Most of us cannot afford fancy 7.1 surround sound systems or feel that we do not utilize the computer’s audio functions enough to reap the benefit of one. However, most of us have stereos. That and a few cables is all you need to enjoy a nice audio system without damaging your bank account. In this article, I will show you an easy way to use your stereo as computer speakers for a nice sound system at a very low cost.
What you need
There are only a few things you need to create your new sound setup.
- Of course, a stereo. This stereo must have an auxiliary (aux.) port. Aux. ports are usually the two red and white ports located on the back of the stereo or receiver.
- A computer, duh! The computer must have at least a front audio output either on onboard sound or a sound card.
- Cables and adapters. This is where you may have to make a purchase. Both of these items can be found at a Radio Shack or other electronics store.
The item you need is a stereo patch cable:
Found Here. Get whatever length you need.
The second item is a stereo adapter:
Found Here. By no means do you have to get the gold-plated one, but sound quality might be improved a minor amount.
These three things are all you need to create you new audio system.
Connecting the Stereo to the Computer
- Patch cable to stereo.
Take one end of the patch cable (does not matter which) and attach it to the aux. port of the stereo. Red (right audio) to red. White (left audio) to white. Make sure they are securely connected.
- Patch cable to adapter.
Take the other end of the patch cable and attach it to the adapter. Again, red to red, white to white. Make sure they are securely connected.
- Adapter to computer.
Now take the 1/8″ plug of the adapter and plug it into the audio port on your computer. Either use the front audio port (usually the green one) or the one of your choice (see the Additional ideas for more info). Make sure the plug is all the way into the port, as any looseness may cause poor audio quality.
Using the New Sound Setup
Now comes the fun part. Using the new system. First, turn your stereo on and set it to the aux. setting. Some stereos have a switch, some have a button, each stereo is different. If you are unsure how to do this, consult your stereo manual. Then, open you favorite media player on your computer. Whether it is Windows Media Player, Winamp, or RealPlayer, it doesn’t matter. Finally select you favorite song and hit play. You should now be hearing music through your stereo. If not look at the Troubleshooting section.
To get back to hearing music from your stereo, stop the music on your computer and switch the stereo back to the CD, tape, or radio setting. Some stereos have the CD and Aux. settings combined into one, so that is why you must stop the music first.
If you do not hear music or the music is not playing through all the speakers, try the next few steps.
- Check all your connections. It is very common for a cable to come loose. This is the first thing to check when sound is not working properly.
- Check the audio levels on the computer and stereo. I know I have often had the computer output set to “Mute” or turned down very low. Also check the stereo volume level. Make sure “Mute” is off. Sometimes if you have the volume at a good level for CD playing, it will be too quiet for sound coming from the computer. You may have to adjust accordingly.
- Make sure all your audio drivers are installed on your computer. This is not as common as a problem, but can still happen.
Be sure not to set your stereo speakers too close to your monitor. Since stereo speakers are unshielded, they can affect CRT monitors in a bad way.
These are some fun things you can do with your new setup.
If you have a 5.1 or greater sound card and your old computer speakers, you can use them in your new setup. Plug the speakers into the front audio port (since they will most likely be in front of you on your desk). Then plug the adapter from your stereo into your back audio port (usually black). This can be a cool way to get surround sound.
You can use your computer as an additional CD player. Instead of switching back to your stereo to play CD’s you can place an audio CD in your computer’s disk drive and play the CD from there, which will still go through the stereo.
So now that you have saved a few bucks on a new audio system, you can enjoy computer audio with a fatter wallet. This new system can greatly enhance your gaming experience or just make computer audio more enjoyable. You can also enjoy the ultimate gaming experience from these quality computer speakers from the TheSpeakerCompany.