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Can I use the built-in speakers on a monitor AND other speakers at the same time?

Posted on 2011-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a new Windows 7 Dell XPS with Radeon 5500 sound card. The monitor has built-in 2 watt speakers and it is connected by HDMI.  I need more sound. How do I add another amplified speaker and still use the existing monitor speakers?  
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Question by:thutchinson
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 36590123
Does the Radeon 5500 card have a standard (typically green) jack?  I would expect that you'd plug a standard pair of amplified speakers into that jack and you'd get sound from them.
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36590195
Yes, the sound card has all the expected jacks. I assumed that the sound from the monitor would go away if I did that.  Isn't the sound going out through the HDMI?  Can sound come out of 2 different ports?
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 36590219
While I have not worked with that situation, I would expect that both could be active at once.

The typical situation where you only get one output is when the jack has a physical (internal) disconnect when the plug is disconnected.  HDMI wouldn't have that, although it could be done in software.  I would not expect that.

Rather than speculate on it, do you have a pair of headphones or amplified speakers handy?  If so, give it a try.
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36590238
I don't have any speakers.  I was going to buy some after I knew the type to buy.  I have some headphones which are plugged into the RCA jack on the computer and not directly into the sound card.  When the headphones are plugged in this way, I get no sound from the speakers.
I'll try plugging into the card tonight and let you know.  I just assumed the sound from the speakers would go out.
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by:garycase
ID: 36590385
The audio properties in Windows only allows you to select one playback device at a time ... so you cannot have both HDMI and another output active at the same time.

You may be able to do what you want by splitting the analog output with a Y-jack and connecting both external speakers and your monitor -- IF the monitor has analog inputs and allows you to select the sound input (you'd have to select HDMI video input and analog sound input).    If the monitor doesn't provide that option then you can't do what you've asked -- at least not without some additional electronics [An A/V amplifier with HDMI passthrough would certainly work].
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36590591
Hi Garycase,

Thanks for the input.  Can you tell me more about "at least not without some additional electronics [An A/V amplifier with HDMI passthrough would certainly work]."
What is this additional equipment?  Can I read about it someplace online?  Newegg, perhaps?
 
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by:garycase
ID: 36590723
Any A/V receiver with HDMI switching would allow you to pass through the HDMI to your monitor also driving speakers connected to the receiver.

Newegg, BestBuy, Crutchfield, and many other sites sell them.    Just Google "A/V Receivers" to read reviews; find resellers; etc.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36591053
You cannot run 2 audio devices at the same time.  Your best bet is just to get a 5.1 surround system and hooking it up.  The speakers on your monitor are terrible anyways.  I have never seen or read about a monitor that had good speakers on it worth using.
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596659
To replace the speakers on my monitor for others, do I have to unplug the HDMI and connect using DVI instead?
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596685
DVI is only video.  HDMI has video/audio in one.  Can you please clarify what you are trying to do here a little better and I will be very able to help you out better.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596707
Oh, I think I understand what you are trying to do now.  You just want to boost up the sound with your existing monitor speakers.  Like I said before, monitor speakers are there just so you can use them if you have nothing else.  If you are investing in an amplifier, why not get a whole system it might even be cheaper and definately better than those monitor speakers.  This is a desktop pc with a monitor and not a laptop right?  They have laptop mini speakers which supposedly are fantastic for their price.  If you are set on using the monitor speakers and just want a boosted signal, you are going to need to purchase just an amplifier via amazon.com or newegg.com are the best places.  Then you will want to see if your monitor speakers have a green input somewhere and run a interconnect audio cable that is green from the monitors to the amplifier your getting.  Then the amp should have a USB connection or similar to the green connection which you just attach to your computer.  I highly suggest a simple 2.1 system over those monitor speakers, you will get a much much better sound with amplified.  Here is what I would suggest.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-S220-Speaker-System-Subwoofer/dp/B000RQSGYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317000201&sr=8-1

like i said, your gonna end up paying just as much and have a harder time looking for an amp that will connect to your monitor speakers than just getting this set.  for 22 that is a steal.  i am currectly using those same speakers with my laptop and the sound from them is phenomenal for the price.  they easily sound like 60 dollar speakers.  with the amp i am sure they sound 10x better.  just get the set and give me the points because i desperately need them lol.  but anyways, that set will connect to your system by usb i am pretty sure or the green audio cable and your done.  much much much better sound that any monitor speaker could ever get.  Good luck!
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596711
I have a very small crouded desk.  I didn't want the clutter of more wires and speakers so I bought a monitor with speakers.  The trouble is, I can't hear it.  The speakers are not loud enough.  

I like the HDMI because it's clean-you know-a single connection.   I was hoping that I could get away with adding just a couple of tiny, non-intrusive speakers so I could hear better. If I could also use the speakers on the monitor than I was thinking that I didn't need to add but a couple more watts per channel.  I  I don't need great sound because I'm not gaming or listening to music.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596741
If you have Realtek, you can go into there are audio settings.  There should be a setting that will amplify the sound to make it louder if I remember correctly.  Let me find it for you.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596751
So, your not gaming or music listening.  Why do you need sound then?  Just to hear the beeps that Windows Sounds has lol.  Or do you watch movies with it?  If you go into the lower right of your screen and right click the audio settings you will find the audio options.  Go in there and mess around until the sound is where you want it.  I suggest trying the different equalizer settings that will definately help.  Some are loud and some are soft.  I think Techno or Jazz is a pretty loud one, or Rock.  There is a video program called VLC Media Player that has some nice audio settings as well.  But if your not doing gaming or music, why do you need speakers then besides the windows beeps which should definately be loud enough?  Or do you talk to people through webcam or something?  Let me know, I can definately help you and I need these points because I want a free membership so I can ask questions.
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596752
Yes, I have Realtek.  ATI HDMI output is at "100%". In the Volume Mixer, everything is up all the way.  In the Digital Output tab, the slider is all the way up.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596765
Go into the equalizer settings.  And I remember now that the Realtek Audio near the Equalizer settings has a amplify boost bar.  So turn that up to where it's louder!

This might help as well, just do opposite of what he said because his sound is too loud:

http://support.thehunter.com/entries/20103946-wind-or-ambient-sound-is-too-loud

The sound effects page is where you want to be though.  Try messing with the Karaoke settings, the Equalizer settings, etc.  You can even mess with the environment ones to like a padded room or something might make it louder.  Good luck!
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596769
I listen to streaming video from business news sites, mostly.  I also watch TV (mostly business and investment news) on the PC a bit while I get ready for work in the morning.
The speakers are located in the back of the monitor.  That's the problem.  They should have put them facing forward/outward.
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596770
2  watts per channel should have been enough.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596779
Read my last few comments.  The monitor speakers are a horrible idea.  I don't know why they invented them.  Flat tube monitors used to come with speakers, but at least they were good enough.  The speakers that come on LCD's just don't make sense.  I think they are just there so you have something to hear sound incase you have nothing.  But, try messing around with teh audio settings.  If it still isn't loud enough I would try this:

http://www.amazon.com/GOgroove-SoundClip-High-Powered-Portable-Computer/dp/B004Z24L2W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317002433&sr=8-1

a 60 dollar set for half the price you cannot go wrong.

I had this speaker and it was great for the price, but those GOgroove supposedly have awesome sound.  Probably a lot better than the Logitech too.  Both of them won't clutter your desk like speakers would though.  They just connect via USB and they both charge via USB while they are playing so no need for batteries.  Get the GOgroove if you can, honestly it will be better than the Logitech.  Just thought I could give you options.  Accept this comment as the answer though so people in your situation will know what to get.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Z205-Portable-Computer-Speaker/dp/B0043TB7OC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317002475&sr=8-2

Those 2 speakers would be your best option.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596780
If they were facing front like you said 2w would have been enough.  The people who design these things must be on something.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36596783
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by:thutchinson
ID: 36596864
If I plug USB speakers into the Audio out, then I can't use HDMI, correct?  I have to use DVI?
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jschristian44 earned 500 total points
ID: 36596886
The USB Speakers just plug into a port into your Laptop or Desktop Tower.  You can use HDMI as the video signal, but you have to turn the Audio Signal coming from it off in your Device Manager.  I can help you with that if you are going to get these speakers, it's pretty easy.  DVI is the same clarity as HDMI and I think it's better but that is just me.  I have always used DVI to attach video and USB or audio port to connect audio.  Just leave the HDMI connected like it is and do this:

Click Start>Computer>Right Click Computer>Click Manage/Yes>
On the left of the popup screen it will say Device Manager.  Click that and wait for it.  Then, click the plus box next to Sound Controllers.  You will see AMD HDMI Device.  Right click that and click disable.  Now your audio is disabled, but the video is not.  So that will disable the monitor speakers and then just plug in the USB to any connection on your computer, it will install automatically and you will have a very very nice sound setup that will attach to your monitor without clutter.  Get the GOGroove I am telling you!  Good luck!
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