How to Connect a Projector to a Speaker

Four ways to get better sound from your projector with speakers

This article explains how to connect a projector to a speaker, including methods for standalone speakers, soundbars, and home theater systems.

How do Projectors Connect to Speakers?

Every projector comes with its own unique set of inputs and outputs, and you can connect a projector to speakers either directly or indirectly, depending on the equipment you’re using. Basic projector setups typically involve just using the built-in speaker or connecting the speakers directly to the projector. In contrast, more complicated home theater systems will normally use an A/V receiver that handles the video end and passes the audio signal to the speakers.

These are the most common ways of connecting a projector to speakers:

  • Standalone stereo speakers: This simple option uses a pair of stereo speakers; it typically uses powered speakers.
  • Soundbar: This is a similar option, as a soundbar is essentially just a set of powered speakers built into a single unit.
  • Bluetooth speakers: Some projectors support Bluetooth, in which case you can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled speaker.
  • A/V receiver: This is a more complicated option. Your streaming device, DVD or Blu-ray player, or other media connects to the receiver, as do the speakers, and video is output from the receiver to your projector. Other components, like an amplifier, may also be involved.

These are the types of connections you can use to connect a projector to speakers:

  • RCA connectors: If your projector has RCA connectors, you can connect to stereo speakers. Each speaker needs one cable. Your projector may also have RCA video inputs, with either one for composite video or three for component video.
  • Stereo audio jack: This is the same type of audio jack that’s been around for decades and is still found on many phones and often used for headphones and earbuds. One 3.5mm TRRS cable can send a stereo signal to a set of standalone speakers or a soundbar.
  • Optical/TOSLINK: If your projector has an optical or TOSLINK output, you can use that with a soundbar for a surround sound experience. This option typically also provides higher quality sound than an RCA or TRRS connection.
  • Bluetooth: If you have a Bluetooth-compatible speaker and your projector supports Bluetooth, there are no additional cables or components to purchase. The connection is wireless. However, audio over Bluetooth is typically lower quality than the other options.

How to Connect a Projector to Stereo Speakers

If you want to connect your projector to stereo speakers, buy powered speakers designed for this purpose. Speakers that connect to an A/V receiver or amplifier won’t work. You will also have to inspect the speakers to see what type of audio connection they use.

If the speakers are wired together, you may be able to connect with a single 3.5mm audio cable, but most of these speakers require a separate left and right channel RCA connection. If your projector only has a 3.5mm audio output and your speakers have RCA inputs, you’ll have to buy a 3.5mm to 2x RCA stereo audio splitter.

Here’s how to connect a projector to stereo speakers:

  1. Position the speakers where you want them, and plug them into power or insert the batteries.

  2. Connect an audio cable to one of the audio output options on your projector.

  3. Connect the other end of the cable to your speakers.

    If necessary, connect an adapter to the audio cable. Each speaker may require a separate connector.

  4. Adjust the volume on your projector.

    Some powered speakers have to be turned on and include a volume control. If you don’t hear anything, make sure the speakers are on and not turned down.

How to Connect a Projector to a Soundbar

Connecting a projector to a soundbar is a lot like connecting to stereo speakers, but you may have an additional connection option. In addition to a stereo audio jack and stereo RCA connectors, many soundbars include an optical option like TOSLINK. If your projector and soundbar both support an optical connection, that’s the one you should use. The only exception is if your projector has an HDMI out and your soundbar has an HDMI in.

Here’s how to connect a projector to a soundbar:

  1. Position the sound bar where you want it, and plug it into power.

  2. Connect an audio cable to one of the output options on your projector.

    If possible, use an optical connection.

  3. Connect the other end of the cable to your soundbar.

  4. Turn the soundbar on.

  5. Adjust the volume of the soundbar to your liking.

    If your projector has a low-quality built-in speaker, you will have a better listening experience if you mute it after you’ve connected the soundbar.

How to Connect a Projector to an A/V Receiver

There are a few different ways to use a projector with an A/V receiver. A typical setup will involve connecting all of your audio and video inputs to the receiver, connecting speakers to the A/V receiver, and then outputting only the video to the projector via HDMI. In that setup, the speakers connect to the A/V receiver, the projector connects to the receiver, but the speaker and projector don't directly connect.

Here’s a basic outline of how to connect a projector to speakers via an A/V receiver:

  1. Connect all of your speakers to the receiver via speaker wire or coaxial cables.

  2. Connect audio and video inputs to your receiver, including streaming devices, game consoles, CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray players, or whatever other input you plan on using.

  3. Plug an HDMI cable into one of the video outputs of the receiver.

  4. Plug the other end of the cable into the video input on your projector.

  5. Set the A/V receiver source to your desired input, and the video output to your projector.

Say your projector has built-in apps, or you want to connect your input devices directly to the projector. In that case, you can connect an HDMI output on your projector to an HDMI input in your receiver or connect the projector to your receiver via optical cable. If you go this route, you’ll need to set the A/V receiver’s source to the appropriate auxiliary input to get sound from the projector to the receiver.

How to Connect a Projector to a Bluetooth Speaker

If your projector supports Bluetooth, connecting a Bluetooth speaker is fast and easy. It is subject to interference from other electronics and wireless devices, though, and the sound quality usually won’t be as high as you’d get from a wired connection.

Here’s how to use your projector with a Bluetooth speaker:

  1. Turn on the Bluetooth speaker, and enable pairing mode.

  2. Using the settings menu on your projector, enable Bluetooth and search for the speaker.

  3. Accept the connection, and enter a pairing code if required.

  4. The speaker should connect automatically to the projector when both are powered on in the future.

FAQ
  • How can you make a projector screen at home?

    You can make a projector screen with some PVC pipes, white Spandex cloth, and fabric tape. You can also paint a projector screen on a blank wall or create a hanging projector using plywood beams, a picture hanging kit, a white blackout cloth, and velvet projector border tape.

  • How do you connect your phone to a projector?

    If you're using an Android phone, you can connect it to a projector wirelessly using something like the Chromecast streaming adapter, or a USB-C to HDMI wired adapter, If you have an iPhone, you can use a Lightning Digital AV Adapter or a Lightning to VGA Adapter.

  • What is a DLP projector?

    "DLP" stands for Digital Light Processing. It creates images using tiny microscopic mirrors and a color wheel, produces sharp images, and supports 3D. Unlike LCD projectors, DLPs put out more white light than color light.

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