How to Connect Old Stereo Speakers to a Computer?

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In 2021, having a computer has become more of a necessity than a luxury. It was a couple of decades ago. More and more things are happening online, and we all spend more time there. Either you are holding your smartphone and browsing or sitting behind the laptop or desktop. Some may like it more than others, but that is how things are nowadays. So, if you’re spending all this time in front of your computer, you might as well enjoy yourself and listen to good sounds.

What are your basic options to hear the sound coming from your PC?

Headphones

Headphones are a good option if you don’t want to disturb the rest of your household. Whatever you want to listen to will be for your ears only. Still, most headphones can become uncomfortable to wear after a while. Besides, unless you are using Bluetooth, a headphones cable can limit your movement quite a bit. Bluetooth’s headphones can solve the problem of free movement, but then you are limited by their battery life. Besides, if you want to share the experience with someone else in the room, headphones won’t work by default.

2.1 stereo speaker system

A simple, compact, and affordable solution to hear the sound coming from your PC. It even has some bass in it. Yet, most of these systems have relatively limited volume and won’t provide you with the proper audio experience.

Hooking up your PC with the AVR and having full surround sound

The best quality option will give you the most regarding audio volume and quality. But only if you own an AVR and surround sound system, or that you are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to buy one. Another issue that may pop up with this option is practicality. Most people don’t use their computer in the centre of the living room or wherever your surround system is located. Running a cable from one room to play sound in the other while you won’t even be there is a bit silly.

AV Receiver

But, if you are willing to think a bit outside the box and have a pair of good, old stereo speakers lying around, there could be a fourth option. Probably the best solution to your needs. If you don’t have a pair of old stereo speakers, but you’re still willing to give it a go, don’t worry. There are plenty of used ones on the market for a couple of bucks. Just test them before buying, and if they work, you are good to go.

You have a pair of old stereo speakers, and you have a PC. What now?

As you have probably noticed, old stereo speakers don’t come hooked up to any cables. In most cases, you will either have two RCA connectors on each speaker’s back or just two wire catches coloured in different colours.

Old Stereo Speakers

On the other end, most PCs only have auxiliary audio ports for the headphones.

But, even if you have RCA to aux cable, you’ll be able to connect only one speaker, and even that one won’t work because the PC doesn’t have enough power to run them. Old stereo speakers are passive, and that means they need to get the ability to operate from the amplifier.

Amplifiers used to be these big, bulky, boxy things that take up a lot of space and weight a ton. But, this is 2021, and things have progressed a bit. Nowadays, you can buy a compact stereo amplifier, not much bigger than a block of soap, for just 50-100 USD. Browse online stores for audio equipment. Look for a “compact stereo amplifier“, and you will get more than a few results. They usually range from 50-100W per channel, and that is more than enough to blow your ears off. Most of them even come with a built-in Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth will allow you to play the music from your phone without connecting it with the cable. Neat, right?

So, now you have the speakers, the amplifier, and the PC. It’s time to hook everything up.

Some manufacturers will deliver all the required cables in the package with the amplifier, while others will not. If you already know the package doesn’t include the cables, you need to order them separately.

You will need two sets of speaker cables or two sets of RCA cables to make this work. The choice depends on the connectors you have on the speakers’ back and your amplifier. On top of that, you’ll need and one aux to aux cable to run it between the amplifier and the PC.

Let’s say both the speakers and the amplifier use RCA to connect.

Plug one end of the cable to the plugs with matching colours on the speaker and the other end to the matching colours on the amplifier. Repeat this process for the other speaker.

Now take the AUX to AUX cable and put one end into the amplifier input. The other end goes to your PC jack marked with the Headphones icon or the “AUX OUT”.

All that’s left to do is power up the amplifier. Connect the power cable that came with the amplifier and plug it into the power socket. In some cases, you’ll be able to use the USB, but to be sure, read the manual.

Press the power button on the amplifier, and play some music on the PC. If you connected everything and all components work, you should be able to crank up the volume more than ever.

SUMMARY

Many people spend hours upon hours in front of their PCs. Some want to hear a bit higher volume when listening to music or watching videos on their computer. Headphones are just for you. The 2.1 computer stereo system is not loud enough, and connecting your PC to the AVR for surround sound is too expensive or impractical.

If you have a pair of old stereo speakers lying around, you can hook them up to your PC and have an excellent and loud stereo system.

To do this, you will need a power source. Go and buy a compact stereo amplifier. It is small, inexpensive, but powerful. They usually deliver between 40-100W per channel.

Connect each speaker to one channel on the amplifier using provided cables or the ones you bought separately. They will be regular speaker wires or RCA cables, depending on what you have.

Hook up the amplifier to the PC using AUX to AUX cable.

Plug the amplifier into the power socket, and power it up.

Choose a song or a video on your PC. Press play and enjoy the volume of a proper stereo system.

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