Yes, you can but you would have to do so via the Headphone out and use the volume control on the iPod. Make sure it is turned all the way down when you hook it up. You will need a Mini Plug to Stereo RCA cable to do this..
True but if you have the files in Apple Lossless compression or uncompressed WAV files or use Exact Copy, its OK (not great but not crap). Cardas has a cable exactly for this (using the headphone connection in the iPOD) as does I think Audioquest. I use the Cardas and the sound quality when done this way is OK, sorta like a cheap CD player. I know its not saying much, but you gain the flexibility of the IPOD and playlists etc....I use it for background music at parties etc...obviously not for serious listening.
I have my 10GB 3rd Gen iPod connected using cheap 1/8" to RCA connectors to an Adcom GFA545II, which power Meadowlark Vireo bookshelf speakers.
Incorrectly set up (due to space constraints) in a small office, I've been stunned with the involving sound quality that results. One has to be careful to ensure the amp is OFF when connecting and disconnecting the iPod, otherwise, this can be done. And no, they're not lossless files, just 2,500 AAC files on an old player. Of course it can get better, perhaps using the dock connector and preamp. But I'm pretty picky and my Otolaryngologist tells me I have "perfect" hearing, so you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The pleasure this setup yields is constantly refreshing and gets me through long days at the office.
My iPod (30Gb) is connected via the docking station using a 'M' product as the IC in the AUX jack of my preamp. Sounds good but not as clean as a CD. Most of my music is burned using the standard apple format. I had contemplated redoing all using ths LossLess format but I have too many songs (4000+) to just sit doWn and redo.
I would try a pair of EVS Ultimate Attenuators before doing such a scheme, it would seriously save some repair money from overloading the amp and it can happen, if one is not careful.
I doubt that the IPOD would sound like crap through the headphone output. Do you have a cable and also the Ipod to try or are you thinking about getting one?