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PC with high end sound card vs receiver?

Last response: in Components
November 30, 2011 6:38:11 AM

So, would a media PC with say an AMD A6 CPU for the integrated graphics + an HT omega Claro (200 dollar soundcard) work well as a home theater system/media access system?

My only concern would be whether or not I could use the sound system with the TV on cable. Basically, I am asking if it is possible to turn a PC into a receiver, and would sound quality take a major hit?

November 30, 2011 6:52:42 AM

You'd probably not notice the difference in sound quality. However, if you have an amp, then that would be the better bet. You can output from the HTPC using the HDMI cable, and if the onboard GPU is 5xxx or 6xxx series you can bitstream to the amp also. I'm not sure if a soundcard can do that. Also, if you have an amp for powering the speakers then why use a soundcard when you have the equipment already?
November 30, 2011 7:09:27 AM

I don't have an amp, basically I am asking if I could build a PC that could match a receiver in sound quality, but have all the benefits of a media center, hulu, netflix, blu ray etc, is that possible?

like this kind of receiver:
Related resources
November 30, 2011 7:30:45 AM

I'd prefer an HTPC over a standalone receiver, to be honest. You can churn amazing quality from a PC as well, and few people have the money to afford valve amps and the accompanying speaker to actually hear the difference between the PC's quality and the receiver's.

Also, the pro of a PC is that you can service it yourself, and you have the option of both internet connectivity and storage of your favourite music/movies in equal quality without the delay of optical drives. Simply rip to image files and load onto a virtual drive reader whenever you're interested and you have Blu Ray quality video and audio with standard ease-of-HDD (or SSD if you have a lot of money) accessibility.
November 30, 2011 12:49:11 PM

Some soundcards offer ouput quality that is superior to most high end receivers. Heck, some even come with built in amps now.

That being siad, if you want to go the HTPC route, I'd recommend taking a look at the Auzentech Home Theatre HD, as the HDMI In/Out solves a LOT of connectivity problems...
December 1, 2011 12:59:31 AM

So, strictly from a sound stand point now: if I get that card the Auzentech, I wouldn't need to buy a receiver like the one I linked?

My performance will match or exceed that? I want a good surround sound system primarily, but they cost enough that I feel I could make a pretty good HTPC for around the same price.