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HP Desktop PCs - Connecting Speakers or Headphones (Windows 7)

This document pertains to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows 7.
This document shows how to connect headphones or speakers to your computer. Use this document to configure the audio settings, determine the correct connection port, and begin using your external audio device on your computer.
This is not a troubleshooting document. If there is no sound coming from your speakers or headphones, see HP Desktop PCs - No Sound from the Speakers or Headphones (Windows 7).

Connecting headphones

This section describes the ports and connector plugs needed to use your headphones with your computer.
To set up headphones with wireless Bluetooth technology, see HP PCs - Connecting a Bluetooth Device (Windows).
Your headphones have a three-segmented or four-segmented connector plug. Both produce sound when plugged into a headphone connector. The three-segmented plug is for headphones only. The four-segmented plug supports a headphone and an attached microphone.
Three-segmented headphone plug
Four-segmented headphone plug
Insert the headphone plug into the port on the computer marked with a diagram of headphones.
Headphones diagram
After connecting headphones, configure the sound settings using the steps in Setting the default sound device.

Connecting speakers

The following sections describe the ports, plugs, and cables needed to use speakers, and a variety of speaker configurations to use with your desktop computer.

Computer ports for the speakers or headphones

This section gives examples of the various port types found on the back and front of the computer.
    Motherboards with three rear audio ports
  1. Microphone (on some computers, the microphone can also be configured as the Center/Subwoofer out through the Sound Manager software)
  2. Line-out (to front powered speakers)
  3. Line-in (on some computers, the microphone can also be configured as the rear speaker out through the Sound Manager software)
    Motherboards with six rear audio ports
  1. Side speaker out
  2. Rear speaker out
  3. Center and subwoofer out
  4. Microphone
  5. Line-out (to front powered speakers)
  6. Line-in

Speaker configuration

Choose your speaker configuration to view information about positioning your speakers:
Use powered speakers. Do not use older, non-powered speakers with your computer as they are not amplified and do not produce enough volume.

Setting the default sound device

Windows outputs sound to only one device at a time. You can select which device to use by setting the default device in Sound properties. With Speakers or Headphones selected as the default, Windows automatically switches to the headphones or external speakers when properly connected.
Use the following steps to set the default sound device:
  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    Control Panel in the Start menu
  2. Click Hardware and Sound.
    Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel menu
  3. Click Sound.
    Sound in the Hardware and Sound menu
  4. In the Playback tab, select the audio device you want to use.
    Speakers in the Sound Playback tab
  5. Click Set Default, and then click OK.

Making alternate connections

You might want to connect your desktop computer to a television to view photos, watch Internet videos, or surf the Web. This can be done with the correct cables. The computer and the TV must have the same connections. If they do not, you need to use adapters.
You need an adapter cable to connect a home stereo, TV, or recording device to your computer. Cables for VGA, DVI, and component video do not support audio signals. HDMI cables do support audio signals, but not all HDMI-enabled video cards support audio. If your HDTV features an audio input, you might be able to connect a separate audio cable from your computer sound card directly to the TV. If your HDTV does not feature an audio input, you need to connect the audio signal to a different device, such as external computer speakers or your home stereo system.






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