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Thread: Does sound card quality matter for optical out?

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
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    Does sound card quality matter for optical out?

    Hey guys I have a soundblaster X-Fi sound card and I am now looking into investing in the Alpine PXA-H701 and RUX-C701 combo for my sound processing. My sound card does not come with an optical out, but there is an additional I/O add on for this particular sound card for about $40. I was thinking that for $40 I could buy a new sound card for my carputer that has optical out and I could just use the X-Fi in the PC in my room. But, then I read somewhere on this forum that the chipset used to process the audio is very critical in the overall sound quality. However, If I set the sound card to digital pass through, wouldn't it not alter the raw data at all and just send the raw digital signal directly to the PXA-H701 sound processor to be processed there anyway? So, in that case wouldnt the sound card not really matter?

    Sorry if this got complicated, I just want to know if the quality of the sound card matters in this situation, or if I can just go out and pick up one of those turtle beach USB optical out dongles for like $20 or another internal sound card.

  2. #2
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    If you run bit-perfect, the optical out shouldn't matter as much.

    If you have room for a PCI card, look into the Chaintech card. It's about $25 from New Egg and it's the best card for bang for the buck. You can achieve bit-perfect with it fairly easily too. Just a driver change IIRC.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
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    Would you recommend that over the X-fi and the optical I/O?

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate grayvader's Avatar
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    for the money, sure. The optical I/O will not vary enough from card to card that you could notice.

  5. #5
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    I think it was JasonWW that noticed a decent amount of difference in the Optical I/O between some cards he was testing.

    But he'll have to chime in on that...
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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