Can I safely try any external computer speaker set with my laptop?

  polymath 21:48 21 Sep 13

At the moment, it's only for the purpose of troubleshooting sound loss in the laptop (though it would be useful to know anyway). There's a speaker set handy (a woofer & 2 little ones) that I know works with my desktop computer, but I just wanted to check before trying it with the notebook computer. I remember reading somewhere that the wrong speakers can cause damage to a hi-fi system (or vice versa), but don't know if that applies with computers?

  dangerus1 07:53 22 Sep 13

Polymath, I would be interested to see any answers to your question as I have a netbook and it's a waste of time playing music as the sound is so poor.

  Nontek 09:10 22 Sep 13

I don't know about netbooks, but I have powered speakers permanently attached to my laptop and they work fine. I ditched my desktop in favor of a new laptop, but kept my keyboard, external speakers and large monitor to use all, with the laptop.

So I would say, yes try it.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:30 22 Sep 13

that I know works with my desktop computer,

yes they will be ok to use on the laptop / netbook

Easiest is normaly to use a pair of headphones however be careful of the headphones used for iphones/ ipads as they are wired differently to the pins but will not cause damage just not work.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:36 22 Sep 13

Sound loss

  1. check speakers plugged into correct socket (green) and powered if require (substitute headphones for quick test)

  2. check software volume controls at max and not muted (note laptops may also have hardware controls - slider /wheel and mute button)

  3. check sound card drivers are not showing problems (red / yell asterix) in device manager

  4. also check correct sound card configuration is selected (some machines have front and rear sockets)

  Batch 15:14 22 Sep 13

If you are talking about "true" hifi, then the speakers for those do not have built in amplification. The amplifier is part of the main hifi unit (often separate boxes for Pre-amp, amp, cd drive, DAC and so on. The power level and impedance of the amplifier and speakers should be matched otherwise problems can arise.

PC speakers are almost invariably so called "powered speakers" where one of the speaker units (typically the sub-woofer if the set-up has one, if not one of the left / right speakers) has a built in amplifier (which is inherently matched to the speaker set-up that it is part of). Power either comes from themains or from a USB port.

  woodchip 17:08 22 Sep 13

You should be able to connect any powered Speakers or Stack system to the hear-phone socket. to input socket on the speakers. But turn the power down before connection. but just to test sound, plug some ear-phones in. if you have good hearing

  polymath 17:07 23 Sep 13

Thank you all for the help and info. (Sorry about the delay - thought there'd been no replies, but must have forgotten to check reply notification was on).

Meanwhile, after a bit of Googling, it seemed what I'd been thinking of was that speakers can be damaged if something or other in the hifi is too powerful for them. As that seemed somewhat unlikely here (notebook computer, mains-powered speaker set with amplifier), I connected it to the notebook (via speaker/earphone jack), and the sound works fine through these external speakers.

Looks like those tiny integral speakers have simply died then (well, the notebook is 6 years old). It's good to know the sound's basically still working.

dangerus1; have you considered a 'surface' speaker, such as a Soundbug? (about mouse - size, uses flat surfaces, usb/wifi/bluetooth connection). A friend demonstrated his on a little bar counter, and I couldn't believe the sound wasn't coming from full-size speakers. (I'm definitely getting one!).

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