Connecting Media Center to a Home Stereo

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The sound card in your PC can be connected to an ordinary amplifier/receiver (the same one you play your audio CD's through now). You'll be amazed how good your MC audio files will sound played through your home stereo with audiophile speakers.

Digital A digital connection is preferred when available. Many sound cards or motherboards offer digital out options. These can be coaxial cable, optical, or HDMI. The receiver the cable connects to must have a matching connector. See also WASAPI (for Vista) or ASIO (for XP).

Analog An analog cable will usually have a 1/8 inch mini-stereo jack on one end (the same as most headphones) and two RCA jacks on the other end (the same as the cables that connect your audio CD player to your amplifier). The cable is called "Mini-stereo to RCA" and can be found in the audio equipment section of some stores. If the distance between your PC and your amplifier is too great, there are a number of wireless solutions available.

Next, take a look at the back of your PC to find the connectors for the sound card. Right now you may have the "sound out" connected to your PC speakers. If you want to keep this connection, you can get a Y cable in the audio section in order to connect both speakers and amplifier.

Plug the mini-stereo end of the cable into the "sound out" port on the PC. Alternatively, you can use the "headphones" port. Plug the other end of the cable into the back of the amplifier. Don't use the connection to "phonograph", but DVD/VIDEO/CD/AUX should all work.

IMPORTANT-be sure to turn down the volume on the amplifier before testing. On the PC side, make sure you have the WAV sound level set fairly high (80% or more). This can be done by double-clicking on the speaker icon in the system tray (lower right corner of the desktop). The sound coming out of the PC should be set reasonably high so that the amplifier doesn't magnify too much "noize".

If you're also connecting video to your home theater equipment, consider using Theater View and the Media Center Remote.