How to Connect Speakers to a 5.1 Sound Card

Written by dean lee
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How to Connect Speakers to a 5.1 Sound Card
A subwoofer is just one part of a 5.1 speaker set-up (speaker image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com)

A speaker set-up using 5.1 means that you have a six speakers total including a pair of front speakers, a pair of rear speakers, a centre speaker, and a subwoofer. You can connect 5.1 speakers using either a digital or analogue connection. For a digital connection, called "S/PDIF," you need to use a fibre optic cable to connect between the computer and a receiver. For an analogue connection, you connect the pairs of speakers individually (for example, two front speakers or two rear speakers) to the computer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Front Speaker Pair
  • Rear Speaker Pair
  • Center
  • Subwoofer
  • Receiver
  • Computer with 5.1 Sound Card
  • Fibre Optic

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Instructions

    Digital Connection

  1. 1

    Connect the fibre optic cable from the S/PDIF out port to the S/PDIF in port on the back of the receiver.

  2. 2

    Connect the speakers to the back of the receiver. Each speaker port is clearly labelled.

  3. 3

    Open the speaker configuration software included with the 5.1 sound card and change the speaker configuration to 5.1. The speaker configuration may be labelled as "environment" or "speaker configuration" and is most likely a drop-down menu.

    Analogue Connection

  1. 1

    Connect the front speaker pair to the "Front Out" port on the sound card, which is green. One speaker should connect with a wire to the other speaker, which then connects to the sound card with a single cable.

  2. 2

    Connect the rear speaker pair to the "Rear Out" port on the sound card, which is yellow. Similar to the front speakers, one rear speaker connects to the other.

  3. 3

    Connect the subwoofer and centre speaker to the "Line In" port on the sound card, which is blue. This pair also connects one to the other.

  4. 4

    Open the speaker configuration software included with the 5.1 sound card and change the speaker configuration to 5.1. The speaker configuration may be labelled as "environment" or "speaker configuration" and is most likely a drop-down menu.

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