Are the 'line out' are different for different computers?

Posted on 2007-10-14
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have 3 different computers: an IBM S50, a G4 Power Mac, and a no name PC clone. I was trying to use my Sony Stereo Amplifier to amplify and output the sound from the computer line out jack.

The sound from the line out jack of the IBM and the Mac don't sound very good, it looks like they are over amplified and produce an awful noise. Interestingly, the sound from the line out jack of the PC Clone sounds perfectly through the same Sony amplifier. Both the PC Clone and the IBM are running Windows XP.
I wonder if the 'line out' are different for different computers. How do I make them work correctly on the amplifier?

Question by:Volga
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    The line out should be the same signal level on all of the systems.   Many modern sound cards, however, have auto-sensing outputs that can serve multiple functions.   Look in Control Panel - Sounds and Audio Devices and be sure there's not a setting that controls the function of that output.   Also, some sound cards have both a line out and an amplified output (for non-powered speakers) ==> be sure you're not using the wrong output :-)
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    They should be the same, but aren't.

    Even on PC's, you can find sound cards outputing 0.5V while others output 2.0V; so there really is a lot of variation.

    I had an old audio card that was perfectly capable of driving a set of unpowered speakers just fine from the regular line out; when I upgraded it to a SB Live, the speakers were no longer audible.

    For your mac, I'd recommend lowering the volume until you get an undistorted output.
    (Best way would be to use some form digital audio output if possible :)

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