HTPC sound card recommendations

Hello all,

I'm looking for a new sound card for the HTPC I am putting together.

PC will be playing back HDDVD/BluRay/DVD/5.1DD Satallite/DD/Multi-channel encoded video files.

PC will be connected (via toslink/coax digital/analog?? and DVI) to an Outlaw Audio 990 A/V Processor.

My current sound card, card only seems to be put out 2-ch PCM stream which the 990 matrixes via Dolby Prologic ][ or DTS:Neo but that loses a lot of the qaulity from the true 5.1/6.1/7.1 encoding.

Can anyone suggest a good sound card, preferably pci-E 1x but pci if it has to be that will allow me to output something other than 2-ch PCM to my processor?


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More about htpc sound card recommendations
  1. X-fi titanium series.
  2. thanks! I'll take a look and see if I can find locally...if not I see ncix and tigerdirect have it.
  3. I was actually wanting to ask the same thing. I've always had problems with Creative cards in the past, albeit they do have good sound quality (any X-Fi card). I've also heard good things about Auzentech, even though their reviews aren't the tops on Newegg. On the other hand, 3 cards from HT Omega are the top 3 rated sound cards on newegg, all of them the only 5 egg rated cards with more than 10 reviews.
  4. Tom's did a write up not long ago about this very subject. I would suggest reading the 2 part review about audio for your HTPC.,review-1088.html
  5. My HTPC setup bit me hard in this arena. I was using the onboard soundcard, and I couldn't figure out why when I ran a sound test I could only hear the front speakers, and when I watched some of my videos, I could hear all 5.1 speakers. After much research, I decided to get a Logitech sound system from newegg that uses the actual 5.1 output on the card (you know, the 3.5mm plugs) and stopped using a $500 DVD player/home theatre setup I bought only 3 months before. Really sucked.

    The problem for me was that my card could only output certain digital signals. Lo and behold I was unable to find a method that would convert ALL 5.1 and 2.1 output(digital or non-digital) to output via optical to my sound system.

    I knew I wasn't always going to have a digital signal that would match 5.1 output for my home theatre system(like playing an emulated game, WOW,etc). So I had to either find a hardware/software combination that could correct this problem or get a sound system that could take the standard 3.5mm jacks from the output of my computer. After much searching, I decided to get a new sound system because the hardware reviews I read on hardware that could handle this said that the drivers/hardware were unreliable and crashed often. HTPC must be able to be up 99% of the time. Having shaky hardware for me was not an option.
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