iPod volume versus laptop volume

When I connect my iPod to my stereo I seem to lose some volume (versus the CD). Would the same thing happen if I connected my laptop to the stereo? I know I can try it but I don't have the right cable at my fingertips.

Also, should it matter which input it's connected to?

AS long as its not connected to a phono input, then it should not matter which one. Note that there is considerable variability in the output voltage of CDPs and yours may be "hot", putting out more voltage and thus apparent high volume.

So either the laptop or the iPod should be connected to phono? That way, I won't be able to alternate between vinyl and the iPod/laptop at my upcoming Christmas party.

Is that right?

Now I have the iPod connected to a tape input and I'm losing volume.

Does that make sense?

Sorry fo rany confusion in my post. It should NOT be hooked up to phono. However, if by losing volume, you mean that for a specific rotation of volume knob, the sound is less for the ipod than for the cdp, that is not unusual and not necessarily a problem.
I beleive your problem is that you are using the wrong output connection. Most ipod users use the HEADPHONE out (miniplug) which is totally wrong in my opinion. You will suffer a large loss in volume and possibly clarity. The headphone out is already amplified and not meant to be amplified again. You end up turning your amp WAY up to the point of possibly straining it when the headphone out signal is amplified.

You should be using the LINE OUT connection which is connected via the docking port (the rectangular 20pin connector). The lineout signal is designed to be amplified - via your stereo or boombox etc. Sounds just great when you use the right signal. Most ipod users will not be able to get to the line out signal unless they buy one of apple's overpriced "docks" for $30. There are almost NO line out cords/connectors on the market - I bought some 30 pin connectors from Sweden and soldered them up to RCA plugs and miniplugs. Soldering those tiny little leads was a real pain.

There's a few people selling cheapo cables on ebay - search for "IPOD 30pin Dock Plug" - I see several on ebay for a couple bucks.
Good catch, gdoodle. I do not use an ipod with my home system, only while traveling. Makes sense to me that that might be the case.