Connecting Speakers Directly to a Computer

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Hello,

I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up stereo
speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).

I have seen numerous posts that indicate you must connect the computer
to the stereo, and not the speakers themselves (though the line-in,
AUX, etc.. connections).

But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
the output of the sound card.

The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.

Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
"line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?

Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
something else to it?

Thanks so much.

Hugh,
11 answers Last reply
More about connecting speakers directly computer
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Andrew Chesters wrote:
    > Hugh Cowan wrote:
    > > Hello,
    > >
    > > I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
    > > specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up
    stereo
    > > speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).
    >
    > Your speakers will have an impedance of 4-18 Ohms (probably 8), and
    the
    > output of the PC is designed for probably 10000 Ohms. This means in
    > short (and I am simplifying)

    Yes, you are, to the point of being wrong.

    > that so much current will be drawn that
    > bits of the soundcard would be trashed.

    In a word, no.

    The sound card CAN'T supply "so much current." As you inferred,
    it's output impedane is high enough that it's simply not capable
    of doing so.

    Basically, "bit's of the soundcard" WON'T be trashed.

    The problem is simply this: the outputs of these sound card simply
    do not have the current capability of driving speakers. At most,
    they can supply but a few milliamps before running into current
    limiting, and that's just not enough to driver a pair of speakers.

    > Even if this were not the case,

    Which it isn't.

    > a soundcard could not deliver enough signal to drive
    > unpowered speakers.

    That's a different story altogether, and one a bit closer
    to physical reality.

    > Sorry!

    Yes, I would say.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    "Hugh Cowan" <hwcowan@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:46ca81a0.0501171132.61a84e3c@posting.google.com
    > Hello,
    >
    > I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
    > specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up stereo
    > speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).

    There have been such things as sound cards that had built in power amps that
    were capable of maybe a watt or two. When powered PC speakers became the
    trend, this feature largely disappeared.

    > I have seen numerous posts that indicate you must connect the computer
    > to the stereo, and not the speakers themselves (though the line-in,
    > AUX, etc.. connections).

    ....unless the speakers have built in amplification.

    > But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
    > the output of the sound card.

    They probabaly have built-in amplifiers.

    Or, you have one of the few sound cards that have built in power amplifiers.

    > The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
    > are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
    > everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.

    Ever hear of spending money to get good sound? If not, let me be the first
    to point it out to you. Several of us have been known to do this from time
    to time. ;-)

    > Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
    > "line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?

    Whip out some plastic or cash and do the audiophile thing.

    > Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
    > something else to it?

    It's a matter of the signal the speakers require as compared to the signal
    that the sound card puts out. Basic interfacing.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Hugh Cowan wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
    > specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up stereo
    > speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).
    >
    > I have seen numerous posts that indicate you must connect the computer
    > to the stereo, and not the speakers themselves (though the line-in,
    > AUX, etc.. connections).
    >
    > But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
    > the output of the sound card.
    >
    > The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
    > are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
    > everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.
    >
    > Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
    > "line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?
    >
    > Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
    > something else to it?
    >
    > Thanks so much.
    >
    > Hugh,

    Your speakers will have an impedance of 4-18 Ohms (probably 8), and the
    output of the PC is designed for probably 10000 Ohms. This means in
    short (and I am simplifying) that so much current will be drawn that
    bits of the soundcard would be trashed. Even if this were not the case,
    a soundcard could not deliver enough signal to drive unpowered speakers.

    Sorry!
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Your sound card has to have amplified speakers. Your sound card puts out too
    low a signal level to directly drive speakers.

    A number of years back, before amplified speakers were very popular, there
    were a few models of sound cards that had a one or two watt amplifier on
    board. This was for a limited time only, and the speakers that it would be
    able to drive were very limited.

    If you want some good sound, you are going to have t spend some good money
    to have it. There are some very nice amplified speakers around. The other
    choice is to buy a descent stereo amplifier, and a descent set of speakers.
    You can go to an audio file type shop and make some choices, according to
    the quality you are willing to pay for.

    The bottom line is you are going to get what you pay for.

    --

    Jerry G.
    ======


    "Hugh Cowan" <hwcowan@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:46ca81a0.0501171132.61a84e3c@posting.google.com...
    Hello,

    I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
    specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up stereo
    speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).

    I have seen numerous posts that indicate you must connect the computer
    to the stereo, and not the speakers themselves (though the line-in,
    AUX, etc.. connections).

    But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
    the output of the sound card.

    The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
    are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
    everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.

    Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
    "line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?

    Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
    something else to it?

    Thanks so much.

    Hugh,
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    On 17 Jan 2005 12:01:07 -0800, hwcowan@hotmail.com (Hugh Cowan) wrote:

    >But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
    >the output of the sound card.
    >
    >The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
    >are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
    >everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.
    >
    >Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
    >"line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?
    >
    >Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
    >something else to it?

    Most computers offer a Line Out. You connect powered speakers, or an
    amplifier and speakers.

    A few offer Speaker Out. An on-board amplifier supplies enough power
    to run a pair of small speakers.

    You need an amplifier. Old hi-fi units aren't hard to locate, and
    shouldn't cost you much.
  6. ? i have seven channel audio by realtec on my amd motherboard; are the crossovers built in? i have a 2.1 powered speaker set and want to add a center channel speaker. if i found a speaker with a full range, will the onboard sound center channel output only tickle the center channel range in that full range speaker, therefore making it a passable center channel speaker?
  7. ss_56 said:
    ? i have seven channel audio by realtec on my amd motherboard; are the crossovers built in? i have a 2.1 powered speaker set and want to add a center channel speaker. if i found a speaker with a full range, will the onboard sound center channel output only tickle the center channel range in that full range speaker, therefore making it a passable center channel speaker?


    the soundcard should give you an option to play full-range audio on the center channel.
    that option might be the ability to select from 'large' or 'small' speaker.
    or the option to pass all bass frequencies to the LFE channel.
  8. Why do motherboards with built in sound have all the different color coded speaker outputs when every speaker system i find only incorporates the ONE Green Output??? dont make no sense and i can never find a dedicated 'Powered' center channel speaker to add to my 2.1 setup...........whew. any recommendations please?
  9. Quote:
    Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Hello,

    I was wondering if someone could explain to me (or point me in a
    specific direction), why it seems to me that you cannot hook-up stereo
    speakers directly to your computer (ie: connect to the sound card).

    I have seen numerous posts that indicate you must connect the computer
    to the stereo, and not the speakers themselves (though the line-in,
    AUX, etc.. connections).

    But, I have a set of computer speakers that just connect directly to
    the output of the sound card.

    The reason that I ask is because I have an extra set of speakers which
    are *much*, *much* better than my computer speakers (isn't
    everything?), but no spare stero system, receiver, amp, or otherwise.

    Is there no-way that I can directly connect the speakers to the
    "line-out" or "speakers" output of the sound card?

    Is it just a matter of different connectors on the ends, or is there
    something else to it?

    Thanks so much.

    Hugh,

    I'm kind of surprised that nobody really answered this...
    You hook the line out of the computer (or headphone jack) to the input of an external amplifier. YES a stereo amp.
    Then you hook the speakers to the amp. That's it.
    Certain sound cards have a built in power amplifier, but I take it that yours does not. You need a power amp.
    The amp in the computer is about 2 watts or so, and cannot drive larger speakers.
  10. soundguruman said:
    I'm kind of surprised that nobody really answered this...
    You hook the line out of the computer (or headphone jack) to the input of an external amplifier. YES a stereo amp.
    Then you hook the speakers to the amp. That's it.
    Certain sound cards have a built in power amplifier, but I take it that yours does not. You need a power amp.
    The amp in the computer is about 2 watts or so, and cannot drive larger speakers.


    Not sure if we have the same problem.

    I have a stereo and I want to use it's speakers with my computer.

    I connected the 3.2mm audio jack of my stereo to my pc's speaker slot but it doesn't work. but my little speakers are doing good, i just want to try my stereo and it's speakers for a louder sound.

    please help. thanks
  11. 3.5 audio jack.. sorry
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