A stereo system requires several wires to be connected in order to function properly. Depending on the stereo system, you may not have to connect all of the wires, because modern stereos are often designed to accommodate multiple types of input and output. It's a good idea to hook up all of the wires, but not all stereos are going to be wired to every other component in your home entertainment system.
In order to get any sound from your stereo, you must connect the speaker cables. To play in stereo, you need at least two speakers, one for the left side and one for the right. Some stereos will have connectors for more optional speakers. As an example, a home entertainment system usually has connectors for at least four speakers, allowing you to distribute the sound evenly throughout a room. Each speaker cable actually contains two wires, one for the power and one for the ground.
Most stereo systems have a single power cord that must be connected. Some system include individual components, and each unit is powered separately. You will have to connect the power cord for each component, and it is also possible that some stereos require more than one power cord in order to be fully functional. In some cases, one power cord runs to the stereo and all other components draw their power from the stereo.
In addition to the components of your stereo system, there may also be connectors available to connect optional components. These optional devices may require power as well as audio connections for input and output. This allows you to use one component, such as a CD player, feeding the sound into your stereo amplifier. A pair of cables connects to the stereo system, and the stereo amplifies the sound before sending it out through the speakers.
Input jacks are used for such things as recording or adding a voice track to a disk, and are usually paired for left and right output. You only have to connect the devices you plan to use in conjunction with your stereo. Input connectors accept cables connected to other devices as well as such optional equipment as microphones. If you do not plan to use the microphones, the stereo will work fine without connecting them.
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