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Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

I have the Harmonn Kardon series 1 sound sticks....


Can I get a USB to 3.5mm stereo Jack plug to output to these speakers. They are powered through their own power supply but the 1st series used a USB connector to connect to the PC????


I have seen them on ebay, from china for a £1 or so... supposedly carrying power and data. I assume the Harmonn Kardon cable is data only as the power is received through its own separate power supply. Would this cable do any damage?


I asked this question 4 years ago and got the same response....ZILCH  I did a search 4 years ago and found the same question asked by another ..... response for them was the same ZILCH!.


Does no-one have any I the only person in the world who wants to keep these speakers but have them work with new kit????




Thanks for your help



  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,977 points)

    Hi Stuart,

  I the only person in the world who wants to keep these speakers but have them work with new kit????


    Well, that could be the case! When I saw you post I called my neighbor across the street who has a set of the HK sticks with sub-woofer. Used them on a G4 iMac for years and then connected them to the iMac 27" that replaced the G4. I figured I could check out his setup for you.


    HE GAVE HIS AWAY! They started acting up (he was not specific) so he sent them packing.


    This forum doesn't get a lot of traffic, and third-pary products get less, but I'll put up a Bat Signal in the Lounge where the Level 6 and above community members hang out. Maybe someone has experience with them. Check back over the next couple of days.



  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    That's great.... thanks for your help.


    On the many searches I did on here for the solution to this, i believe the majority of the problems with soundsticks... all versions, were mainly due to some early "Intel" issues and not to do with Harmon Kardon switching to jacks from USB.


    Mine still work fine on all my macs, towers and notebooks. However i simply wanted to make use of them on my ipad and ipod.


    I obviously contacted Harmon Kardon who were not very helpful..... even though they subsequently fitted 3.5mm jacks rather than the USB connectors. They simply said that they do not make an adaptor and therefore could not help.  I later went back to them and said I understood this however, could they tell me if I got an adaptor, would this harm my speakers..... NO HELP.


    So I came back to you guys in the hope that someone had done this and could report back.


    Thank you for posting this in an appropriate section.... I was beginning to lose hope.





  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,977 points)

    You may have stumped the gurus! Seven views on my call for help in the Lounge and no one has jumped in. Let's give it a few more days.

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    Cheers Allan.... I very much appreciate your efforts.


    Incidentally I pushed Harmon Kardon again.... simply by saying, what goes down the line in the current jack lead, i.e what changed... did anything change?..... again no help or committment to help!!??


    Thanks once again..




    Message was edited by: Alcanara just spelling

  • Jiri Krecek Level 4 (1,070 points)

    You are not alone in this world! I'm in teh same boat as you are!

    Got a pair of 1st gen SoundSticks with USB, have had them for over 10 years and they are still going strong. Getting better over the years, actually... A bit weak mids, but nothing what a good equalizer couldn't remedy.


    i too want a 3.5 mm adapter and hook them up to my piano and iPod. There is near zero information on this.

    I'm ready to buy the 3rd gen as well. Love'm.


    I'll keep searching and post whatever I find!!!

    There must be some nerd somewhere who has tried this adapter.

  • Jiri Krecek Level 4 (1,070 points)

    Call me crazy, but since you have an iPad: have you tried to hook the sticks to your iPad via the Camera Connection Kit? I'm curious.....


    Not sure whether you'd be able to control volume, though....

    1st gen Sticks had no volume control besides the knob on the iSub

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    Jiri.... I am glad you brought this up... it may keep it alive....BECAUSE... I bought one of those 3.5mm jack to USB cables off ebay (2 infact) and a USB adaptor female to female and it did not work!!!


    So what the connectivity issues are I do not know??


    This was the final response from Harmon Kardon...


    Thank you for your e-mail.


    The USB input in to the original  SoundSticks requires the USB standard “BUS” type of data to function correctly. This means that any adaptor would  have to supply a USB driver programme (USB 1.1 not higher), a mixed audio stream (left and right) and a way controlling the volume of the SoundSticks.  The SoundSticks do not require the 5 volt signal that USB can also supply.


    We have looked at a number of 3.5mm to USB (female socket- it has in this pin order) connecters in the past but so far none of these match the requirements needed.


    I hope that these details help, but should have any additional questions please feel free to ask at any time.


    Best regards,


    So you can see that the adaptors I purchased were probably USB 2 ...... how you get round that is beyond me.


    If you findout however, or If this helps Allan persue this a little further, then that would be great.  I have 2 sets of these amazing speakers and I cannot use them where I would wish to... so sad.


    Thanks once again and keep me posted if you find anything.







    I have not tried


    essage was edited by: Alcanara  spelling

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry..... I have not tried the camera kit... but again this will almost certainly be the later USB protocol???


    Let me know if you get a solution





  • Jiri Krecek Level 4 (1,070 points)

    So, what we are looking for is a 1/8" to USB adapter with a A/D converter in it. And which would match the original specs of HK including the drivers. I'll keep looking online. Maybe someone actually bothered making them.


    I read some other post saying (can't find the address now) that the Sticks work in this order:

    1. USB signal - digital including a driver form OS X telling about the channels and volume
      And this is a major problem - the A/D converter requires a special driver which tells it what signal goes to R or L channel and what signal represents volume
      Wiring is not a concern here - it is the driver - that tells you what to do w/ signal out of the 4 USB pins
    2. iSub - A/D converter takes that signal and converts into analog
    3. iSub - analog signal sent to the amplifier
    4. iSub  - the amp distributes the signal usual 3 ways into the sub itself and the satellites
      I'm sure there will be crossovers somewhere in it


    As Lebowski said: We're f*****, Walter!

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for that..... I always thought that it was a simple "pinout" problem.... clearly it is not.... so I am truly f****d.


    Oh well..... thanks for all your help.



  • Guywebmac Level 1 (0 points)

    After few test I did find THE simple solution.

    Put in Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/Audio an old file from 10.5.8(Leopard) replace the newest file by the old one AND SoundSticks are back to work.


    Name of the file from 10.5.8 ;

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow... it has been a long time.. thank you so much.  I will give this a whirl and see what happens


    cheers again



  • timcortesi Level 1 (0 points)

    just to throw my 2 cents into the ring - I am in the same situation and though I love my 10 year old sound sticks - they don't get much use these days unfortunately. 


    Here are some thoughts:

    1. A simple adapter simply isn't going to work.  The sound sticks (v. 1.0) actually have a sound card built into the subwoofer which is turning the data from the computer into an analog amplified audible output.  This is an active process which requires some logic and circuitry - so no passive pin mapped adapter is going to do the trick.  That being said, in theory the built in sound card could theoretically be bypassed and you could pipe in analog audio data from any analog source (like a computer or an ipod) directly into the speakers avoiding the digital decoding circuitry entirely.  Unfortunately this would mean opening up the sub, taking it apart, and doing some clever hacking which I haven't had a chance to do.  (But it could be done - and it probably wouldn't even be that complicated)


    2. Though the sub/amplifier won't work with a generic analog source, the sound stick speakers use a standard analog RCA connector to plug into the sub.  As a result, you should be able to plug the sound sticks into pretty much any all-in-one sub/amplifier that comes with any cheap pair of computer speakers.  You're not going to get the awesome alienesque blue glowing sub, but the tweeters in the sound sticks should sound pretty much identical.  This is probably the simplest option and should work reasonably well. 


    I may try option 1 or 2 in the near future and take some pictures once I get it working properly.  I'd really hate to see my formerly $250 sound sticks end up in a dumpster especially when they still work great.  In a world with portable and wireless audio though, they really just don't cut it. 

  • Alcanara Level 1 (0 points)

    That sounds very interesting Tim..... thanks...... Let me know how you get on.  Option 2 sounds interesting as I am not capable of Option 1.... I will have to look into this.


    My main mission was to be able to plug them into my I-pad..... sad I know.





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