Let it Rain Music

Today I installed a simple bypass wiring harness on my Pioneer AppRadio 4. That allows it to have full A/V functionality without being connected to the parking brake, which isn’t a safety concern for me since I’m almost always docked on the RETROpad. The bypass also allowed me to finally update AppRadio’s firmware.

This CarPlay-enabled receiver puts out 50 watts to each of four speakers, so the sound is rich and full. I’ve had good audio out from my TV from day one, just by using an RCA-to-3.5mm audio cable to the receiver. But now that I have a music keyboard, it’s important to run audio from my iMac to the receiver as well.

The receiver sports a variety of inputs, including HDMI plus analog A/V over both RCA and phono plugs. What it lacks, sadly, is a digital audio IN. My TV doesn’t have an HDMI OUT but it does have a digital audio OUT (using a fiberoptic TOSLINK cable), so that would be ideal. That way the AppRadio could process Dolby surround sound. But no, it looks like I’m stuck on analog unless I find an HDMI switch box that takes TOSLINK plus other sources.

So my plan is to run another long (20-foot?) 3.5mm audio cable from my iMac to all the way around the galley and up to the receiver. Then it can connect to the audio (red/white) RCA inputs and the AppRadio should just ignore the video (yellow) jack.

By the way, Bluetooth sounds great for Logic Pro, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro or iMovie audio output. But the inherent latency rules it out for realtime keyboard use. It’s no good to press a key and then hear the sound half a second later. Live audio needs to be transmitted by cable so all those electrons get to the speakers in time.

What also sounds good in the RETROvan is a torrential rainstorm, like the one we’re having right now. Mazy is curled up in the passenger chair on her blanket, just above the fireplace. Happy as a clam to be with me after a rough night last night. Her kidneys and digestive tract are failing. No more leftover cereal milk for her…

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