Motherboard audio ports are a bit confusing, and like everyone else, you probably have been wondering what each audio port does.
But don’t worry; the days of uncertainty are gone as I have prepared this guide to help you identify the different types of ports on any motherboard.
So keep reading on to save yourself the headache of finding the correct motherboard audio port.
What are motherboard audio ports?
Motherboard audio ports are physical connection points on the motherboard rear I/O panel used to connect audio devices. You can use these ports to connect external speakers, microphones, or other audio devices.
There are three main audio ports commonly found on motherboards: line in, line out, and microphone. Each port serves a different purpose and is used to connect different types of audio devices. Of course, modern motherboards have more ports, and we will talk about them later. Their sizes are the 3.5mm (1/8″) mini-jack and the 6.3mm (1/4″) stereo jacks and can be used for either audio input or audio output.
Line in – The line in port is used to connect external devices such as CD players or MP3 players. This port is usually blue, and its symbol is this one.
Line out – The line out port is used to connect external stereo speakers or amplifiers. If you have a 2.1speaker system, this is the port you want to use. This port is green, and its symbol is this one.
Microphone in– The microphone port is used to connect an external microphone. This port is pink, and its symbol is this one.
* All three ports are almost always 3.5mm (1/8″) mini-jacks.
More Audio Ports
As I told you, modern motherboards have extra ports to connect more complex audio systems like 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems. Usually, there are three more ports in addition to the line in, line out, and microphone-in ports, the C/Sub, the Side, and the Rear ports.
The C/Sub port is used to connect the center/subwoofer speaker. This port is usually orange, and its symbol is this one.
The Side port is used to connect the side speakers. This port is usually gray, and its symbol is this one.
The Rear port is used to connect the rear speakers. This port is usually black, and its symbol is this one.
The 6.3mm Audio Jack
While the 6.3mm is not as common as the 3.5mm mini-jack, you may still find it on some high-end motherboards. It is a stereo jack that can be used as output. If you have high-quality headphones, you may want to use this port as it can provide better sound quality.
The S/PDIF Port
The S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) is a digital port that can connect a digital audio device such as CD or DVD players, Blu-ray players, or home theater systems. This port usually uses an optical cable and can provide better sound quality than analog ports. You will not find it on low to mid-end motherboards as it is mostly found on high-end ones.
Related Article: What Are Front Panel Connectors?
How to connect a 7.1 surround sound system?
If you want to connect a 7.1 surround sound system, you will need to connect eight speakers: two front speakers, two rear speakers, two side speakers, a center speaker, and a subwoofer.
You must use an adapter to connect your 7.1 surround sound speakers to your motherboard’s audio ports. The most common type of adapter is the Y-adapter, which splits one audio signal into two, allowing you to connect two speakers to one port.
Connect the front speakers to the main line-out (green) port, the rear speakers to the rear port (black), and the side speakers to the side port (gray). Finally, you will need to connect the center speaker and the subwoofer to the C/Sub port (orange).
Keep in mind that you may need to change your computer’s audio settings to configure the 7.1 surround sound system.
Motherboard audio ports by color
I have already talked about the most common colors for motherboard audio ports, but I have made a table with the different colors and their corresponding functions to make things easier for you.
Line in – Blue
Line out – Green
Microphone – Pink
Center/subwoofer – Orange
Side Port – Gray
Rear Port – Black
S/PDIF – Usually colorless or with a green LED
Related Article: Motherboard HDMI Not Working: [Solved]
Motherboard Audio Ports FAQ
What Are The Three Audio Ports?
The three main audio ports on a motherboard are the line-in port, the line-out port, and the microphone-in port. These ports are almost always 3.5mm (1/8″) mini-audio jacks.
Which Port Is For Audio?
For a regular or a 2.1 audio system, you will need to use the line-out (green) port to connect your speakers or headphones. If you want to connect a microphone, you need to use the microphone-in (pink) port.
Which Motherboard Port Is For Headphones?
The motherboard port for headphones is the line-out (green) port. Use the 3.5mm (1/8″) mini-jack to connect your headphones to the line-out port.
Are All Audio Ports The Same?
No, not all audio ports are the same. There are different ports for different audio devices and other ports (analog or digital).
Related Article: How To Connect The Power Button To The Motherboard
These are all the different audio ports you may find on a motherboard. Even if you do not have all these ports, knowing what they are and what they are used for can be helpful. If you have any questions or need help connecting your audio output devices, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
Nick Ryley is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love for playing games got him interested in computers in the first place. He wanted to be able to build a gaming PC that could run all the latest games at max settings, and this has him pursuing a major in computer architecture!
He started this blog to help people out and answer some of the most common questions about computer building