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I am connecting my headphone to an aux in via a splitter cable, phono to rca. There is no ground loop.

There is a hum.

Do I need a pre-amp?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If there is hum, there's likely at least a little ground loop. Is the hum 60Hz? Or some other identifiable frequency?

But no, you don't need a preamp. You actually need less volume than the headphone jack, I find 50% to 75% to work nicely, depending on the specifics of the hardware. If there's still hum, see if hooking up an iPod to the headphone jack on the splitter creates the same hum. If not, then there is some sort of ground mismatch.

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