Using backing tracks with powered/active speakers

Thanks to Todd for this question about using backing tracks from an mp3 player directly in to powered or active speakers…

Hi,
First, I love your website! I was wondering if I can plug my ipod into 2 powered speakers with some sort of thing that splits the ipod output into 2 outputs and plug those into the speakers without a mixer.
Thanks, Todd

Hi Todd

Yes, you’re local music store or electronics store should be able to supply you with the correct cables to do this.

If they don’t have the correct cables in stock, local music shops usually have a repair department with an in-house engineer who will be able to make them up for you.

One end of the cable where the iPod connects will have a single stereo 6.5mm mini jack which outputs the left and right channels together, then the cable will split in to two (left and right) so that you can send the signal to each speaker.

A word of warning if you’re going to do this though. You will have little or no control over the eq of the music (i.e. you won’t be able to tweak the treble and bass etc to fine tune your sound) and so will be sort of stuck with the standard sound your speakers give with no way to adjust anything except the volume. Some mp3 players have eq facilities in them but in my experience the internal eq of mp3 players is usually very limited and nowhere near as good as is necessary to fine tune a live mix in an on stage environment.

A far better way to connect an iPod to 2 powered speakers would be to purchase a mixer and plug the iPod in to the mixer THEN connect the outputs of the mixer to your two powered speakers.

That way you will have complete control over every aspect of the sound.

I had a similar question a while ago from someone who was using one powered speaker for his iPod and I posted my answer on our blog so it may be worth having a read through that too.