How To Use Monitor Speakers

Some monitors have built-in speakers that eliminate the need for external speakers or headphones. Although monitor speakers are usually far from the best speakers around, they are often adequate for your use until you can obtain a better solution. Sometimes they need a bit of setting up before you can use them.

So, if you own a monitor with speakers but have been unable to figure out how to use its speakers so far, we got you covered. This article will guide you through the process of how to use the speakers built onto your monitors.

How to Find Out if My Monitor Has Built-in Speakers?

This step is for those of you who do not yet know if their monitor has speakers. If you do know, please skip to the next section. For those that need to find out, try the following:

  • Look at the documentation /user manual that came up with the monitor.
  • Find the model number of your monitor and google it.
  • Launch the monitor’s menu and find out if it has a volume up/down and mute settings.
  • Check for ports on the back of the monitor and see if there is an audio-in/out port (or something similar).

How to Play Sound From the Monitor’s Speakers

Now that you’ve made sure that there are indeed speakers built into your monitor, it’s time to get around setting those up. 

Identify the Interface

First we need to look at the connection between your computer and the monitor. There are a few different interfaces available that can transmit display signals to the monitor, but not all of them can carry an audio signal.

To find out the interface that your monitor uses, look at the connector type that’s being used.

VGA connectors are trapezoidal in shape and have five pins in three rows each for a total of 15 pins. The connectors are usually painted blue. They also have two screws attached to the either side of the connector.

DVI connectors are square in shape with an array of square pins on the left side. The right side has a flat blade in the middle. There may or may not be additional square pins on the top and bottom sides of the flat blade depending upon the type of your DVI interface.

Different types of video interface ports

A standard HDMI connector looks trapezoidal in shape, and has a flat plate inside with an arrangement of 19 pins on it. Of these, 10 pins are on the top row and the remaining 9 on the bottom row.

A  standard DisplayPort connector is rectangular in shape with a bevel at the bottom left corner. There are 10 pins each on the top and bottom rows, for a total of 20 pins.

A mini DisplayPort connector looks similar to the standard DisplayPort connector, but is only 0.29 inches wide.

A USB-C connector is a rectangular shape with long top and bottom edges that are flat, and the side edges are rounded. This connector is only 0.33 inches wide, and has 24 pins. 

Dedicated Audio Channel 

Some of the video interfaces can also carry audio signals while others are pure video-only. The interfaces that can carry audio signals provide you the convenience of using a single cable to the monitor for both audio and video. However, for the interfaces that can only carry video, you will need a dedicated audio connection before you can use the speakers on your monitor.

Interfaces With Video-only Capabilities

  • VGA (VGA connector)
  • DVI (DVI connectors)

Interfaces With Both Audio and Video Capabilities:

  • HDMI (HDMI and USB-C connectors)
  • DisplayPort (Standard and mini-DisplayPort Connectors, and USB-C connectors)
  • Thunderbolt (mini-DisplayPort and USB-C connectors)

Connecting Audio to the Monitor

We’ve discussed above various types of interfaces that your monitor could have, and how to identify them. We also found out that the interfaces lie in two categories – those capable of transmission of both audio and video, and those that can only transmit video.

Hence, for the interface that can transmit both audio and video signals, a second channel for audio is not needed. Securely connecting the computer and the monitor with a single cable is sufficient.

However, for interfaces that only transmit video signals, there will be dedicated ports for Audio-In. The Audio-In ports usually come in a 3.5mm audio jack format. Thus, you should securely plug in the video interface cable, as well as the cable of the dedicated audio channel securely at both the computer and the monitor ends.

Once you have finished connecting all necessary cables at both ends, make sure that the connection has been established without any problem by playing an audio file.

To sum it up:

  • Identify the interface.
  • Connect both ends of the interface cable securely.
  • If a dedicated audio channel is required, connect the cable for that securely as well.
  • Test the connection of audio channel by playing an audio file.

Cables Are Connected but Audio Won’t Play

If you’ve connected all necessary cables at both the computer and monitor ends, and audio still won’t play, try the following steps:

Double-check the Cables and the Connectors

Check that the cables are undamaged and that connections are securely attached. If a portion of the cable has been damaged, or a pin assigned for audio channels is not properly connected, then you might have problems with the audio playback.

If you are using a dedicated audio channel, make sure that you are connecting with the audio-in port of the monitor. Some monitors also have a 3.5 mm audio port that is labeled audio-out. Audio-out is used for connecting to external speakers and headphones and won’t carry audio signals into the monitor.

Choose the Correct Playback Device

Windows should automatically pick up the monitor as default playback device once you’ve successfully connected all required cables. However, sometimes a glitch could prevent that action from occurring automatically. 

You should check if this is the case, and fix it if necessary.

  1. Go to the system tray area of the taskbar and click on the speaker icon.
  2. Expand the currently selected playback device.
    Select Playback Device Win10-Expand
  3. From the list, select your monitor to be the playback device.

Check the Volume/Mute Settings

If your monitor speakers are still not playing audio, make sure that they are not set to very low volume, or muted. 

  • Check the menu options in your monitor and make sure that it has not been muted. Also make sure that the volume output is set to a sufficiently high level.
  • Also, right-click on the speaker icon at the system tray area, and select Open Volume mixer. Make sure that your device has not been muted from this setting.

Enable the Playback Device

If you were unable to find your monitor as a playback device, it is possible that it has been disabled. You can re-enable it from the settings.

  1. Press Win + I to launch Settings.
  2. Navigate to System > Sound.
  3. Click on Manage sound devices.
  4. Find your monitor from the list, click on it, and click Enable.
    Manage sound devices Enable Win10

Run the Troubleshooter

Next step towards fixing the issue is to run the Playing Audio troubleshooter.

  1. Press Win + I to launch Settings.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters.
  3. Click on Playing Audio, then click Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Wait while Windows detects problems, then select your monitor from the list of devices shown.
    Playing Audio Troubleshooter Win10
  5. Click Next, then follow the instructions until the process is completed.

Reinstall/Update Drivers

Missing, damaged, or outdated drivers could cause your hardware to malfunction. Try uninstalling the drivers and use generic drivers. Then try updating the driver and see if that fixes the issue.

  1. Press Win + R and type devmgmt.msc to launch the Device Manager.
  2. Expand Sound, video and game controllers.
  3. Right-click on your current sound driver, then select Uninstall device.
    Uninstall Sound driver
  4. Click on Scan for hardware changes button at the top and let Windows install generic drivers.
  5. Again, right-click on the sound driver, this time select Update driver.
    Update sound driver
  6. If you want Windows to search for drivers automatically, select Search automatically for drivers.
  7. If you have downloaded updated drivers already, select Browse my computer for drivers, then navigate to the folder with downloaded drivers.
  8. If it is listed, also update drivers for IDT High Definition Audio Codec.
  9. Restart your computer.

Turn Off Audio Enhancements

Audio enhancements are designed to make the output of your audio device better, but sometimes they can actually cause problems. In such cases, you want to disable audio enhancements on your device.

  1. Press Win + R and type control to launch the Control Panel.
  2. Navigate to Hardware and Sound > Sound.
  3. If it is not already, set your monitor to be the default playback device. Then right-click on it and select Properties
  4. Switch to the Enhancement tab and check the box next to Disable all enhancements.
    Disable All Enhancements

Restart Audio Service

If Windows Audio Services is not running or unresponsive, then you will not get an audio playback. Thus, try restarting the Audio Service.

  1. Press Win + R and type services.msc to launch the Windows Services Manager.
  2. Scroll down to Windows Audio, right-click on it, and select Restart.
    Windows Audio Service Restart
  3. Similarly, also restart Windows Audio Endpoint Builder and Remote Procedure Call (RPC).
  4. Restart the computer.

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