Do Monitors Have Speakers?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Dec 22, 2021

Do computer monitors come equipped with speakers?

Most monitors don’t come equipped with speakers out of the box. Even those that do, the sound quality isn’t anywhere close to what you would get by getting a set external speakers, or by using some other audio output device like a good pair of headphones.

If you’re looking at buying a new monitor, you might be considering one that comes with built-in speakers.

If the model you’re looking at has speakers built in, then you need to read this first, because there are some issues you need to know about.

Once we’ve talked about those things, then you’ll need to decide if you want to go with the audio from built-in speakers, buy a pair of headphones, or a pick up a set of external speakers instead.

In this blog post, I’m going to tell you what to need to know about monitors that have built-in speakers, a surprising computer monitor that has good speakers built in, and what to do when you want to get the best possible audio quality from your computer setup.

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

Do Flat Screen Monitors Have Built-in Speakers?

Most computer monitors do not have built-in speakers because they are not needed for most people.

For those monitors that do have built-in speakers the sound quality you get is seriously inferior to using external speakers because the speakers are built into the back of the monitor and therefore are not very powerful.

For those monitors that have built-in speakers, the sound quality you get isn’t good enough for any real use.

Why Don’t Monitors Have Speakers?

Most monitors don’t have speakers built in because there just isn’t enough space to put high quality speakers into them.

In addition, audible speakers aren’t what most users want any longer.

Many people prefer to use either ear buds or over-ear headphones while they’re working or gaming to get an immersive experience.

Speakers mounted into your monitor cannot give you the same kind of experience.

Playing Sounds Through the Monitor

Some monitors do come with built-on speakers though.

And you can set up your computer to play certain sounds through your monitor’s speakers as long as the speaker drivers for your monitor are installed.

Which Monitors Have Speaker Built In?

One of the most widely known speakers that does have on-board speakers is Apple’s iMac computer.

This is the computer that I use and, until I really needed something more substantial, the speakers built into the iMac worked perfectly well, and had good sound quality.

These speakers are really good for built-in speakers and are better than just about any other built-in monitor speaker I’ve come across.

But keep in mind that the iMac is specifically designed to be an all-in-one device, so it makes sense that the speakers are good.

As far as third party monitors, you just have to check with each manufacturer to see whether or not speakers are built into the monitor or not.

What Do I Do If My Monitor Doesn’t Have Speakers?

If your monitor does not have speakers built in, there’s nothing to worry about.

Your audio source will connect to your computer via the audio input, USB, or Bluetooth connection.

There are a couple options:

Option Notes
External speakers These are usually fairly inexpensive, but require some setup because they will connect to the audio input on your computer.
Over-Ear Headphones Headphones are great if you’re looking for something portable. This will give you the most immersive audio experience possible
Earbud Headphones Ear bud headphones are also great for portability, but they won’t provide nearly as much immersion as over-the-head headphones.
Bluetooth speakers or headsets  Some bluetooth speakers or headsets will allow you to connect directly to your computer without having to plug anything else in.
DisplayPort DisplayPort is used by many laptops and computers to transfer digital sound and video.
HDMI Ports With HDMI, you can connect any number of sources such as DVD players, Blu-ray Discs, game consoles, and more. You can also use them to connect your television set to other components including receivers, speakers, and home theater systems. HDMI cables allow you to play back high definition content without compression artifacts and loss of detail.
Audio Line-In Monitor speakers work well if you’re using Display Port or HDMI connections. Older monitor models may lack these options. Look for the headphone jack and Audio In port. Use a 3.5mm stereo cable to send audio from your computer to your speaker system. Choose “Monitor” as your audio out option through the audio settings.

How Do I Get Quality Sound From A Monitor Without Speakers?

It all depends on what kind and quality of audio output you need.

For example, if you’re doing audio production work, then over-the-ear headphones are going to be your primary solution.

Either that, or high-quality stereo desktop monitor speakers.

Desktop monitor speakers are different than speakers built into your monitor.

In the audio world these speakers are called “monitors”. You will often times see them in the background of people who do videos on music production or instruction if they’re sitting at their desk.

The same principles apply if you’re doing video production work.

Speakers like this are playback devices so that the creator can examine the quality and mix of the work they’re producing.

To get audio output from a computer without having speakers attached to it, you need to connect it to another device that has audio input/output ports.

As an example, all of the audio for my computer goes into a desktop mixer where I can control the audio for several different devices.

There are many methods available to connect your laptop or desktop computer to an external speaker system.

But, what makes us choose any particular method? Let’s see some more details about the different types of connections.

When To Use An HDMI Audio Extractor

An HDMI Audio Extractor can go between the audio source, such as your computer or TV set, and the audio system. You can use an HDMI Audio Extractor to get the sound output.

However, this output is only available if you have speakers with 3-pin plug support. The HDMI ports can support both audio and video inputs, so when you have a HDMI splitter, you could easily connect separately to the main unit and also to the speaker system.

You can easily connect your PC to any TV set via HDMI cable. With proper settings, you can even get high-quality video and sound out of your computer.

When To Use The Audio Connector From Your Primary Device

You do not need to connect any other device or cable to get the sound output. Just plug the HDMI into your TV and play games.

Many people use a 3.5 auxiliary port because it allows them to plug into devices such as a television or DVD player without having to worry about whether or not the TV/DVD player supports HDMI connections.

When To Use The Audio Connection Jack

Most monitors come with headphone jacks. But if you want to connect them to some other device, then there is nothing to worry about. Just plug your headphones into the jack provided by your monitor.

As an example, I’m using the audio connection jack out of my Mac Pro to send the audio from that computer to my mixer.

You Can Connect External Speakers Wirelessly

Virtually everything is available these days with a Bluetooth connection: headphones, speakers, printers, peripherals, and more.

You just need your speakers to support that Bluetooth connection, and your computer or gaming console to be able to use a Bluetooth connection, and every modern device does indeed support these connections.

When you can support multiple audio input devices like when you’re using a Bluetooth connection or an audio mixer, you can then layer sounds together so that you can listen to music from a different source when working or gaming.

A lot of times in my work, I’ll have audio playing from one computer, mixed through my Alesis mixer, and output through my Bose desktop speakers, while working on another computer.

Your gaming monitor doesn’t need to have built-in speakers for the best audio experience. And it doesn’t even have to be a gaming monitor if you’re not a gamer!

You really don’t want to use those on-board speakers anyway because of the low-quality audio you get, as I mentioned before.

Next Steps

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Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

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