Build Your Own PC/Computer

How to connect a sound card to other devices and configure Windows

The analog audio ports are the series of round green, pink, blue, orange, and black ports on a sound card. If you have integrated sound on a PC’s motherboard or in a laptop PC, you’ll probably only have the analog audio ports coloured green, pink, and blue.

General-purpose sound cards have 3.5mm analog sockets for mic/line inputs and headphone/speaker outputs. Sound cards that support surround-sound systems have up to four output sockets, and often also an optical mini-S/PDIF port for digital output.

If you have stereo 2.1 speakers, connect them to the green audio port, labelled line-out, on the sound card. That port is also used for the front left and right speakers in a 5.1 surround-sound setup. You usually connect the rear speakers to the black port labelled Line-out 2, and the centre/subwoofer speaker is usually connected to the orange port labelled Line-out 3.

Note that the manufacturers of sound cards use different ports to connect the remaining speakers in 6.1- and 7.1-channel sound systems. You should refer to your sound card’s installation manual for specific instructions.

You should be able to find user manuals by using a search query in a web search engine, such as: sound card user manual.

In Windows XP, you configure Windows and your PC’s sound software from Sounds and Audio Devices in the Control Panel. Open it and click on the Advanced button of Speaker settings under the Volume tab. You should check that the correct speaker configuration is selected from the drop-down menu there.

In Windows Vista/7, click on the Start button in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, and enter the word sound in the Search… box. Then double-click the Sound applet that appears under Programs, select the device you want to configure and click on the configure button. The Sound applet can also be used to test speaker positions and connections.

How to Fix Audio Problems on Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 –

Here is a good video that goes through all of the settings for audio and music production in Windows 8.1. You should be able to find a similar video for Windows 10, released on 29 July 2015.

Tweaking Windows 8.1 For Audio and Music Production –

You may also need to adjust the audio setup within your DVD playback software and in PC games.

Next page: Desktop PC installation checklist and the installation of Windows 7/8.1/10