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Connecting Speakers or Headphones (Windows Vista)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows Vista.
HP computers come with a variety of sound options and speaker configurations. Use the steps below that best match the sound hardware for your computer.
NOTE:Other than headphones, do not attempt to connect older non-powered speakers to your computer. Non-amplified speakers require an amplified signal and will not be loud enough.

Step one: Position and connect the speakers

Use one of the following sections, depending on your speaker configuration, to position your speakers:
NOTE:Except for headphones, all other types of speakers must have their own power source.

Headphones

Connect headphones to the headphone connection on the front of the computer.
Figure 1: Headphone port
Headphone port

Two desktop computer speakers

Complete the following steps to connect a pair of desktop speakers to the computer:
NOTE:Do not attempt to connect older non-powered speakers to your computer. Non-amplified speakers require an amplified signal and will not be loud enough.
  1. Position one speaker on each side of the monitor.
    Figure 2: Positioning the speakers
    Positioning the speakers
  2. Connect the audio cable to the Speaker Out connection on the back of the computer.
    Figure 3: Speaker out port
    Speaker out port
  3. Plug the speaker cord into the electrical outlet and turn on the speakers.
    After connecting the audio cable, continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

Stereo speakers built into the monitor

Depending on your monitor, you might need connect an audio cable or both an audio cable and an HDMI cable. Check the monitor user guide for more information.
Use the following steps to connect the sound cables to the monitor.

Audio cable

  1. Connect the audio cable to the green audio port on the monitor and connect the other end to the green audio-out port on the computer.
    Figure 4: Connecting the audio cable
    Connecting the audio cable
  2. After connecting the audio cable, continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

HDMI cable

Use the following steps to connect the monitor speakers using an HDMI connection:
Figure 5: HDMI cable
HDMI cable
  1. Connect the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the back of the monitor. Then connect the other end to the HDMI port on the back of the computer.
    Figure 6: Connecting the HDMI cable
    Connecting the HDMI cable
    For more specific installation and setup instructions, see your monitor Setup Guide.
  2. After connecting the speaker or headphone cable, continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

Four speakers (a front pair and a rear pair)

Use the following steps to connect four speakers to the computer.
NOTE:Do not attempt to connect older non-powered speakers to your computer. Non-amplified speakers require an amplified signal and will not be loud enough.
  1. Position the speakers. Place the front speakers on each side of the monitor and the rear speakers behind the computer.
    Figure 7: Positioning the speakers
    Positioning the speakers
  2. Connect the cable for the front speakers to the green Speaker Out connection on the back of the computer.
    Figure 8: Speaker out port
    Speaker out port
  3. Connect the cable for the rear speakers to the black Speaker Out connection on the back of the computer.
    Figure 9: Rear speaker port
    Rear speaker port
  4. Plug the speaker cords into the electrical outlet and turn on the speakers. Continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

5.1 and 7.1 surround speakers

Use the following steps to connect 5.1 and 7.1 surround speaker systems to the computer.
NOTE:Do not attempt to connect older non-powered speakers to your computer. Non-amplified speakers require an amplified signal and will not be loud enough.
  1. Unpack the speakers and assemble each component following the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Position the speakers, trying to place all the speakers an equal distance from the center of the listening area.
    • Place the subwoofer (the large cube) on the floor near the computer. Make sure that the connectors on the back of the subwoofer are easily accessible and the round speaker faces forward.
    • Place the center speaker on top or in front of the monitor.
    • Place the front left and front right desktop speakers on either side of the monitor.
    • Place the rear left and rear right speakers behind the listening area.
    • For 7.1 surround, place the left side and right side speakers as close to the sides as possible, usually toward the front of the desk.
    5.1 surround speaker placement7.1 surround speaker placement
    5.1 speaker connections7.1 speaker connections
  3. Following the directions that came with the speakers, connect the speaker wires between each speaker and the subwoofer, making sure to connect each speaker wire into the matching connector.
    NOTE:Use the longer speaker wires for the rear speakers.
  4. Place the control tower (the volume control component) near the listening area where it is easily accessible, and plug the cable from the control tower into its matching connector on the back of the subwoofer.
    NOTE:If your speaker system supports SPDIF through a coaxial connection, connect an RCA-style coaxial cable to the orange SPDIF port on the back of the computer and to the main speaker and refer to SPDIF digital settings .
  5. Connect the sound cable with green connectors into the Primary Front Speaker Out connector on the back of the computer. Plug the other end of the cable into the green connector on the subwoofer.
    Figure 10: Speaker out port
    Speaker out port
  6. Connect the sound cable with black connectors into Rear Speaker Out connector on the back of the computer. Plug the other end of the cable into the black connector on the subwoofer next to the green connector.
    Figure 11: Rear speaker
    Rear speaker port
  7. Connect the sound cable with orange connectors into Center or Digital Out connector on the back of the computer. Plug the other end of the cable into the orange connector on the subwoofer.
    Figure 12: Center and subwoofer
    Center and subwoofer speaker port
  8. Plug the speaker cord into the electrical outlet and turn on the speaker system.
  9. Turn on the computer and test for sound. Continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

Connecting to a home stereo system

Depending on your computer and stereo receiver, you can use either a analog (RCA style) or digital (SPDIF or HDMI) connection.
  • An analog connection uses an adapter cable to connect the audio out ports on the computer to the RCA-style connections on the receiver.
  • A digital connection uses a SPDIF or HDMI cable to connect between the computer and the receiver.

RCA style analog connection

Use the following steps to connect a computer to a home stereo receiver or amplifier with an analog connection:
  1. Buy the necessary number of Y adapter audio cables as described in the following list.
    Make sure that the cables are long enough to reach from the back of the computer to the back of the receiver or amplifier. These adapter cables have one 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) stereo miniplug on one end and two RCA style connections on the other end.
    Figure 13: Y adapter cable
    If the home stereo system has two speakers, buy one Y adapter cable.
    If the home stereo system has four speakers, buy two Y adapter cables.
    If the home stereo system has a 5.1 or greater speaker system, buy three Y adapter cables, plus one more cable for each extra set of speakers beyond the initial 6. For example, buy three cables for a 5.1 system, and four cables for a 7.1 system.
  2. Turn off the stereo receiver or amplifier and connect the cables between the receiver and the computer using the following steps:
    • Front speakers . Use the following steps to connect the cable between the computer and the receiver:
      1. Connect the stereo miniplug on the Y adapter cable into the Speaker Out (green) port on the back of the computer.
        Figure 14: Speaker out port
        Speaker out port
      2. Connect the other ends of the Y adapter cable into the Left and Right In inputs on the back of the stereo receiver or amplifier (usually CD or DVD in).
        Figure 15: Audio In on the receiver
        Audio In on the receiver
        NOTE:If your stereo is a 5.1 or higher system, use the front left and right inputs labeled DVD , Surround , 5.1 , or 6 Channel inputs.
    • Rear speakers. If the stereo system has rear speakers, complete the following steps:
      1. Connect the stereo miniplug of a Y adapter cable into the Rear Speaker Out (black) on the back of the computer.
        Figure 16: Rear speaker port
        Rear speaker port
      2. Connect the other ends of the Y adapter cable into the Rear Left and Right inputs on the back of the stereo receiver or amplifier labeled DVD , Surround , 5.1 , or 6 Channel inputs.
    • Center and subwoofer speakers for 5.1 or higher system . If you have a 5.1 or higher channel home stereo system, complete the following steps:
      1. Connect the stereo miniplug of a Y adapter cable into the Center or Digital Out (orange) on the back of the computer.
      2. Connect the other ends of the Y adapter cable into the Center and Subwoofer inputs on the back of the stereo receiver or amplifier in the section labeled DVD , Surround , 5.1 , or 6 Channel inputs.
        Figure 17: Center and subwoofer
        Center and subwoofer speaker port
        NOTE:Plug the Y adapter cable into the Subwoofer connecter on the back of the receiver or amplifier even if the stereo system does not have a subwoofer.
  3. Turn on the stereo and select the music source on the front panel. This is the component that the Y adapter cable is plugged into (usually CD, DVD, or 5.1) as the source.
    NOTE:Check the stereo user's manual for instructions on setting the music source.
    Continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

SPDIF digital connection

Turn off the stereo receiver or amplifier and connect the cable between the stereo receiver and the computer using the following steps:
NOTE:You can use a standard RCA style audio cable for a SPDIF connection.
  1. Connect the cable into the Digital Out connector on the back of the computer.
    Figure 18: Connecting the SPDIF cable
    Connecting the SPDIF cable
  2. Plug the other end of the cable into the receiver. This is usually labeled SPDIF, COAXIAL, or Digital In connector on the receiver.
  3. Turn on the stereo and select the music source on the front panel.
    NOTE:Check the stereo user's manual for instructions on setting the music source.
    Continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

HDMI digital connection

Turn off the stereo receiver or amplifier and connect the HDMI cable between the stereo receiver and the computer using the following steps:
  1. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI output on the back of the computer.
    NOTE:The HDMI connector is located on the graphics adapter.
    Figure 19: HDMI connector on a graphics card
    HDMI connector on an example graphics adapter
  2. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI input on the stereo receiver.
    Figure 20: HDMI input on receiver
  3. Turn on the stereo and select the music source on the front panel.
    NOTE:Check the stereo user's manual for instructions on setting the music source.
    Continue to the next step to adjust the software settings .

Step two: Adjusting the Windows Vista settings

Use one of the following sections to adjust the software settings, based on your speaker configuration.

Adjusting analog speaker settings

Analog speakers include speakers directly connected to the computer, built-in monitor speakers connected through the green audio port, and home stereos connected with RCA style cables.
Use the following steps to adjust the audio software:
NOTE:The following steps apply to a Realtek audio adapter. They might be slightly different depending on the audio adapter and driver version installed on your computer.
  1. Click Start , click Hardware and Sound , and then click Sound .
    The Sound properties window displays.
  2. On the Playback tab, click Speakers , and then click Set Default .
  3. Click Configure .
  4. Figure 21: Playback tab
    Playback tab
  5. Choose your speaker configuration and click Next .
    Figure 22: Setting the speaker configuration
    Setting the speaker configuration
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to configure and test the speakers.

Adjusting the monitor speaker settings

If you connected the monitor with an audio cable (green ends), see Analog speaker settings .
If you connected the monitor with a digital HDMI connection, use the following steps to set HDMI as the default sound device.

Adjusting HDMI digital settings

NOTE:The following steps apply to a Realtek audio adapter. They might be slightly different depending on the audio adapter and driver version installed on your computer.
  1. To select HDMI in the Sound settings, click Start , click Hardware and Sound , and then click Sound .
    The Sound properties window displays.
  2. On the Playback tab, right-click the HDMI device.
    In the menu that displays, click Set as Default Device .
    Figure 23: Setting HDMI as default
    Setting HDMI as default
  3. Make sure the green check displays indicating that HDMI is set as the default audio output device.
    Then click Properties .
    Figure 24: HDMI as the default sound device
    HDMI as the default sound device
  4. Click the Supported Formats tab.
    In the Encoded formats area, select the formats that your digital receiver can decode.
    In the Sample Rates area, select the sample rates that are supported by your digital receiver.
    NOTE:For information on the supported formats and sample rates, check the user's manual for your digital receiver.
    Figure 25: Supported Formats tab

Adjusting the settings for a home stereo

  • If the computer is connected to the receiver or amplifier with RCA style cables, see adjusting analog speaker settings .
  • If the computer is connected to the receiver or amplifier with an HDMI connection, see adjusting HDMI settings .
  • If the computer is connected to the receiver or amplifier with a SPDIF connection, use the steps in the following section:

SPDIF digital connection

Use the following steps if the computer is connected to the stereo with a SPDIF connection:
NOTE:The following steps apply to a Realtek audio adapter. They might be slightly different depending on the audio adapter and driver version installed on your computer.
  1. Click Start , click Hardware and Sound , and then click Sound .
    The Sound properties window displays.
  2. On the Playback tab, right-click the Digital Output device.
    In the menu that displays, click Set as Default Device .
    NOTE:The name of the digital output device varies depending on the audio adapter installed in the computer.
    Setting digital (SPDIF) as the default deviceDigital output as the default sound device
  3. Make sure the green check displays indicating that the digital device is set as the default audio output device.
    Then click Properties .
    Figure 27: Digital output as the default device
    Digital as the default sound device
  4. Click the Supported Formats tab.
    In the Encoded formats area, select the formats that your digital receiver can decode.
    In the Sample Rates area, select the sample rates that are supported by your digital receiver.
    NOTE:For information on the supported formats and sample rates, check the user's manual for your digital receiver.
    Figure 28: Supported Formats tab
  5. Click OK to save the changes.
    NOTE:You might need to make other adjustments in your DVD movie software, music software, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center. Check the help files in the specific software program for more information.

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