You don’t have to be an audio geek to know how to connect a soundbar to a computer. In these modern times of technological evolution, this kind of knowledge is essential. If you use computers in daily life, you are not computer illiterate, and you should find it easy enough to connect a soundbar.
Listening to music via your standard PC or laptop speakers can be a soul-destroying experience. And it’s even more disheartening if you’ve spent lots of money on your computer. But don’t stress because connecting a soundbar should take less than ten minutes and will dramatically enhance your audio experience.
Ways to Connect your Soundbar to Computer
Soundbars can be connected to your computer in a few different ways. Some people like to use wired computer speakers, but the main issue with that is you will have to deal with loads of loose wires. Soundbars are popular because they limit clutter, so that sort of defeats the point of using one.
The most common connections are 3.5mm jack types, optical and HDMI cables, or even Bluetooth. You will have to decide which connection suits your needs. If you have a custom-built PC, you might not have a 3.5mm jack or optical ports, so you need to check your computer’s specs to figure out the compatibility.
It can seem confusing but don’t worry, because I will now go through the best ways of how to connect a soundbar to a computer…
1 – AUX Out with 3.5mm Jack Plugs
The easiest way to connect your soundbar to a computer is via the AUX Out 3.5mm jack plug. This also makes it the most commonly used method. The vast majority of modern laptops and custom-built PCs have 3.5mm Aux-out ports. It’s a standard across the board. A 3.5mm jack is the same type of connector used for headphones.
You should be able to simply connect them with a single male-to-male 3.5mm cable. One side connects with your laptop headphones port, and the other side with the aux-in on your soundbar.
You should hear sound immediately, but if not, you’ll need to run some checks. Make sure your volume is turned up on your computer. You can also check if the default playback settings are set to the soundbar or another device.
USB-C to 3.5mm Jack Cable?
There is a chance that your computer’s audio outputs are USB-C. If this is the case, you will need to get some USB-C to 3.5mm jack connectors. These have a USB connection on one side and a 3.5mm jack on the other. Check out these highly recommended male-to-male 3.5mm jacks and USB-C to 3.5mm jack cables.
3.5mm Male-to-Male Jack Cables
- Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided Aux Cable
- Amazon Basics Male-to-Male 3.5mm Jack (2.4 meters)
- TalkWalks Aux Cable 3.5mm x2 (6ft long)
- UGREEN 3.5mm Aux cable (10ft)
USB-C to 3.5mm Jack Cables
- KOOPAO Type-C USB to 3.5mm Aux Jack
- JSAUX USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Jack Cable
- ZOOAUX USB-C to 3.5mm Aux Cord
- Envel Nylon Braided USB-C to Jack Cable
2 – Connecting with Bluetooth
If you have built your PC yourself, you will already know if you have Bluetooth or not! Most modern laptop models have in-built Bluetooth connectivity. It’s one of the most popular ways to connect a soundbar with a computer because it’s simple and practical.
If this is your first time trying to connect your soundbar with a laptop, they probably won’t automatically pair. You must manually pair them yourself.
Turn on the Bluetooth speaker, then go into the sound settings on your computer. Click on the Bluetooth option and proceed to find a list of devices where you can choose your speaker’s model name. Enable the Bluetooth for that specific model, and they should automatically pair. From then on, your computer and Bluetooth soundbar should automatically pair when you turn them on.
3 – HDMI Connections
Did you think that HDMI connections are generally used for video signals only? It’s a common misconception because HDMI isn’t only for video. You can use it to send just the audio channel to another device. This is a great method if you want to use your laptop screen to look at whatever?
Simply connect your soundbar to your computer with the HDMI and then navigate to your computer’s audio settings. From there, it could take a few clicks to get your signals to split and route properly. You might not have an audio option in your settings, and if not, you will find it listed under ‘HDMI.’
4 – Connecting with Digital Optical or SPDIF Cables
If your computer isn’t compatible with our recommended connections, your final option could be connecting via digital optical or SPDIF cables. This is the most unusual option of them all. The most common computers to have these types of connections are custom build models or those with high-end sound cards that you might find in a recording studio PC.
This option is very similar to the 3.5mm Aux connection because all you need to do is take the optical or SPDIF cable and hook it up to your computer and soundbar. The sound should come through your speakers immediately. And if it doesn’t work right away, check the audio-out options in your computer’s sound settings.
If these connection problems persist, there’s a high probability that you have issues with your sound card drivers.
Here are some high-quality digital optical cables that I personally recommend…
- Amazon Basics Digital Optical Cable (3.3 feet)
- KabelDirekt 10 Feet Gold Plated Digital Optical Cable
- iVANKY Digital Optical Nylon Braided Audio Cable (6 foot)
Why Should We use Soundbars with Computers?
Basically, you will get more control over your sound this way. Computers have more sound settings and functions than modern-day TVs and streaming services. They all have limitations on what you can and can’t do with your audio.
However, you can use the audio on your computer for multiple streaming services simultaneously. You can make video calls, play music, watch movies, and anything else all at once. This is a freedom you won’t get with your television.
However, the main problem with using your computer is that the speakers are not designed for high-end sound reproduction. They are generally tinny and inferior. Connecting a soundbar will instantly radically improve sound quality.
Check out these market-leading Bluetooth soundbar models that come recommended by myself and other audio experts.
- TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Soundbar
- Bestian Soundbar Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for TV
- VIZIO Bluetooth Soundbar for TV Home Theater
- VersionTECH Bluetooth Soundbar
- Bose TV Speaker Bluetooth Soundbar
- Samsung HW-S60A 5.1 Bluetooth Soundbar
Where to Position my Soundbar?
Well, this entirely depends on which method you are using to connect to your PC. If you are using 3.5mm jacks or digital optical cables, we would suggest placing your soundbar where you can’t trip over the wires. This is important if you have kids or pets who like to rush around your living room at breakneck speeds.
Ideally, the soundbar should be placed directly underneath your screen or even in the center of the room if you are connected via Bluetooth. You’ll also need to consider how often you will use the system because that will have a knock-on effect on the positioning. This will be a deciding factor on whether you need to hide the cables under a rug or just let them be.
Looking for more great advice and some quality Soundbar recommendations?
Well, we can let you know Can I Use a Soundbar as a Center Channel, How To Connect a Soundbar to TV without HDMI or Optical, our definitive Soundbar vs Soundbase Comparison, Soundbar Above or Below TV, and Can I Connect a Soundbar to a Receiver?
Or, if you’re looking for some great soundbars, you’ll enjoy our in-depth reviews of the Yamaha Audio YAS 109, the Samsung HW R650, our Sony HT S350 Soundbar Review, as well as our reviews of the Klipsch R 10B and the Yamaha YAS 207BL.
And if you want a head-to-head, check out our Bose SoundTouch 300 vs. Sonos Playbar comparison for 2023
How to Connect a Soundbar to a Computer? – Final Thoughts
Connecting a soundbar to a computer is relatively easy if it has either Bluetooth connectivity, 3.5mm Aux jack ports, digital optical cable ports, or HDMI functionality. In fact, you should be connected in less than ten minutes. If they don’t work, you might have to change a few audio settings on your laptop or PC. But as long as you follow my advice, it should be a stress-free experience.
If you’re still using standard computer speakers or built-in laptop speakers in this day and age, you are part of a dying breed. We are living in a world of surround sound and high-quality audio, so don’t hang onto the old ways, or you will get left behind. Connect your soundbar to your computer and enjoy the first-rate sound quality you deserve.
Happy and enjoyable listening!