Have you ever wondered if projectors actually have their own sound systems? Many of us grew up with those old school projectors that could only show silent movies and slideshows. You needed a separate sound system to play any audio. But projector technology has changed a lot over the years!
Most projectors nowadays are equipped with built-in speakers and audio capabilities. However, the sound quality and volume can vary quite a bit depending on the model. There are also several ways to connect external speakers if you need more powerful audio.
In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about sound and projectors:
- Do projectors have built-in speakers?
- How can you get sound from a projector?
- What audio connection options are available?
- How to connect external speakers
- Troubleshooting audio issues
- FAQs about projector sound
Let’s get into it!
Do Projectors Come with Built-In Speakers?
In the past, projectors were solely visual devices. You’d have to connect a separate sound system to play any audio along with your projected image. But most modern digital projectors now come with built-in speakers and can process audio signals.
Having speakers built into the projector is super convenient, especially for portable units. You don’t have to lug around extra equipment. Built-in audio is also great for small spaces like classrooms, living rooms, or home theaters where you may not need massive external speakers.
However, sound quality can vary quite a bit depending on the projector. Lower-end or smaller models may not have the best audio capabilities – the volume could be low or the speakers may produce noise from the internal fan. But many mid-range and high-end projectors now have pretty good built-in sound systems that can easily cover a room.
So for many applications, the built-in speakers will do the job just fine! But if audio quality is paramount or you need to fill a large space, connecting the projector to external speakers is a great option. More on that later!
First, let’s look at how to get sound out of a projector in the first place.
Getting Sound from Projectors
If your projector has built-in speakers but you’re not getting any audio output, there are a few ways to troubleshoot. Let’s go through the main options for getting sound from a projector.
HDMI is the preferred way to connect modern projectors and media devices. It carries high-quality digital video and audio signals in one cable.
To get sound from your projector using HDMI:
- Connect your projector and media device (Blu-ray player, streaming stick, gaming console, etc) using an HDMI cable.
- Make sure to plug the HDMI cable into the port on each device labeled “HDMI Out” or “HDMI Arc”.
- Select the HDMI input on your projector using the remote.
- Play content from your media device and you should get both video and audio.
With HDMI, getting sound from your projector is simple and delivers excellent quality.
If your projector or media device doesn’t have HDMI, you can use audio cables to transmit sound instead.
For example, connect the projector and media device with a VGA or DVI cable for video-only. Then run a 3.5mm or RCA audio cable from the audio out port on the media device to the audio in port on the projector.
This allows you to transmit video signals over one cable and audio over a separate cable. Make sure to select the correct inputs on your projector to get both video and sound.
If you have a smart projector with Bluetooth capabilities, you can connect it wirelessly to Bluetooth speakers or soundbars.
Simply pair your projector with the Bluetooth speaker by putting both devices in pairing mode. Once connected, audio will be transmitted wirelessly over Bluetooth instead of using cables.
Bluetooth gives you flexibility to place speakers anywhere in the room without running wires across the floor!
Audio Output Options for Projectors
There are several types of audio ports and connections that you may find on projectors:
The standard 3.5mm jack (like a headphone jack) is common on projectors for audio input or output. Input carries sound from a media device into the projector. Output sends audio from the projector to external speakers.
RCA ports (red and white) are another option found on some projectors. Like 3.5mm jacks, RCA connections can be used for audio input or output.
This digital audio connection allows high quality sound output from a projector. But it requires a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) to connect to most external speakers.
As mentioned above, Bluetooth audio is great for wirelessly streaming sound to external speakers or headphones.
Many projectors have built-in stereo speakers or even soundbars for direct audio output without any cables.
Having options like HDMI, RCA, Bluetooth, and built-in speakers gives you flexibility in how to get sound from your particular projector model.
Connecting External Speakers
Even projectors with built-in audio may benefit from connecting to more powerful external speakers or sound systems in some cases:
- Built-in sound is too quiet or lacks quality
- You need to fill a large room or auditorium
- Want a true surround sound experience
Here are some tips for connecting external speakers to your projector.
If your projector has RCA, 3.5mm, S/PDIF or HDMI ports, you can use matching cables to hook up speakers:
- HDMI – Carries both audio and video over one cable for easy connection to TVs or AV receivers.
- 3.5mm – Use a 3.5mm audio cable to connect speakers with a standard aux input.
- RCA – Match the left and right RCA audio outs from the projector to the RCA inputs on your speakers.
- S/PDIF – This digital audio output can connect to AV receivers for surround sound.
Make sure to select the correct audio output on your projector to send sound to the speakers.
For wireless streaming, use the projector’s Bluetooth settings to pair with Bluetooth-enabled speakers. Position the speakers anywhere in the room without running cables.
Bluetooth gives you the flexibility of portable wireless sound!
Soundbars and Surround Sound
A soundbar is an excellent audio upgrade over small built-in speakers. For true immersive sound, connect your projector to a surround sound home theater system.
Use the appropriate cables or wireless options above to hook up these more powerful speaker setups.
Troubleshooting Audio Issues
If you’re having issues getting sound from your projector, here are some things to check:
- Make sure all cables are securely plugged into the correct ports on the projector and audio device. Try swapping cables if needed.
- Check that the projector input mode is set correctly to receive audio from your connected device.
- Check the audio settings on your streaming box, Blu-ray player, or other media source. Make sure audio output is enabled and set to the appropriate format.
- Verify that the volume isn’t muted on either the projector or media device.
- If using Bluetooth, make sure the speaker and projector are still paired.
- Excessive fan noise on the projector can sometimes interfere with the built-in speakers. Have the unit serviced if this occurs.
- For persistent issues, try factory resetting the projector or consult the manufacturer.
Checking these potential audio problems will help you isolate the issue.
FAQs about Projector Sound
Do portable projectors have audio?
Many portable projectors have built-in speakers, though audio quality varies. Pico and micro projectors usually don’t have sound due to their small size. Always check a portable projector’s audio specs before purchasing.
How do I connect my projector to a surround sound system?
Use an HDMI or optical digital audio cable to connect your projector to an AV receiver. The receiver powers surround speakers for immersive sound. Make sure to select the right output mode on the projector. Wireless Bluetooth is another option if the speakers support it.
While early projectors were silent movie machines, the technology has thankfully caught up with audio. Most projectors today feature built-in speakers and sound processing capabilities.
Getting sound from your projector is also pretty straightforward – HDMI delivers both video and quality audio in one cable. Otherwise, you can transmit sound separately using 3.5mm or RCA connections.
If the built-in sound just won’t cut it, adding powered external speakers is an easy upgrade. Go wireless with Bluetooth or connect surround sound for a true cinematic experience!
With so many options for built-in and external audio, projectors can now provide an amazing sight and sound experience. We hope this guide gave you the basics of projector audio and how to troubleshoot any issues you may encounter. Now enjoy your movies, games, and presentations in vivid detail along with immersive sound!