My system also has some integrated 7.1 sound card, which is a pain in the ***. The terrible RealTek drivers are horrific.
I'm considering getting a proper/dedicated 5.1/7.1 sound card. Again, this is only a consideration as Ive never liked the RealTek Software/drivers and have found from my online research that MANY people are having problems with it.
One feature i would like is the ability to artificially convert Stereo audio into a 5.1/7.1 signal, which can then either be played out via 5.1/7.1 PC speakers or passed-through to the TV (which in future may be connected to a full 5.1/7.1 kit) via HDMI. My current Logitech speakers 5.1 have a "Matrix" option which works great, but has to be manually (de)activated (ie for multichannel audio Matrix mode must be off, for Stereo audio for thr surround effect Matrix must be on). Surely there must be a dedicated sound card that can do this? And, before you say pseudo-surround isnt ideal, I'm aware of this. This is mainly to get a full "room-filling" effect from Stereo sources on the PC (such as music), I still want the native multichannel audio to be used if its available (a film/Blu-ray or even 5.1 supported game).
The problem with the matrix mode on my current speakers is I cant change it when not at my desk. I'm Physically disabled so often sit on/in bed using PC (watching films/tv listening to music) and therefore cant switch it if a change my source of content (from listening to music to watching a 5.1 film for example).
Surely a card must be out there that can do this? Would I need a card that supports something like Dolby Digital Live or is this something different (sorry, just found out about this when doing research online. It seems Creative have this in many of their cards)
Could you provide any recommendations? Id prefer a card from a reputable/well known company rather than going the cheaper route.
I currently have a set of Logitech X540 speakers, although as i said am looking to get it replaced by a full 5.1 system which will connect via the TV.
As far as output connection on the soundcard go, my plan was:
While i wait/decide on the surround system, use current PC 5.1 speakers (Logitech X540), with sound card connected to GPU HDMI. Plug HDMI into TV to use TV as monitor and get PC sound.
When i have surround system, i can either use optical to connect from PC to system or use optical from TV to surround system.