Your computer shares a key, though unwanted, feature with your TV: tiny built-in speakers. great audio just isn’t in your wheelhouse. There isn’t enough room in a laptop (or even a desktop chassis) for high-quality speakers, so if you want good sound, you have to get that audio information out of the computer and into an external speaker. And since space is often at a premium on your computer desk, there’s no better solution than a sound bar.
but not all soundbars are ideal for use with a computer. For one thing, large soundbars take up a lot of space and aren’t designed for close-up listening. The Yamaha SR-C20A Compact Sound Bar, however, can fit just about anywhere, and thanks to its wireless capabilities (along with extensive wired options), it can be used throughout the home. even in front of a computer to play.
Reading: How to connect soundbar to laptop
In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to connect a soundbar to your Mac® or PC, using the sr-c20a as our benchmark. note: Regardless of the type of connection you decide to make, we suggest that you always start by placing the soundbar directly in front of your computer facing where you are sitting, approximately chest height.
Nearly all makes and models of soundbars offer one or more options for wired connections. An analog input is almost always provided (usually on the rear panel), and many soundbar models also offer digital inputs. let’s take a look at each one separately.
Most laptops and desktops have built-in analog audio outputs, sometimes labeled aux (for auxiliary). These are the connectors you use to connect wired headphones or computer speakers, but they can also be used to connect your computer to a sound bar. simply get a cable of sufficient length, with 1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo plugs on both ends, and connect one end to your soundbar’s analog input port (labeled “analog” on the sr-c20a, as shown in the illustration below), then connect the other end to the auxiliary output of your computer. check your computer’s audio settings to make sure the signal is sent to the analog output and you’re good to go.
an optical input (sometimes called “spdif”, short for the type of digital audio interconnect protocol used) allows a soundbar to receive digital audio over a fiber optic cable, with light (blinking inside the a glass or plastic tube) that carries the signal. Because it’s a digital format, it can carry Dolby Digital and Dolby Audio virtual surround sound audio, as well as standard two-channel stereo, making it a better choice than analog.
Most computers don’t offer an optical/spdif output, but if yours does, all you have to do is plug in an optical cable, then plug the connector on the other end into the optical input on the bar of sound (circled). red in the illustration below).
If your computer doesn’t have an optical/SPDIF output, the SR-C20A offers a workaround: Run an HDMI® cable (see below) from your computer to a monitor or TV that’s equipped with an optical ouput, then plug an optical cable into the monitor/TV optical output and connect it to the SR-C20A’s “TV” input (circled in red in the illustration below). This adds a step but lets you enjoy all the digital features that come with using an optical connection.
This is considered the gold standard of cable television connections and is available on all modern televisions. Additionally, some soundbars, including the SR-C20A, are HDMI compatible (see illustration below). HDMI cables are exceptionally durable and use multiple layers of shielding and copper conductors to transmit audio and video simultaneously. The HDMI protocol allows you to enjoy all of the audio features your soundbar has to offer, such as full 5.1 channel surround sound, Dolby Digital Audio, and Dolby Audio Virtual Surround Sound, along with support for ARC (Audio Return Channel). , which allows you to send audio from your computer to your TV or sound bar via a standard hdmi cable.
There is one “gotcha” here: Computers typically don’t have ARC built in. There are, however, two ways to get around this: One is to use an ARC-enabled TV as your computer monitor. To do this, simply run an HDMI cable from your computer to the TV, then connect a second HDMI cable to the sound bar’s ARC input. If your TV does not have ARC, you’ll need to purchase a third-party adapter to convert HDMI to optical or analog audio and then create the following chain:
computer hdmi output -> hdmi adapter in -> optical or analog output adapter -> optical or analog tv in -> optical or analog tv output -> sound bar
Yes, it’s quite complicated, but it gives you all the great features that hdmi has to offer. Make sure to change your computer’s audio output settings so that the audio is sent through hdmi and not to some other connected device like a headset.
some soundbars (such as the sr-c20a) offer wireless connectivity via bluetooth®. In addition to the simplicity of a wireless connection, Bluetooth offers additional features that you won’t get with wired options, such as:
– placement flexibility (up to 33 feet from your computer)
– the ability to connect and switch between two separate devices (such as adding a mobile device to the mix)
– audio enhancement technology such as yamaha compressed music enhancer, which improves the sound of compressed audio formats such as mp3 by using sophisticated digital signal processing
Here’s how to set up a bluetooth connection between your computer and your sound bar:
1. change the soundbar’s audio mode to bluetooth. on the sr-c20a, this can be accomplished via the remote control, the yamaha soundbar driver app, or manually on the bar by pressing the icon (shown in the illustration below) repeatedly until the blue bluetooth light comes on.
2. Look for Bluetooth. On your computer, go into your PC Settings (Windows) or System Preferences (Mac) and look for Bluetooth. In Windows computers, this is found in the Devices section; in Macs, go to the Bluetooth section under Internet & Wireless.
3. Make sure your device is discoverable. (The sr-c20a is automatically detected when you switch to bluetooth mode).
4. pair your computer with the soundbar. to do this on windows systems, click on the soundbar from the list of devices displayed on the screen:
On Mac systems, click the Bluetooth icon, then click the audio icon for a drop-down menu that lists all named devices and select the device you want for output:
Whichever system your computer uses, be sure to set your default audio playback device to the sound bar before testing it by playing audio from your computer. If there is no sound, check that your computer and sound bar have the volume turned up. Some other common troubleshooting methods include:
– unpair and re-pair the two devices
– reboot the computer
– update the bluetooth driver on your computer
Regardless of which connection option you choose, adding a sound bar will allow you to enjoy much better audio than your computer can provide on its own. And be sure to try out the different sound modes on your soundbar to get even more out of your audio!
Check out these related blog articles:
Introducing the sr-c20a compact soundbar
how (and where) to mount a TV and sound bar
how to buy a sound bar
how to hide the cables in your home theater
how to connect the nintendo switch to your tv, soundbar or av receiver
click here to learn more about the yamaha sr-c20a soundbar.
Click here for information on the Yamaha SR-B20A Soundbar – a larger alternative with two subwoofers and additional features.