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Zune Line Out

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Unpowered line out dock cable can be made using the Zune Travel Remote, Part Number: 9DS-00001.   For now remote section must remain intact, but you can take the audio line out from the cable or connector depending on your modding skills (easier to cut into cable vs rewire connector).


Best powered line out solution is soundgate core with AC power pack (for home use).  Part Number: ZNCBLPAK, Product has been discontinued.


Zune HD models can use the HD dock with its optical and HDMI out to get a line out signal.  All other zune and all other docks do not provide line out.   Older zunes in the new dock cannot use the optical or HDMI out.


--------- Original Post ---------


Unpowered Zune line out found.

Working on nice Zune LOD cable.

You can get Zune line out through the wired remote.
9DS-00001. I got one off ebay for a few bucks.

Zune requires a handshake to enable line out through the dock connector.

The Zune wired remote has 8 wires.
PIN# Wire color in remote, Pinout description
1 red, USB 5VDC(+)
4 yellow, UART receive
5 blue, UART transmit 57000bps

The three above power the remote then handle the authentication and must be connected to trigger line out on white and orange cable below.

13 Audio L = white
14 Audio R = orange

These two are not required to be plugged in, but seem to help with noises plugging and unplugging the connector.
17 green, reserved?
18 black (small), pull low to being authentication sequence?

I used this as audio ground:
Connector chassis = black (thick).
On the remote it is a thick black wire that connects to the chassis on one end, becomes a braided shield, and connects to the remote's electronics on the other end.

The pinout sheet indicates there is an A/V ground:
Microsoft Zune connector pinout and wiring @ at pin 12, but the remote does not appear to have this pin connected. Sounds and works fine with L/R and chassis ground.

Edited by peppe - 8/5/10 at 3:33pm
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Temp setup to test Zune line out:

I have ordered some Cat5 and Cat6 connectors with 'loading bar', management bar, 2 piece, etc. Basically its a RJ-45 connector with a cable guide and hopefully isolated holes as the small cables used in the remote jump positions in a standard RJ45 connector. Examples at Digike J10092-ND.

My plan for a clean Zune LOD cable is to use RJ-45 male on the cable and put a female RJ-45 panel mount port on any amp I build with the remote hidden inside the amp.

The remote with its clip removed, but still in its plastic shell is about:
1.5"L x 1.25"W x 3/8"H // 38mm L x 32mm W x 10mm H
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 


Got a pm on this, so thought i would post an update.


Tried the cat5 connectors.  The wires are too small even with a guide.   Also figured i would make something a little more generic/re-usable with other amps.



Since i already cut the travel remote cable in two i punched a hole in an altoids tin and put the remote inside.  Reconnected the 6 remote cables and diverted the two audio cables (white and orange) to RCA plugs.   Connected to the chassis ground, which connects with the braided shielding and is easy to twist and connect to.



The RCA plugs are mounted to the altoids tin and from there i can connect the line out signal to amp or a receiver easily.  


So I have:

Zune dock connector -----[Altiods tin with remote inside]=Female RCA Jacks



Something i might try the next time the wife is out of town is to re-cable the audio lines coming off the dock connector.  There is not a lot of space in the connector though.     The wires are 28-30 gauge, so might benefit from a re-cable.    Probably be easier to make a custom dock (with travel remote inside) and the use of the zune breakout board:  

post #4 of 14


post #5 of 14


post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 


I posted this somewhere else before, but anyone that wants to open one of the travel remotes here are my tips.



For the remote itself:

There is a slider at the top of it that locks the controls.   Stick a flat-head screwdriver in there and rotate to pry it open.    From there everything inside pops out.   You can put everything back and the remote will snap back together fine.  I tortured the first one i opened and it went back together without issue.

I gave up on figuring out what on the remote board was doing the important work.   So, other than curiosity there should not be any reason to open it.


The dock connector:

Seems to be the same for all zune connectors.  You can see them all taken apart on sites that sell just the connector.  There are two plastic buttons on the side of the connector that can be pulled out... more or less without damaging them.   Use a thumbtack or anything small enough to get between the button and connector and pry the button up and out.  After the buttons are out of the way the whole connector sliders out from the plastic casing.  Once the frame is out the casing comes apart.  It is pretty straightforward from there to open the metal frame and look directly at the connector pins and wires.   Once you are done in there the metal frame snaps back closed and you can snap the casing back together onto it (i used a soft hammer to get it all the way back into the casing).  Putting the side buttons back in locks everything in place.



For the simplest line out though I would leave the remote and connector alone and either cut the cable in two or cut into the cable and only cut the audio lines.  


The wire:

There is a black outer PVC insulator, braided metallic shield with a stranded ground wire in it , five colored wires for the remote, and 2 colored wires individually wrapped in foil with a metallic braided shield.  The line-out will come out on the white and orange wires inside the foiled lines.  The braided shields of the foiled wires and main wire recombine at the dock connector and remote into the thick black wire.


If you cut all the lines it is a little tedious to work with the tiny wires.  I think they are stranded 30 gauge.  I had best results re-connecting all the remote cables back to each other after cutting through the line.  I believe one or two of them are not needed, but their absence caused other issues (noise plugging in zune and unplugging).  Once you have the two audio lines out you can connect them to RCA jacks or your interconnect of choice.   Use either the main shielded braid or the individual braid for the ground.


The smallest setup would probably be cutting the cable to shorten it and create a 'Y' off the dock connector.   One side goes to the remote and the other has the 2 audio lines (and their braid for a ground) into a 3.5mm plug.  I'd probably heat-shrink or electrical tape the audio lines to the main cable and remote to avoid damaging them as they are a little small to support the weight of a nice 3.5mm jack.




New stuff:


The travel remote I believe is the only non-powered device that activates the Zune line out. 


The only powered device that activates line out that i know of is the discontinued soundgate 'core' kit.


All the microsoft docks with a remote are USB powered and have a remote that controls volume on the zune, which indicates they don't do line-out even though they send audio out of the dock connector.  


The new Zune HD dock has HDMI and optical out, which might send a line out signal?  I havn't seen users comment on this.   I know the docks work with older zune, but not sure if those ports work with older Zunes and what signal they send out.  The dock might work with my receiver, but I would need to buy/build a DAC (AMB Y1)  to use with the optical out on the dock and my headphone amp.  I'll save the DAC and HD dock for another day.


The cheaper option for today is the soundgate 'core' kit at around $30.  User comments/reviews on it indicated it disabled the audio control on the zune allowing them to plug it into their car without having to adjust the zune volume (indicates a true line out).  I have ordered a SoundGate Core 'ZNCBLPAK' and their AC adapter 'PWRCORE' to connect it at home.   It will probably come in a week or two.  My car has a 3.5mm aux in, so worst case i have a nice Zune accessory for my car ;)  


Man what a hobby...  If the sound works well through the soundgate I will use it with my home headphone amp and probably get a second one for the car.  Then work on making a compact Line out using a travel remote and maybe build a portable amp.  Or build a dac and use my laptop as a source for my home setup.

Edited by peppe - 7/31/10 at 3:09pm
post #7 of 14

I've also subscribed. Sounds like we're getting close to a decent solution...

post #8 of 14

Maybe someone with a logic analyzer could grab the authentication sequence. With that an ATtiny 2313 or other small MCU could be programmed to emulate the remote and the LOD could be made to fit into a smaller package.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 





The travel remote I believe is the only non-powered device that activates the Zune line out. 


The only powered device that activates line out that i know of is the discontinued soundgate 'core' kit.


Got the soundgate core kit today (order went through Monday morning) from dyscern:

He/she is on ebay as well, but the core and power pack had free shipping on their site.  


Posting to confirm the soundgate core kit does a true line out and with the home ac adapter it charges the zune as well.  It comes with a car power adapter, so assume it will function the same in the car.  Not bad for ~$30 for core kit and ac adapter, though the former retail price was quite a bit higher.  


The travel remote remains the only non powered option, so it is the only portable line out solution.   I like the soundgate kit so far for a home dock connected to my headphone amp.

post #10 of 14

just flickered through the thread again and I have 2 questions:

-can this dock that you mentioned be used as a standalone dock, no external psu involved?

-there's a chance that we can tap the digital signal out from the dock? as you said something about the y1.


post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tranhieu View Post

just flickered through the thread again and I have 2 questions:

-can this dock that you mentioned be used as a standalone dock, no external psu involved?

-there's a chance that we can tap the digital signal out from the dock? as you said something about the y1.


I read a little more about the Zune HD dock.  The optical out (digital signal) and HDMI out (digital) only works with the zune HD, but does give a true digital line out.   Other zunes can use the dock, but cannot use the new digital outputs, so they use the standard analog out on the dock with the zune still controlling the volume like the older zune docks.  The zune HD and other zune docks all require power.   If you use a digital signal you then need a DAC (y1) to hook it up to an amp, or a combined DAC/AMP that accepts optical input.


All of the other existing microsoft zune docks don't do line out as they let the zune control volume using a remote with analog output.


For any Zune (as a far as I know):

The zune travel remote is the only non powered device that activates the zune line out.  It is a standard analog signal, but requires some modding to get at the audio lines.


A powered option for analog line out is the soundgate core.  Comes as a car kit, but a separate ac adapter is available for us at home.  No modding required.

post #12 of 14

Considering getting a zune 80 for in car use.


Ideally, I need a car charger with line-out to connect to aux-in on my stereo.


As listed above, soundgate makes an adapter, but it is fairly expensive ($60). I am wondering if anyone knows if the DLO transdock micro has an actual line-out (It states that it has a line out, but I have not been able to find if it is a true line out). If so these is a very cheap alternative, only $8.

post #13 of 14


and also wondering if this could help:


ZUNE LOD from the zune travel splitter/remote?

post #14 of 14
Finally got a zune 120 for my car and now the soundgate kick is nowhere to be found on ebay. Totally not paying $65 for it on amazon. Anyone know where I can find it for ~$30 now? I'm guessing there are still no other good solutions for powered line out.
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