To what type of speaker will you connect?

First things first:

The options you have will depend upon the following:

  • Size of meeting space used (i.e. small room, sanctuary, etc)
  • Type of speakers to be used.
  • Availability of mixer/amp that you have either brought in or is resident (the "house" system)
  • Connecting cables and adapters you have on hand

If your video projection presentation has sound you will also need to hook up your computer and/or other devices (cd, dvd, video camera, vcr) to speakers. This can be done in one of two ways:

1. Directly to the speakers.

Such a connection is sufficient only if the device being hooked-up generates an amplified signal. Otherwise, the sound will not be loud enough to be heard by your audience. Most decks and cameras need to have their audio output boosted through an amplifier.

Connecting the audio of the computer to the projector's onboard speakers is really only sufficient for smaller rooms. Though most projectors have speakers, turning them up to maximum will distort the sound and/or even then not be sufficient to "fill" the room.

Your better choice is to acquire and use portable speakers with a built in amplifier. (Speakers that have such an amplifier will have need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.) Or best - especially in all but smaller meeting rooms - connect your  computer audio output to your own mixer/amp board or the "house" system. (Conference and convention centers may charge you for the use of the "house" system on two levels: rental charges and technical staff time.

There are smaller, portable speakers available that have a built in "pre-amp" that will allow these speakers to generate good sound, but the output is not sufficient for a large room such as a sanctuary let alone for a convention center. For that you will need to hook into either the "house" system or a portable mixer/amp feeding large floor/tripod speakers.

2. To and Through an Amplifier/Mixer then to the speakers.

Connecting the output of your device (computer, cd, dvd, video camera, vcr) to the "house" system or a mobile "board" (Amp/Mixer) is necessary for sanctuaries and larger assembly areas such as convention/conference rooms.

Again, preparation is a must. You cannot hookup what you have not packed to take with you. If you do this often acquire an accessories bag and stock it with the most common cables and adapters. Your investment will pay for itself in the amount of anti-acid tablets you will not have to purchase.

Device Options:

1. Projector Speakers?

Best use: Smaller meeting rooms; but, external with separate power connection is better.

As you set up, well before the time of your presentation, test the audio volume. Remember, the presence of people - even if completely silent - will absorb the sound. Be sure that the onboard speakers have enough umph!


Determine the type of cable end needed to fit into your computer's HEADPHONE port.


Into your other device's outputs.


Choose the correct audio input on the projector.  There are a number of audio inputs. Composite, and "phone plug" connections are the most common. There may even be an 1/8" plug port!

audio ports on projector

Your options:

If there is an 1/8" plug input on the projector, then you need an audio cable with two ends (1/8") that are the same.

If there is an 1/8" plug input on the projector, but the projector has only compostie audio inputs, then find a cable with one end with 1/8" plug and the other end a composite. These are available at outlets such as radio shack. This is a good basic cable to carry with you.

If there is an 1/8" plug input on the projector, but the projector has only compostie audio inputs AND you DO NOT HAVE a cable like that, find an adapter. There are adapters available to convert almost any cable end into almost any other cable end. Some of the common ones to carry with you are:

male composite couplercomposite couplercomposite to audio plugleft and right channel to stereo plugleft and right channel to stereo plug y








2. External speakers?  Best use: Mid-sized rooms; Small rooms, too!

external desktop speakersIf you are often making presentations in mid-sized rooms, invest in a pair of external speakers. Their onboard amp will greatly improve the quality of your presentation.

The speakers come with either plug connections or composite connections.

The AC to DC converter power "brick" (adapter) needs to be plugged in so that the onboard amplifier that drives the speaker will function.

3. "House" Sound System

Consult ahead of time with the person in charge of the built in sound system of the building/organization where you will be holding your meeting.

Ask her/him what you need to bring to connect. She/he will most likely ask you to describe the equipment you are bringing that needs to be hooked up.

There are connectors and adapters to make connections. But, not all of these will be available at the "spur of the moment." An advanced "dress rehearsal" can prepare for best presentation.