In This Article
What is Internal Speaker?
The internal speaker is the fundamental speaker found on the motherboard of a computer. This speaker is very basic in design and is not meant for playing music or other complex sounds like in a game, but only for creating a beeping noise.
In technical terms, the internal speaker is a tiny tone generator connected through wires or installed on the motherboard that is used to indicate issues during the startup of a computer system but does not affect its performance.
- The internal speaker of a computer is usually located on the motherboard to emit beep sounds and mono tones.
- These buzzers indicate POST status and also help in identifying hardware issues in the computer system and in troubleshooting.
- These speakers are usually found on the motherboard and may be installed on it or connected to it by wires.
- These speakers are not suitable to generate complex sounds or to listen to music since they work on a low frequency Pulse Width Modulation technique.
- Less of these speakers are used today, having been replaced by sound cards and LEDs that indicate the components that have successfully passed the POST.
Understanding Internal Speaker
The internal speaker of a computer is the basic speaker installed on the motherboard. The connector for it can be found marked as SPEAKER or SPK close to the Front Panel Connector.
It is used for basic purposes such as creating:
- Single or recurrent beeping noise or
- Mono tones.
These speakers allow firmware and software to offer auditory feedback to the user, such as a report of hardware faults.
Usually, these internal speakers use a programmable interval timer to generate waveforms.
However, you cannot use this speaker to play songs or music or to get the audio effects while playing a computer game.
In short, the internal speaker of a computer is not designed to create or be used for generating complex sounds.
Alternatively, this basic speaker on the motherboard is also known by different names, such as:
- A PC speaker
- An onboard speaker
- A beep code speaker
- A buzzer or
- A system speaker.
The initial variants of the internal speakers found in IBM compatible computers were regular 2.25 inch dynamic, magnetic driven speakers. However, the modern models are small moving-iron or piezoelectric speakers.
These speakers are usually found in two basic types, such as:
- Large profile dynamic speakers that have almost been phased out and
- The small and cheap moving iron speakers.
These system speakers may be fixed onto the motherboard of the computer directly in some applications. In others, it may be attached with wires to the connector on the motherboard.
There may also be a few specific types of computer cases that come preinstalled with an internal speaker.
The wired PC speakers usually have a two-, three-, or four-pin configuration along with either two or three wires.
The female connector is normally connected to pin headers found on the motherboard.
For example, if the system speaker has a 4-pin and 3-wire configuration, the pinout will be as follows:
- Pin 1 will function as the speaker’s negative connection
- Pin 2 will function as a ground or unwired key
- Pin 3 will function as a ground key and
- Pin 4 will function as the speaker positive at 5 volts DC.
These system speakers are normally designed to generate square waves through two voltage levels of output, such as 0 volts and 5 volts. The programmable interval timer is powered by two channels to operate.
The hardware is accessible directly from the PC I/O port through a bit 1. It can be manipulated physically to produce a 1-bit sound or a two-level output.
Based on the filtering and other physical properties of the speaker, such as self-inductance and frequency response, the short pulse can be timed carefully to produce several interim output levels. It then functions as a basic digital to analog converter.
This is called the PWM or Pulse Width Modulation technique. The output quality will depend on the effective bit depth, or the number of output levels, and the effective sample rate, or the PWM carrier frequency.
Adding Internal Speakers to a PC
Adding internal speakers to a computer is quite easy and can be completed in three basic steps, such as locating the connector on the motherboard, checking the polarity or orientation, and aligning the positive terminal with the Speaker+ pin on the board.
It is essential to connect the system speaker to the dedicated connector on the motherboard. The following are the steps to take.
Locating the connector on the motherboard is the first step to connecting an internal speaker. There are usually four pins sticking out of the connector. You can locate it by:
- Physically inspecting the motherboard for the label which may be on either right next to or inside the front panel header or
- Checking the manual of the motherboard.
The next step is to check the polarity of the pins or the orientation of plugging in the speaker so that it is connected to the correct pin on the motherboard.
This means that the positive terminal of the speaker should be connected to the positive pin and the negative terminal to the negative pin on the motherboard.
Often, the motherboard will have a + sign to indicate the positive terminal and a – sign to indicate it is the negative terminal. It is best to check the motherboard manual for the pin-out diagram for the following:
- The positive pin, which will be labelled as SPEAK+ or VCC, and
- The negative pin, which will be labelled as SPEAK-.
The final step is to make sure that the pins are aligned correctly with the connector of the system speaker. The specific points to take note of here are:
- The positive sign will be at the top
- The red wire will normally connect to the positive pin according to the electrical standard and
- The black wire will connect to the negative pin.
Remember, only the two pins at the end matter, though there are four connectors and four pins. The two pins at the center usually do not have any connection.
Is a Motherboard Speaker Needed?
No, it is not mandatory to have a system speaker on the motherboard because it will work just fine without it. The speaker does not affect its working process, provided the other components in it are working just as they should.
The only thing is that you will not get any audio feedback or hear any beeps if there is any issue with the hardware.
The PC speaker is just a diagnostic tool, and the processor or the motherboard is not responsible for monitoring its integrity.
This means that even if you remove the speaker, it will continue to work just fine.
Ideally, the buzzer has nothing to do with the Basic Input Output System or the operating system of the computer.
It is simply used for boot sequence troubleshooting while the computer starts up.
It only beeps, once or several times, depending on the type of issue. It simply makes figuring out the issue easier.
Moreover, these speakers are simply connected to an IO pin with a single output.
There is no specific way to determine whether or not the speaker is connected correctly. Therefore, it should not affect anything else even if it is inoperative.
And, today, there is hardly any software that needs a system speaker any more as such.
Instead, it relies on the sound cards to send a beep for any issue.
However, without the speaker, it will be very hard for you to figure out which particular hardware item is broken.
The sounds follow specific codes such as:
- 1 short beep indicates issues with the Random Access Memory or RAM
- 1 long beep followed by 2 short beeps indicate issues with the graphics card and
- 5 short beeps indicate issues with the processor.
There is a complete list of such beep codes that you can check from the internet.
Do All Motherboards Have Internal Speakers?
No, all motherboards do not come with an internal speaker. In fact, most motherboards now use a sound card for the purpose served by the system speakers initially.
There are also a few other models of motherboards that have replaced the PC speakers with tiny LED/LCD displays.
These lights indicate the error codes. In fact, this is a much better option since the lights are much clearer to see and easier to understand the issue in comparison to a single or a series of short beeps produced by the system speakers.
However, with that said, there are still a lot of motherboards that come with a small speaker to beep if there are issues detected during boot loops.
A few particular models of motherboards are also shipped with such a buzzer as an accessory.
How to Enable Internal Speakers?
You can enable or disable the internal speakers in your computer system in a few easy steps using a motherboard jumper, a cable or software.
However, it will mainly depend on three specific things such as the motherboard of the system itself, the software installed in your computer as well as the configuration.
The steps to follow to enable the system speaker by using software on a Microsoft Windows system are:
- Opening the Device Manager
- Clicking on View
- Selecting Show hidden devices
- Looking for Non Plug and Play Drivers
- Clicking on the plus sign to expand it
- Double clicking on Beep
- Clicking on the Driver tab on the Properties window of Beep and
- Clicking on the Start button on the Driver tab to enable the device temporarily.
However, if you want to enable the speaker permanently, you will have to select System in the Startup Type.
Depending on the model of the motherboard, you may not see the Non Plug and Play Drivers tab in the Device Manager.
In such a situation, you should go to the motherboard jumper, if there is any, and jump it to enable the internal speaker.
There is also another way to activate the beep code speaker in your computer system. The steps to follow in this case are:
- Selecting the Security tab using the left and right arrow keys
- Selecting Device Security
- Selecting Device next to System Audio
- Going to Advanced
- Selecting Device Options and
- Selecting Enabled next to the Internal Speaker.
How to Check whether There are Internal Speakers?
The internal speaker in a computer is typically located on the motherboard. You can check whether or not your computer has such on-board speakers from the sound dialog box or from the Device Manager by following different steps.
To check it from the sound dialog box, the steps to follow include:
- Looking for the Volume icon at the notification area
- Right-clicking on the icon to open a pop-up menu and
- Choosing Playback Devices.
The list that appears will contain the speakers that produce sound on your computer. Check whether or not there are any PC speakers.
Another way to check internal speakers on a computer system is by:
- Pressing Windows plus X keys together on the keyboard
- Selecting Device Manager from the context menu and
- Expanding the Sound, video and game controller option.
Check whether or not the system speaker drivers are installed in it.
How to Get Sound on a Desktop without Internal Speakers?
You can only get sound from your desktop computer without internal speakers by using external speakers. The way to go ahead will depend on the connection setup.
The most common ways are to use an HDMI audio extractor, an audio connector, an audio jack, AV Mini port out, and wireless speakers.
HDMI audio extractor:
Using an HDMI audio extractor will require 3.5 mm jack support to get sound from your system and an updated sound driver. Use the volume bar to set it and enable the inbuilt speakers and the external speakers as well.
Right click on the output devices and select the audio output for the external speakers connected via the HDMI connector.
You will need an HDMI splitter for this, and you should also make sure that all the ports are connected correctly before enabling the sound from your computer.
You can use an audio connector to get a sound output from the primary device without needing to connect anything else to it apart from the video signals.
If it is a gaming console, you will get an optical or digital audio connection port to get an integrated sound output.
You can even try a stereo audio cable and link one end to the headphone jack of the computer and the other to the speaker to get sound output.
This is the simplest way to get sound from a system without speakers, but you will need to buy a stereo audio aux cable for it.
AV Mini port out:
This is another good way to get sound output from a system without speakers, provided you have an AV multiport out cable.
All you have to do is connect the flat end to the primary device and the color coded input plugs to the audio device.
Speakers with wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth will also be able to get sound from a device with no speakers by using a specific USB to Bluetooth cable.
The PC speaker is actually a tiny tone generator. It is linked to the motherboard and may be integrated into it as well.
It generates a single beep tone on successful POST or POST debugging.
Modern speakers lack these speakers, which are generally supported today with empty headers on the motherboard.