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Speakers for your PC


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I don't have an FM Transmitter yet, so I want to place two speakers out in my yard for people to hear the music.

I have some old stereo speakers that plug into the back of my stereo. Problem is the plug does not connect to my PC. Can I buy some sort of an adaptor (if so, which one) and cut off the old plug and put a PC compatible plug on the end? I'd like to avoid having to make an investment in PC speakers.

What has everyone else done when it comes to connecting speakers to their PC and placing speakers out in their yard?

Thanks Everyone in Advance. Planet Christmas is AWESOME! I'm Learning a ton!:waycool:

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Thanks Brad for the quick response, but I'm not using an FM Transmitter this year. Is this adapter still going to work?

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Speakers made for a computer usually have a built in amplifier; normally, speakers that are connected to a stereo do not have the amplifier. If you use regular stereo speakers designed for a stereo system, you will have to connect the computer to the amplifier and then attach the speakers to your amplifier.

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mcnamara9 wrote:

I don't have an FM Transmitter yet, so I want to place two speakers out in my yard for people to hear the music.

I have some old stereo speakers that plug into the back of my stereo. Problem is the plug does not connect to my PC. Can I buy some sort of an adaptor (if so, which one) and cut off the old plug and put a PC compatible plug on the end? I'd like to avoid having to make an investment in PC speakers.

What has everyone else done when it comes to connecting speakers to their PC and placing speakers out in their yard?

Thanks Everyone in Advance. Planet Christmas is AWESOME! I'm Learning a ton!:waycool:
I've used speakers outside before. I wouldn't recommend using PC speakers outdoors. IF they get wet they could short out and then your computer could be at risk. I would reccommend getting weatherprrof speakers. You can find them at Lowe's or Home Depot. Connect them to an amplifier then connect the output of your sound card to the amp as suggested in a previous post. This will give you cleaner sound then the pc speakers would and you don't have to worry about the elements in winter.
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you can use the thing brad has the picture of....allyou need is the male part of the rca jack on your speaker wire

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It might be cheaper to get a low end transmitter rather than doing the speakers? Just a thought. I know many people are using that Belkin II transmittter and it is in the 20-40 dollar range.

Just my thoughts?

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If you are going to use speakers outside you will have to use an external amplifier and either (A) use outdoor speakers, or (B) weather proof the speakers you have and/or at least keep them out of the elements (Recommend both).

Generally the output power of a P.C. (not Planet Christmas) sound card is not sufficient enough to supply a set of 8 ohm speaker's, where it could be heard for more than a couple feet away):). Also keep in mind that the neighbors may become upset after hearing the same song's over and over and over again every night, along with you and your family's sanity.

The Belkin II transmitter is a low cost way of doing it, and there is something to be said about having the people watching your display from the comfort of their own car (with their windows rolled up and their heater running), But some outdoor sound is cool for those walking by.

Bill

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Excellent feedback everyone! I appreciate it. I now know what I need to do. I may even invest in the FM Transmitter. I didn't realize you could get them so inexpensive.

Is the Belkin II a reliable transmitter? Where is the best place to purchase one?

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You PC output is basically a line level output or about 1V. It's not enough to drive an unpowered speaker to any significant volume. I used to do an animation sequence with a box that provided 11 minutes of music before cycleing thru again. Its sound output also put out a similar level to your PC. I ran it to a cheap amplifier which I got free, but I think Radio Shack sold them for about $39 at the time. Then I took an old speaker and hung it up in a tree by the road with it pointing down at the street. My 'Weather Proofing' consisted of painting the back of the speaker which was particle board with flat black paint. I used it for probably 15 years and it's still fine. Looks like trash, but works OK.

My recomendation - Paint the speakers, buy an amplifier off ebay and go for it.

As for the neighbors, Every year I made a point of visiting them the night I turned it on (or if they weren't home keep going back till I talked with them). We'd go inside, close the door. Make sure the level couldn't be heard. I never had complaints or issues and they always knew they could ask to turn it down. Making the effort to show you care goes a huge distance.

This year, when I do the LOR for the first time, I'm going to steal Don's idea and deliver a written letter to everyone within about 4 houses.

Ken Mays
Lewisville tx

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If you go with the transmitter you can always set an old boom box or something outside and just set it to the station you are using. That is my plan.

I have an old one that if I lose it to moisture no biggie. It has detachable speakers, so my radio stays dry and only the speakers get wet. It worked for my last year, at least setting the speakers out. They still work even now.

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The poor-man's way to have external speakers is to go to the Salvation Army store and look for a pair of old desktop PC speakers. Most of them have a small amplifier, so you'll need to put a stake in your yard near the street, mount the speakers (ala a P/A system) and then run a long cable from your PC to the speakers (radio shack headphone 1/8" stereo plug) or make-up your own. You'll need to run 110V power out there also.

It even might work to use some old Cat-5 cable and run both the left/righ soud signals and the DC power out to the speakers.

The BIGGER issue will be a) the kids that use baseball bats to smash your 'mailbox' speakers or B) the neighbor that kicks his cat because of your repeated playing of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" from sunset to 10pm....

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Just use an old set of speakers for the PC. You may need to alter the wire to get the sound were you want it. This way, you do not need to blast the speakers so the whole neighborhood hears it.

You don't need an FM transmitter, or CAT-5 cable. People really get confused with the CAT-5 cable thing. Your transmitting audio, NOT high-speed critical data.


As far as the songs go, no one is going to sit out there and listen to the whole show every night for the most part.

I have been doing this for a few years and yet to have a neighbor get mad over the songs.

You are not going to have the music that loud, or should not have that loud to begin with.

Don't forget to put a zip-lock bag over the speaker to protect them, and try to hide them under a bush or tree.

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Hi John,

my response to this thread in the possible use of Cat-5 cable for audio was ONLY just because it is a cheap way to get multi-conductor cable form the PC outdoors to the speakers and coule be used to run left-channel, righ-channel, and possibly the 6V power to the speakers all from inside the house.

Since most LOR users buy Cat-5 cable in spools to run from the PC to the LOR controllers, i thought that this might be another use for the cable. But, you're right in that the application calls for running analog speaker signal, not data.

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Everyone's response's have been great and I have taken notes. Thanks again. I'm welcomed to any more "poor man way's" as Dr Hitch called it as well. Thanks again Everyone!

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Not a problem, I knew you could use cat-5 , but I think just some standard zip cord or audio cable is also an option that was not mentioned.

Also, I would think it would be a little tougher to make the actual connection since as you know any data/telephone cable is solid, not stranded which can cause an issue at the connection.

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Hi All,

If you have a Costco Near you ... I just picked up two "rock" (they look like rocks) for the outdoors ... can't remember the price, but seems line they were around $80.

I had done research and was considering buying the same brand over the internet before I stumbled across them at Costco.

(Interesting Tip: If you ever see a price at Costco that end in "7" ... like 99.97, then it has been marked down from its original pricing. All original pricing ends with a "9".)

Last year I did not have outside speakers set up ... just an FM transmitter. But, this year, to do a Halloween thing ... I will need sound outside. So, the speakers will be hooked up to an old Tuner. The tuner will be set to the FM channel of the transmitter, and then the Tuner/Recv'r will power the speakers.

T.

(I'll edit later with the exact model of these speakers ... but the above setup will also allow me to have sound when I want it outside, and just FM when I don't.)

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