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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm definitely no expert, so please offer suggestions.


I've got an HTPC (Antec Aria case) that I use for playing DVDs, among other things. I've got it connected to my Westinghouse 32" LCD via VGA cable. Currently, audio is just coming off the headphone jack and going to my Harmon Kardon AVR230 receiver.


I've just ordered a set of Orb Audio 5.1 speakers to add surround sound. However, I'm at a loss for how to connect the HTPC to the Harmon Kardon. I understand I need an optical output for the surround info, that goes to the receiver for processing, and then to the speakers. My HTPC case doesn't have an optical output though. I guess I'll need to add a proper soundcard. Ideally I'd find an external device (USB-based) since my Aria is pretty cramped and I'm worried about heat.


I've read about the Audigy 2 NX (USB-based processor), but it appears that's designed to go straight to the speakers, not to a receiver.


Please give me ideas! Are there any external devices that will work? If I need to go with a card, which one?


Thanks,


Dan
 

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just get the Chaintech AV710 its like $25 on newegg.com http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829120103


its not going to add that much more heat that is already in the case and will add the proper output needed. Also it is a highly respected sound card on this forum.


- Josh
 

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your receiver has both digital optical inputs, and coaxial digital inputs.

These are two different ways of sending the digital sound track of your DVD's to your receiver to decode into 5.1 surround sound.


Coax and Optical digital inputs are carried on different "cables"

Coax is sent over a simple cable with RCA connectors at both ends (cheap)

Optical is sent over a fiberoptic bundle (not cheap)


the "signal quality" is identical with either method of signal transmission, and i always pick cheap in these circumstances.


so, what you need is a sound card/device that has a coax or opticqal digital output.


i have a audigy 2zs which i got cheap...this has a "coax" digital output. actually, it is a mini-jack digital output port that requires you to buy a $5.00 adapter from RadioShack to adapt it to an RCA style jack. I use a single cable with RCA connectors at either end to run the signal from my sound card to the receiver's coax digital audio input.


when you play dvd's, you need to configure your sound card to "passthrough" the digital signal to the digital port. You also need to configure your DVD player software to send the digital audio stream to your sound card. Finally, you need to set your receiver up to use the digital audio input as the audio source, when you play your DVD's.


hope that helps.


i would think that a USB 2.0 connected external sound "card"/device should work just fine. after all, you can stream the entire dvd, video and audio, over a usb 2.0 connection with no problem. if you've got a lot of stuff daisied off your usb port, i suppose this could effect the sound quality, but not likely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. Do you know of any external sound devices that offer passthrough capability?


I've never installed a new card on a PC. I suppose it's not rocket science. Just jam the card in an open slot, and run the CD?
 

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If you don't want to hassle w/ it, just ask a friend's help or pay a PC shop to do it for you.

Don't forget to disable the old sound card/chip.
 
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