How to Connect an iPhone to a Bluetooth Speaker

Many modern computers include built-in speakers, however all of these devices can benefit from higher-quality external speakers. The problem, then, is connecting these speakers to the computer.

How do we connect speakers of various types to our computers? The method for connecting an external speaker to a computer varies depending on the type of speaker. Bluetooth speakers connect wirelessly via Bluetooth; USB speakers connect via USB cables; and standard speakers require an interface (internal or external) to connect to a computer.

In this guide, we will go over the many methods for properly connecting speakers to computers and having the computer audio replicated as sound by the speakers. Not only will we go over the “how-to” stages, but we’ll also learn more about the theories and mechanics that underpin the connections.

A Primer On Computer Audio & Speaker Audio

Let’s start this how-to guide with a brief overview of computer audio and speaker audio.

Computers are digital devices that can store and play digital audio.

Speakers are essentially analogue equipment. They require constantly varying analog audio signals to act as transducers and generate sound.

To effectively connect a speaker to a computer, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) must be placed between the two. As the name implies, the DAC converts the computer’s digital audio into analog audio, which the speaker can then emit as sound.

Each connection method described in this article includes a DAC somewhere along the signal stream.

Selecting The Computer Audio Output

There are times when the computer is properly connected to its speakers but the audio is not being transmitted correctly.

In troubleshooting, the most typical cause is that the computer’s audio output is not sending audio where it should be.

To send audio from a computer to a speaker (or several speakers), the computer’s output audio must be directed to the appropriate device.

This is a critical piece of information to include early in the article. I’ll refer to this section when we discuss how to connect various speaker types to PCs.

To select the audio output on Mac OS, follow these instructions:

  • System Preferences > Sound > Output
  • Select proper output, play an audio file and turn up the volume of the output device.

To select the audio output on Windows OS, follow these instructions:

  • Control Panel > Sound > Playback
  • Select proper output, play an audio file and turn up the volume of the output device.

A Special Note On Drivers

It’s crucial to remember, however, that the term “driver” refers to two distinct components of the computer-speaker connection. Let us define each.

A speaker driver is the transducer component of the speaker that converts electrical energy (analog audio signals) into mechanical wave energy (sound waves).

A computer hardware driver is a collection of digital files that allow computer hardware to connect with the operating system.

I’ll try my best to clear up any confusion as we go, but keep in mind that I’ll be referring to two separate things when I use the term “driver.”

The Various Connection Types Between Speakers & Computers

Let’s list out and further describe the various methods that can connect speakers to computers:

  • USB/digital
  • Internal audio interface
  • External audio interface
  • Bluetooth
  • Other wireless protocols

Connecting Speakers To Computers Via USB/Digital Connections

Some computer speakers include USB connectors.

These speakers, as the name implies, link digitally to the computer via a USB connector.

The methods for attaching USB speakers to a computer are rather straightforward:

  • Connect one end of the USB cable into the computer.
  • Connect the other end (if necessary) into the speaker.

USB speakers function as their own interfaces, with built-in digital-to-analog converters.

The computer outputs digital audio via the USB port, which goes through the USB cable and enters the DAC of the USB speaker, where it is amplified and drives the speaker.

We may need to install computer drivers to use the USB speakers. Many will function as plug-and-play devices, eliminating the need for manual driver installation.

The computer will frequently select the USB speaker(s) as its audio output device as soon as the connection is completed.

If the computer does not deliver audio to the attached USB speakers, we can manually choose them as output devices in System Preferences (Mac OS) or Control Panel (Windows OS).