How to Hook Up Speakers to a Laptop

By M. Wade

All laptops are equipped with internal speakers, but the quality is usually not very good. The speakers are small and are often located where they cannot project sounds a great distance. You can hook up external computer speakers to your laptop to improve the quality and provide a higher volume and directional control. With the Windows operating system, most speakers will play when you plug them in.

Step 1

Arrange the speakers around your laptop or wherever they will best project sound. If your speaker system includes a subwoofer, you will need to plug each speaker into the subwoofer, following a color-coded system. On the bottom or back of each speaker you will find an “R” or “L.” An “R” on a speaker means that it is supposed to be placed on the right side, while an “L” indicates that the speaker should be placed on the left side for the best sound.

Step 2

Plug the speaker system’s power adapter into a power outlet and turn them on.

Step 3

The audio jacks on your laptop may be marked with audio-related symbols, such as a microphone and a pair of headphones. Most laptop’s will only have these two audio jacks. The headphone jack is where you will connect the speakers to the laptop.

Step 4

Plug the speaker cable into the headphone jack. If your computer speaker system includes a subwoofer, the subwoofer likely will have a green-colored jack for this cable to be inserted into the subwoofer, too.

Step 5

Windows should detect the speakers.

Step 6

Play some music from a CD or online source to test the speakers. Double-click the speaker icon in the Windows system tray to open the volume control tool. Adjust the volume settings to your liking.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your speakers use a different type of audio cable (such as a RCA-type cable) you will need to purchase a 1/8 inch converter connector to plug them into the laptop’s headphone jack.