Extra stereo speakers

I’ve a spare pair of speakers from a stereo system (they are 20 watt 4 ohms). Can I connect them to my PC and what would be the best way ?

I currently just have a line-out 3.5 plug from motherboard to an Altec speaker system.


You need an amplifier inbetween.
You can connect your stereo to your computer (in fact, I strongly encourage you to do so as its quality will blow away any dinky computer speaker system), but you can’t just take the speakers and connect them to the sound card without a separate amp.

Thanks, I thought as much.

Does anyone know of any soundcards that have an integrated amplifier, or is there a cheap external one that would be appropriate ?

You can get a set of speakers (20 watts+) w/ subwoofer for less, or just as much as you would pay for the amp and cable.

Yeh, but they would be no match for a separate amp with dedicated speakers.
I know; I tried it with my system with a rather new Logitech speaker set and my own 22-year-old stereo, and I decided to stick with the stereo.
That is, if you don’t care about positional audio.

Maria_r: I don’t know whether sound cards with amps strong enough for speakers exist, but if they do I’m willing to bet they are expensive and with weak amps.
Your best bet is to get a secondhand medium quality amplifier and connect that to your existing sound card and speakers.

I would just go with a $25-$75 speaker w/ subwoofer combo. Your speakers are only 20 watts, it would be a waste of money to buy all of the components you will need to make them work (amp, cables, speaker wire, & adaptors,) when you can buy a decent 20-50 watt speaker w/ subwoofer combo for $25-$50 in a brick and mortar store.

Or, look at some of the deals you can get online for example:

I strongly disagree; you can get a complete 5.1 surround sound system for less than you would pay for a decent surround sound receiver.

Note: A lot of speakers are not magnetically shielded (especially old ones) to protect your monitor/hard drive, etc., but most computer speakers on the market today are magnetically shielded.

Good Luck,

DJ Mind

The only cable she needs is the RCA one from the sound card to the amp (I suppose she already has the zip cord for the speakers, but even if she doesn’t its cost is approximately zero). No adapters needed. The amp can be had for not much in a garage sale or on ebay.

when you can buy a decent 20-50 watt speaker w/ subwoofer combo for $25-$50 in a brick and mortar store.

No speaker set costing $50, especially if it has a subwoofer, will be “decent”. And I’m not talking as an audiophile. You just can’t get quality with supercheap gear.
Have a look at the “speakers and headphones” section of this site.

Note: A lot of speakers are not magnetically shielded (especially old ones) to protect your monitor/hard drive, etc

Hard drives do not need magnetic shielding. No home speaker could ruin the data on them, even if you were to sit them right on top of the magnet.
As for CRT screens, yes, non-shielded speakers could warp the image. But you’re not meant to sit stereo-sized speakers right next to the screen.

The thing changes if one is looking for positional 5.1 or whatever audio; then serious stereos start getting expensive, and the idea of a cheap speaker set becomes more attractive. But for plain stereo, a cheap old amp is the way to go.
This is a nice read on the subject. (by the way, no, I’m not affiliated with dan’s data. I just love the site.)

Opinions, opinions, opinions… :disagree:

So your choices are:

Buy some used components and rig up a ghetto fabulous sound system w/ no warranty. :confused:


Buy a brand new sound system w/ warranty. :iagree:

Good Luck!

DJ Mind

A second hand amp is not “ghetto”. We’re not talking about a contraption with wires all over the place, exposed circuitry and requiring the sacrifice of young virgins to get it to work.

Besides, she already has the speakers. She’s asking if there’s a way to connect them, she doesn’t want a whole new sound system. And since she already has a cheapo Antec speaker set, I presume she’s looking for better sound than what can be provided by a $50 set

And if she wants warranty she can get a new amp instead; standard no-frills amps of decent power can be had for €120, which is definitely not expensive. Of course for that price she could get a second hand amp and still have enough to buy another one in the event the first one drops dead, which is rather unlikely as amps have no moving parts and usually last for decades.

I have to agree with DJMind on this one.
Why by a second hand recieved or integrated amp to power a set of… “what brand or model are they speakers”. No one has asked what they are. for all we know they might suck. You can get a nice pair of speakers with powered sub
for what you might pay for a used Amp, cables, speaker wire to power those “what model were they?” speakers. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Thanks for the responses - all interesting and appreciated. Thanks Fallingwater for ‘Sounding Better’ link (and as you suggest, I already have an Altec system, why would I want another one ?!)

Yes they are good speakers, a delight to eye and ear (mine, not the plastic Altecs). I was hoping there might be a soundcard with amp. Failing that, a very minimalist external amp - I’ll check the 2nd hand shops, maybe find someones old Bang & Olufsen tuner.

if you’re dead set on using those 2x20W bookshelf speakers, your best bet on an affordable/quality amp is this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tech-data/B00009W44B/ref=dp_nav_0/103-5797395-7571840?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=172282&s=electronics

here are the google results for this highly-lauded-by-audiophiles-amp:

the thing to keep in mind here is that since your source is your motherboard’s onboard audio (read: the limiting factor), no matter what speakers/amp combo you use the sound quality will be seriously limited (not to mention you’ll probably be playing MP3s which doesn’t help sound quality)…

if you like to watch movies and/or play the majority of your music via your PC, your best bet is a decent PCI soundcard and a quality set of 5.1 multimedia speakers…as already mentioned…

if you don’t want to spring for that, you can always use the optical or SPDIF output of your motherboard (if available) to hook up to an existing 5.1 stereo system (provided that system has the necessary inputs)…

good luck with whatever you choose and let us know what direction you go in :iagree:

Thanks so much for the idea, this little amp looks perfect.

Problem may be getting hold of one - Amazon is out of stock and so it seems are the makers…


Wonder if anyone else on the board has one, and what they think of it ?



Why is everybody so keen on the power of the amps? I mean… if your speakers can do 20W at a reasonable effictivity (let’s say 90dB/spl) and they sound good, such a s solution will sound much better than those cheap computer speakers sets.

I use two sets on my system: a standard Logitech speakers set and two 6W Sony speakers (over 20 years old). It sounds great and I wouldn’t want to exchange that for an expensive computer speaker set.

Amplifiers can be bought for practically nothing these days. As everybody’s getting into multichannel solutions, the standard stereo amps are ditched for really low prices. You might was well enjoy that. Oh and if you like to tune your sound, you may want to spend another 5 dollars/euros on an eqaulizer.