How to connect speakers to a computer or laptop – Compact wired speakers and large speaker systems typically connect to a PC via a 3.5mm mini-jack, HDMI, or S/PDIF. For portable models, the Bluetooth wireless standard is most often used.
The connectors in the case and on the motherboard of a desktop computer are painted in different colors. This helps you quickly figure out where to connect the front speakers, subwoofer, microphone, and other audio devices.
In laptops, manufacturers do not highlight the outputs brightly but use the appropriate icons that show what the ports are for. Some laptops are equipped with a combo audio jack, which serves both for playback and for recording sound, depending on the connected device.
Let’s take a closer look at the four main ways to connect speakers to a computer.
How to connect wired speakers to a computer or laptop
Via mini jack
When speakers are connected, their sound is usually output through a mini-jack interface, which is a 3.5 mm jack on the back or front of the computer. This connector is provided on most audio devices. On laptops, this port is located on the side of the case.
To connect an audio system, do the following:
- Turn off the computer and speakers.
- Find a speaker connector on the front or back of a desktop PC case or on the side of a laptop. On a full-sized computer, it is usually painted green. Next to it, there may also be a headphone icon or the Audio output label.
- Insert the cable from the speakers into the mini-jack.
- Start the computer, turn on the speakers and adjust the sound level to your liking.
To connect a multichannel system through analog ports, the sequence is almost the same, but you need to connect several cables to the appropriate jacks. The red and white plugs are for the right and left speakers, respectively, and the subwoofer is usually connected to the blue one. Additional columns can be linked using color codes.
Through digital ports
Advanced large audio systems are more often connected not through analog plugs but through digital ports. The choice depends on the specific system and whether your computer has the appropriate output. Usually, it is S/PDIF or HDMI. In the case of a desktop PC, the first option is likely to be better.
You need to act like this:
- Shut down the computer.
- Find a suitable port. In stationary PCs, it is usually located on the back of the case and signed accordingly; in laptops, look for it on the side of the device.
- Connect the audio system with the supplied cable.
- Turn on music – the sound should appear in the speakers. Then you need to adjust it further according to the attached instructions.
Via an external audio interface
For connoisseurs of high-quality sound, the capabilities of the audio card built into the PC will not be enough. It is worth choosing an external device with its own digital-to-analog converter. In such audio interfaces, there can be several options for audio output – via analog RCA, via XLR, or via S / PDIF.
You can connect your device in just four steps:
- Turn off the computer and connect an external audio interface to it. In most cases, this will require a USB port. For inexpensive devices, communication can also be established via a network cable.
- Connect speakers to the audio card via RCA, XLR, or S/PDIF.
- Turn on your laptop or desktop PC. After that, the audio card should be automatically detected by the system. In some cases, you will have to install a driver that the device manufacturer offers to download from its website.
- Check how the sound is transmitted to the speakers after defining the interface.
How to connect Bluetooth speakers to a computer or laptop
Standard way for wireless connection. Most laptops already have a built-in Bluetooth module. Newer desktop motherboards should also support this connection. If there is no such built-in capability, then you can purchase an external Bluetooth adapter and connect it via a USB port.
Connecting a portable speaker to a computer with any system occurs in the same way:
- Turn on the speakers and activate Bluetooth.
- On the computer, go to the menu with Bluetooth devices in the system settings, activate the wireless connection, and start searching for available gadgets.
- Select speakers from the offered list of devices. It should connect within a few seconds.
- Try to turn on music or video – the sound should play from the speakers.