How to connect 5.1 speakers to a laptop

Written by ziggy thomas
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How to connect 5.1 speakers to a laptop
5.1 speakers are usually surround-sound. (hi-fi audio system image by Pavel Losevsky from

5.1 speakers are commonly used for surround sound. They come with six speakers: left front, centre front, right front, left rear, right rear and a subwoofer. Not all sound cards that come standard on a computer use 5.1 speakers to their full potential. Compatible external sound cards can be purchased and connected to your computer through a USB port. This external sound card will allow you to connect 5.1 speakers and use them through your computer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5.1 compatible external sound card

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  1. 1

    Plug the cables to the volume-control unit--or to the subwoofer, if there is no volume-control unit. The wires are usually colour coded, so plug each colour of wire to the port of the same colour.

  2. 2

    Plug your power cable, which is already connected to the volume-control unit--or to the subwoofer, into an electrical socket.

  3. 3

    Plug the other ends of your speaker cables into the speaker and subwoofer port of the same colour.

  4. 4

    Place your 5.1 compatible external sound card to your computer in a USB port.

  5. 5

    Install drivers after the external sound card's hardware has been recognised by the computer. The drivers will installed automatically through the USB connection.

  6. 6

    Connect your speakers to the external sound card. Refer to your external sound card's and speakers' instructions to determine which wire connects to which port.

  7. 7

    Click on the new "Sound Effect Management" icon created in "Control Panel" when the new audio drivers were installed, to open your audio driver properties.

  8. 8

    Click the "Speaker Configuration" tab and select "6 channel mode for 5.1 speaker output."

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