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Speaker Wire to 3.5 mm connector? Help!

by rondanessler / September 6, 2006 8:46 AM PDT

Well I ordered these 2 speakers the other day, and they are due to arrive on my front porch tomorrow afternoon. What I would like to do is be able to connect them to my PC's Sound Blastr Live! sound card, so that when I throw parties, I can use these speakers. Problem is, is that they use speaker wire and can not be plugged into the card.

In theory I figured I could just strip a 3.5 mm connector and tie the wires together and then connect it, but theres two speakers, which means 2 wire sets, and i dont know if that would work.

So my questions is, is there a way to do this or are there any products out there, under the $50 range, that can assist my efforts.


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What you're considering....
by GeeBee / September 6, 2006 10:38 PM PDT

...certainly won't work!

1) Speaker connections consist of a ''signal'' (usually red) and a ''ground'' (usually black). The electrical pulses that the speaker turns into sound, travel up one and down the other. You cannot ''tie the wires together'' and end up with a working speaker! At the very least connecting them together would cause whatever you plug the speaker into to die, with an accompanying loud bang.

2) You cannot connect normal hi-fi speakers (even if they were wired up correctly) to a modern soundcard either. Because a soundcard has only a tiny power output (milliwatts), designed to power headphones, or feed an amplifier. Connect a set of speakers to that, and the volume would be thousands of times too low to hear anything. Even old soundcards that did have speaker outputs had power outputs of only 3 or 4 watts. Hardly useful.

3) What you need (and don't detail) is an active set of speakers. These are powered by a little amplifier usually built into one of the speakers. This powered speaker amplifies the tiny PC output, then feeds it to all the speakers that are connected to it. By their self contained nature all the plugs and connections are obvious, and correct for connecting to any device with a 3.5mm mini stereo headphone socket.

You can see an example of this type of active (self powered) speaker type listed @ Best Buy

Good luck,


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You will need an amplifier and a break-out cable
by breslin / September 7, 2006 12:17 AM PDT

Like GeeBee said in his post, you can not drive external speakers directly from your sound card unless the speakers are self powered (have an amplifier built in).

What you can do is get an amplifier. With an amplifier you can use a connector with a 3.5mm stereo plug on one end and 2 RCA jacks on the other end. The 3.5 plug would go into your PC and the RCA jacks would go into the amplifier. Then you would use standard speaker wire from the amplifier to your speakers.

The 3.5 plug to RCA cable can be bought most anyplace for $5.00 to $25.00, they are often used to connect Ipods etc. to amplifiers. The amplifier can cost from $25.00 to infinity. If you want a very in-expensive amplifier try an electronics parts type of store. Also I have seen stereo receivers as low as $69.00 at Best Buy.

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I have a logitech speaker set...
by rondanessler / September 7, 2006 12:23 PM PDT

I have that speaker set currently connected to my PC. Its 200w and the 2 satellite speakers each connect to the subwoofer via seperate cables. Would I be able to connect the two speakers i just got to the woofer... somehow?

If you need some pictures of the speakers i recieved or the woofer connection setup, just let me know.

Thanks for the help! ^^
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short answer, no.
by masterying01 / September 7, 2006 12:55 PM PDT

read above posts on why you cant.

the speakers you bought NEED to be powered. in order to power speakers, you need an amp. your headphone jack or an rca jack is not an amp. if you dont want to get a receiver, get better computer speakers (i recommend the klipsch promedia series).

if you do want a receiver, then toss out your old computer speakers and start fresh.

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by rondanessler / September 7, 2006 2:28 PM PDT
In reply to: short answer, no.

Haha, they're so friggin expensive though. Something that can power 500 watts is between $200 and $400, and these speakers only totaled $46 off ebay.

Unless someone can point me in a cheaper direction/ link to one, i think i'd rather just return these for my money back because its definatly not worth it.

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You need an amplifier
by breslin / September 7, 2006 2:48 PM PDT
In reply to: *sigh*

I typed out a whole procedure to adapt your Logitech speakers/amplifier, but I deleted it. You could end up with none of your speakers working.

You need an amplifier or receiver with speaker terminals.

Send me an email with your email address (you can click my profile and have the option to send me an email) or update your profile so you can receive emails, and I'll tell you where you can get an amplifier.

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if you have an old "boom box",
by jonah jones / September 7, 2006 5:53 PM PDT
In reply to: *sigh*

or an old "music centre" (radio/double cassete/amp) it'll work ok...
they usually have a "line in" you can use...


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by rondanessler / September 7, 2006 2:32 PM PDT

Where have you seen thses cheap amps. I looked on ebay, bestbuy, circuitcity, and radioshack's websites and the cheapest so far was about $75 and it only powered 80 watts (2 40 watt channels) and it was really old too.

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Try an electronics parts store
by breslin / September 7, 2006 3:47 PM PDT
In reply to: $25?

As I suggested in my earlier comments, try an electronics parts store. There is a store called Altex here in the Dallas area that sells all types of electronic parts and supplies. I purchased several amplifiers there for $24.00 each that were made to power outdoor speakers. They have no marking for power rating. The have a microphone input jack, a pair of RCA "aux" input jacks, mic volume control, master volume control, bass and treble controls and an on/off switch. I used them to power some speakers in my yard and they sounded OK.

My point to the original poster was that he could find an inexpensive amp if he checked places other than the traditional AV retailers.

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