Vast Improvement In Co-Workers Home Audio

This weeks I ended up talking about audio stuff with a co-worker and it turned out that his wife was very unhappy with the sound of their iPod loaded with MP3s through their home system. She wanted something better so he had been doing some research. When he said that he was looking at an iWadia product I told him that it was a true audiophile piece of equipment and then inquired about the rest of their system. It's nothing fancy and their listening includes the radio and the iPod from what I can tell. In an effort to save him from purchasing an expensive pieces of equipment that was overkill for their wants and needs, I loaned him a 30-pin to stereo RCA cable and told him that it should sound better because it bypasses the iPods internal amplifier. The next day he reported that it made a huge difference and was all that they would ever need. After I sent him some links to the cables that also include the USB for charging he realized that he had the one made by Apple at home and just had never used it. He purchased it for a different project that never worked out and simply wasn't aware of it's value. What made me really laugh was that was using the phono input on his receiver for the iPod.

Before: iPod headphone output to phono receiver input

After: iPod 30-pin to standard receiver input

It doesn't take an audiophile to hear the difference here! He's thanked me several times and laughed at how dumb I must think he is.
I'm glad that you were able to help your friend. However, 99% of the improvement in sound quality was because he moved the input from the phono to line level.

The phono input ONLY works with a cartridge. Cables do make a difference, but in this case, it was a smaller factor.
I would agree that the input switch was the primary improvement, but also know that connecting the iPod using the 30 pin connector instead of the headphone mini jack. Even in this case it isn't a cable issue as much as it is the fact that the 30 pin connection bypassed the iPods internal amplifier. It is just one less sound degrading step. I use an $8 cable from Amazon for my Audioengine speakers at work.