Since there are so many different digital signage network configurations that can happen in Windows with sound cards, this guide will review the steps to connect the speakers of your Digital Media Player pc to an external audio source such as a CD player or Muzak audio player. The basic analog connections are the same in any PC, whether it has the on-board (built on the motherboard) or a separate sound card.
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The first step to play live background music on your Digital Media Player is to connect your audio source to the computer. All modern PC's have, at a minimum, a "Speaker out", "Line Out", "Line In" and "Microphone input". Some have the speaker connections labeled differently, but it is still basically the four connections listed. In order to utilize the StrandVision Digital Signage audio loopthrough feature, the "Speaker out" and "Microphone input" will be used. You may find that using the "Line Input" jack may work better for your audio device. Since this guide is describing how to set up the "Microphone Input" as the source, you need to configure for "Line Input" instead of "Microphone".
In almost all cases the I/O jacks are all 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo jacks and are color coded:
Figure 1 - Digital Media Player Sound Card Inputs and Outputs
1. Locate the Right Inputs and Outputs
Nearly every audio device has at least one stereo pair of outputs (also called "jacks") you can use as an audio source for your signage. Examples of audio sources include Ipods, CD or Muzak players. Some devices have a single 1/8" stereo connector which is usually the correct source. Older devices usually have RCA jacks (the standard type used to connect your stereo components). RCA jacks look like this:
Figure 3 - RCA Output Jacks
RCA jacks are always color coded in white and red, or black and red. Red is always the right channel. If you see a Yellow jack, that is usually a video source. Select one of the following RCA jacks, located on your audio device. Any of these are acceptable for sending signal to your PC:
2. Connect the Audio Source
Connect the PC "Mic" input ("Pink" or "Red") from your computer to your external source. Use a cable with a 1/8" stereo plug on one end and the proper connector(s) for your audio source (usually RCA phono plugs - see Figure 2). Some systems can use 1/8" stereo plug to 1/8" stereo plugs (such as an Ipod). Keep the length of the cable as short as possible and at a maximum of 20 feet. Over 20 ft and you could get signal loss and frequency (fidelity) loss. Only use shielded audio cables, do not use "speaker" cables that are unshielded.
Figure 2 - RCA to 1/8" Stereo Cable
3. Connect The Speakers
Connect the "Speaker Out" ("Green") from your computer to the plasma screen or ceiling speaker amplifier. This will use similar cables to those described above.
To enable the Audio Loopthrough capability
To play your signage (to be able to adjust your volume settings)
To Set the Recording Levels
Figure 3 - Windows Playback Settings
Figure 4 - Windows Recording Settings
If you have not done so, install the production signage player.
Your setup is complete!