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How to Connect Studio Monitors to Computer: A Complete Guide

How to Connect Studio Monitors to Computer_ A Complete Guide

Are you setting up your dream studio but aren’t entirely done yet? If you’re puzzled about connecting your studio monitors to your computer, TAKE IT EASY!

This article will guide you in connecting your monitor speakers to your computer.

Table of Contents

How to Successfully Connect Studio Monitors to Computer

You can connect your monitor speakers directly to your laptop or PC in four easy steps.

STEP 1: Prepare the Materials and Devices

Before you read on, you’ll need to prepare these:

  • Any computer
  • 3.5mm headphone jack to RCA jack
  • Or 3.5mm headphone jack to XLR or 1/4″ TRS jack

Most entry-level studio monitors only have RCA inputs, and others have XLR jacks or 1/4″ TRS inputs.

An XLR cable or 1/4″ TRS is highly recommended for good-quality audio.

However, an RCA cable is more durable than other audio jack types.

BUT IT’S NO BIG DEAL. As long as the connectors make good electrical contact, that should be good!

STEP 2: Link in the Cables

When you’ve identified what connectors you can use, it’s time to plug them all in!

Take the connector and simply plug it into your computer’s headphone port. Next, connect the other end of the cable to your studio monitors.

STEP 3: Configure Settings on Your Device

Even when you have plugged in all the connectors, your external speakers still might not work.

You may have missed configuring the audio setting. Go to your computer and configure the sound and audio settings.

For audio setting configuration, follow these steps here.

STEP 4: Turn the Volume Up and Test

When you’ve successfully connected all the input devices, go ahead and test your speakers out.

Play music on your computer and turn the volume on your speakers up. Adjust the audio as how you want it to sound.

Can You Use Studio Monitors as Computer Speakers?

YES, studio monitors ARE speakers, after all.

Studio monitors can be used as computer speakers if you have the proper connectors and an audio interface.

But most monitor speakers produce a playback of flat and “colorless” sound. A powered monitor speaker may not be ideal if you plan to watch a video or listen to songs.

Instead, a home stereo or external speaker is preferred for leisure activities.

It produces a different sound and tends to have more coloring than studio monitor speakers.

How to Connect Studio Monitors to Audio Interface

Your studio monitors should go along with an audio interface. This will record and monitor an instrument using a guitar cable or microphone.

Here’s how you can connect studio monitors to an audio interface.

STEP 1: Connect the Cables from Interface to Computer

Make sure the drivers are installed on the computer before you connect the audio interface to your computer.

Here’s a helpful video on how to successfully install the drivers.

Once installed, take the cable to connect the interface and connect the other end to your PC. See that there is a balanced connection between each cable.

Cable Types

The type of cables you can use depends on the audio input available in your studio monitors and interfaces. There are unbalanced and balanced cables to fit.

It is said that a pair of 1/4″ balanced cables is the simplest, highest quality option for connecting studio monitors to another device.

But all stereo output jacks are used when connecting devices to powered speakers.

Input Jacks

The first thing to consider is your primary output source.

You need to see what kind of monitor outputs it has. Usually, this should be a TRS jack port.

These will come either as a 3-pin XLR input, a quarter-inch jack input, or perhaps both. Either of these input formats offers the best sound fidelity.

It’s essential to ensure that your stereo jacks are balanced or in TRS format.

They are designed to have two black rings on the jack connector instead of one. This type of cable reduces audio distortion.

STEP 2: Turn Down All Volumes in Both Devices

Check the knobs on your studio monitors and in your interface. Make sure the volumes are turned down.

See that all volumes are turned down, so you don’t accidentally transfer audio signals to the studio monitors in loud volumes resulting in potential damage.

Also, so that you won’t get a rude surprise when you play music, your ears will thank you!

STEP 3: Start Up the Studio Monitors

You can now check by starting up your monitor speaker. See if you get the audio to sound the way you desire.

You’ll be surprised what these two sound equipment can do when combined in your setup!

Why Do You Need an Audio Interface for Studio Monitors?

Audio interfaces are best to be paired with studio monitors.

It would help if you used an audio interface (sound card) to improve sound quality dramatically.

When you connect audio interfaces to monitors, you can convert microphone and instrument signals into a format your computer and software recognize.

This will make the sound quality MORE ACCURATE AND PRECISE each time you record a new song or audio.

What Type of Audio Interface Can You Use?

A few connection types are considered standard:

  • Thunderbolt
  • USB
  • FireWire
  • PCIe

A good audio interface that most users prefer is a USB (3.0, 2.0, and 1.1). This is easy to connect to any laptop or PC and monitor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve given you the steps on connecting things to other things. Let’s get a quick answer to these related questions.

Why Is Studio Monitor Setup Important?

Your studio monitors are vital in creating a good sound feature. A monitor speaker will allow you to hear the audio precisely as it was recorded.

If you’re into creating good mixes, these monitors will complete your gear. Just make sure your monitors are placed right.

The placement of these monitors plays a significant role in turning your mix into a HIT!

Why Do I Need Isolation Pads?

If you want your audio to sound more soothing to your ears, isolation pads work well in suppressing unwanted resonance.

Most users use these for their powered external speakers placed on desks. Sounds usually make vibrations and will produce distortions in your playback.

These pads reduce some more deep basses and mid frequencies when producing sounds. You will need them to keep audio frequencies more balanced.

Can You Use Studio Monitors Without an Interface?

Yes, you can use studio monitor speakers without an audio interface.

With the proper cable and connectors, ensure they are connected to your active monitors and interfaces.

However, it would help if you used an interface for high-quality sound as it is a key part of editing sounds to your preferences.

Can You Convert Headphone Jack to RCA Jack?

Yes, you can, but it won’t be easy to do.

It is advised that you ask for help from an expert. You can easily buy RCA jacks on Amazon at very reasonable prices to save you trouble.


You probably listen to a song, watch the most popular music video, and groove to the beat.

And you ask yourself, “how did they create such good beats?”.

The answer? Monitors, interfaces, and a whole bag of ideas. Connect them well with the right jacks!

We hope this helped you untangle your thoughts. This is a great way to finish your home recording studio setup!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.