Originally Posted by Naylia
Well, Auzentech doesn't use crappy jacks. And the X-Meridian I have kicks the crap out of my Denon 2105 when fed analog. It's mostly a comparison of DACs and Opamps. Either you can put in a quality analog out card and allow those two steps to occur there. Or you can let your AVR perform the work. For most people a $200 sound card dedicated to those two steps will do much better than their $500 AVR.
I wouldn't however recommend relying on the analog-out built into the motherboard. Those are pretty much just junk.
Which Sound card do you currently recommend? You sound like you really know. Could any of the currently available cards - $250 or under - really provide analog outs of quality similar to a $500 to $750 Receiver?
My old Denon died recently so now I'm on the fence between getting that Pioneer 1018 everyone loves, or trying to just get my surround through the HTPC.
PROS OF SOUND CARD SOLUTION:
*One step closer to the silicon wet-dream of HTCP + Power Amps + Speakers, and nothing else.
PROS OF A/V RECEIVER
*Get a tuner with the package (Not a big deal: All kinds of internet radio is available...)
*Get HDMI/Video switching (Not a big deal: with HTPC already doing my HDTV, DVD's, and soon, hopefully blu-ray, I don't need switching)
*Get Amps (Not a big deal: I already have lots of amps, and you can get a kickass Adcom Amp - or Parasound, or Rotel etc. on eBay for $150 to $200)
I should be upgrading the rig to Vista and Blu-ray soon, and other considerations are:
- DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD; and
-Bit Perfect FLAC Digital Output (For connecting to a D/A converter. Admittedly, this goes against the comprehensive HTPC solution, but I still have that stereo-only D/A converter that I'd like to use as an option)
So what sound card do you suggest? Thanks!