Ask LH: How Can I Connect My 20-Year Old Speakers To My New Monitor?

Dear Lifehacker, I have recently purchased a monitor off of Kogan for my PC, Xbox and soon my PS4. My main issue is that my speakers (which are 20 years old) only support a 3.5mm inlet. I was wondering if you knew of a device that could take optical signals and convert it so that my speakers would be compatible? Conversion Confused

Speaker picture from Shutterstock

Dear CC,

The chief issue here is that your speakers use an analogue input which won’t play nice with digital signals. An optical-to-3.5mm cable will connect everything together, but it wont actually play any sound.

What you need is a digital to analogue conversion box — these take the optical signal from your monitor and convert it to analogue stereo which makes them perfect for older AV receivers, sound bars, speakers and the like. These products are quite easy to find online and can cost as little as $14. Just be aware that you may take a hit in sound quality — especially if you aim for the bottom of the barrel.

Alternatively, you could put your geriatric equipment out to pasture and buy yourself a sound bar instead. The sound quality of these things has improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years and they are also quite affordable.

That said, it’s been a very long time since I’ve even thought about analogue audio equipment — if any audiophiles have a better solution please let CC know in the comments section below.

See also: How To Build Your First Home Theatre System | How To Be An Audiophile On The Cheap | What The Next Generation Of Consoles Means For Your Home Theatre


Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


5 responses to “Ask LH: How Can I Connect My 20-Year Old Speakers To My New Monitor?”