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How does a sound card work?

Last response: in Components
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August 23, 2011 6:54:27 PM

So, I've been looking at sound cards for awhile trying to figure out how the hook-ups work. I only know what the green (speakers) and pink (mic) do, but on a sound card I see orange and blue and a few others, so what are they used for? Does each channel (speaker) get its own jack? Also, I have a motherboard with build in 5.1HD audio, but it only has a green, pink, and a blue jack? I have a 3.5mm to RCA running from the computer to an only Sony 5.1ch surround amp, so does this mean I'm getting TRUE surround? Or is the computer sending a basic signal to the amp then the amp just boosts it? My control panel says I only have a 2 speaker set up and no other options to change to 5.1ch to match the amp. I'm a pretty big audiophile, accept when it comes to computer audio so any help or answers would be appreciated!

More about : sound card work

August 23, 2011 11:59:52 PM

Do yu have the option to change to digital sound and have a spdif jack on your pc?
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August 24, 2011 1:04:10 AM

I do not have a spdif jack on my pc and its currently in 2 channel HD sound as default and I am unable to change it, I'm guessing my PC detects no 3rd party card so I cant have the option?
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August 24, 2011 12:00:46 PM

Well, the SPDIF might be built into the onboard audio driver, but typically, you would expect to see it as a seperate device.

As far as jack colorings for PC audio:
Green: Stereo Output
Blue: Stereo Input
Pink: Microphone Input
Brown: Side Stereo
Black: Rear Stereo
Orange: Center/Sub

SO yeah, I doubt your onboard is 5.1 capable [with the exception of Dolby/DTS over SPDIF] if it only has green, blue, and pink jacks.
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August 24, 2011 11:40:11 PM

So both left + right speakers are connected to the card through one jack (like earbuds/headphones)? Thats kinda interesting...but I can't see how the wires would run. What system uses 3.5mm jack hook-ups? If only those fancy Logitech PC surround set-ups do that wouldn't be adequate for me, I'd blow them in about 10 minutes...I guess instead of wasting money on that kind of set-up I'll stick to my Sony amp, even though its old it really brings down the house. Thank you very much for the answer though because that is what I was EXACTLY looking for.
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August 24, 2011 11:42:10 PM

with your mothrboard having built in 5.1 audio, the remaining jacks were probably on a slot cover with and extension cable to plug into the motherboard that never got installed, or it was an x1 riser card. The pink (mic) jack often doubles as the spdif out also. You can check your motherboard manual but please post which motherboard you have so we can see too.
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August 25, 2011 12:47:43 AM

I have a BioStar A770E3 motherboard. I am referring to the manual now, and there weren't any chords in the box it came in.
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August 25, 2011 12:56:05 AM

I am so stupid! The 3rd page shows that the line in also dubs as a Surround (rear L+R)hook up, then line out I am assuming is front L+R. And mic in dubs as center/sub out. Now I need to figure out how to wire 2 speakers to one jack. How do they figure the center+sub wire together? That would either make it 5ch or 4.1ch? Unless I am supposed to wire them together...still odd though I have never heard of that.
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Best solution

August 25, 2011 1:30:03 AM

You wouldnt wire speakers to the soundcard, they dont have an amp.
wire the 'line in' from the pc to the 'rear in' on your 5.1 amp.
wire the sound cards 'mic in' to the amps 'sub' and 'center' inputs. you're manual doesn't specify which is which but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out, just keep your amp on a low volume until you do.

hd audo should be enabled in the bios in the chipset section then southbridge and then setup audio or something like that.
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August 25, 2011 4:24:54 AM

THANK YOU SO MUCH! And yea, forgot they needed an amp :o  but thanks so much for helping! I'll have it all set up tomorrow, hopefully it will be smooth.
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August 25, 2011 4:53:42 AM

Wait...one last thing (sorry for all the questions) how would I wire these? Should I still keep my 3.5mm to RCA hooked to the green on PC and the input on the back of the amp? Also do I also just run a short jack from each port on the back of the sound card and put the split/bare wire ends in the (+ and -) respectively with the speakers that are hooked up? My amp/receiver is pretty old, only uses RCA and "wire pinchers" for the speakers..
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