Today's business computers allow you to play high-quality audio from your hard drive, the Web and even from external audio devices. The sound card on a modern computer has multiple input jacks that may accept a variety of input types. The Line-in jack, for example, lets you plug MP3 players, DVD players and other audio sources into your computer. After connecting them, you can hear those devices through your computer’s speakers or earphones.
Purchasing Audio Cable
Examine the audio output jack of the device you’d like to connect to your computer. You’ll usually find it on the back of the device. Many larger devices, such as DVD players, have 1/4-inch audio-out jacks. Some smaller devices, such as portable MP3 players, may have smaller 3.5 mm line-out jacks.
Visit an electronics or computer store and find the audio cable section. Stores sell cables that have a 3.5 mm plug on one end and a plug on the other end that will fit your device. For instance, if your device is a DVD player that has a 1/4-inch audio-out jack, look for a cable that has a 1/4-inch jack on one end and a 3.5 mm jack on the other. If you need assistance, ask a store clerk for help. You can also tell the clerk the name and model of your audio device.
Purchase the correct cable and plug the cable's 3.5 mm jack into your computer’s line-in jack. Consult your sound card or computer maker’s documentation if you need help finding that jack. You’ll find it next to the mic-in jack that you use when plugging in a microphone.
Plug the cable's other end into your audio device.
Adjusting Windows Audio
Navigate to the Windows "Start" button and click “Control Panel.” Look for a “Hardware and Sound” icon. If you find it, click that icon. Otherwise, click the “Sound” icon. The icon you see depends on how you set your Control Panel’s view. After you click one of those icons, the Sound window appears.
Click the “Recording” tab and view the icons that appear in the window. If you have a microphone plugged into your computer, you’ll see a "Microphone" icon. If you see a "Line-In" icon, right-click an empty space in the window and select “Show Disabled Devices” to cause the "Line-In" icon to appear. Right-click the icon and select “Enable.” A green check mark appears next to the icon, indicating that your line-in connection is enabled.
Power on your audio device and let it play.
- As your audio device plays, an animated green bar should appear next to the "Line-In" icon on the window’s right side. Like a recording meter, this bar ascends as the audio gets louder and descends during quiet passages. If you don't see the green bar, click “Properties” and then click “Levels” to view the Line-In Properties window. You should see a "Speaker" icon that has a red circle with a line through it on the speaker. This means that your Line-in input is muted. Click the icon to make the red circle disappear and click “OK” twice. Your audio should play normally.
- The Line-In Properties window has a horizontal slider that allows you to increase or decrease the volume of the signal coming into the computer. Drag that slider left or right if you discover that your audio is too low or if the sound is distorted. Distortion may occur if your audio source signal is too strong. Dragging the slider to the left will eliminate the distortion. On the other hand, if the signal is too weak, you can boost the audio signal by dragging the slider to the right.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images