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Will sound card improve quality? (Current setup: Bookshelf -> Amplifier -> Toslink -> Motherboard)

I have bookshelf speakers connected to amplifier, amplifier connected to the motherboard via toslink optical.

Will I get a better sound quality if I use a soundcard (say Xonar DG) and connect the amplifier to to the sound card using toslink optical?
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More about sound card improve quality current setup bookshelf amplifier toslink motherboard
  1. Is the amplifier really just an amp, or is it also a receiver? What sounds are we talking about, music? Games? etc.
  2. Best answer
    SuperProPlayer said:
    I have bookshelf speakers connected to amplifier, amplifier connected to the motherboard via toslink optical.

    Will I get a better sound quality if I use a soundcard (say Xonar DG) and connect the amplifier to to the sound card using toslink optical?



    Unlikely unless you have a really old motherboard with poor onboard sound. If you really want better sound, consider using an HDMI connection if your receiver supports them. HERE is a good short tutorial on how to with lots of pictures.
  3. SuperProPlayer said:


    Hmm, I'm not familiar with that receiver. But I don't think you will get better sound with a sound card. If at all possible though, see if you can connect with HDMI as that may provide a better sound quality.

    The only real reason I think you may consider a sound card is if you are getting hiss\feedback and such, the sound card will probably be shielded against it. But if that isn't a problem I don't think you need a sound card.
  4. While Toslink is generally very good, HDMI excels at lossless audio and specific formats that Toslink doesn't support like support Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD or DTSHD.

    If you primarily play games or listen to MPs audio, you will hear no difference. If you listen to FLAC audio or watch BluRay with TrueHD then you would benefit from HDMI for audio.
  5. So then I shouldn't bother with getting a sound card and instead I should get a new Receiver that has HDMI input in order to benefit from loseless audio?
  6. SuperProPlayer said:
    So then I shouldn't bother with getting a sound card and instead I should get a new Receiver that has HDMI input in order to benefit from loseless audio?


    Yes, if you use lossless audio formats or watch BluRay movies with the best quality sound, an updated receiver with HDMI would be a big improvement. Since the digital signal is sent from the computer HDMI connection without processing, it doesn't matter which HDMI output you use, and a sound card would be of no benefit.
  7. What if my motherboard doesn't have HDMI outputs and all the HDMI outputs on the videocard are already in use? (I have 3 monitors), what would be the best way to connect the receiver to the computer via hdmi?
  8. You will not hear any difference between using HDMI and optical except for bluray movie lossless audio playback (if your receiver supports it) or higher than 24-96 lossless audio files. The next step to improvement would be either the speakers or the receiver. If you are not interested in surround sound then you could get an integrated amp with dac (either built in or external). You could also add a dac to the Yamaha. Depends on which is a weaker link in the system.
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