How to Hook Up a Stereo Power Amp to a PC

by David Lipscomb Google

    Computers with the assistance of music management software like iTunes are ideal solutions for use as music servers. Whether listening at your desktop or in your living room, you'll want to connect a stereo power amplifier if you're using unpowered speakers. Making the connection between a computer and an amplifier is straightforward, allowing you to play back all of your music in high quality.

    Step 1

    Examine the back panel of your computer. Locate the 3.5mm headphone out jack on your sound card. This is typically green in color and placed next to a purple microphone jack.

    Step 2

    Plug the 3.5mm end of the stereo cable into the headphone jack. Plug the other end into the red and white RCA input jacks on the back of your power amplifier.

    Step 3

    Unscrew the red and black speaker wire binding post nuts on the amplifier and each speaker, exposing the small hole on each post.

    Step 4

    Strip away 1/2 inch of outer insulation from each end of both speaker wires. Twist the bare copper strands tightly to prevent a stray filament from causing a short circuit at the amplifier.

    Step 5

    Slide the speaker wire conductor featuring printing or a small raised ridge into the red binding post terminal for the left channel. Slip the other conductor into the black terminal. Repeat for the right channel.

    Step 6

    Insert the other end of the speaker wires into the corresponding terminals on each speaker, taking care to follow the polarity markings observed at the amplifier. Tighten the speaker posts down by hand.

    Step 7

    Ensure your computer's volume is all the down using the volume controls on your keyboard. This is usually indicated by a small bar next to the speaker icon in your system tray.

    Step 8

    Turn on the amplifier and begin playing a music file. Turn up the computer volume slowly to verify that everything is properly connected.

    Tips

    • Although stereo power amplifiers only have analog RCA inputs, home theater receivers offer digital connections like optical, coaxial and HDMI. If you eventually want surround sound from your computer instead of stereo-only sound, you can explore these options.

    Warnings

    • Never make stereo connections with the amplifier turned on. You might cause a small short circuit, damaging the amp or sound card. Additionally, the intermittent connection might create a loud buzzing sound that could damage your speakers.

    Required Items

    • 3.5mm to RCA stereo cable
    • Speaker wire
    • Wire strippers

    About the Author

    David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

    Photo Credits

    • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images