ipod into preamp OK?

Is it safe to plug an ipod into an output of my preamp without using a docking station?
If you mean plug your headphone output into one of the inputs of a preamp, then yes it is very safe.
But not very good.

You don't need a "docking station" but you should get a cable that has the Apple male dock connector on one end and RCA plugs on the other end. I can recommend Ken's cables from Audio Line Out.

If you go from the headphone output of the iPod to an input on your preamp the signal from the iPod has passed through both the digital to analog converter and the amplifer in the iPod. Then the signal is amplified again by your own amplifier and the quality of it won't ever be any better than what the iPod itself is capable of.

If you use one of the cables like Metralla is describing, or one of the standard iPod docks, you are bypassing the internal amp of the iPod but still using its digital to analog converter.

Third option is a device like the Wadia dock which is able to take a digital signal from the iPod. Then the digital signal is converted and amplified outside the iPod.

None of that may matter to you, though, if all you're after is convenience or if the files on the iPod are highly compressed mp3's where the quality of the external conversion and amplification aren't going to significantly change the sound.
Metralla and Sfar,

I was ready to post a question and I think you may have begun to answer my question. Can you clarify for me.

I want to take my CD collection and put them on my iMac computer which is in another room. Then I will down load the CDs from my iMac to an iPod Classic (yet to purchase) to use as my only source feeding a tube power amp and speakers that are in different room.

Will this give me respectable sound (as say a $500 CD player)?
Will the volume control on the iPod be able to control the output volume through a cable or dock feeding my power amp?
Use the ipod "lineout" not the headphone output. You can get to line out signal froma dock or from a cable that goes rom the apple 30? pin connector (these are really hard to find - I made my own). The headphone output is the wrong impedence - will be a very low signal and someone distorted.
If I find the 30 pin cable or use a dock will I have volume control so I don't have to use a preamp w/ my tube power amp?