Sound Card with Digital Optical Input

Hi,
I'm playing with my xbox 360 on my PC Monitor.

I just bought speakers for my 360 the Logitech X-540 which has a matrix mode that can be used to simulate 5.1 channel surround sound from the stereo RCA jack, but I'd like to do a little more.

I was wondering if I could get myself a sound card that could receive the Digital Optical Output from my xbox and then redirect it to the speakers from the normal green, back & orange audio cables ?

I know I could buy speakers with an optical input, but they were too expensive and depending on the price of the sound card (if it exists) I will probably stick with the simulated surround.

Thanks.
19 answers Last reply
More about sound card digital optical input
  1. This card has an optical and is $100, not sure you can find one for much less. Cards got good reviews, I think one of the reviews was at a site called elitebastard or something like that

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829127002
  2. Hmmm, ok ... problem is it's 7.1 ... I need 5.1
  3. Theberge43 said:
    Hmmm, ok ... problem is it's 7.1 ... I need 5.1


    That shouldn't be a problem, you just won't be using 2 channels. Be the same as running 5 speakers instead of 7 through a 7.1 receiver or playing in stereo rather than surround. All the sound cards I've ever used come with software that let's you chose what configuration to use based on your hardware set up. E.g., I'm getting a card similar to this, the HT Omega Claro +, which is considerably more expensive but built on the same technology and will be using it for stereo, which I prefer for listening to music. I plan eventually to get surround so if I want to, I'll be able to use it. Currently running the sound card though a receiver with only 2 speakers. I can simulate surround but like I said, prefer stereo for music.

    Interesting, just saw this in another post I'm following. Was posted by nikolokolus

    "I'll second that bluegears b-inspirer recommendation. I just picked one up about a week ago from the egg and I couldn't be happier. Basically I was unwilling to put up with the crash related issues with windows vista x64, 4 GB's of RAM and an x-fi from creative (you just can't rely on creative to release timely driver updates). and the c-media Oxygen HD chip seemed like the only viable alternative. The sound coming out of my 2.1 creative i-trigue L3800 (at true 24 bit, 192khz) is simply mind blowing ... I didn't realize how undpowered my old audigy 2 zs had become.

    Some might complain about this sound card not being ideal for games, but the fact that most games are VGA bound and not CPU bound means the difference in FPS is usually going to neglible, and even w/o EAX or OpenAL support, turning on Dolby's virtual speaker and setting input to 8 channel the surround sound in games is some of the best I've heard ... the 2.1 speakers really do seem to do a decent job of emulating surround sounds and positional audio.

    This card (or one of the HT omega's with the same c-media chip) will really reveal the quality/defects in your mp3's; I've already had to re-rip several of my old albums from their 192 vbr to 320 to get a fuller range of sound.

    I'm not bashing the x-fi chip, I'm sure it's great"

    This is the entire post
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245400-28-sound-card-gaming-system-vista#t1752712
  4. Granted I'm no sound engineer and no expert on home theater, but this really has been the best sound card I've ever laid down the scratch for. Before that I had an audigy 2zs and a regular audigy before that, as well as a card by aureal before that (it's been too long I don't remember the model).

    I have heard a buddy's system that has a creative x-fi xtremegamer and windows XP, and he runs fairly cheap set of logitech analog 5.1 speakers (the x-530's if I recall), and I admit that his system does sound pretty good in games, but not exactly worlds of diffrence compated to my bluegears/2.1 setup, but CD music from his PC sounds pretty "muddy" to me ... granted this could more to do with his speakers than his sound card.

    But if you are interested in digital optical in then I think you'd probably be very pleased with the result with this sound card, but whatever the case the signal is still getting translated into analog out, so the difference might not be earth shatteringly different between analog in and optical in.

    you might also consider these cards if you are willing to spend a little more money and need the extra feature (Front panel audio header, being the main difference between these and the bluegears card.)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010360057%2050011613&bop=And&CompareItemList=N82E16829271002%2CN82E16829271003
  5. Well, I'm no audio expert ... what I want is the cheapest card I can get that could transform my true srround optical signal from my xbox to the analog signals of my PC Speakers (green, black & orange cables) ...

    It's just that the matrix (simulated sorround) isn't that great.
  6. well at $99 on the egg, the b-gears card is likely the best deal on a c-media oxygen HD chip you will find. I don't own an xbox, but as I understand it they are designed to use dolby dts, and surround technologies, which would make it particularly well suited to this card.

    And it just has to be said my mp3's, CD's and .flac recordings have never sounded so good on a PC
  7. Thanks Guys ... now the problem is getting it in Canada ! ;)
  8. Theberge43 said:
    Thanks Guys ... now the problem is getting it in Canada ! ;)


    Would be glad to deliver but the shipping charges would likely be a couple 100 dollars for gas, hotel, etc :)
  9. How about a 24 case of Canadian beer !? ;)
  10. Any of the current X-fi cards can use the digital I/O module that creative makes ($15). It plugs into your line-in and gives you optical out for the 360.
    http://ca.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=16&product=1780
    I've been looking into this a lot latley and if your interested in going with a Creative card they also have the digital i/o drive which has the red/white inputs that come standard with the xbox as well as a lot of other goodies.
    http://www.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=16&product=14659&bypass=1
    You can get that somewhere on ebay probably, or with the Platinum and Champion Fatal1ty cards.
  11. Interesting option ... will it give me true surround sound in the end ?
    It might even work with some other sound cards right ?

    This might be basic, but external is easy : http://ca.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=206&product=10702&nav=features
  12. yea the creative Xfi break out boxs all have SPDIF on them for otical in and out

    but you will lose the quality by routing through your PC your best bet is just to plug em striagt in
  13. The problem is I can't plug it directly ... well I can, but not with the digital output ...
  14. Here we go :
    http://www.ca.buy.com/product.aspx?sku=202268788
    and
    http://www.ca.buy.com/product.aspx?sku=202865669

    Free shipping !
    Cheap Cheap Cheap ... the weird thing is that they have the 5.1 but the 7.1 is cheaper for some reason.

    So are we sure the card will work on my PC ? And that the 7.1 will work on my 5.1 speaker system ?
  15. 7.1 Surround Sound Receiver is a must in this digital age. Then you connect your xbox 360 to the receiver using optical audio cable. Great surround sound. How do you watch movies without it? My advice is save money for a system like that, instead of wasting $100. And don't re-invent the wheel. Do it right and you won't regret it. Just my 2 cents.
  16. Well, my situation is temporary for now ...
    It's because I don't want to hog the TV from my girlfriend so my xbox is in my office on my PC monitor ...

    Eventually when I get a house, I will have my home theater system in the basement ... but for now I got myself decent 5.1 PC Speakers (with gift card) and I'm trying to get surround sound for cheap.

    45.45 $ for the Creative Combo is pretty cheap and will give me true surround.
  17. I see you dilemma, man. I am in the same shoes you are. I am buying a house in 10 months and setting up everything then. For now, I am playing games with low-end stereo sound.
  18. So the last question ... are we sure the Audigy SE soundcard will work on my PC ? Is there some type of motherboard who would not support it ?
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