How to Use TV Volume Control for External Speakers

By James Clark

Controlling external speakers with a TV volume control requires an external amplifier to power the speakers with the TV connected to the amplifier in a specific way. The built-in amplifier on most televisions is only powerful enough to drive the TV's built-in speakers. Using the audio out jacks on a television with standard cables to an amplifier enables the volume buttons on the TV or the remote control to increase or decrease the sound level of external speakers.

Things You'll Need

  • TV with RCA-type audio output jacks
  • RCA audio cables
  • Amplifier with external speakers

Step 1

Insert the white and red plugs on a set of standard RCA audio cables into the left and right Audio OUT jacks on the back of a television.

Step 2

Connect the other ends of the cables to a free set of Audio IN jacks on the back of the amplifier. Make a note of which set of jacks will be used for the connection.

Step 3

Adjust the volume on the amplifier no higher than midway, and then use the selector control to choose the set of jacks connecting the amplifier to the TV, for example, Audio Input 1.

Step 4

Use the buttons on the television or the TV remote control to adjust the volume of the external speakers.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the volume control on the amplifier is dialed to zero, the external speakers will produce no sound no matter how high the TV volume is set.
  • Connect PC speakers directly to a TV with a Y-adapter that converts the miniplug on the speakers to full-size RCA audio plugs. PC speakers are self-powered, so an extra amplifier is not required. However, full-size home theater speakers can deliver better sound when connected to a TV because of their larger drivers and increased dynamic range.
  • Do not turn the volume control on the amplifier higher than midway to avoid damaging the external speakers. The TV signal to boost volume to the external speakers increases in proportion to the increase in amplifier volume, so use caution when working with stereo speakers this way.