How to Connect 5.1 Home Theater to PC

How to Connect 5.1 Home Theater to PC
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Have you been wanting a better and more enjoyable audio experience with your PC for a while now? Installing a high-quality surround speaker might be your best option to enjoy listening to music, watching movies, or even playing games more.

In this article, we will share with you a step-by-step guide on how to connect 5.1 home theater to PC. In this way, you get to enjoy the best audio quality you will ever experience yet. Are you ready?

What Is a 5.1 Home Theater System?

A 5.1 home theater system consists of six speakers: five satellite speaker units and a subwoofer. This six-channel sound system is connected to an A/V receiver and arranged in a way that there is a front center that acts as the voice channel, left and right channel speakers, left and right rear surround speakers, and a subwoofer that provides the bass.

Through the years, a 5.1 surround sound system has become the standard for home theaters due to its reliable performance and mesmerizing audio perception. Its popularity has been tremendously growing, making it a top choice for most homes.

Types of Sound System

The six-channel surround speakers are usually classified into two types: analog speakers and digital speakers.

Analog speakers are more affordable and can be directly installed to any computer units. They use analog inputs in order to produce sounds.

On the other hand, digital speakers are a bit pricey and require a SPDIF output on the computer. They normally work using input signals and involve a digital signal processor.

Integrating PC to Home Theater

The increasing popularity of networking and internet streaming significantly affects the world of home theater systems. Its integration with personal computers and laptops has been established and can now be done in various ways.

  • Televisions serve as monitors for several computer applications, including document works, photo editing, videography, and gaming.
  • Home theaters offer powerful listening experience with its room-filling surround sounds.
  • SmartTVs, media streamers, or disc players allow access to stored computer files, including images, videos, and music.
  • Computers can be used in controlling and setting-up a home theater system.

How to Connect 5.1 Home Theater to PC?

With proper knowledge and understanding of how a home theater system and a PC works, knowing how to connect 5.1 home theater to computers would be a lot easier. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

Step 1: Understand the Speaker System

Generally, home theater systems come with main cables that can either be connected to the subwoofer or to the volume control unit. These include a power cord to connect the speaker to the AC outlet, a power connector to feed the subwoofer unit, and subwoofer wires to connect the speaker to the control unit.

Other than the main cables, the system also comes with sets of wires that are used for connecting the speaker to the computer. They are color-coded for better identification and easier installation to PC.

Green cables are for the front inputs while the blue or black cables are for the rear inputs. On the other hand, Center/Subwoofer speakers usually come with orange, yellow, or pink cables.

Step 2: Connect the Cables

Be sure to match and connect the cables with their corresponding jack colors. After which, the rest of the cables should be properly connected. This includes power, speakers, and subwoofers.

Always give attention to the subwoofer connection. This will determine the polarity of the connectors and the success of the cable connections.

Step 3: Know the PC Unit

All computer units are built with at least three audio connectors. Each of them uses a corresponding color for better identification. Green connectors are for line out, blue connectors are for line in, and the pink connectors are for mic-in.

Computers with six-channel audio require two additional connectors, including the black or blue connector for a rear out and the orange or yellow connector for a center/subwoofer. The lack of the two extra outputs may be disadvantageous, especially if the 5.1 system configuration is being used.

The 5.1 speaker system can still be connected and used; however, it will require alternative plug-ins to function properly. You may opt to use the line in and mic-in plugs, but this configuration will hinder you from using the microphone and line in inputs while using the 5.1 speaker system.

With this in mind, it is best to choose a motherboard unit with a built-in 5.1 system. A computer with 5.1 supporting motherboard offers a front cable for line out, a rear cable for rear out, and a center/subwoofer cable for center/subwoofer out. On the other hand, a computer without the 5.1 supporting motherboard will have a front cable for line out, a rear cable for line in, and a center/subwoofer cable for mic-in.

Step 4: Installing the Speaker to PC

The installation process of the speaker system will depend greatly on the configuration of your PC. It will depend on whether it comes with or without a separate rear and center/subwoofer outputs.

Computers with separate rear and center output will have the following connections:

  • Rear cable (blue or black) will be connected to the blue or black jack (rear out).
  • Front cable (green) will be connected to the green jack (line out).
  • Center/Subwoofer cable (orange, yellow, or pink) will be connected to the orange or yellow jack.

Computers without a separate rear and center output will have the following connection:

  • Rear cable (blue or black) will be connected to the blue jack (line in).
  • Front cable (green) will be connected to the green jack (line out).
  • Center/Subwoofer cable (orange, yellow, or pink) will be connected to the pink jack (mic-in).

Step 5: Software Configuration

After all physical connections have been made, the audio configuration should be done in the operating system.  This is simply done by going through your audio driver properties.

Generally, after every audio driver installation, a small icon is created on the Control Panel and is shown right next to the clock. This is commonly called Sound Effect Management. Open the tab by double-clicking the icon.

Various options will be displayed. In the case of the 5.1 sound systems, select the six-channel mode. Tick the “only surround-kit” option if the PC has separated rear and center/subwoofer outputs and leave blank if not.

Conclusion

Enjoying music, movies, and games from your PC is a lot easier with the use of six-channel sound systems. Knowing how to connect 5.1 home theater to PC offers not only enjoyment but also an optimized and natural sound experience. This involves easy steps that can be done with proper guidance and simple techniques.

Truly, the combination of a home theater system and a PC promotes outstanding functions and optimum performance for a more exciting digital future.

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