How to Set Up Speakers on Your Mac - dummies

By Mark L. Chambers

If you want to listen to music or other audio files from your Mac, speakers are a must. A typical set of computer stereo speakers will set you back anywhere from $20 to $80, depending on their output. (If you’re using a MacBook laptop or an iMac, you probably already know that your computer has built-in speakers.)

You can add external speakers to any Mac in a flash, however. Just make sure that you have AC power handy — another good reason to invest in a surge suppressor strip that provides more outlets. Then follow these steps:

  1. Connect the speakers to the computer.
    • USB: Easy. Just plug the USB cable into any open USB port on your Mac.
    • Traditional audio-jack plug: Just as easy. Connect the audio cable from the speakers to the Headphone or Line Out audio jack on your computer.
  2. Plug the speakers into a wall outlet or power strip (if necessary), and turn them on.
  3. Click the System Preferences icon on the Dock. The System Preferences window appears.
  4. Click the Sound icon in the System Preferences window and then click the Output tab.
  5. Click the Line Out, Headphones, or USB item in the Sound Output list (depending on the type of speakers you have).
    Did you notice that you can adjust the balance of your speakers from the Sound pane? If one of your speakers is significantly farther away from the computer than the other, use the Balance slider to bring that stereo separation back to normal.
  6. Click the Close button in the upper-left corner of the System Preferences window to close the window and save your changes.