Back in the day, a PC was mainly a working machine. They were made to help you with the office work. If you wanted to use it for multimedia, you had to buy a separate sound card and turn it into a professional sound system. Things progressed a bit over the years, and the sound processor got integrated into the motherboard. At this point, you could either connect a pair of small speakers to your PC or use a built-in speaker as a sound source. Oh, boy, I wish I can forget those awful sounding built-in speakers and their noise coming from the PC tower. Luckily, they soon became a thing of the past.
Nowadays, most people buy a separate set of stereo speakers to connect them to their PC if they want to hear the sound. Some take it a step further and connect their PC to the home entertainment system for full surround sound. What if you want to have some bass but don’t need or can’t afford a complete surround system? Can your sound be good enough without breaking a bank? Of course, there is. What you need is a 2.1 speakers system.
What is the 2.1 speakers system, and how it works?
It is a stereo system that consists out of two drivers and one subwoofer. It is designed to play two channels (left and right) and a good bass. 2.1 systems come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and quality ranges to serve the most consumer needs. Compared to the complete 5.1 surround system, it is simple, affordable, and easy to setup. It requires much less space and cables but gives good enough sound for most people.
What will you get in the box?
When you buy a 2.1 system and open the box, you can expect to find these things:
This system is based around a subwoofer, and it will be the largest object in the box, no matter what kind of brand and design you buy. You will also receive two regular speakers for producing mid and high-range frequencies. Along with these speakers, you will receive the necessary cables. Two of those cables connect the speakers to the subwoofer, and one is for connection between your PC and the 2.1 system. It will also include a power cable because your speakers need a power supply to operate, so keep this in mind to provide a power socket for them. In the end, you will find a volume control box and a cable to connect it to the subwoofer.
In cheaper systems, all of these may come already connected by fixed cables, so don’t get confused if that is the case with your system. If you buy a more expensive one, chances are you will receive all elements separately, along with the instructions.
How to get the best sound out of the 2.1 speaker system?
Since they will be placed pretty close to you and on a limited surface, usually a desk, try to keep the speakers as far as possible from each other. The one marked with the letter “L” will produce a left channel, and it goes to your front left side. The other will be marked “R”, and it will be in charge of producing the right channel. Therefore, this speaker should go to your front right side, as far as space will allow. If you can, you should direct both of those speakers towards yourself to get the optimal sound and try to keep them at an equal distance from your position.
This leaves you with the subwoofer. Since the low-frequency sound is not as directional as the higher frequencies, you can place the subwoofer wherever you like, preferably on the floor below or behind the desk. Keep the volume control box somewhere where you can easily reach it because you will use it to control the speakers.
How to Connect 2.1 Speakers to PC?
If you have a cheaper system, chances are all components are already connected, and all you have to do is plug your AUX jack into the AUX OUT port on the back of your PC. Of course, don’t forget to plug them into power as well.
In case you bought the more expensive 2.1 stereo system and all components and cables came spate, don’t worry. It is pretty easy to set up.
First, find two exact-looking cables. They are used to connect your speakers to the subwoofer. If your speakers are already marked with “L” for left and “R” for right, plug one end of each cable to the speaker and the other end to the corresponding port on the subwoofer. If they are not marked, try to remember where to place them on the proper sides from you after setting them up.
Now take the volume control box and connect the cable to the proper port on the subwoofer. There should be only one possible option where it can fit.
After you connected the speakers and the volume control, you can connect the power cord to the subwoofer. It should also fit into only one possible slot to avoid any confusion and mistakes. When you connect the power cable to the subwoofer, plug it in into the power socket.
All that’s left to do at this point is to connect the subwoofer to the PC with the remaining cable in the set. Plug one end of the line into the AUX-In on your subwoofer and another end to the AUX-OUT on the back of your PC. This port on the back of your PC should be marked by the headphones’ icon or letters “AUX-OUT.” If neither is the case, match the color of your jack with the color of the aux port on the back of your PC.
If you followed all these steps, you should switch the power on your system. Windows will automatically detect that something is plugged in and ask what kind of a system it is. Choose 2.1 stereo, and you are good to go.
Once you’ve set it all up and hear the sound, you can use a bass control on the subwoofer to control how strong the bass will be. Find the right level to your liking and leave it there. From this point, you can control the master volume by the volume control box and enjoy the balanced sound set up to your preferences.
Most people don’t need more than a simple, affordable stereo sound system. The best option for most uses is 2.1 stereo. This setup means you get two speakers and one subwoofer for extra bass.
When you unpack the box, components may come connected or separate. If they came connected, place the speaker marked with the letter “L” to the front left from you, and the speaker marked “R” to the front right. Try to keep them at an equal distance from your position. You can place the subwoofer wherever you like, as long as the cables’ length allows it. Keep the volume control box within your reach.
Connect the AUX cable from your subwoofer to the AUX-out port on the back of your PC, marked with the headphones’ icon, letters “AUX-OUT” or the same color as your jack, and the power cable into the power socket. Switch it on. Windows will detect that something is plugged in and ask what it is? Choose 2.1 stereo.
If you bought a more expensive system and all the components came separate, connect the speakers to the subwoofer using two exact-looking cables. Match the marks on the subwoofer (R and L) to the characters on the speakers. Then connect the volume control box, power cable, and AUX cable to the proper ports.
Place the speakers to your front left and right according to the marks on them. Place the subwoofer anywhere you want within reach of the cable. Leave volume control within your reach.
Plug the power cord into the power and AUX jack into the AUX-OUT on the back of your PC. This port on the back of your PC should be marked by the headphones’ icon or letters “AUX-OUT.” If there are no markings, match the color of your jack with the color of the aux port on the back of your PC.
Switch the power on. Windows will detect that something is plugged in and ask what it is. Choose “2.1 stereo” from the menu and enjoy.