How to Connect an Amp to a Computer

How to connect your amplifier to the computer

How to connect an amplifier to your computer? It’s as easy as that! After all, any CD-ROM of yesteryear has a line output for connecting a power amplifier to play CDs.

Now let’s consider the question of how to connect an amplifier in a slightly different aspect (because in all modern computers, from desktop PCs to laptops, the sound device has at least a two-channel stereo output, with the same standard level and impedance of the line output).

The peculiarity of computer audio, practically unavailable in amateur analog systems of the past, is that an inexpensive sound card is able to synthesize even quadrophonic effects, reverb, etc. by means of software.д. This is the reason why computer soundboards have up to seven output channels.

In order to answer the question of how to connect your amplifier correctly and be able to take advantage of all the capabilities of your sound card, you need to determine how many outputs it has.

The simplest case is two channels. It’s just stereo, and a simple stereo amplifier with speakers will do. If you have a four-channel sound card, you can use two stereo amplifiers to get a quadrophonic effect. Five outputs means you can connect a subwoofer.

Usually they are active, that is, with built-in power amplifiers. One subwoofer is enough, because the human ear cannot distinguish the direction of the bass source, the stereo effect becomes meaningless.

So, your sound card has, let’s say, five outputs. You can bravely purchase a 5.1 speaker, which means that you’ll be given a six-piece set of equipment: five speakers and a subwoofer. Now the next question is how to connect the amplifier to the computer.

From each speaker comes a wire with a plug. And on the back wall of the subwoofer there are outputs for them. just five pieces. If you buy a 4.1, so the subwoofer will therefore only have four outputs and the seller will only give you four plugs as well.

The order of connection does not matter, that is, any speaker can be connected to any output. But the input wire should be carefully considered. The subwoofer also has two different colored inputs on the back, usually red and white. The subwoofer wire has one plug on one end and two plugs on the other end. And one of them is red and the other is white. Here you can not go wrong: connect the red plug to the red one and the white plug to the white one.

Now those who don’t know how to connect the amplifier are faced with a question of how to correctly identify the subwoofer channel on the computer. After all, it is just in it and it is necessary to insert the plug, which is crowned with a wire from the other end! You can find this channel, using the instruction manual of the “smart machine”. But most often in modern computers, this input is located on the front side of the system unit.

The only thing left is to place the other speakers in the corners of the room and hide the wires. Practice and personal taste will tell you the best way to do it. But the best effect is achieved with a symmetric equilateral installation of the devices.

Modern audio systems are usually designed for direct connection of active speakers, each with its own power supply, to the outputs of the computer’s sound card.

The sound is fully adjustable by the sound card driver software, the built-in controls of the operating system and, for quick and easy adjustment, from an audio player program, such as WinAmp.

Connecting the amplifier to a PC

You can connect any amplifier to your computer, regardless of its manufacturer or model. However it is possible only if you have certain components.


As with most other audio equipment, you will need a wire with special “3.3.5mm jack to 2 RCA” plugs. You can buy it in many specialized stores at reasonable prices.

connect, computer

You can make the cable yourself if you want, but you will need special tools and ready-made plugs. Besides, without proper knowledge it’s better to refuse such approach in order not to expose the equipment to danger.

In some cases a USB cable is used as an alternative to a standard speaker cable. It can be of several types, but there will definitely be an o. Please refer to our plug sizing comparison appendix to assist you with your choice of cable.

You will also need a set of loudspeakers, whose power should match the amplifier’s characteristics. If you neglect it, the output sound can be distorted significantly.

Note: You can use a stereo or home theater system as an alternative to speakers.


The process of connecting the amplifier to the computer is the most difficult step, because the operation of the whole sound system depends on the correct execution of actions. Depending on the cable you choose, you will need to do the following steps.

Now we can consider the connection process finished and pass straight on to the test.


First connect the amplifier to the AC mains and set it to “AUX” operating mode with the appropriate switch. and then turn it on, make sure the volume on the amplifier is turned down to the minimum level.

Once the amplifier is connected, you should immediately perform a test. It is sufficient to play some music or video with sound.

After these steps the sound can be checked both on the amplifier itself and via the system tools on your computer.

How to connect a laptop computer to an amplifier

For sound reproduction the notebook has built-in speakers, which sound good in themselves, but sometimes poorly transmit the bass. When using it in stationary conditions for better sound quality it is better to connect an external amplifier. Wiring methods may vary, depending on the type of amplifier.

Make a cable to connect your laptop computer to your amplifier with your own hands. The first way to do this is to modify the stereo cable. You will need: shielded wire (2 pcs.) and the mini-jack plug. 3.5 mm diameter connector. Solder the windings of both wires to the common contact of the connector. Connect the center lead of one wire to the left channel pin, and the second lead to the right channel pin.

To make the cable in the second method you will need old stereo headphones from the player. Separate the sound emitters from them. Strip, then tin-plated the ends of the wires. When you connect wires correctly take into account the color of their braid: blue or green wire. left channel, red. right channel, colorless or yellow conductors. common. Before connecting, check the cable for breaks, which must be repaired.

If your amplifier’s input plug is RCA-standard, then you will need two RCA-standard plugs. Connect the yellow or white wires of the headphone cable or the shielded wire braid to the end pins of the plugs. Solder the green or blue wire from the headphone or the center strand of one of the shielded wires to the male pin of one of the plugs. Solder the red wire from the headphone, or the center strand of the second shielded wire, to the other end of the plug to its pin.

The amplifier can be equipped with a five-pin DIN-type input socket (ONC-VG). In this case, only one plug of the same type should be installed on the end of the cable. Connect the cable, if any, made by any method to the middle pin of the connector with the common wires. If your pre-1984 amp is an older amplifier, connect the conductors that correspond to the channels to the left and right pins of the connector, with the solder side facing you. In this case, the middle pin is facing upward, and the notch on the terminal block is facing downward. If the amplifier is released later, then the conductors corresponding to the right and left channels, solder to the pins, located to the right of the middle contact.

Insulate all connections and solder joints. Isolate the amplifier from the power supply. Attach the cable with one end to the headphone port of your notebook, and the other end to the input of the amplifier with the lowest sensitivity. Use the selector switch to select the input. If your amplifier does not have a low-sensitivity input, you will need to add one 10k ohm resistor in series with the cable conductors that correspond to the channels.

Turn down the volume on both the amplifier and the laptop computer, then connect the amplifier to power.

Play any audio file on your notebook. Gradually turn up the volume on your amplifier and notebook until you hear the sound. Balance the volume and sound quality by adjusting the volume on both machines so that there is almost no sound distortion.

Before connecting the amplifier to your laptop, disconnect both devices from the mains. Otherwise the preamplifier may fail, as it has a large input impedance.

Buy hi-fi system for your computer

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Wireless Subwoofer Connection

If you want to get rid of wires, a wireless sub comes in handy. These models come in only the active type and transmit the signal using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. Connect with the first option looks like this:

  • On a Windows computer, open Start and go to Settings;
  • select “Devices” and move the Bluetooth toggle switch to the active position;
  • Run detection on the LF speaker;
  • It appears in the list of available for pairing. It remains to click on it and wait for the connection.

Please note! On a desktop computer you will need an external Bluetooth module to connect, unless it is built into the motherboard. On laptops, the adapter is built in by default.

How to connect a Bluetooth speaker to your laptop

You can connect a portable speaker to your laptop via Bluetooth. But it is necessary to consider the following nuances:

  • The sound card is not activated (A2DP protocol is used, i.e. the audio is processed directly by the Bluetooth chip), therefore it will not be possible to fine tune the sound using the “Control Panel”;
  • An external wireless speaker will only work properly if your notebook is equipped with Bluetooth version 2.1 and higher (in the lower models the sound is output in a very low frequency range).

Naturally, if your notebook is not equipped with Bluetooth, syncing with the external speaker is not possible (or is only possible with a cable, if the speaker is equipped with such a function). You can check its presence in the “Device Manager”. Also you can find out if it is possible to connect the speaker to the laptop model by Bluetooth icon in the tray (it appears only if the OS found a wireless module). If it is present but does not work (the tray icon is displayed in gray tones), it means that the “Flight” mode is on or the module is simply disabled mechanically.

In most notebook models the switching on/off of the adapter is done with the FnF2 combination or with a separate switch on the side (it also controls WI-FI). Accordingly, the first thing to do is to connect Bluetooth on the laptop and check if it “sees” other devices normally (you can try to pair it with the phone). Before you connect the wireless speaker, it is also recommended to turn off the power-saving mode.

In Windows 10 and 8, the connection is as follows:

  • Call the “Notification Center” (the icon in the lower right corner);
  • right-click on the Bluetooth icon and select “Go to settings”;
  • select “Adding Bluetooth device”;
  • In the next window, select “Bluetooth”;
  • turn on the pairing mode on the speaker (clarify in the instruction manual of the device how to do this);
  • from the list of detected devices select the speaker system (may be designated as “Headphone” if the speaker also has a built-in microphone);
  • select “Next”;
  • Wait for device installation (drivers will be loaded automatically).

If after synchronization the sound in the laptop is outputted to the built-in speakers, then to switch the output to the speaker, it is necessary to click on the volume shortcut in the tray and select another device.

In Windows 7, Vista, XP the algorithm is slightly different:

  • right-click on the Bluetooth icon in the tray and select “Add device”;
  • Switch the speaker into pairing mode;
  • In the dialog window select the detected speaker system, click “Next”;
  • If a verification code is displayed. ignore it (click “Next”);
  • select the operating mode for the connected speaker system (only sound output, control of players, sound and so on);
  • Wait until the pairing is completed and drivers are installed.

Switching the sound output source is performed in the “Control Panel”, in the “Sound” section (the “Output” tab).

Even before you connect a Bluetooth speaker or headset to your laptop, you can install the Dolby Atmos application from the Microsoft Store. through it you can adjust the sound settings (surround effects, equalizer).

How to connect speakers for games?

How to connect passive speakers to your computer without an amplifier? Games are capable of outputting sound directly, without the need for various compressions. So there is still no way to create more stereo sound from a game via S/PDIF.

To fix this shortcoming, you must purchase a sound card capable of supporting Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect. These technologies have the ability to instantly encode multi-channel audio from a game 5.1 or 7.1 into a Dolby Digital or DTS digital signal and directly transmit via S/PDIF. In the practical operation of one of the technologies described, all sound played on the analog outputs is transcoded and sent to digital S/PDIF.

Consider how to get the sound from any source 5.1, to do so:

  • In the settings of the sound card, select one of the presented sound coding technologies 5.1: Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect.
  • In the Windows sound settings panel select analog outputs of the sound card as the main device.

User misconceptions

Not having the right information, some users have misconceptions that can greatly complicate the process of using the speakers. Let’s look at the most common ones:

  • At the end of the game it is necessary to make a switch to the initial state for correct work. If one of the on-the-fly encoding technologies is always on, you have no way to view or listen to multichannel audio files. Since they are encoded, they need to be output directly to S/PDIF.

Important! In fact, you should not switch anything. When watching a movie in stereo, there is a 5.1. When watching a video with a DTS or Dolby track, there is a perfect distribution of sound over the channels. This situation is very well seen even in the player that has the ability to switch audio tracks, such as The KMPlayer.

  • On-the-fly encoding of a stereo signal from an mp3 file using DTS Connect or Dolby Digital Live is several times weaker than the hardware decoding of the sound on a receiver or on speakers.

Important! It is not. When you connect a speaker of similar quality to the receiver, there is no significant difference. The main thing is to adhere to the following condition, which would not forget to turn off the options in the THX Studio Pro settings or in a similar “equalizer” of the sound card. Otherwise, various effects are created, for example the voice can stand out in the general background sound picture. Also the sound card plays a big role. The Creative Titanium HD handles it just fine.

Most interesting clips on YouTube

The old Soviet acoustic systems can hardly compete with modern advanced devices of Hi End class, but they can be used as a budget solution, especially if you already have them.

Well, if you have such high-class devices, they can compete with some Chinese trimmings even now.

The only problem with using these “dinosaurs” is. computer connection.

To connect you will need a cable with a 3.5 mm jack or the same adapter and a low-frequency cable with a five-pin audio jack.

The old amplifiers didn’t come with long cables for audio signal wiring, so you probably have to make one yourself. About how to solder the shielded cable to the connectors you can read here.

To make the cable, you will need the cable itself and two connectors. a jack and a five-pin audio jack. The cable itself should be shielded and the wires switching the left and the right channels should be shielded each in its own braid.

Today’s low-cost connectors, sold at flea markets, require the use of active flux when unplugging. This is due to their nickel plating.

Such soldering should be flushed at least with water to ensure that the active flux residue will not cause failure over time. (Resin flux does not need to be flushed.)

Now about connecting the amplifier to the computer. This is important!

It is best to connect the amplifier when both the computer and the amplifier are completely de-energized.

This is because switching-mode power supplies used in computers do not provide complete AC isolation between the case and the mains. As a result, an AC voltage of up to 110 volts can be present on the chassis of an ungrounded computer. Although this current is less than 1mA, it can still damage a preamplifier with a large input impedance.

Since when you connect a jack plug, firstly the left and right channels are attached to the body, this voltage can be applied to the high-impedance input of the plugged-in amplifier. Which can cause it to fail.

The only precondition for absolutely safe switching of the amplifier with the computer “on the move” is a reliable electrical connection between the computer case and the amplifier case BEFORE connecting the audio jack.

Summary table of some Soviet power amplifiers:

Model Class Power (watts) Frequency Range (Hertz) Load R (Ohm)
Amphiton-002 0 2 Х 25 2025000 4
Amphiton-35U-101C 1 2 Х 65 2020000 4
Amphiton-50-UM104C 1 2 Х 50 2025000 4
Amphiton-A1-01-2 1 2 Х 20 2020000 4
Amfiton-A1-01-U 0 2 Х 50 2030000 4
Amfiton-U-002M 0 2 Х 35 2025000 4
Amphiton-UM-003 0 2 Х 50/90 2025000 8
Arcturus-001 0 2 Х 40 2020000 4
Arcturus-002 0 2 Х 25 3020000 4
Arcturus-101 1 2 Х 15 2018000 4
Bark-001 0 2 Х 50/? 2025000 8/4
Brig-001 0 2 Х 50/? 2025000 8/4
Helios-001 0 2 Х 100 2020000 4
Korvet-200UM-088S 0 2 Х 180 2020000 4
Corvette-50U-068S 0 2 Х 60/80 1070000 8/4
Korvet-UM-048 0 2 Х 100 2025000 4
Korvet-UM-068 0 2 Х 60/80 1070000 8/4
Kumir-101 1 2 Х 35 2025000 4
Laspi-005 0 2 Х 25 2020000 8
Laspi-005-1 0 2 Х 40 2025000 4
Lorta-75U101 1 2 Х 40 2025000 4
Note-35U120 1 2 Х 50 2020000 4
Odyssey-001 0 2 Х 30 2030000 4
Odyssey-002 0 2 Х 20 2020000 4
Orbit-UM002 0 2 Х 50 2025000 4
Radiotekhnika-020 0 2 Х 70 2030000 4
Radiotekhnika-U-120 1 2 Х 15 2020000 4
Radiotekhnika-U-7111 0 2 Х 50/100 1030000 8/4
Radiotekhnika-UM-7011 0 2 Х 200 416000 ?
Rostov-Don-101 1 4 Х 16 6318000 4
Trembita-002 0 2 Х 60 2020000 4
Phoenix-50U-008C 0 2 Х 50 2025000 4
Forum-180U-001 0 2 Х 90 2020000 4
Forum-U-001 2 Х 100 2025000 4
Edektronika-T1-040 0 2 Х 25 2020000 4
Edektronika-U-104 three-way 1 HF 2 X 25 500020000 8
HF 2 X 35 5005000 4
LF 2 X 35 20500 4
Electronica-UK-043 0 2 Х 20 2020000 8
Edektronika-UK-045 0 2 Х 25 2025000 8
Electron-103 1 2 Х 15 4016000 4
Electronics-D1-014 0 4 Х 25 2031500 4
Electronics-T1-002 0 2 Х 24 2020000 4
Estonia-35U-016 0 2 Х 35 2025000 4
Jupiter Quadro 0 4 Х 27 3020000 8