How to setup my HK3490 receiver with my computer?
September 15, 2012 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Dear Audio-gear enthusiasts, I need help with getting my Macbook and HK3490 stereo receiver working. It kinda works, but it kinda doesn't.

I recently got a used HK3490 for cheap and am trying to make the most of it with my student shoe-string budget. I'm pretty new to this audio gear stuff so even basic things I'm abit unsure about - which leads me to my question: I got a 3.5mm to RCA cable which allows me to hook up my ipod or Macbook Air (with no optical out sadly) to the receiver. But I only get sound when I hook it up to the "Main Input" on the backside - when I try any other of the RCA inputs (cd in, vid3 input on the front panel, etc), I don't hear anything at all. Maybe I'm missunderstanding something really simple, but why is this the case? I've tried googling it but can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for.

Thanks for any help!!
posted by muymuy to Technology (6 answers total)
Should work, though some receivers (I'm not familiar with that one specifically, I've only had Onkyos and Denons) let you re-assign the inputs, so when you select "CD" it might not actually be getting audio from the RCA inputs labeled "CD" on the back (it might be assigned to an optical or coax input, for example). Though I wouldn't expect that to be the case with all of the inputs. I've never had a receiver with an input labeled "main input," they've all been labeled with a specific name, so I may not know what I'm talking about. The manual for most receivers is available online; it's probably worth checking.
posted by primethyme at 12:23 PM on September 15, 2012

A really handy way to troubleshoot these issues is to connect the cable to the desired inputs, then touch your thumb to the 3.5mm plug that would ordinarily be in the headphone jack. If the input of the receiver is able to receive a signal, you'll hear a buzz when you touch your thumb to the plug. This allows you to confirm/rule out the laptop as a variable.
posted by yorick at 12:25 PM on September 15, 2012

Ok, I got curious, and found the manual. It's here.

It sounds like you need to jumper together the main amp input and output:

Main-Amp Inputs and Preamp Outputs: These jacks are normally connected directly to each other with an included jumper. Some devices, such as equalizers and some loudspeaker systems, require connection between the Preamp Outputs and Main-Amp Inputs, in which case the jumpers should be removed and stored in a safe place for future use. You may also remove the jumpers if you wish to connect the Preamp Outputs to an external amplifier, or if you wish to connect another device’s line-level output directly to the HK 3490’s power amplifier for a special application.
posted by primethyme at 12:25 PM on September 15, 2012

Hey thanks for the link to the manua - yeah, that sounds like the solution - the HK3490 I have doesn't seem to have them connected as far as I can tell and I don't see any in the packaging I received. I'll get some RCA jumper cables and see if that solves the problem. Thanks!
posted by muymuy at 12:40 PM on September 15, 2012

Just FYI, the cable you would connect between the PRE OUT connectors and the MAIN IN connnectors would be something like this 1.5 ft cable.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:58 PM on September 15, 2012

Generally what's used in this application is a pair of u-shaped pieces of metal called "preamp jumpers" or "mains jumpers" or something like that. Check eBay and you should be able to get a set for a dollar or two.
posted by Slinga at 5:37 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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