laptop to the stereo using a USB cable will probably not be possible.
USB plugs come in two categories: A and B. (And these come in different sizes). Devices that operate as "host" on the USB bus will have A type plugs. All computers are designed to function as host, and thus have only A type sockets. Devices have B type plugs, and cables always have one A type and one B type plug.
Most stereos are designed to operate as a host on the USB bus, and thus also have A type socket. These are intended to plug devices in, so you can for example plug a memory stick in it.

For your stereo to function as an external usb playback device it would need to be able to take up the role of "device" and thus have a B type socket as well. I am not aware of any car stereo having that.

So what you can do is just get a memory stick, put music on that and plug that in your stereo.
Or you can use an exteranl DA convertor, that you plug in to an USB port on your mac, and that you than connect to a line in on your stereo.
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Old 12-04-2016, 07:53   #4
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

How about buying a Bluetooth interface. You can connect that to the AUX input of the car stereo and simply stream the music from the mac to the stereo.
Has been working for me for some time now.

Look here:
Marine Bluetooth Module (MS-BT100) | FUSION Entertainment
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:31   #5
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

The first suspect is the stereo cable. These sometimes get banged up and the wires inside can break. It is also the cheapest fix.

For the iPhone, the case may prevent the jack from fully seating. Remove the case and try it.

The jack that works on my iPhone has a little shoulder between the metal part of the plug and the big fat plastic part. This allows it to fit into the case.
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Old 12-04-2016, 13:20   #6
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Wow, finally a question that I may be able to help with.
(I'm in the AV industry...)

aluitjen is right
Quote:
Originally Posted by aluijten View Post
How about buying a Bluetooth interface. You can connect that to the AUX input of the car stereo and simply stream the music from the mac to the stereo.
This is the simplest and easiest way to do it. With bluetooth, the computer does not have to physically be attached to the stereo. Plus you can send music from phones and tablets as well, guests like this.

----
For better sound, I plug one of these into the USB port of the computer: Amazon.com: Audioquest DragonFly USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amp Version 1.2: Electronics
and then connect it to the stereo with one of these: Amazon.com: Audioquest - Golden Gate Mini-to-RCA (0.6m): Electronics

Sound quality gains aren't really that important on a boat underway (except to geeks like me ), so for most folks this is only beneficial at anchor.
The BlueTooth solution is easier and more useful.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-04-2016, 14:01   #7
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Yes - Ditto to what Soundwave & aluitjen wrote. In addition I suggest you copy all of your music onto an iPod (shuffle, nano, or whatever), which due to having a working headphone jack will interface with your stereo(s) better. Also, copy your entire music library onto another hard drive. Just like us, your MacBook has a finite life. You likely want your music to live on even after your MacBook dies.

cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundWave View Post
Wow, finally a question that I may be able to help with.
(I'm in the AV industry...)

aluitjen is right This is the simplest and easiest way to do it. With bluetooth, the computer does not have to physically be attached to the stereo. Plus you can send music from phones and tablets as well, guests like this.

----
For better sound, I plug one of these into the USB port of the computer: Amazon.com: Audioquest DragonFly USB DAC Preamp Headphone Amp Version 1.2: Electronics
and then connect it to the stereo with one of these: Amazon.com: Audioquest - Golden Gate Mini-to-RCA (0.6m): Electronics

Sound quality gains aren't really that important on a boat underway (except to geeks like me ), so for most folks this is only beneficial at anchor.
The BlueTooth solution is easier and more useful.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-04-2016, 14:39   #8
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Hi all, thank you

I will look into Bluetooth today (and get a new cable) I'd rather do Bluetooth so that will be my target. It's just nice too know it's possible!

I know a lot of people use iPods but I find the tiny screen not helpful. I do have everything backed up

Thank you so much! I am a technical guy but for some reason my audio knowledge is still stuck in the 70's

You're all champions!
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Old 19-04-2016, 12:42   #9
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Just a comment - but I 'tweaked' an Apple AirPlay box to 12v and connected that to the stereo. So I wifi in from macs , iPad, iPhone etc ... Crew love it .... Good range also.... GL


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Old 19-04-2016, 14:11   #10
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

I would suggest. Put some mp3 files on a USB stick, plug it into the stereo and see if they can be played. If not, forget all about the USB interface.


If they can be played, then you need to find out what the stereo can play via USB. Some will require a FAT32 format on the drive. (Safest bet.) Some can play only 128 folders and 1000 files, of any type. Others can play more files and folders but not more than "eight deep" or some other limit. And some cannot recognize track orders in album folders, they play in alphabetical order so you must have the songs titled "01-Trackname, 02-Trackname" etc so the numbers for the tracks precede the names.


If that works, that's the simplest solution. No need to eat power or run cables. USB drives now for $50 will get you 128gb on a drive the size of your thumbnail--not your thumb, but just the nail. Cheap and reliable.
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Old 03-05-2016, 15:49   #11
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Re: Music from a Macbook via help?

Thanks again! I like the idea of tweaking the Airplay but I've just put that stuff in storage
HelloSailor, your explanation of how the player might read files makes perfect sense, it's unpredictable.

What I have ended up with is a weird car bluetooth/FM cigarette adaptor. Macbook via headphone wire to adaptor (It doesn't recognise the bluetooth coming out of the Macbook). From there it sends an FM signal to the radio Not perfect but working. I think I will end up using my phone via bluetooth into the cig adaptor then onto the radio as the Macbook is very power hungry!
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