If you own a laptop, there is a high chance that the laptop speakers cannot fulfill your need for amazing sound.
Adding a stereo receiver and external speakers to your laptop is a good way to bring more life to your musical and gaming experience. Let’s say you want to listen to Spotify, but your audio system only has RCA inputs for example?
The best way to connect a laptop to an amplifier for it to sound great is to connect a USB DAC to the laptop then use a 3.5 mm cable to connect to the amplifier’s auxiliary in out. You can also connect wirelessly if your system has wireless capability.
Whether you choose to go wireless or use the available USB ports and 3.5mm audio connections, we will show you how to connect a laptop to an amplifier and speakers and up the connection successfully.
Why Connect A Laptop To The Amplifier And Speakers?
Laptops come with inbuilt speakers. However, if you love playing loud music and watching video games, laptop speakers will not be the right speakers for you. These internal speakers tend to be weak!
You will therefore need to connect the laptop to an external speaker or more to improve your musical experience. Better yet, connect your laptop to an amp and connect the speakers to the amp for maximum audio power output.
If you have pre-amped speakers, you will be able to enjoy the audio output much better. Besides, you will be able to fill your room with surround sound without requiring to add an external amplifier to the connection.
On the other hand, if the speakers are not pre-amped, you will need to add an amplifier to the system to make the sound output livelier. Also, if your speakers have RCA inputs, you will need an adapter to convert the connections.
How To Connect A Laptop To An Amplifier
Follow the steps below to successfully connect your speakers to the laptop.
1. Assemble The Materials
If you want to connect the amp directly to the laptop, a 3.5mm cable will help. Check your amplifier to find out if it has an auxiliary input for compatibility with your laptop.
So here are the tools you need:
- A USB DAC: We recommend the AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt USB Digital-to-Analog Converter
- A 3.5 mm Cable: There are many choice out there. You can get the Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided Aux Cable
2. Connecting The Laptop and DAC
Plug the USB DAC into the USB port of the laptop and connect one of to the AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt USB Digital-to-Analog Converter to it.
Why do you need a DAC? Well, you could connect the laptop directly to the amp, but that poses a number of issues. For one, it won’t sound good because the laptop’s pre-amp is not that great. Secondly, you can damage your laptop if you’re not careful.
Using a DAC, what you are doing is talking digital audio and converting it to a nice continuous analog signal for your amp. That will sound much better!
3. Connecting The Amplifier
Remember, you should have already connected the other end of the auxiliary cable to the auxiliary port of your laptop. Since the cables are always in short lengths, you should place the laptop and amp nearby.
If your amp[lifier only has RCA inputs, you can use a 3.5 mm to RCA converter like the CERRXIAN LEMENG (2-Pack of) Gold Plated 3.5mm Stereo to 2-RCA Male to Female Adapter.
However, if you want to have the laptop and amp some good distance apart, you can still get longer auxiliary cables from your local shop. Besides, you can still use adapters to extend the length of the cables.
4. Using Adapters and Couplers
As we have said, if you will need to extend some of the cables, couplers will come in handy. However, using adapters to complete this connection may cause some signal loss. Yes, the use of adapters may compromise the sound quality. Besides, if you do not connect the adapter properly, it can easily disconnect and disrupt the connection.
If you have many speakers and require splitting the signal, use the splitters. Most home theater systems will however use one auxiliary input only.
5. Connect The Speakers To The Amplifier
Before beginning to wire the speakers to the amplifier, find out the type of amplifier you have. If you have a mono amp, 2-channel, or 4 channel amplifier, the type of speaker connections will vary a bit.
For instance, a 4-channel amp has 4-separate output channels and can power two speaker units at a minimum.
It can also power one dual-voice-coil subwoofer or even two subwoofers together. However, if you have more speakers than amp channels, there are ways to connect more speakers. For example, you can connect 4 speakers to a 2 channel amp or connect 6 speakers or a 4 channel amp or even connect 6 speakers to a 2 channel amp.
You should expect the kind of layout below at the back of your amplifier:
A 2-channel amplifier
A 4-channel amplifier
Begin by arranging the speakers in your workspace. Make sure the speakers are placed near the amplifier to make the connection easier.
Remember that longer cables will cause more interference with the sound output. You should therefore keep the cables as short as possible.
If the amplifier you already connected to the laptop is 2-channeled, you can comfortably connect two speakers to it.
Take speaker one and fix the positive cable to terminal “A” of channel 1. Fix the negative cable to terminal “B” of the same channel. Repeat the same procedure to connect the second speaker to channel 2.
6. Power The System And Turn Them On
Connect the laptop and the amplifier to the mains electricity and switch the power on. Once you have connected the laptop to the amplifier and the amplifier to the speakers, turn on the system.
Make sure the volume is turned to the lowest decibels so that you do not blow your speakers.
7. Set The Audio System To Auxiliary Mode
The amplifier is wired to the laptop through the auxiliary cable. It is, therefore, necessary that the system be switched to the auxiliary mode for the laptop to transmit through it to the speakers.
You can easily do this right on the amp or using the remote control. Depending on the model of your system, you may have several modes to choose from, such as video, auxiliary, or satellite inputs.
The button should be labeled as “mode” or “input.” Press the button on the receiver or the remote control and scroll through to select “auxiliary.”
8. Play Some Music
The connection is now complete. Play some music or videos on the laptop so that you can get some sound from the speakers.
You should now be ready to enjoy good music or a mind-blowing gaming experience. Remember to turn up the volume control on your laptop volume settings.
You can also access more controls such as bass and treble on the Equalizer control. Enjoy the music!
Connecting The Laptop To The Amp And Speakers Via Bluetooth
Alternatively, you can go wireless with your speakers. Nowadays, most electronic devices are built with Bluetooth connectivity.
Your laptop, amplifier, and speakers may therefore have Bluetooth connectivity. In this case, you can keep away the cables and try wireless connectivity. Follow the steps below to connect the devices.
1. Power The Amplifier
Begin by connecting the amplifier to the mains power. Turn it on and enable the Bluetooth on the amplifier.
2. Enable Bluetooth Connectivity On Your Laptop
Go to the settings menu on your laptop. Enable Bluetooth connectivity and begin the pairing process.
You may be prompted to input a code on your laptop or your amplifier remote to complete the connection process.
3. Wire The Speakers To The Amp
Follow the same procedure described above to connect the speakers to the amplifier.
Power the amplifier and turn on the system. You can now enjoy the music or videos by playing them from the laptop.
Connect Powered Speakers To Your Laptop
If you have pre-amplified speakers, then connecting them to your laptop is quite easy. You don’t even need an external amplifier because powered speakers have inbuilt amplifiers.
In this case, all you have to do is connect your auxiliary cable directly to the back of the speakers once they have an auxiliary in port.
However, some speakers will only have RCA inputs. In this case, you will need a 3.5 mm to RCA converter like the CERRXIAN LEMENG (2-Pack of) Gold Plated 3.5mm Stereo to 2-RCA Male to Female Adapter.
Pleased note that sometimes this type of setup can cause electromagnetic or RF interference. If you experience this issue, check out our article on how to fix amplifier bussing nouse. You will also learn exactly why your amp is buzzing.
As we have described, you may feel uncomfortable connecting the laptop to an amplifier and speakers.
However, the connection is simple and will take just a few minutes. Besides, with modern technology, you can finish the connection with Bluetooth or even USB cables.