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Optical to pc 5.1 speakers, how?

codezer0

5 months ago

So while I'm not in a pressing, immediate need for it, one thing I've noticed with a fair number of potential sound cards is that they seem to claim support for 5.1 or 7.1, but lacking the 1/8" plugs for expected pc speakers to support that many channels. Seems that with a fair number of them, such as the soundblaster Z or the eVGA NuAudio, they expect to support (5/7).1 output via the optical audio. but other than blowing $400+ on speakers, I don't see any obvious way to take that optical feed, and output to the analog that my present speakers expect. So, what kind of converter would I need for that situation?

Comments

[comment deleted]
  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

No, my 5.1 is three 3.5mm jacks; it's been that way since the 90's. So that arrangement wouldn't help me, either.

Most 7.1 setups I did see were also with four total 3.5mm jacks... though curiously, my Audigy Rx sound card I presently use, claims to support 7.1, but only has three speaker output jacks. Though apparently, that's because Creative had an accessory that would juggle the outputs to give a full 7.1 output from those three to four output 3.5mm jacks, that unfortunately they don't sell anymore.

Just recently spotted a SoundBlaster ZxR for sale rather temptingly priced, but its only outputs are a pair of RCA outputs, a single 3.5mm jack and then a pair of optical in and out jacks.

[comment deleted]
  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

My current main pc uses an Audigy Rx. I've no experience with Xonar cards, but last I checked, their GX software to handle legacy EAX and DirectSound stuff only covered EAX 2, and 5. Unfortunately... Kotor uses EAX 3, and Jedi Outcast needs EAX 4.

I was looking into this, as a way of insuring myself in case a newer sound card ends up eschewing analog audio outs altogether, and I still am only with said speakers.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Then, in that case, you can spend some more money on something like a Sound Blaster Z.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Fair point. I was bringing it up, because locally there is a shop that has a SoundBlaster ZxR for about the same price as that. Honestly, as good as the Audigy Rx has been, the only thing that feels a fitting upgrade at this time would be the AE-5, for considerably more money though. but if the trend for future sound cards is to go with optical out or some other digital output, then I will need to figure something out for outputting to my surround set of analog speakers. If not for the tempting price, I would typically skip over the soundblaster z line because, while the Core3D chip on paper should wipe the floor with the X-Fi chip, in practice the X-Fi was much, much better. And the current Audigy Fx/Rx are basically the same X-Fi chip on a modern driver stack.

If the system in question still had a PCI slot, I would seriously consider trying to pick up an OEM version of the X-Fi sound card for it, instead, since those had optical in and out. And with the Daniel K drivers, the Audigy and X-Fi lines have some wonderful drivers on Windows 10. Not sure if there is a similar for the Core3D based sound cards (Recon3D and Z/x/R line), but there is one also for OxygenHD based sound cards, which include the Xonar cards. He doesn't add functionality that the stock drivers don't already provide, but his re-packs tend to crush and mitigate the bugs otherwise left behind.

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