Listening through your Stereo

Computer speakers are now of higher quality, and many new speaker systems are available at a low price. These days there are all sorts of products you can buy to listen to music on your home stereo.
See here for a few ideas if you've got money to spare

However connecting your computer to your home stereo can be relatively straightforward.  If you can find a lead which fits the right holes then it should work!  You can buy an inexpensive connecting lead online or from any hi-fi or electronics store; here's what it will look like.

At one end it will look like this:

The lead will split, and the other end will look like this:

Technical name: 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo jack plug

Technical name: Phono plugs

A good way to prepare is to have a look at your stereo and computer and see what size the sockets are.  That way, hopefully you won't confuse the jack plug (left) with smaller or larger versions.  Here's what the soundcard sockets on your computer will look like:

The socket on the left ("Line Out") is the one to which you will connect your lead.  If in doubt, the staff at your local electronics store will probably be happy to help. The lead will probably be about 1.5m long. If this is too short then extension cables can also be purchased, but bear in mind that a longer lead will result in a lowering of sound quality. Better to have your computer and stereo close to each other in the first place!

At the other end, you will want to use the "Aux" input of your stereo, probably found round at the back.  On some stereos, left and right inputs are colour-coded so there will be no problem matching like with like.  On others you will have to remember that the red phono plug goes into the input for the right channel and the white into the input for the left channel.  If there is no colour coding then these will be marked "L" and "R".  Once you've plugged the lead in at both ends, you are ready to begin:

  • Turn the volume on your stereo down as low as it will go.
  • Make sure that "Aux" is selected on the front panel, as opposed to "Tape" or "CD".
  • Set some music playing on the computer.
  • Slowly turn up the volume on the stereo.  You should now hear the music.
  • If the volume is low in comparison to when you play music on your stereo normally, you can turn up the volume on your computer.
  • If the sound is distorting, you can try turning down the volume on your computer and turning it up on the stereo.

We hope this guide is of assistance - there are many others like it on the internet to which you can refer if you run into problems.  Enjoy!