Avoiding spending a ton on a speaker system is difficult if you want the best audio quality. It often feels like there is no way around hooking up extra speakers when all you want is a monitor with great sound.
High-quality monitors with built-in speakers are few and far between. Integrated speakers are often a big step down from external equipment, but it’s nice to have options. Even if it’s as a backup for the sake of convenience, it should not be hard to get sound from a monitor without built-in speakers.
Critical Factors to Consider
The hardware of your monitor is the crucial factor in getting good audio. While some cables are required for most considerations, it won’t break the bank as much as buying new speakers.
Double-check that your monitor does not have built-in speakers
While uncommon, if you’re wishing to save on space or money, you can sometimes find the built-in speakers of a monitor behind the screen. The vibrations caused by sound transfer can mess with the components of a monitor, so they aren’t big or powerful.
If you can’t seem to find their physical location, then finding the name of your monitor online is a solid backup to check on.
Does your monitor have a 3.5mm output port?
3.5mm is the most common headphone jack size. It is often behind the screen, just like where you’d look for built-in speakers. Not all monitors have these tiny circular ports. If you don’t know for sure, it won’t take long to find out.
If you can find the proper port on your monitor, then we recommend taking advantage of this audio connection jack to hook up headphones or earbuds of your choice.
What connectivity options does your monitor have?
You can pass audio through many different connections, letting you customize your listening experience. Some possibilities include DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB types.
If your monitor has an HDMI port, for example, you could take advantage of an HDMI audio extractor to avoid shelling out for speakers.
4 Methods to Getting Sound from a Monitor Without Speakers
Consuming media without audio is no fun. Let’s solve this problem right now.
1. Audio Connection Jack
Best For: Those who use earbuds or headphones
Now that you’ve looked over your monitor, you should be able to tell if it has a basic audio connection port. 3.5mm cabling can help you extend the sound from your monitor to a pair of headphones or earbuds. Our recommended extension cable considering durability and sound quality is listed below.
More complicated routing introduces more potential errors, but it won’t be too expensive. It’s as simple as chaining as many plugs and connectors together as you need to reach a comfortable and practical listening spot. We recommend testing out distances for the headphones or earbuds you intend to use before cementing where your monitor and set-up are going.
You can also take advantage of this basic connection using an audio splitting cable for 3.5mm connectors for more than one person to listen at once.
2. HDMI Audio Extractor
Best For: Users who need high quality audio
An HDMI audio extractor is a special box used to take signals from an HDMI cable’s input and output sound. You’ll need an HDMI port on your monitor, as well as any form of listening tech compatible with the box itself.
Most HDMI audio extractors work with 3.5mm jacks, so finding the right way to listen shouldn’t be too difficult. These boxes are also a lot cheaper than having to get high-end speakers, and still allow you to get the entire signal from your monitor.
If your monitor has no conventional audio connection ports and cannot output sound on its own, then this could be your only option without another device.
3. Wirelessly via Bluetooth
Best For: Users who want a wireless experience
Depending on your headphone options, the device you are using as an audio source, and the type of monitor you have, it can be as simple as syncing two devices together to get sound. Keep in mind that this method only works if your monitor has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Plug your Bluetooth transmitter into the monitor and turn the transmitter on. Once the transmitter is on, pair it to your Bluetooth-enabled speakers, sound system, headphones, or earbuds. Refer to the manufacturer instructions with the Bluetooth transmitter for exact pairing directions.
Entering pairing mode for many devices is a quick process that requires holding down a power or Bluetooth button on one or more machines at the same time. It can be necessary to activate the Bluetooth mode of a monitor using a remote or a button that may be separate from other controls.
If your monitor has a USB port, plug in the Bluetooth transmitter to the USB port to ensure the transmitter battery does not die.
You’ll need both devices to have Bluetooth, but once you do, you can enjoy your monitor’s visuals and hear every second of it, all wirelessly.
4. Primary Device Output
Best For: Users that have a primary device which has a 3.5mm jack or Bluetooth
The usual monitor has some form of audio output, but quality sound can oftentimes be easy to get without even needing to mess with your monitor. Bypassing the monitor to use its video display is another option available. The primary point of a monitor is in its video display, after all.
If you’re using a computer, for example, changing the primary output device from your monitor to your computer can make connecting headphones much easier. This could also help you find which device has the best raw audio output in cases where you can’t wear headphones or earbuds.
Check the Monitor’s Sound Settings
Monitors with built-in speakers should have volume controls in the form of buttons on at least one of the sides, or even a remote to go with it. It’s worth taking a second look in cases like this to make sure your monitor isn’t muted, especially if you’re considering buying new equipment to fix a potential problem.
Many monitors are easiest to diagnose when connected to a computer. You can not only inspect its properties in a bit more depth using default applications like device manager but can also test a wide variety of audio. Based on what you most often listen to, you can see how the monitor measures up for music genres, podcasts, or whatever else.
Did You Get Sound From Your Monitor?
We hope that you can make use of any of these methods to make the most of your monitor’s audio.
If you are still unable to get audio, consider other factors like your sound settings in Windows or macOS.
Even with just one extra cable, you can turn plenty of set-ups into workable stations for listening of all sorts.
Familiarizing yourself with the available ports and connectors of your monitor is the first step to getting the most from the situation.