At the moment, it's only for the purpose of troubleshooting sound loss in the laptop (though it would be useful to know anyway).
There's a speaker set handy (a woofer & 2 little ones) that I know works with my desktop computer, but I just wanted to check before trying it with the notebook computer. I remember reading somewhere that the wrong speakers can cause damage to a hi-fi system (or vice versa), but don't know if that applies with computers?
I don't know about netbooks, but I have powered speakers permanently attached to my laptop and they work fine. I ditched my desktop in favor of a new laptop, but kept my keyboard, external speakers and large monitor to use all, with the laptop.
If you are talking about "true" hifi, then the speakers for those do not have built in amplification. The amplifier is part of the main hifi unit (often separate boxes for Pre-amp, amp, cd drive, DAC and so on. The power level and impedance of the amplifier and speakers should be matched otherwise problems can arise.
PC speakers are almost invariably so called "powered speakers" where one of the speaker units (typically the sub-woofer if the set-up has one, if not one of the left / right speakers) has a built in amplifier (which is inherently matched to the speaker set-up that it is part of). Power either comes from themains or from a USB port.
You should be able to connect any powered Speakers or Stack system to the hear-phone socket. to input socket on the speakers. But turn the power down before connection. but just to test sound, plug some ear-phones in. if you have good hearing
Thank you all for the help and info. (Sorry about the delay - thought there'd been no replies, but must have forgotten to check reply notification was on).
Meanwhile, after a bit of Googling, it seemed what I'd been thinking of was that speakers can be damaged if something or other in the hifi is too powerful for them. As that seemed somewhat unlikely here (notebook computer, mains-powered speaker set with amplifier), I connected it to the notebook (via speaker/earphone jack), and the sound works fine through these external speakers.
Looks like those tiny integral speakers have simply died then (well, the notebook is 6 years old). It's good to know the sound's basically still working.
dangerus1; have you considered a 'surface' speaker, such as a Soundbug? (about mouse - size, uses flat surfaces, usb/wifi/bluetooth connection). A friend demonstrated his on a little bar counter, and I couldn't believe the sound wasn't coming from full-size speakers. (I'm definitely getting one!).
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