How To Connect Guitar Amp To Speakers: Different Methods Of Connecting Guitar Amp To Speakers

how to connect guitar amp to speakers

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Have you bought a new amp, but you’re struggling to connect it to speakers because you don’t know how to? If so, then you shouldn’t worry, as you’ll get to know all about it here. 

Connecting guitar amp to speaker is a piece of cake if you know the right method.  There are multiple ways to do that such as using a 1/4-inch input jack, connector cables, an AUX cable, and more.

In this article, you’ll get to know all about connecting guitar amp to speakers, how to connect guitar amp to speakers, how to use guitar amp as speakers, how to connect a guitar amp to speakers on your PC, and more. Continue reading to know all the answers you’re looking for.

How to use guitar amp as speaker?

The most common way of using your guitar amp as a speaker would be to play music through it. You can use any guitar amp for playing music, although some amps could be easier than others. The music won’t sound that good through an electric guitar amp, but it’ll be possible to use your guitar amp for playing music. 

Some guitarists love jamming along with backing tracks. Being able to play these tracks through their amp can be handy, especially if you don’t have a speaker nearby. For using the amp as a speaker and playing music through the amp, look for an AUX input jack.

Many modern amps come with a 3.5mm (1/8”) AUX input for allowing you to play music or something else that you’d want through your guitar amp. Some amps will also feature a 6.3mm AUX input jack. For playing music through these inputs, you can always use an adapter. With an AUX input, you can connect your smartphone, tablet, PC, and other audio sources that have a 3.5mm output. Here are the steps that you must follow to safely play music after connecting your guitar amp to speakers.

  1. Connect the audio players to the AUX input using a 3.5mm cable
  2. Turn the master volume on your amp down to a fairly low level
  3. Turn the volume on the audio player down
  4. Then, hit play on the audio player and then gradually raise the volume of the audio player 
  5. Raise the amp’s master volume for reaching the volume level that you want 

Following these steps prevents your amp from feeding it a high-volume source while it’ll be cranked too high. Remember that most amps aren’t actually designed to deal with high or low frequencies. So, it’ll be important to be extremely careful each time you’re connecting something into your guitar amp’s AUX input. Now, you’ll be able to listen using your guitar amp as a speaker for listening to music or connecting your guitar and jamming along with the music.

Connecting guitar amp to PC speakers

Many guitarists have a computer to go along with their guitars, pedals, and amps. Most people use the PC for music-related activities, probably an audio interface or to run some sort of DAW software. So, is it possible to connect a guitar amp to the PC?

You can connect your amp to your PC’s speakers if the amp features a line-out or headphone socket. Connect the line-out/headphone to an input on your PC’s audio interface. Some amps even feature a USB connection, which outputs audio directly into the PC via a USB cable. There are multiple ways you can connect your guitar amp to your PC’s speakers.

Reasons to connect guitar amp to PC

There are many reasons apart from playing through the speakers to why you’d want to connect the amp to the PC. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • For recording the sound of the guitar amp 
  • To hear your amp through your speakers, i.e. playing along to a song or backing track playing on your PC. Maybe you’d be playing at night, so you want the sound in your headphones to not disturb others.
  • For using a data connection like USB on a digital amp. This way, you’ll be able to edit the sounds in your amp, create patches, download new sounds, apply built-in effects, and more.
  • To hear the sound on your PC playing through your amp, like backing tracks, songs, etc. The sound of the guitar and the backing track will all come through the amp.

There’s an alternative to using a guitar amp for recording electric guitar and playing your guitar through your PC. You can use software amps, which are basically software simulations of guitar amps. This way, you won’t need an amp at all, only your PC running the amp sim software. 

How to connect guitar to speakers on PC?

Here are some of the most common ways to connect your amp to your PC that you can try and use yourself. 

Line-out/headphone sockets are a great way to connect your amp to the PC. If your amp features a headphone socket or a line-out socket, either of them can be used for connecting straight into the input of the audio interface using the jack cable. This direct connection is known as Direct Input or DI. Not every amp has these sockets, so this method only applies to certain amps. You might need a cable that converts one kind of jack cable to another. For instance, to go from the amp’s mini-jack headphone socket to a 1/4″ size jack socket on your audio interface.

Your audio interface would be attached to your PC in the usual way, via USB or Thunderbolt. It’ll be possible to connect your amp to a mic socket on your PC if there’s an appropriate cable without having to use the audio interface. However, it isn’t normally recommended. The audio hardware and driver software for standard customer-grade audio components will be superior to the ones in inexpensive interfaces. Your results will be much better when you’re using an audio interface.

Can you connect a guitar to a stereo system and play?

While offering musicians with different ways to portray their artistic expression, an electric guitar can be a complicated instrument. As you might already know, the guitar doesn’t really do anything on its own. Instead, it’ll require you to purchase a guitar amp, additional pedals, multi-effects units, and other devices to play properly. For that reason, things can sometimes get a bit too expensive. This can be a problem if you are working on a tight budget.

Due to this reason, many wonder whether it is possible to play an electric guitar through a regular home stereo. The issue might not be that simple. However, it’ll be important to get into it and then answer the question – can you connect a guitar amp to a stereo system?

Is it possible to hook up a guitar to the speakers of a stereo?

If you are a guitarist looking to find out if it’s possible, then you’ll be happy to find out what the answer is yes. An electric guitar can indeed be plugged into a home stereo and played. However, the tone might not be exceptionally good and there are a few other things to think about first.

For some time now, most home stereo devices come with auxiliary input, referred to as “AUX”. This applies to any type of hi-fi device format, whether it’s a standalone unit or complex setups that include separate components.

These inputs are generally the regular 1/8” TRS jacks to support your average AUX cables. You can plug in your PC or any other device having a 1/8” jack as well, you’ll only need a simple cable to do so. If you’re using a cable with 1/4″ jacks like the ones with guitars, you can also use 1/8 to 1/4 adapters. Electric guitars, electro-acoustic guitars, basses, or any other electric instrument, they all come with a standard 1/4” jacks. These work with most regular mono instrument cables.

You should remember that if you’re just plugging your guitar into a stereo unit, the tone may not be very good. Moreover, you must also look to use a stereo. This will allow you to get heard on both the speakers of your home stereo. There are many other solutions, including cables that come with the stereo 1/8” and a mono 1/4″ jack on the other end.

Different ways of hooking up a guitar amp to a stereo system

It’s important to know that any home stereo is essentially a Hi-Fi device, whereas the guitars are intended for Lo-Fi amps. Electric guitar pickups focus largely on mid-end and higher-mids. This can be harmful to your average Hi-Fi amps and speakers. This is why it isn’t recommended that you should use a distortion pedal without some type of additional devices such as a DI box or a pedal with the integrated cabinet simulator.

If you’re having a guitar preamp with an output for mixers, you’ll get a very convincing tone. The same will apply to any multi-effects processor or a guitar modeler, which could be very useful. Many amps these days, including the smaller ones, come with a line-out jack. You can use them for connecting them to any Hi-Fi devices using instrument cables and adapters.

Regardless of the method you’re going with, you’ll always have to be extremely careful. You should start off with low volume and slowly turn it up. If you notice any unusual noises, it’ll be best to keep everything at a lower volume. Additionally, some multi-effects processors will also come with separate left and right outputs while featuring stereo presets and effects. For that, you’ll usually require two instrument cables and a splitter adapter that’ll allow you to plug in two mono cables into a stereo input.

Most guitar amps these days will feature input for auxiliary devices. Normally, you can plug the AUX cable from the amp’s AUX output to the stereo unit input. Sometimes, you may even need a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter for doing so.

How to connect guitar amp to speakers for playing the electric guitar?

It might seem confusing as to why you cannot “plug and play” your electric guitar on any set of speakers. But it’s true, and you’ll require a specialized guitar amp. There are many reasons why this cannot work and connecting the guitar amp to the speakers is required.

Signal strength

Firstly, this is because of the signal strength. The pickups on your electric guitar tend to produce a weak signal, which isn’t enough to get picked by speakers. This is why your guitar signal must pass through a preamp before it gets passed to a speaker.

how to connect guitar amp to speakers - guitarist playing guitar that is connected with amp

A preamp will amplify the signal coming from the pickups on the electric guitar. It’ll increase the strength of the signal coming from the guitar, which makes it stronger and louder. This makes it possible to be heard through the speaker at a sufficient volume.

Guitar amps usually come with a built-in preamp to amplify the signal before it gets sent to the speakers. However, most regular speakers don’t actually come with a built-in preamp. Thus, they cannot amplify the signal coming from the guitar pick-up before it is passed to the speaker.

Differences in plug/jack sizes and the configurations

Most modern speakers feature a 3.55mm or 1/8” AUX stereo input jack. Meanwhile, all guitar cables come with a 6.35mm or 1/4” TS mono output plug. It means that there isn’t any way to directly plug your guitar into a speaker without using a preamp, audio interface, or converter. Even if you somehow find a way to fit the plug into the jack, there’s a potential chance that it still may not work.

This happens as the audio signal produced by the guitar is a single-channel, mono signal, whereas the AUX input jack in modern speakers is generally a dual-channel stereo input. Although a mono plug works with a stereo input jack, there’s a probability that the plug and jack won’t line up. This will give you audio issues that you wouldn’t want to deal with.

There’s also a chance that you could face mono-stereo conversion issues. Such issues include losing quality and volume, or getting a lot of distortion. But you shouldn’t worry. There are certain workarounds that you can use to connect your electric guitar to speakers. 

Using a guitar preamp

The old school way to connect an electric guitar to a speaker would be using a guitar preamp. The way this works is simple. Use a preamp for amplifying the signal and get the output using the 3.55mm output jack on the preamp. You can then connect to any speaker using a 3.5mm input jack.

The idea of using a preamp might seem slightly complicated at first. However, with the advancements in technology, it has become extremely convenient to use a preamp without needing any technical information.

Now, you’ll be able to get portable preamps that can easily fit in your pocket. It makes them useful and easy to use. You can just plug the guitar into the preamp using a 1/4″ input and connect the amp with the speaker using the AUX cable.

Using an audio interface

Another easy way of connecting your electric guitar connected to any set of speakers is through an audio interface. it’ll do so with the lowest latency and the highest quality.

An audio interface is like a small box-like device that you can connect to your PC using a USB port. An audio interface will typically feature multiple sets of inputs and output jacks. These can be used for connecting different pieces of sound equipment with each other. You can then connect the electric guitar to the audio interface through a standard 1/4″ guitar cable and into a 1/4″ input jack on the interface.

Similarly, there are many other ways to connect your speakers. You can connect the speakers directly to the output jacks on the interface using a 3.5mm AUX cable. Moreover, you can even use make use of 1/4″ cable if the speaker supports it. You can connect the speakers to the 3.5mm output jack of the laptop as well. It’s the one where you’d normally plug in your headphones using an AUX cable.

If your speakers support Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll have the option to connect the speakers to your PC wirelessly. This can be done by pairing and connecting the two.

The audio interface will allow you to configure different input and output ports that are available using its driver software. You can download and install a free guitar modeling program. Then, use a standalone or VST, select the 1/4″ input jack as the input device, and the speaker as the output device. You’ll now be able to hear your guitar through the speakers.

Using effects processor

Another way to connect your electric guitar to speakers would be by utilizing an effects’ processor. If you’re a guitarist, chances are that you have already been using an effects’ processor. An effects’ processor is basically a device that can be connected to your guitar before connecting to a guitar amp. It’ll allow you to add different modulations, tone simulations, and modulations to your guitar.

An effects’ processor can be used as a preamp for amplifying the signal coming from the pickup on your guitar. This will allow you to have signals strong enough to use with a regular speaker that you might have.  For this method to work, you’ll need to ensure that the effects’ processor you’re having has a 3.55mm AUX output jack.

You can simply plug the guitar into the effects’ processor input. Then, connect the AUX output on the effects’ processor to the AUX input in the speaker via a 3.55mm AUX cable. You’ll now be able to hear your electric guitar through your speaker.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about connecting guitar amp to speakers, how to connect guitar amp to speakers, how to use guitar amp as speakers, how to connect a guitar amp to speakers in your PC, and more. Connecting your guitar amp to a speaker will be a simple and necessary step. You cannot actually connect your electric guitar to the speaker, you’ll need to play your guitar through a guitar amp instead. There are several ways you can connect your guitar amp to speakers, and it can be done through a 1/4” input jack, an AUX cable, connector cables, and more.

Regardless of the method you’re choosing, remember to follow the necessary safety guidelines that come with the speakers, preamps, guitars, and other equipment you’re using.

Photo of author
Rick is the founder of All Stringed. He started playing with a classical guitar when he was 10, but changed soon to electric guitar and later also to an acoustic. You can find more about him here.