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Adapting Old DVD Surround Sound Speakers to Work with PC

Posted on 2013-06-30
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Last Modified: 2013-07-02
I have the speakers from a broken Phillips DVD player. The player is the type that has built-in surround sound. The ports on the back of the DVD player look like this:

DVD Player Ports
The speakers appear to use standard speaker wiring, with a connector that looks like:

Speaker Connector
The PC I am trying to connect these speakers to is my media machine which has built-in surround sound (7.1, I believe). The jacks I have available to me are:

PC Surround Sound Jacks
I have a Logitech surround sound speaker setup that I bought for another computer in my home. What I am trying to achieve is to recycle these old DVD player speakers for use with the media PC. I want to basically do what the Logitech setup does:

 PC Speaker Jacks and Connectors
I don't really want to take apart my Logitech speakers to see what they do, and even if I did I might not know (by sight) what was going on with all of the wiring, so I'm hoping you fine gents and ladies can assist! Is there some component I would need to acquire to be able to connect the 6 different DVD player speakers to the 4 port PC surround-sound jacks, or would I just wire the related speakers together and cap the set off with a 3.5mm jack, and the PC would handle the output without issue? If a component is needed, I would entertain having to create the component myself--assuming it isn't too complicated. My preference would be to purchase it.
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Question by:käµfm³d   👽
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by:tailoreddigital
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You need an amplifier.   The PC isn't going to kick out enough juice to power the speakers.    That Logitech system is powered.  

You can cut off those unique DVD speaker plugs and either wire them directly to an amp or use banana plugs or whatever ends you need to connect to the amp.

Those speakers will get a little juice from the computer, but nothing like the Logitech.
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by:Darr247
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I don't see an easy way to adapt those speakers to use with those outputs.

There probably is one out there, but I couldn't find a source for those Philips connectors... so the only way I can see is to cut off those connectors and convert them to 1/8'' (3.5mm) to plug into the PC audio outputs.
e.g. put RCA Plugs on the existing wires, then plug those into a RCA to 3.5mm adapter, and put the 3.5mm stereo plug into the black jack (typically the rear surround output) on the upper left of the surround sound jacks picture, or the gray jack on the lower left (which is typically the middle surround output).  That's slightly more expensive than putting jacks on the existing speaker wires and using another type of adapter, but is really the 'correct' way to do the conversion.
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Like they said, wiring it is pretty straight forward. But one  thing I notice, is that the Philips seem to be 6 ohm. Most speaker are either 8 or 4 ohm. Even with an amp, running 6 ohm speakers might give you issues either way.
Using a 4 ohm amp, will probably limit the volume you can get (too much load).
Using an 8 ohm amp might fry something (not enough load).

You should get some more feed back from someone that knows more about that aspect of this, before you get too far into it..
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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@tailoreddigital

You need an amplifier.
I'm either mentally slow today, or I don't know what I'm looking for. Can you show me an example of what kind of amplifier would work in this scenario? I can further my research from there.

@Darr247
I should have clarified: I have no problem lopping off the existing connectors. In fact, I had anticipated having to do so.

e.g. put RCA Plugs on the existing wires, then plug those into a RCA to 3.5mm adapter...
I assume I would be wiring right and left speaker together before connecting to the RCA plug. Is this correct? I understand, perhaps mistakingly, that the surround sound jacks on the PC will be outputting 2 channels of audio. (Lord I hope I'm not using terminology incorrectly!)

@coral47

I'll take an opinion then:  Would it probably be more prudent to just buy a set of PC surround sound speakers? I thought it would be worthwhile to recycle perfectly good components, but if I end up spending $50 on adapter components, I might as well buy speakers designed to work with the system!
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by:Darr247
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> Is this correct?
No... the Left/Right RCA jack to 3.5mm Stereo Plug adapter combines them. Most of the audio software I've seen has a setup sequence you can walk through to double-check that the correct speakers are in the correct locations (e.g. the voice will say "this is the left front speaker" and the sound comes out the left front speaker; the voice says "this is the center front speaker" and the sound comes out of the center front speaker; et cetera. When it gets to "this is the left surround speaker" if the sound comes out of the right surround speaker instead, just swap the RCA plugs at the adapter.

You could probably find a 3.5mm stereo plug to which you could solder the speaker wires directly, without the RCA plugs/jacks to 3.5mm plug adapter, but 1) it would be harder to make corrections as outlined above (it would be easier to physically move the speakers than resolder the plug), and 2) I would be surprised if anyone with the level of soldering expertise required for that would be here asking how to make this connection.  :)

And yes, the surround jack should output separate signals for the 2 surround speakers, whether it's rear surround or side surround... even though much of the 'echo' they reproduce resembles mono (i.e. the signal may appear to be identical on both surround speakers at times).
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addendum:
Looking through the posts again, I noticed that the Panasonic  Front Center and Sub-woofer outputs say they are 3 ohm. You might not be able to use them at all.

Just for the heck of it, I opened a case of my dinky powered stereo pc speakers, and they are 8 ohm.

A quick look didn't show any low priced multi-inputs amps

>> I'll take an opinion then:

This looks like it could be a fun "learning experience" project. But probably will never work as expected (but I have been wrong before)    ; )

If you are just wanting to hook up a basic surround sound on the second system, you will probably be better off getting something already made.
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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@Darr247

...When it gets to "this is the left surround speaker" if the sound comes out of the right surround speaker instead, just swap the RCA plugs at the adapter.
So if I'm hooking up a standard set of RCA wires (white and red connectors), each connector represents the two wires that lead into each speaker? (i.e. The red RCA is two wires that go to one speaker, and the white RCA is two wires that go to the other speaker.)
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by:Darr247
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Yes, that's correct. For phasing purposes, typically the + lead goes to the center pin and the - lead goes to the shroud that goes around the outside of the RCA jack.

Generally, the minus lead will attach to the frames of both speakers... that's why they only need 3 contacts on the 3.5mm stereo plug - because both the minus leads are on the 'sleeve' closest to the plug's handle, with left's plus on the tip and right's plus on the ring ("right's red on the ring" is the mnemonic I use to remember it).
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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Thank you all for your contributions. I set out thinking this would be a straight-forward endeavor. A speaker's a speaker, right? You've all convinced me that there's a bit more thought that needs to go into this. At this point, I think I'll just look for a decent set of mid-range PC surround sound speakers.
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Thank you much.   : )

You can still do some casual poking around on this project. You never know when some little bit of info you pick up, will come in handy.
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by:käµfm³d 👽
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I may. But my A.D.D. is so fierce, that it will be ages before I get around to it...and even then it will be quite fleeting  ; )
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>> ...my A.D.D. is so fierce,...

I'm very familiar with that situation.
I have a nice collection of "I"ll get back to it",  myself.   : D
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