View Full Version : How to Connect Your PC to Your Stereo

The boy 4rm oz
12-17-2008, 12:06 AM
After spending the best part of 6 years learning many many things about PC tech and trends I have only recently broadened my view to the very wide world of audio devices.

Now I know I have no where near as much knowledge as Luke122 and the other Audiophiles on the forum but I thought I would piece together a tutorial on the first thing audio inspired I ever tried. Connecting my stereo to my PC.

First I will let you know a little about the different types of connections a PC and stereo may have.
The most basic of connections, all PCs will have this.
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/4084/analogconnectorsvn4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
(The small round sockets)
Digital (Coaxial):
A more advanced type of connection. Not all PCs will have this but if you have a sound card or a high end motherboard you should have access to this connection.
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/4559/digitalcoaxialconenctorue1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Digital (Optical):
Digital Optical is the best type of connection you can utilise. Not many PCs will support this type of connection as default but once again if you have a high end motherboard or a good sound card you should have access to this connection.
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/3885/digitalopticalconnectorkr7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Now that we know a little bit about the connections available we need to check which types of connections are available to us via our PC and stereo.
As you can see my PC has both Analog and Digital Coaxial connections.
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/8171/dsc026609272824br4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
My stereo (Pioneer A390) only has an Analog connection which is labelled as “AUX”.
http://img184.imageshack.us/img184/7861/dsc026620991212ax8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

I was hoping to be able to use the Digital Coaxial connection for this but due to the lack of it on my stereo I will be attaching my PC to my stereo via an Analog connection.

What you will need:
RCA-3.5mm splitter
3.5mm extension cable with male plugs (size depending on distance between PC and stereo)
And a 3.5mm female-female adapter
http://img392.imageshack.us/img392/2266/dsc026633972052fl4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
First I plug my RCA-3.5mm splitter into the plugs labelled “AUX” on the rear of my stereo.
http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/1932/dsc026645464855va7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
I then connected one end of the 3.5mm female-female adapter to the 3.5mm plug on the RCA-3.5mm splitter.
Then I connected one end of my 3.5mm extension cable to the other end of the 3.5mm female-female adapter.
http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/9899/dsc026665983441tk1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Lastly I plugged the other end of the 3.5mm extension cable in to my PC via the rear left/right socket on my on-board sound card.
http://img78.imageshack.us/img78/886/dsc026676064812tk3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Depending on the orientation of your speakers you really can plug it into any of the sockets on your sound card (rear, side, front). I already have a set of front speakers and the orientation of my stereo speakers allows them to be used as rear speakers.

Once you have done all that you will need to let your PC know that new speakers have been installed. Some sound card drivers will auto detect when a speaker is plugged in and set it to the right channel. For some reason my DFI motherboard didn’t do this so I had to do it myself.

To do this I double clicked on the “Realtek HD Audio Manager” icon on my system tray.
http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/6681/dsc026686171212og5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
(Sorry for the blurry pic)
This brings up a window allowing me to see what speakers are attached to my PC and allows me to mess around with their settings.
http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/2386/dsc026706397675vu7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
The first thing I had to do was change my speaker configuration from Stereo to Quadraphonic. The previous Stereo configuration only supports a set of front speakers where Quadraphonic supports front speakers along with rear speakers.
To make the change from Stereo to Quadraphonic I simply selected Quadraphonic from the drop down box labelled as “Speaker Configuration” on the left hand side of the window.
http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/2729/dsc026756451588aj9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
After I had selected the Quadraphonic setting from the drop down box I checked both the “Front Left and Right” and the “Surround Speakers” boxes found on the left hand side of the window under the drop down box.
http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/8130/dsc026766514112ya6.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
I then applied these settings and shut down my PC. When I re-booted I turned on my stereo and changed the mode to “AUX” by pressing the button on the front.
http://img75.imageshack.us/img75/8549/dsc026776608765ex7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
I then fired up Songbird and enjoyed far superior sound then I had before.

Well that is the end of the Tutorial. If you have any questions or problems please post them here and I will try to help you as best I can.

Just for you out there wondering, the entire process cost me just under $12AUD (I had to get a bit extra speaker cable).


12-17-2008, 12:40 AM

12-17-2008, 12:43 AM
My motherboard is low end, but it has the coxial output.

The boy 4rm oz
12-17-2008, 01:25 AM
I never said that lower end motherboards wont have them but depending on their age or how low end they are you may be struggling to find an on board coaxial port. However these days lower end boards have more bells and whistles so I have no doubt that you could snag a board with the right connections for you.

Sorry, I was simple generalizing, guess I shouldn't do that in a tutorial lol.

BTW Thanks for my fifth light green bar aintnothang.

12-22-2008, 06:59 AM
Nice Tut :)

I have done a similar thing with my setup, cept i use my onboard sound for my 5.1 headset, and have a seperate pci soundcard which i hook my stereo up to. Means I can have 2 different sounds coming out of the stereo and headset... good for listening to music that is on the PC whilst still having the headset for being able to hear properly when gaming :D

The boy 4rm oz
12-22-2008, 11:28 AM
My front speakers have a headphone jack on them so I can just plug my headphones into them when I need to game or be quiet lol.

After Christmas I am picking myself up a 5.1 PHILIPS Home Theater system and an Auzentech Cinema 7.1 sound card so I will add another phase to the tutorial. This time I will be using the Digital Optical connector instead of the Analog connector.

12-23-2008, 01:03 PM
Great job! I'm glad to see more people taking an interest in the audio aspect of our great hobby!

The boy 4rm oz
12-24-2008, 03:20 AM
Thanks a lot Luke.

12-31-2008, 08:51 PM
The Realtek HD Audio Manager part isn't universal (it requires that you have a card or mobo that uses the driver), but still informative.

+rep for a no-nonsense tut.

The boy 4rm oz
01-01-2009, 02:52 AM
Yeah I know it's not universal that's why I said some sound card configurations will auto detect but for my motherboard I have to use the Realtek sound manager.

Thanks for the rep Omega.

01-04-2009, 02:28 AM
Very nice tutorial. I've got a fair amount of hearing damage, and the only good thing about it is that moderately good sound equipment sounds just as good to me as top-end stuff. :)

+ rep

The boy 4rm oz
01-04-2009, 02:51 AM
Thanks for the comment and thanks for the rep blue. I am only just starting to learn about audio gear but I have always enjoyed listening to good quality audio.