I've only used onboard audio with my systems in the past, and imo I barely noticed much of a difference between them (from SoundMAX to Realtek to IDT and etc). I've heard that sound cards sound "insanely" better then any onboard, but I wouldn't know.
I mainly want to use my 5.1 audio system with SPDIF. I can get the SPDIF PCI bracket for my onboard Realtek chip for $12, but I have $30 lying around, and I saw that Xonar sound card. My question is, is it worth it?
More aboutrealtek onboard asus xonar_dg card
Xonar is probably a better audio system, but unless the your 5.1 is of comparable to a high quality studio setup, the Realtek + SPDIF will be more than enough.
Na my system is just a simple DVD player that can accept input via RCA and 1 optical basically. Cost me $30 but it's probably a tiny bit more or less retail.
So anymore feedback? I would probably have to look into another sound card if I did get one, because that Xonar I listed apparently can only do PCM Stereo via Optical.
If I did choose another card, should I go lower in price (below $30) or just get the SPDIF bracket for $15?
I wouldn't use the DG for optical, as its a waste to use if you do not plan to use its built-in amp.
For optical output, most cards are created equal, the only thing that matters is DDL/DTS-C support. My top three choices:
1: HT Omega Striker 2: ASUS Xonar D1/DX [DD encoding only] 3: ASUS Xonar DS [DTS encoding only]
That being said, I do believe the DG supports both DDL and DTS-C, so that might still be a better buy if you want both formats supported...
I don't exactly care for those audio formats, I'm mainly looking for something just to make games sound a bit better, and if my limited understanding of audio is right, DDL and DTS-C are for movies and some music
^^ And also the only way to get a 5.1 signal out of the optical port. Otherwise, its far better to use analog outputs instead.
Hmm, is there any way I can convert my speakers to be able to use the analog ports? Like from what I'm seeing, it accepts a standard 3.5mm jack, however, my speakers are basically just wire's on the end...