I recently decided to upgrade my home pc, and went with a Compaq Presario (CQ5210F). It is an awesome machine, boasting a 2.7 ghz AMD dual core processor, 500 GB hard drive, 3 GB ram (expandable to 8), etc.
The system itself came with the keyboard, and windows 7 64 bit. I purchased the computer from staples.com for a very nice $299.99 with free next day delivery (can’t beat that can you). I then purchased a nice 20″ LCD monitor from Dell for around $100. So far, I absolutely love the new computer system, with one grand exception: It didn’t come with speakers!
This was no big deal really, and I fully knew it didn’t come with speakers when I bought it, as I figured I could simply use the old Polk Audio speakers that came with my old HP Pavilion 513x machine. So I hooked up the polk audio speakers to my new pc (which boasts a Realtek audio card built in), and cranked up the sound. I then went to youtube to listen to some music to test it out….
Unfortunately…nothing happened. So I made sure the cord was plugged into the right audio out (speaker) jack, and adjusted my audio settings on my computer for full sound. I then turned up the youtube video to its loudest setting. I could only BARELY hear any audio at all!!!
At this point I am getting a bit frustrated, and I am a little worried that perhaps there is an issue with the sound card (or that it was a terrible one). So I tried everything I could. I plugged the speakers into the headphone jack, I updated the drivers for the Realtek audio, I then rolled back the drivers, and adjusted every known setting on the PC’s audio section. The very loudest sound I could get was like a whisper.
I knew the polk audio speakers were fine, because they worked fine in my old machine. I knew something wasn’t right, and I was starting to realize it was an issue with the PC. So I hopped back online, and after some searching on the web, I found the solution: It was the speakers after all, but it was the computer too! Let me explain…
Why New Computers May Not Play Sound on Old Speakers, Or Speakers May Have Low Sound
After freaking out and thinking: “My speakers don’t work, and I can barely hear them”, I was pleased to find a potential solution. Here is what was causing the problem: The old polk audio speakers I had were designed to be powered by the computer. The only cord it had was the cord you plug into the speaker jack. This is totally fine if you have a computer which powers the speakers via the motherboard, in addition to putting out the audio signal (like my old HP did).
On many newer computers, however, it is becoming more and more common to have an output signal only, with little or no power going to the speakers. So what is the solution to fix this problem? You need POWERED speakers!
Why You Need Powered Speakers For Most Newer Computers
Since the new computers don’t provide direct power to the speakers, and only provide an audio output signal, you need a way to get some “juice” to them. This is where the newer “powered” speakers come into play. Powered speakers will come with an A/C cord that you plug into your wall outlet. This is were it gets its “juice.” It will also have an audio jack that you plug into your computer, so it can get an audio signal to convert into audio sound.
After I found that out, I was a bit relieved! So the next day I stopped at walmart to check out their selection. I chose some Logitech S-120 2.o speakers for only $11.98. I opened the box at the store and made sure they had an A/C cable so I could plug them into the wall (and the S-120 2.0 model does indeed). I also shopped online at Amazon.com and others, andn the $11.98 was the cheapest price (so I went ahead and got them at Walmart so I didn’t have to pay or wait for shipping).
When I got home, I plugged up the AC cable into the wall, plugged the jack into my speaker jack on the computer, and cranked it up. The sound was very good, and I was very pleased!
It completely solved my problem of why the old speaker’s wont work with the computer, and why it was playing very low sound. The new speakers played great sound. So I then adjusted the volume on the logitech speakers (it has a volume/power button and also a headphone jack on it). I also adjusted my sound settings on my pc, and all was working just great. At the time of writing this post, I am enjoying some music via youtube.
Granted, if you like loud speakers with deep bass, and so forth, you may want a slightly better model. These come with two small (black) speakers which put out modest sound. But I don’t like excessive sound and bass, and plus, I am a cheapskate. So these speakers suited me just fine, and I am sure they will suit the average computer user. High end gamers or video watchers may want a better set.
Conclusion: If Your Computer Doesn’t Play Sound to the Speakers (or very low sound), You May Need A/C Powered Speakers
Since my new computer didn’t come with speakers that were matched to work with the system, I tried to use my old ones (without success). Since my old Polk Audio speakers didn’t have A/C power (and were internally powered), they didn’t have enough juice to produce significant sound by using the speaker audio jack only on my new computer. Therefore, I purchased the logitech s-120 2.0 speakers for cheap. They were a/c powered, and had the standard 3.5mm jack to plug into my computer.
The problem was then solved. So if you buy a Compaq Presario CQ5210F (or other newer computer that doesn’t come with speakers), I would recommend you get a nice inexpensive pair of the logitech speakers, or another kind.
Just make sure they are a/c powered, and off you go! I hope this article has saved you a headache and 30 minutes of research (which is how long it took me).